With this year’s Royal Rumble coming up this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to think back on some of my favorite Royal Rumble memories and share them with you. And what better way to do that than in this week’s Friday Five. Without further ado, here are five of my favorite Royal Rumble memories.
Royal Rumble ’88 – The First One
Back in late 1987 when the first Royal Rumble was announced as being broadcast on the USA Network, I was pumped. I had gotten to go to a friend’s house to watch Starrcade ’87, but had yet to be allowed to order a wrestling pay-per-view. So when I found out this event was going to be free and I would get to watch it, I was bouncing off the walls.
The first Royal Rumble didn’t disappoint either. One of my favorites at the time, Ricky Steamboat, had a match with Rick Rude, and there was the contract signing between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant for their rematch at the upcoming Wrestlemania IV. But the big draw was their new concept in battle royals, the Royal Rumble itself. Just the concept was enough to get me to watch the show without all the other matches.
This first one was probably the hardest to peg who was going to win. Once they added the stipulation that the winner would get a title shot made it pretty easy to guess who was going to win each year. But this one lacked all the real big stars and was made up of mid-card guys, making it really hard to figure out. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan came out on top, and I had a hell of a time watching my first “big event” live.