Finding the Right Numbers

I began with a Google search for what I hoped would be a quick and easy investigation into which WWE wrestler holds the record for the highest cumulative number of eliminations during the Royal Rumble match (1988 - 2016). This was a figure that I was able to find in more than a few places, but I quickly realized that many sources didn't agree on the numbers. Ultimately, I decided I would need to count for myself.

I found that the Wikipedia pages for the yearly Royal Rumble events each had a list of entrants, in order, as well as who eliminated them, and the number of eliminations that they each scored during the match. After compiling the numbers, while some match those from official sources, not all do. Part of this is due to the way I tallied the eliminations. In my counting, I grouped eliminations as all those by the same performer. So, for my list, Kane, Isaac Yankem, and fake Diesel are all counted as the same individual- something the WWE is unlikely to recognize.

Even accounting for such differences in tabulation, the numbers still don't quite match up. I suspect this is due to differences in counting who gets credit for an elimination when more than one wrestler is involved. For example, using Kane again, WWE.com has an article crediting the Big Red Monster with 42 eliminations in 2014. By my method of ccounting, Kane would be credited with an additional 6 eliminations since then. This would give Kane a total of 48 according to WWE.com. However, my count, which is admittedly inflated by one due to an elimination by Isaac Yankem, only comes out to 44. No matter what, the numbers don't seem to match.

This is all a long-winded way of saying, these numbers have some flex to them. Sadly, I'm not aware of a more trustworthy source, so these are the numbers as they stand. You can click here to check out my full spreadsheet, listing all Royal Rumble participants and eliminations by year.

Finally, and the entire point to this endeavor, I wanted to make another infographic, this time memorializing those wrestlers with the greatest number of total eliminations. You'll note that the numbers on my graphic don't even match the numbers from my spreadsheet. The numbers on the infographic are from the Wikipedia general Royal Rumble page, which covers a series of Royal Rumble stats and facts, again without any strong sources that I could validate. Regardless, I guess the point here is this: don't fret the numbers too much. Just appreciate the greatness that we've been witness to over the course of the last 29 Royal Rumble matches and enjoy the infographic, below.

Royal Rumble: Most Cumulative Eliminations: 1988-2016

Monday Night RAW ended in an unexpected fashion as Bray Wyatt (and Family) stood tall over BOTH Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.  Now, history would usually dictate that said ending guarantees Bray will not win the Rumble, as whomever stands tall on the go-home show tends not to do well on the following PPV.  I get that.

But here's the thing - Bray Wyatt SHOULD win the Royal Rumble.

Now, I can see NAIborhood members like Laz and even my very good friend Doc Manson shaking their heads at me again.  "Oh, DC, there you go being that Irrational Idealist again.  Bray Wyatt isn't ever going to be a big deal in WWE."  Perhaps that's true, but I say it again, with conviction.

Bray Wyatt SHOULD win the Royal Rumble.

Here are three reasons why.

One - It spreads out the wealth.

I don't need to tell you this, but I'll do it anyway - Injuries are abound in World Wrestling Entertainment.  Two of the three talents voted in the NAI150 as MVP's of 2015, Seth Rollins and John Cena, are on the shelf, most likely until summer.  Orton is out for who knows how long, and numerous other "minor" superstars are also stuck on the DL.  This Wrestlemania season is going to be thin in the main event tier of talents.  We've accepted that.

Meanwhile, the biggest feud in WWE right now is Roman Reigns vs. The Authority, specifically Triple H, despite the latter not having made an appearance in weeks.  We know that Triple H is going to make some sort of impact at this Sunday's Rumble and we know that, somewhere down the line, he and Reigns are going to have themselves a match.

So why limit yourselves?

If Roman and Triple H is already going to have a main event feel, why does it need a title?  Does the championship make it more meaningful?  Sure, maybe a little, but not to any major extent.  Whereas, if you let Roman vs. Triple H shine on its own merits, you can take the power of the World Heavyweight Championship and give it to other talents who might benefit from its rub a little more.

Like Bray Wyatt.  Sure, you could slide other talents (Lesnar, Owens, Ambrose, etc.) in that mix as well, which is why I have two other reasons for Monsieur Face of Fear.

