The WWE Royal Rumble is one of the most anticipated nights in the wrestling calendar. The legendary match pits 30 men (and since 2018, women) against one another in an over the top rope battle to earn a spot in the main event of Wrestlemania.
The match is one of the most entertaining matches in the WWE, simply due to how literally anything can happen. Surprise Rumble returns are the norm, with injured stars making their comebacks, new signings and legends back for one last hurrah are commonplace for the end-of-January show.
However, while some wrestlers are celebrated for their iron-man performances or their number of eliminations during the match, others are not so lucky. In fact, all stats are analysed on the build to the Royal Rumble and look at the less-than-complimentary achievements of some legends of the WWE.
In this article, we’ll go through who has the record for the shortest stint in the match, the quickest elimination and how Titus O’Neil botched a chance to write his name in the history books.
Quickest Royal Rumble Elimination
The shortest time spent in the Royal Rumble match was by Santino Marella in the 2009 Royal Rumble. The Italian Superstar entered the match at number 28, rushing into the ring with an intent to go all the way to the main event of Wrestlemania 25. Sadly, as soon as he slid into the ring, all fired up, he was clotheslined by Kane and eliminated him in a record-breaking 1.9 seconds.
This also gave Kane the record for eliminating a WWE superstar in the Royal Rumble. This added to many records he held, such as most appearances (20) and, most eliminations of all time (45), although his 2001 record of the most eliminations in a single match was broken by Roman Reigns in the 2014 edition of the match.
Santino Marella’s lightning-fast exit from the match broke a record that stood for the past 20 years. In the first edition of the match in 1989, The Warlord lasted a pathetic 2 seconds, just a tenth longer than Marella. The poor showing in the match actually helped fans get on the side of Santino Marella, who turned from a hated heel to a beloved comedy babyface. He would entertain the WWE Universe with his hilarious antics until he was forced to retire in 2014 due to injury.
Santino recently spoke about the build up to the spot in an interview on the latest Monday Mailbag with Mike Chioda, and revealed his thoughts on the record-breaking moment in his career.
“All the guys were excited because they knew I was trying to break the record. So they were making it like they were adding to the pressure like ‘You got to do it perfect man. If you slip one step you’re gonna break.’ And they’re like even saying to Glenn, to Kane, ‘You got to be there right away to just stand up. You got to be there’. And he’s like, ‘Stop pressuring me. I’ve go other things on my mind.’ He eliminated like so many guys.”
“So music hit, slid in, flawless, stood up, hook, gone. And luckily, because you know, let’s say you don’t go all the way over and teeter for a second. You know, when the window of opportunity was pretty small, but we nailed it.”
Titus O’Neil’s Botch In 2015 Cost Him The Record
6 years later and with Marella retired, WWE decided to write a new chapter in their history. In a Royal Rumble match fraught with bad booking and botches, one of the most hilarious one was Titus O’Neil’s failure to be eliminated as fast as possible.
Usually, WWE superstars want to be in the ring as long as possible, but O’Neil had become so much of a comedy character, like Santino Marella, that WWE wanted him to try and beat the Italian’s record. However, he messed up the spot and failed to take the infamous record for himself.
He ran into the ring and was, as planned, met with a huge clothesline from former SHIELD teammates Dean Ambrose (AEW’s Jon Moxley) and Roman Reigns. As he was hit, he leapt backwards to vault the ropes, but mistimed his jump and was left tangled amongst them instead. He eventually found his way over the top rope and onto the floor, eliminating himself but without becoming the fastest Royal Rumble elimination of all time.
Due to the incredible speed at which he entered and exited the ring, it is unlikely anyone will be to beat Santino Marella’s Royal Rumble record. However, you never know in the world of wrestling and especially with the 2023 Royal Rumble just around the corner.