WWE.com is featuring an article looking back at the first ever Royal Rumble match held on January 24, 1988. The article features quotes from Bret Hart, Tito Santana, the winner of the first ever Rumble Jim Duggan and more.
Bret Hart: “The beauty of the Rumble is that every couple of minutes, another guys comes out, and just seeing what kind of difference it makes. When you’re having a Royal Rumble, and all of a sudden they send out Bob Backlund, he’s a whole different type of wrestler than The 1-2-3 Kid or Andre the Giant. It changes the complexity of the entire match. Everyone knows that if Andre is walking up, everyone’s antenna is going to go up. It’s a whole different mentality.”
Tito Santana: “For me, it was more exciting than your average Battle Royal. Everyone was anticipating who was going to come out next, and who was going to get the lucky draw at the end and be fresh. I never expected that people would get into it the way they did. But it did bring up a lot of psychology for the fans, because they were trying to figure out things.”
Jake Roberts: “I knew that it would work, because pumping people in, one after the other, just creates excitement. If you put a fresh guy in every minute or so, it becomes, ‘Here comes this guy; who is it? Who is it?’ It’s an anticipation thing, and the fans are hoping that the next guy to come out will help their guy to win it. It’s all about the fans. It was tough on the damn athletes, though. It really was.”
Jim Duggan: “I think anytime when something new like that comes out, people wonder. They used to do Battle Royals one way in WWE at the time. So when they come back and changed the whole format, I think everyone wondered if it would get over to the extent it has. I don’t think anyone knew how big it would become.”