The Forgotten First WWE Royal Rumble
WWE history is a funny thing. World Wrestling Entertainment history can often times be just as scripted as the matches. The first Royal Rumble match and winner would be an example of this as the event promoted as the first Rumble was really not the first Rumble at all.
Another Royal Rumble? How could that be? Sorry Hacksaw but you are not the first Rumble winner.
Not only was there a Royal Rumble prior to the match most regard as the first in 1988, according to Wrestling Observer editor-in-chief Dave Meltzer, it was a “flop.”
Meltzer wrote about the Rumble in a 2012 edition of the Wrestling Observer. I missed it then but later caught the story while going through some archives. I always found it to be an interesting nugget in WWE history and held on to it until the Rumble season. It’s Rumble season so let’s talk about it!
The original Royal Rumble match actually took place a few months earlier in St. Louis, MO at the Arena. The card drew a reported 1,976 fans. Think about that one for a second. A WWE show in 1987, the year of WrestleMania III drew under 2,000 fans in a historic pro wrestling city, especially a city that loved battle royals. I find that absolutely mind blowing!
It was the One Man Gang and not Hacksaw Duggan that won the very first WWE Royal Rumble. The finish was similar to Rumble finishes you have seen since then in both Rumble and cage matches. According to two reports, both the Gang and the Junkyard Dog went over the top rope together at the 12 minute mark (yep a Rumble ending in 12 minutes). I am presuming the referee saw JYD touch first and thus the Gang got the win and a WWE (WWF) championship match against ..read more