Two - It rewrites history in an instant.

On our year-end #DDTAwards show, Doc Manson and I gave Bray Wyatt the Career Character Misuse award, which technically isn't a thing, even though it should be.  On this week's NAIpod, the boys discuss the yo-yo booking Bray Wyatt has endured these last years.  That's not even beginning to mention the thousands of tweets I've seen lamenting how Bray's career has gone since swapping Husky for Crow Pants.

Winning the Royal Rumble AND the World Title fixes all of that.

If Bray Wyatt stands tall to end the show this Sunday, it is a declarative statement that he has arrived as a main event player.  While many of you are saying to yourselves right now, "But we've seen moments like that before" - Not this big.  Kidnapping the Undertaker at a "B-level" PPV is one thing - Becoming a World Champion by surviving an epic match at a Big 4 Show is another thing entirely.

And then what happens if he beats Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania?

Ok, now I might be shooting the moon here, but if Reigns and Triple H are locking up, the logical person to fight for the World Title against a champion Wyatt is The Beast Incarnate, especially after Monday night.  Bray vs. Brock is going to be a fantasy matchup of a lot of members of the NAIborhood, myself included.  History may dictate that Bray would once again come up short against his main event opponent, it doesn't have to be that way.

In fact, being the first man to pin Brock Lesnar since snapping the Streak, via help from the Family or not, is an even BIGGER moment for Bray than winning The Rumble would be.  In three short months, you've made yourself an elite talent who can headline shows for the next decade... You know, that little thing we've been all over WWE for years for not doing enough of?  Bray pinning Brock sets up his future, which brings us to our last reason./

Three - It shapes the future. . . While hinting at the past. . .

One of the points I thought was most poignant on NAIpod this week was when . . . Of course now I don't remember who said it . . .  SOMEBODY said that Wrestlemania stories are told slowly - They need time to build.  I couldn't agree more.

Which is why Bray winning makes sense.

We loved the Reigns / Wyatt feud, even if we felt it went a little long, and we marked out when Bray Wyatt told Roman that "they would dance again" at some point in the future.

"But DC," you say yet again, "you just told us that Reigns vs. Triple H was the co-main event to Wrestlemania, and now you're saying it's Roman vs. Bray?"

Not quite.  I'm saying that Wyatt vs. Reigns is a fantastic story to tell AT SOME POINT in 2016.  WWE has to, at some point, start thinking long-term when it comes to their potential arcs and storylines, and Bray Wyatt as champion does that.

For example:

Bray vs. Roman

Bray vs. Harper (or the rest of his family)

Bray vs. Authority

Bray vs. Finn Balor (just to irritate Moltov)

Bray vs. Owens (stop drooling, I know it's a good idea)

Bray vs. a returning John Cena or Daniel Bryan. . . Heck, or Randy Orton. . .

Bray vs. a returning, and face, Seth Rollins

Putting the belt on Wyatt sets up your 2016 and beyond to be a new and magical adventure.

---

There's going to be negativity no matter who wins the 2016 Royal Rumble - Just get used to it.  This is the social media world, where we all have opinions that are better than yours and most of us are not shy about telling you why your ideas suck.  In fact, I'm sure I'll get a handful of people who will tell me all the reasons why this is a waste of time article, and Bray Wyatt has absolutely no shot to win the Rumble on Sunday.

And they may be right.  I'll give them that.

But Bray Wyatt SHOULD win the Royal Rumble.  WWE would be a whole lot better if he did.

---

What do YOU think?  Be Heard.

OK, folks, since most of you are still raging, let's use this as a place to get our thoughts and feelings out.

Overall, I thought the Rumble PPV was . . . just about "good".  Not totally good, nowhere near great, but not as bad as many of you seem to believe, which, I might add, is totally your opinion.

The pre-show match was tremendous.  Cesaro and Kidd really need to be the next contenders to the tag team titles.  Solid back and forth match, unexpected victory for the heels, and those Brass Ring Club shirts were hilarious.  I wonder if they were something those guys "snuck" in, considering Adam Rose had a different shirt on for his Rumble appearance.

