This is the first of three featured articles looking back at the history of the Royal Rumble from the very first event in 1988 up to last year’s event in 2019.
We will feature the venue and the winner for each year’s Royal Rumble pay-per-per event.
WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson was recently in the UK and sat down for an interview with Inside The Ropes.
Patterson recounted the moment he first introduced the idea for the Royal Rumble match to Vince McMahon and NBC television executive, Dick Ebersol. Even though McMahon initially seemed unimpressed with the idea, Ebersol found it to be brilliant for television. However, the first-ever Royal Rumble event would air on NBC, but the USA Network.
Patterson also reflected on his early contributions to the Royal Rumble.
The Royal Rumble is a pay-per-view event consisting of championship matches, various other matches and the Royal Rumble match.
Two competators start, and every 60 seconds, a new competer enters the ring.
The very first Royal Rumble event took place on January 24, 1988, and was broadcast live on the USA Network from the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The match would feature 20 competitors.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan who entered in number 13 was the winner of the very first Royal Rumble.
After the success of the very first Royal Rumble, the event moved to being broadcast live on pay-per-view.
Royal Rumble 1989 which took place at the Summit in Houston, Texas, was the first in the series to start featuring 30 competitors. Big John Studd entered in at number 27 to become the winner for the 2nd ever Royal Rumble.
Royal Rumble 1990 was held at the the Orlando Area in Orlando, Florida. Hulk Hogan entered at number 25 and would go on to win after eliminating the late Mr. Perfect.
Royal Rumble 1991 took place at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. Hulk Hogan won for the second year in a row as entrant number 24.
Royal Rumble 1992 deemed as one of the most popular of all time was held at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, New York. The winner of this Royal Rumble was to determine the new WWF World Heavyweight Champion, as the title was vacated in December 1991 by then President Jack Tunny.
Ric Flair who left Jim Crockett’s NWA over creative differences with then President Jim Hurd had jumped ship to the WWF. Flair, who entered at number 3, lasted one full hour to win the vacant WWF title.
Royal Rumble 1993 eminated from the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. The winner of the match would earn a WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match at WrestleMania IX. The late Yokozuna entered in the Rumble at number 27 to win and go on to challenge for the championship at WrestleMania later that year.
Royal Rumble 1994 was held at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island and ended with controversy as entrant number 23 Lex Luger and entrant number 27 Bret “The Hitman” Hart both hit the floor at the same time, and were announced as co-winners of the match.
Royal Rumble 1995 took place at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida. Shawn Michaels entered at number 1 and would go on to win the match after eliminating the British BullDog to earn a title opportunity at Wrestle Mania XI.
Michaels was the first in Royal Rumble history to enter at number 1 and win the match.
Royal Rumble 1996 took place at the Selland Arena in Fresno, California. The following year’s winner Shawn Michaels would again make Royal Rumble history as he came in at entrant number 18 and win for the 2nd year in a row to become a back-to-back Royal Rumble winner, and earn a WWF Title match at WrestleMania XII.
Royal Rumble 1997 was held at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Stone Cold Steve Austin entered in a number 5 and would earn his shot at the WWF Title at that year’s WrestleMania.
Royal Rumble 1998 Rumble took place at the San Jose Arena in San Jose California. Steve Austin entered in at number 24 and win. This would be the third time that a wrestler won back-to-back Royal Rumble matches. Austin would go on to challenge for the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania XIV.
Royal Rumble 1999 Rumble was held at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim in Anaheim, California. Mr. McMahon entered at number 2. McMahon eliminated Stone Cold Steve Austin, furthering their storyline feud.
Next weekend, we will post history for the Royal Rumble 2000-2009.