Come Sunday, we’ll all be huddled around our televisions and laptop screens like the Cratchits around a tiny bleak British fire, hoping desperately that we don’t have another finish like last year’s Rumble Of Which We Do Not Speak. Truthfully, as much as the Rumble is almost everybody’s favourite PPV event of the year, they’re not all sunshine and roses and wrestlers you want to win…um…winning.
I always waffle on what my favourite Royal Rumble is, just because the first five are so perfect in my head. I love Big John Studd so dearly, but my favourite Rumble story is the one told across two years: the saga of that lying, cheating, no good moneybags Ted DiBiase. In 1989, the Million Dollar Man made sure (via less than scrupulous means) that he would have the perfect number going into the Rumble. While he may have entered at #30, his plan didn’t work out quite as he had hoped, and was eliminated by Studd. This also featured a backstory of DiBiase purchasing his number from a fellow who managed a former motorcycle gang of one-turned-whitest fellow from deepest, darkest Africa in a parking lot in Connecticut, and tussling with a guy named Hercules he had bought as a slave. Wrestling is real, and also real concerning!
The next year, in a rare showing of both continuity and Actual Bad Guy comeuppance, DiBiase entered in the dreaded #1 spot. What followed was a parade of Danielle’s Favourite wrestlers, dated spots, and a performance from DiBiase that would be hailed as maybe the greatest performance of all time, were it not for Ric Flair stylin’ and profilin’ his way through the 1992 event. He bumped like Ziggler wishes he could, and ran there and back again on the spectrum of Cowardly Heel to Wow That Guy Is An Asshole. He was eventually eliminated by The Ultimate Warrior, a pain only soothed by the fact that it wasn’t done by Hogan himself, who entered right afterwards in the #25 spot. Hogan did, however, eliminate other favourite wrestler Mr. Perfect to win, and also is Hulk Hogan, so that part of things isn’t exactly what makes me love the early Rumbles so much. But through 24 spots, the Million Dollar Man was the toughest, coolest, meanest, flashiest son of bitch, and Hulk Hogan could take his torn t-shirts and American flags and stick them right in his Hogan’s Beach.
So what about you guys? I know we’ve all got deep-seated Rumble-related grudges. Let’s work through our feelings in the comments below!