New Age Outlaws vs. Ascension was fine.  Billy Gunn looks to me like he could still have a 2-3 month run as IC champ, the Road Dogg really needs some sort of on camera role with WWE or WWE Network, and The Ascension went over.  Again, didn't expect that.  I know it's really how it should have happened, but I was surprised.

I still don't think Konnor and Viktor are any stronger for beating an old retired tag team, but at least they might be moving forward.  If this is the start of a "legend killer" tag storyline, I'm OK with it.

Usos vs. Miz and Mizdow was disappointing.  I really think WWE is running the risk of ruining the Sandow momentum by keeping him away from in-ring action.  There's a fine line between making fans salivate to see you and making them aggravated.  Shockingly, aggravation was a theme of last night's action.

The Diva's Tag Match was. . . . Not something I watched.  Having two matches where one person isn't tagged in doesn't make a lot of sense.  I expected Paige to attack Natalya after the match.  I have no idea what they're doing with the Divas division.

Lesnar vs. Rollins vs. Cena was as good a title match as I've seen in a long, long time.  Seriously, its going to be MOTY candidate at the end of this year.  Lesnar was even more dominant than he was at Summer Slam (in addition, he just looked healthier), Cena did his part as well as you can expect, and Rollins. . .

Seth Rollins is THE MAN in WWE right now, no matter who might have been standing tall at the end of last night.  He had an all-time moment with that dive onto Lesnar, broke out a Phoenix splash just for fun-sies, it seemed, and just generally looked like the best wrestler in the world.

Last night was the moment I officially became a HUGE Rollins fan.  Cash in at Mania, Seth.  Make things right.

As for The Royal Rumble. . . Might be easier to take this a piece at a time.

- Bubba Ray was a great way to spark the crowd.  Using R-Truth as a pseudo- D-Von wasn't necessary.  Dudley getting eliminated rather quickly wasn't necessary either.   This proves to me that this was just to pop the crowd, and Bubba won't be back full time.

- Luke Harper should have been in the Rumble longer.  He had a fun moment with Bubba, and if I'm not mistaken, we're heading towards a Wyatt Triple Threat at Wrestlemania, which I'm not at all opposed with.

- Bray Wyatt was a BEAST.  I don't care that it was mainly lower card guys, he was awesome.  This was the high point of my Rumble.  I really want 2015 to be the year of Bray Wyatt.

-  The Boogeyman. . . Meh.

- I like that Zack Ryder had a little bit of offense.  That's as optimistic as I have been on him in quite some time.

- Daniel Bryan. . . I honestly don't mind that he didn't make it to the Final Four.  I would have liked it (especially since I predicted him to win the whole thing), but the fact that he didn't make it is fine by me.  The crowd in Philly obviously disagreed.

I really think that if they had let Bryan last to the Final Four, then get eliminated, they wouldn't have been so upset.  They made him seem like an afterthought, which makes me worry that this is truly what WWE thinks of him.

Daniel Bryan vs. Fandango?  Could happen.

- I posted this on Twitter earlier, but it bears repeating.  Jack Swagger, Big E and Stardust all had longer Rumble matches than Daniel Bryan.  Scary.

- There's not a whole lot more I really want to say about the Rumble, except for this.

I totally talked myself into a Kane winning storyline.  He turns on the Authority, becomes the demon once again, and sets out to avenge his brother at Mania.  Could even put his career on the line.

Lesnar "retires" Taker one year and Kane the next?  Awesome.

- Overall, the Rumble match was a disappointment, if only because by the time we got to the Final Four it was fait accompli who was going to win.

Plus, The Rock had to help.  How does that make Reigns look strong for Mania?

And what was Triple H and Steph doing out there?  What was that rationale?

A confusing end to what was otherwise a fairly quality show.

OK, your turn.  What'dya think?

The Royal Rumble is but a few short days away, and from the look and feel of RAW last night, WWE just noticed.  Last night’s show was a reminder that when push comes to shove, we can get a solid three hour wrestling show that has moments of greatness, which is really all we can ever expect.

There wasn’t a single moment that stood out to me (besides, of course, The Ascension getting buried by practically the entire cast of Monday Night War), so rather than reflect on a specific moment, I’d like to look ahead to the Rumble and give you 10 superstars who I could see winning the entire thing, and why they could be the lead car on the Road to Wrestlemania.

