Friday, January 23, 2015

Royal Rumble Oddity Outlook

More Royal Rumble stats than you can shake a stick at
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In the ever-more-crowded field of people breaking down Royal Rumble matches by the numbers (including WWE, which can never seem to get its own facts straight), you don’t stand out by stating the obvious (Shawn Michaels has the most total eliminations! Roman Reigns eliminated 12 men in one night! Rey Mysterio spent the longest in the ring!), you dig deeper and find the weird stuff. Admittedly, the minutiae presented herein might be interesting to me and me alone. But on the off chance you need a little bit more to get you excited for this Sunday’s big fight, here’s a quick look at what could happen if certain chips fall the right way.

There are only 17 announced wrestlers so far, which is a letdown for people who like to get their data in order ahead of time. While it’s unlikely Triple H will be among them, I’ve included him here a few times just in case. Randy Orton and Sheamus are figured into the mix as well, and though neither is announced, they’re more likely to appear than the big H.

Since I’m not sure where to stick this, I’ll lead with it — Roman Reigns’ single-night record of 12 eliminations, set in 2014, will never be broken. Why? Because it makes for a boring match. There’s only 29 eliminations to be had, so giving nearly half to one guy dramatically limits the ability to use an hour of wrestling to develop the character of a majority of the entrants. That’s enough talk about understanding how and why these matches come together. The rest of the data is presented with, as best I can, the mentality that once the bell rings, Rumble statistics are as organic as the numbers on the back of a baseball card.

I just mentioned Reigns’ 12 eliminations. The 2015 Rumble winner would need 11 eliminations (Steve Austin had 10 in 1997) or to last longer than 62:12 (Mysterio in 2006) to take first place in either category. On the flip side, Edge won the 2010 Rumble with just 7:19 in the ring, the shortest stay of any winner. And while Vince McMahon infamously notched just one elimination in his tainted 1999 win, take nothing away from the barely there two-elimination efforts of winners Edge (2010), Big John Studd (1989) and Alberto Del Rio (2011).

If we count all of his personas (and we do), Glenn Jacobs is 116 seconds away from joining one of the most exclusive clubs — men who have been in a Royal Rumble match for three or more hours. (The other three are Triple H, 3:51:32, Shawn Michaels, 3:42:30, Rey Mysterio, 3:07:46, and the only nonwinner, Chris Jericho, 3:05:13). Cody Rhodes can join the club in 2015 if he lasts 19:25. Randy Orton is about 33 minutes shy.

There are only 10 men who have racked up ring time between two and three hours. Sheamus needs 13:49 to cross over. It’s possible Rob van Dam could appear this year, with the Rumble in Philadelphia and all, but he’s unlikely to last the 23 minutes needed to reach two hours. Kofi Kingston (1:25:38) and Dolph Ziggler (1:25:34) have both been in six Rumbles and could conceivably roll

It would be unlikely, but if Triple H eliminates Kane, it would be an unprecedented fourth time for that to happen (2006, 2008, 2010). If Stardust tosses Goldust, it would be the third time the younger Rhodes boy ousted the older (2009, 2013). Other pairings that have happened twice and could reoccur in 2015: Triple H tossing Cody Rhodes (2008, 2009), Big Show dumping R-Truth (2001, 2009) and Dolph Ziggler (2011, 2012), and Randy Orton eliminating Wade Barrett (2011, 2012) and Big Show (2009, 2012).

Only seven times have tag team partners entered sequentially — three times in 1989 alone, which famous started with both members of Demolition. The only other time tag team partners started the match is Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie in 1998. I’d love to see this happen with Miz and Mizdow on Sunday.

Ten times has one wrestler eliminated both halves of a tag team, the last in 2012 (Mick Foley eliminated tag team champions Primo and Epico). Another thing I’d enjoy for its total lack of precedence is one wrestler removing all three New Day members from the Rumble.

There has never been a Rumble with five previous winners. So far no previous winners are confirmed entrants with only 16 spots left. There has not been a Rumble with no prior winners since 2004.

There were ten Royal Rumble rookies in 2014 — the record is 26 in 1989. The record for fewest rookies is six — 1990, 2008 and 2010. So far, none of the announced entrants are Rumble rookies.

