Ah, Royal Rumble season. Such a wonderful time of year. A time where it seems everyone has a shot at breaking through, and everyone has a shot to make their mark. I love the Royal Rumble match, it is easily the most exciting match of the year on the WWE calendar. The surprise entrances and surprise performances keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Even bad Royal Rumble matches are good. You can get upset with the winner all you want, but you can’t argue that it wasn’t a fun hour. So what’s my favorite Rumble match of all time? Well, the poster above should spoil that, but the explanation will follow.
Now keep in mind this is my favorite Royal Rumble match, not Royal Rumble PPV. The entire show isn’t bad but the Rumble match itself is truly outstanding. ’92 was the magic year where Jack Tunney vacated the WWF Championship and the Royal Rumble would determine the new champion. It was also the year where storytelling came to the forefront of the match and workhorses dominated. I.E. Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, British Bulldog.
The match mostly and rightfully revolves around Flair, the alleged “real worlds champ” and his quest to capture the WWF Championship from the #3 position. Flair puts on a true clinic throughout the match.
The second big story going into the match is Roddy Piper trying to capture both the IC title and the WWF title in the same night.
The match is probably the most well paced and well told Rumble match of all time. The true magic comes when at about the half way point the ring gets cleared and Flair almost 30 minutes in is the last man in the ring. Flair has a few moments to rest, but the very next man entering is Piper. Flair’s reaction to Piper’s entrance is timeless and his selling is equally good.
The rest of the Rumble is filled with its own personal stories. Randy Savage and Jake “The Snake” Roberts were reaching their boiling point. Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice was kicking off as well. It is also the first Rumble where you had heavy hitters throughout and more than just a few men had a good chance of winning. Ted Dibiase, British Bulldog, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, Roddy Piper, Sid Justice, The Undertaker. That is a proverbial murderers row and any man had a legit chance of winning the belt that night.
It didn’t hurt matters that the Albany, NY crowd was red hot throughout the entire match which is a testament to just how over these men really were. Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan were nothing short of excellence as well. But this was the Ric Flair show, and the man would go on to win the belt from number 3, rightfully so. His performance rivals that of Shawn Michaels in ’95 or Chris Benoit in 2004.
Royal Rumble ’92 is a perfect snapshot in time. The WWF roster was stacked and everyone was at the top of their game.