That’s right, I promised you 10 superstars.  Hopefully I can come up with that many. . .

Roman Reigns

While I’ve been down on Reigns’ chances as of late, saving the day for 3 legends (and a combined 5 Rumble winners) puts him in as positive a light as you can, especially since I’m pretty sure he didn’t open his mouth.

Honestly, if anyone needs a “I’ve been made mute by some odd kayfabe medical condition”, it’s Reigns.

Reigns is the winner if WWE is dead-set on building around him for the next 5 years, and to hell with what anyone else thinks.

Daniel Bryan

Losing to Bray Wyatt isn’t a big deal by any stretch of the imagination, especially since it all but guarantees Daniel wins against Kane on Smackdown.

What’s really important here is that any reported issues with Bryan’s health seem to be greatly exaggerated.  He took part in a brutal match with Wyatt and seemed no worse for wear, even if he almost died doing that dive to the floor.  Not sure if Bray was out of position or if Bryan slipped a little coming down, but it looked like he came a few inches from breaking his neck.

Bryan is the winner if WWE wants to reset the clock and just do 2014 over again.  Frankly, nobody would blame them if they did.

Dolph Ziggler

While Ziggler didn’t appear last night, his presence was certainly felt - I doubt many of us were breaking out our sheep masks in celebration when these three got their jobs back.

I’m thinking Dolph gets the number 1 entry Sunday.  Bryan makes sense, too, but I wouldn’t risk it physically.  If Ziggler does get #1, you better believe he’s one of the final four competitors.

Ziggler wins if WWE decides to go with whom the fans have been supporting since way before Survivor Series, though if Ziggler does win, I almost think there’s some sort of heel turn involved as well.

Randy Orton

We haven’t seen or heard from Orton in ages, so it makes a lot of sense that he’d be a factor Sunday.  While most of us expect him to interfere in the title match and cost Rollins the WHC, I think he’d be best served as a surprise Rumble entrant.

Orton is more of a ‘fall-back’ option for WWE than anyone else I’ve mentioned, though for all accounts, a fall back might be just what they need right now.

Orton wins if WWE decides nobody else is ready, either career wise or physically.  Also, Orton wins if they want to give Rollins the WHC and need a solid opponent for him at Wrestlemania.

Seth Rollins

The Authority’s golden boy will almost certainly be in the Rumble if he is unable to win the title on Sunday, as Triple H / Steph have no reason not to give him every opportunity to succeed.

Rollins wins if WWE realizes Seth is their bona fide “mega-star in waiting” and decides to “Roll on Rollins” earlier rather than later.

John Cena

Come on, how can John Cena NOT be on this list?  Never count out the power of Kids and Troops, folks!

Now, how Cena gets into the Rumble after losing in the WHC match is something I haven’t quite figured out yet, but with WWE logic, who needs an actual reason?

John Cena wins if WWE really wants to play it safe, though they risk losing a whole bunch of fans if this entire year has really just been John’s “Road to Redemption.”

Bray Wyatt

Jason Moltov says Ziggler is his dark horse, though I disagree that Dolph can be considered that - He’s one of the top 3 contenders to win it all, that can’t be a spoiler.

Now, giving the win to Bray Wyatt DOES qualify as a big surprise.  He’s been on a relative hot streak as of late, his ring work is divine and he’s proven that when he actually has a purpose in speaking, he can say quite a lot.

Now, the question is, would he go for the title or would a Rumble win be the beginning of his quest to topple the Undertaker, provided all the rumors are true?  I could see him coming out the night after the Rumble and saying he wants Taker instead of a title shot.

Bray Wyatt wins if WWE wants to truly shock the Universe and make another legit main eventer overnight.

Rusev

Another long shot, though if you look at the character and the story, this is really the next logical step.  We all expected Rusev to revolutionize the US title, mainly by changing its name, but now he’s just a time-filler (or an excuse to bring out yet another African American talent on Martin Luther King Day!).

Rusev winning the Rumble and going on to challenge Cena at Mania (It would have to be Cena, wouldn’t it?) elevates and develops the Rusev character, something he (and Lana) sorely need.

Rusev wins if WWE wants Cena to have a new monster heel to fight or wants a non-Authority heel to have something productive to do.