Jack Swagger can take sole possession of second place for most Rumbles with no eliminations. He’s tied with Honky Tonk Man, Steve Blackman and Gregory Helms at four. First place is Matt Bloom (Albert, Tensai) with six. There are ten guys who have been in three Rumbles with no eliminations — Drew McIntyre, JTG, Terry Taylor, William Regal, Tommy Dreamer, Bart Gunn, Jeff Jarrett, Scotty 2 Hotty, Zack Ryder and Bushwhacker Luke.

If Goldust enters and misses the final four, that will move him to first place with ten; currently he’s tied with Nelson “Mabel” Frazier for first place. Three guys have eight Rumbles with no final four (Booker T, Great Khali and Shelton Benjamin) and of the six who have been in seven with no final four (Bob Holly, Jake Roberts, Mark Henry, Matt Hardy, Miz, Owen Hart) are a few guys who should move to second place.

Kofi Kingston has spent 1:25:38 in the ring over six Royal Rumbles without making a final four. He trails only Bob Holly (1:53:05, seven matches) John Morrison (1:45:49, six) and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (1:28:46, four) on the all-time list. Miz (1:17:37, seven matches) is at sixth place on that list. Goldust is eighth (1:15:17, nine).

Of the 171 wrestlers who have been in more than one Rumble, the threshold for making the top 10 in average duration is 23:22 (Ted DiBiase Jr., who has been in three). Cody Rhodes has averaged 26:46 over five matches, good for seventh place, and Sheamus trails him at 26:33 over three matches. No one else in the top 10 is likely to enter in 2015, but take a look at guys like Seth Rollins (48:31 in his only Rumble), Dean Ambrose (33:46), Joey Mercury (29:14), Bo Dallas (21:42), Bray Wyatt (15:48) and Luke Harper (15:02), who could crack the top 10 of this admittedly obscure list.

Five guys have been in the final four five times — Kane (including his 1997 appearance as fake Diesel), Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and Batista. Only Kane is announced for the 2015 match. Only John Cena and Triple H have just four final fours, but Big Show and Sheamus could join them. For Sheamus it would be his fourth in five Rumbles and fourth consecutive final four.

Big Show is one of four men (Chris Jericho, Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith) to be eliminated at the hands of the eventual winner in three different Rumbles. It’s happened twice to 19 wrestlers, and of those 2015 could see it happen to Mark Henry, Kane, Randy Orton and Ryback. Further, Big Show has twice finished second (as have Cena, Shawn Michaels and Triple H), so he has a chance to become the only three-time runner-up.

If anyone logs an elimination while spending less than 60 seconds in the ring, they’d be the 10th person to do so. That list runs from MVP (seven seconds in 2010) to Hercules (56 seconds in 1992). Chyna did it twice (1999, 35 seconds, and 2000, 37 seconds); Booker T (2002) and René Duprée (2004) both did it in 33 seconds. In 1999 Kane logged four eliminations in only 53 seconds.

To crack the top 10 of longest in the ring with no eliminations, someone needs to best Irwin R. Schyster in 1992 (27:01). To get to first place they must outlast Bob Holly (39:35, 1996).

Looking at the Rumble by entry spot, as I did for last year’s preview, there’s a good chance for shakeup among the top spots for all-time eliminations. No spot is catching 30 (with 52 eliminations over 27 Rumbles), but the second-place spot, No. 2 (39 eliminations) could easily be overtaken by No. 18 (38), Nos. 15, 22 or 28 (37 each) or No. 19 (36). On the low end, spots 16 and 20 have each produced 15 all-time eliminations , and No. 14 is only good for 17, so there could be some shakeup down the line as well.

If the 24th entrant wins, that would be the fourth time ever; currently only the 27th entry spot has produced four winners. And there are 13 entry spots to never produce a winner, so there’s a good potential for some first time magic. If whoever enters 29th makes the final four, that makes nine total from that position, but it still trails No. 28 (11 final fours) and No. 30 (14). Entry spots 9 and 12 are especially barren, having never produced so much as a final four finisher. (The ninth spot is perhaps the worst, with the best No. 9 ever being Big Boss Man in 2000, lasting 22:47, eliminating three opponents and being the 15th man eliminated, a long way from glory.)

Have I missed any of your favorite obscure facts? What are you looking for in the 2015 Royal Rumble? Hit me up in the comments and let’s get weird together.