The Brainchild of Pat Patterson, the 30-person battle royal is celebrating its 32nd event on 27th January and has seen its fair share of shocks and surprises throughout its more than 30-year history. Whether it’s a surprise return, an unexpected debut or, most likely, a disappointing outcome, there are some statistics that remain unchanged while others alter drastically each year. As Scott Steiner once so eloquently said, “the numbers don’t lie”, so whoever you think will win this year’s men and women’s matches, let’s take a look at the facts that make the Royal Rumble so special.
The Iron Man:
A spot that sees one superstar spend more time in the ring than anybody else regardless of whether they went on to win the match. This exclusive list of names has only four men to have been the Iron Man on more than one occasion. Stone Cold and Triple H are two of those, the others, WWE would be keen for you to forget about – CM Punk and Chris Benoit. After entering at number one during last years Greatest Royal Rumble, Daniel Bryan, holds the record for the longest time in this match at an impressive 1 hour 16 minutes and 5 seconds. Interestingly, the former franchise player, John Cena, has the honour of being the Iron Man with the shortest time in the ring at just 22 minutes and 11 seconds back in 2011. At the other end of the scale, a staggering time of 5 hours 1 minute and 30 seconds puts Chris Jericho at the top of the class as the person to have spent the most cumulative time in Royal Rumble matches in WWE history. What’s more shocking is that this is more than an hour longer than the next closest competitor, Triple H!
The law of averages:
The average time for the ultimate show of endurance is just shy of 47 minutes and gives you a hint of how long this year’s Iron Man may last in the rumble. Though the distance runner isn’t guaranteed to eliminate more than anyone else, if they were to achieve this feat, you could see them throw out seven superstars which are the average number of competitors to be eliminated in any one match by a single wrestler. On no more than nine separate occasions there have been 8 men that have managed to eliminate seven opponents in one match. From 1991 to 2017: Hulk Hogan, Yokozuna, Diesel, Stone Cold, Rikishi, The Undertaker, The Great Khali, CM Punk and John Cena (in the same match) and Braun Strowman have all managed seven heaven when competing in the over-the-top-rope spectacle. This isn’t the highest amount of eliminations in one Rumble match, however, (we’ll get to that) but it is rather interesting to note all the same. When you factor in all of the Rumble winners – including joint winners Lex Luger and Bret Hart as well as the first female winner Asuka – you’ll find that the average winning entry number is 20 although it isn’t actually the entry number with the most Royal Rumble wins…
The best of the best:
… that honour remains with lucky number 27 and has been for some time. Big John Studd, Yokozuna, Bret Hart and Stone Cold have all won the match after entering from this position. However, despite being the best-placed number, there hasn’t been a winner from this position since Steve Austin in 2001. The Texas Rattlesnake also holds the crown for the most amount of Rumble wins (3), but an unlikely win for either one of Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Randy Orton, Triple H or Batista this year could see them tie honours with Austin. Entering at number 28, Big Dave Batista is also the only person to have won from the same spot twice. Kane still boasts two records of a total of 44 eliminations in 19 separate Royal Rumbles including his appearances as “Isaac Yankem” and “Fake Diesel”. Yet, the Big Red Machine, who has never actually won the battle royal saw his record of 11 eliminations in one match bested by Roman Reigns in 2014 who managed 12. This was again beaten by Bruan Strowman at the Greatest Royal Rumble who currently holds the record for the most eliminations and Michelle McCool’s 5 eliminations at the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble last year is the current women’s record.
The unlikely ones:
Nobody remembers the losers and you might be surprised to see that Roman Reigns has been the runner-up on three occasions (2014, 2017, 2018). In even more forgettable fashion, there have been 15 men to have been dumped out of the competition with 10 seconds or less of entering. Santino Marella’s one-second record celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. It’s also fun to point out that despite being out of the company for nearly three years now, Cody Rhodes/Stardust, has the 6th highest cumulative Rumble time in history at 3 hours, 8 minutes and 30 seconds. Whilst it took 8 people to throw out Viscera in 2007 and six for Nia Jax last year, it is more likely that it’ll take 3 superstars working together to eliminate someone considered to be an unmovable object as Kane, The Great Khali, Brock Lesnar, Mark Henry, Mr Perfect and The Ultimate Warrior have all experienced since 1990. Last but at all means not least, there is an honourable mention for the best Royal Rumble win of all time when Ric Flair won the nine-man KFC Colonel Rumble.