Dean Ambrose

Honestly, I can’t really see Ambrose winning.  I just can’t.  His feud with Rollins is pretty much over, the moment he could have had with Cena is passed and there’s no way WWE is going to put him in a program with Lesnar.  It’s not happening.

Only one way this works…

Ambrose wins if WWE wants to have some sort of dramatic ending with Reigns and Ambrose taking each other out, leading to them FINALLY TAKING MY IDEA AND DOING A SHIELD TRIPLE THREAT AT MANIA!!!

Sorry. . .Got a little overexcited there. . .

Ok, here’s the last one.  I made it to 10!  This is the one many of you will hate and a select few will love.

The Undertaker

I know, I know, it’s NEVER going to happen.  Taker is likely done. . . I mean DONE. . .And if he is going to come back, it will be at Mania 32 in Texas.

But. . .

Undertaker wins if WWE knows Lesnar is leaving and wants to eliminate the sour taste from all of our mouths by giving Taker his chance at revenge and letting him retire as WHC.

Your thoughts?  Did I miss anyone?  Who’s winning it on Sunday?  Be heard!

Welcome to the first installment of DC’s Network Diaries, where we document one insane man’s attempt to justify spending hours upon hours poring over the massive amount of #NAIstalgia that exists on the WWE Network.

If you’ve been a fan of mine from back before NAI, you know that this is not a new venture.  Back before I had a name, in my Teacher days, I tried doing this over at Number Two Contenders, even including a snazzy syllabus and everything.  Since trying to find “lessons” in each PPV was a difficult endeavor, and also because each of those entries seemed to be about 10+ pages, consider DC’s Network Diaries to be a streamlined version.

As I go through each PPV, I’ll share the following…

-  My personal favorite moment / highlight of each match.
Note: This will not be a play by play recap, nor will I presume to “rate” matches.  Wrestling, like all art, is subjective, so      I will allow you to like what you like.

-  In some cases, a “lowlight” - Either a problem I have or some other “ughhh” moment.

-  A “so what”, in which I aspire to tie in the match with something happening in the modern WWE.

-  At the conclusion of each event, I’ll offer a single recommendation (Match of the Night, if you will), along with a few discussion questions, since you can take the Teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t keep The Teacher from assigning homework.

We begin this endeavor with a topical event, going back to 1990 and exploring the third annual Royal Rumble.

Match 1: The Fabulous Rougeaus vs. The Bushwhackers

Considering my previously stated views on card openers, this is a strange one, though I must admit, the crowd loved Luke and Butch.

Highlight:  Jacques Rougeau, in his pre-Mountie days, does a rather exquisite jumping back elbow, then performs one of the most impressive ‘nip-ups’ I’ve ever seen.

I’ve always been a big Jacques fan, perhaps because he looks like he could be my high school wrestling coach’s twin.  While both Rougeau brothers had in-ring talent, watching in hindsight, Jacques’ charisma leaps off the screen.  Plus, he’s going to be the Mountie.  He’s handsome, he’s brave, he’s strong!

Lowlight:  Do you think the WWF fans who sat in the front row at these events were excited when they got licked by a pair of backwoods New Zealanders?  I don’t.

‘So What’:  Those modern fans (myself included) who complain about the lack of in-ring wrestling logic only need to watch just the opening minutes of this match to realize that it’s always been like this in the WWE.  There are so many blatant double teams its not even funny, and at one point one of the Bushwhackers bites referee Danny Davis on the rump and doesn’t get DQ’ed.  So I suppose you could even say in-ring logic has improved in the last quarter century.

Match 2:  The Genius vs. Brutus Beefcake

Highlight:  1990 was before my time as a wrestling fan, so my main thoughts of The Genius are when he was the know-it-all manager of The Beverly Brothers.  In fact, this might be the first singles match I’ve seen of Lanny Poffo, and its plain to see that he’s the brother of Randy Savage.  Insane athletic ability, even if it doesn’t translate to the wrestling he displays.  At one point, The Genius leaps over the ropes almost as easily as Finn Balor does today.

Lowlight:  I know this is 24 years ago, but I was not expecting so many blatant potshots taken at homosexuality.  Beefcake’s mocking of The Genius would cause some protests today, methinks.

‘So What’:  I couldn’t help but quietly offer a prayer of gratitude that WWE didn’t completely rip off The Genius gimmick for one Mr. Damien Sandow.  Sure, the “Intellectual Savior” wore a robe not too far off from Poffo’s academia garb, but at least Damien didn’t have to prance around the ring.

Match 3:  Greg Valentine vs. Ronnie Garvin in a Submission Match

Watching the Vince-narrated introductory video for this card, I learned that Ron Garvin was using the Sharpshooter (or, as they call it, the ‘Reverse Figure Four’), hence the need for a Submission match.

Highlight:  Both men are wearing braces that should, in theory, prevent the other from using their signature leg submission.  Valentine puts Garvin in the Figure Four, but since Ronnie is wearing the “Hammer Jammer”, it doesn’t faze him.  “Rugged” Ronnie then proceeds to break out some hilarious funny faces to prove it doesn’t hurt, including giving himself moose ears and wiggling his fingers in front of his nose.  You know, like Lou Thesz did.

Lowlight:  On at least half a dozen different occasions, one man tried to pin the other during a submission match.  I’m sure Vince was apoplectic backstage.

‘So What’:  This was an example of a gimmick match done right, even if both combatants seemed to forget the stipulations.  Each man had a signature leg submission and had ways to prevent the other from using it.  It made perfect sense.  Take note, WWE.

I should mention here that there have been some excellent promos with Mean Gene this card.  Ted Dibiase lamenting that he got #1 for the Rumble, compared to finding his way to #30 last year, a great Heenan Family interview (showing that this event is really every man for himself) and now a Mr. Perfect one.  So what?  Shows how much Curtis Axel needs to learn, for a start.

I specifically bring this up because the next segment is a Brother Love show featuring Sensational Sherri and Sapphire, and the less said about it, the better.

Highlight:  Seeing a very young Shane McMahon in a referee’s outfit.

Lowlight:  Everything else.

So what:  I’m glad Total Divas didn’t exist in 1990.

Match 4: Big Bossman vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Highlight:  Watching how naturally athletic Bossman was.  He’s one of those guys that just made things look easy.

Lowlight:  At one point we can see Jim Duggan blatantly tell the referee to check his arms when placed in a Bossman bearhug.

So what:  It’s a shame that Ray Traylor is more remembered for the Kennel from Hell fiasco than he is for the rest of his career.

Mental note:  Future Hall of Fridays:  Bossman and Jacques Rougeau

Time for the quick-fire promos before the Rumble.  God, I love NAIstalgia.

Match 5:  Royal Rumble

It’s worth noting that this was before the winner of the Rumble automatically received a title shot, as the WWF champion is not only in this match, he wins the dang thing.

Highlight:  As with every Rumble, seeing the new superstars every 2 minutes is particularly appealing.  In this instance, though, there was a time where we had Ted Dibiase, Randy Savage, Jake Roberts and Roddy Piper in the ring at the same time.  You rarely see so many all-time greats together, and I am not ashamed to admit I marked out.

Lowlight:  Poor Andre.  One of the great shames is that by the time WWF became hugely popular, Andre the Giant was already in poor physical condition.  Seeing him try to manage this Rumble was painful to watch.

Match of the Night:

Obviously the Rumble.  It’s always going to be the Rumble.  Best gimmick match of all time.

Discussion Questions:

Big Bossman: Hall of Famer?
How about Jacques Rougeau?
Which Rumble is your favorite?
Best Andre moment?

I’d like you all to do me a favor.  Close your eyes. . . And take a deep breath.

. . .

. . .

You can smell it, can’t you?

No, I’m not talking about what The Rock is cooking - It’s The Road to Wrestlemania, and it’s getting closer.

In fact, for my money, the first stop on the Road is the best one… Yes, my friends, I’m a Royal Rumble junkie.

I’ve written about the Rumble in the past, so for today’s NAIstalgic look back, I wanted to talk about my personal favorite Rumble match, and why I think it is likely the best one ever.

Step aboard the DC Time Machine, my friends, and let’s take a trip back to the glorious year of 1992.  I submit half a dozen reasons why this battle royal was the greatest one of all.

1.    In this Rumble, the winner didn’t earn the typical title match at Wrestlemania.  Thanks to some fishy officiating (thanks to those crazy Hebner boys), the WWF title was vacant, and so the winner of the Rumble would become champion.  This is the only time in history that has happened, which simply by definition sets it apart.

2.    Each year, the Royal Rumble is a “Who’s Who” of current roster talent at the time, with a couple surprises mixed in just to keep things interesting.  The 1992 Rumble is special simply because looking at some of these entrants is essentially reading off a Hall of Fame list.

Among the competitors:
British Bulldog
Ted Dibiase
Shawn Michaels
Tito Santana
Kerry Von Erich (as Texas Tornado)
Greg Valentine
Big Boss Man
Roddy Piper
Jake Roberts
Jim Duggan
Jimmy Snuka
Undertaker
Randy Savage
Iron Shiek (as Col. Mustafa)
Rick Martel
Hulk Hogan
Sgt. Slaughter

3.  In addition, the ‘92 Rumble features some of the all-time bad gimmicks, which to me, are almost as good as the genius ones.

Our original Throwback Thursday, Mr. Barry Darsow himself, this time as Repo Man!
Hercules
Irwin R. Schyster (poor Mike Rotunda)
The Berzerker
Virgil
Skinner
The Warlord AND The Barbarian (aka, The Ascension)

Think back to your favorite Royal Rumbles in history.  I venture your mind immediately goes to one that either had a memorable single superstar performance OR some sort of unusual ending.  This one had both.

4.   The 1992 Royal Rumble was, to me, the introduction of Ric Flair to the mainstream WWF audience.  He had been part of the company since August of that year, but this was the first time people got to see what The Nature Boy could do.  Entering 3rd in the Rumble, Flair became the first competitor in history to last over an hour, an incredible feat that had only ever really been sniffed at by the aforementioned Rick Martel the year previously.

In fact, going a step further, up until ‘92, the winners of the Royal Rumble (Duggan, Big John Studd and Hogan twice) had only ever been in the ring between 10-20 minutes before claiming victory.  Flair did three times that.  While others have lasted even longer in future Rumbles, Flair, as always, was the originator.

5.  When I asked you to harken back to a Rumble memory, perhaps you thought of Bret Hart and Lex Luger eliminating each other right before Wrestlemania X, or the way Chris Benoit eliminated Big Show to win back in 2004.   These moments tend to sear themselves into our brains far more than just a “standard” elimination.

In 1992, the final four combatants were Flair, Hogan, Savage and Sid “Not-Yet-Vicious” Justice.   Justice eliminated Savage, and then ‘snuck up’ on his storyline-ally Hogan and tossed him out as well.  Upset at the backstabbing, Hogan grabbed Justice’s arm, allowing Flair to take advantage of the situation and eliminate Sid, winning the Rumble.

Again, this is the first time (I think) that any sort of chicanery was involved in the ending of the event.  We may well see something like this again next month if Dolph Ziggler winds up eliminating Cena, who somehow harnesses the power of #KidsAndTroops to worm his way in after his main event match with Lesnar.

(Also, much like the 92 Rumble, the crowd would go bananas for it if it happened.  Unlike 92, I doubt WWE would dub over the crowd reaction, as they did when the New York fans were applauding Hogan’s elimination.)

Finally, the ultimate reason this Rumble beats all others.

6.  Bobby Heenan

If you asked me to pick the best wrestling announcer performances in history, Heenan’s mastery of the ‘92 Royal Rumble is right at the top along with JR’s calling of “The Cell”.   ‘The Brain’, one of two Flair allies at the time, spends the entire time riding a roller coaster of emotions as Flair fights, claws, begs, pleads and hides his way through the Rumble.

Seriously, go watch that match.  By the end, Heenan sounds legitimately exhausted, as if he had been the one to compete for 60 minutes in that very ring.  It’s a level of genius I have still yet to see duplicated.

So there you have it.  My favorite Royal Rumble in history.

What are YOUR favorite Rumbles of all time?  Or are you more of a World War III type?  (Kidding, of course, nobody liked those.)

Discuss.  Be heard.  Get ready for The Road to Wrestlemania

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