The Royal Rumble is just about to start, and if you’re like a lot of us, the lead-up has made you nostalgic for Royal Rumbles from the past. Most people know that WWE Hall Of Famer Pat Patterson created the Royal Rumble match, but what you might not know is that Vince McMahon hated the idea when Patterson introduced it, and it was only the involvement of a TV exec (the first Rumble ran as a television special) that helped Patterson outvote Vince to make it happen, and the rest is history.
I had a big meeting with Vince McMahon and Dick Ebersol. I’m there with Vince and we’re talking to Dick Ebersol, he’s on NBC Network, wants a big show, something special, something that’s never been done. So, I gave my idea to Vince. He knew the idea but he didn’t like it, but I gave him the idea. And Vince says, “Alright, tell Dick Ebersol that stupid idea you’ve got.” I said, “Well first of all, it’s not a stupid idea.” So, Dick Ebersol, I told him the idea. One guy, two guys, bing boom! Dick Ebersol went crazy, he says, “Vince, this is unbelievable for television.”
You know what he called that? When a guy runs in from the dressing room – it’s a run in. He’s not supposed to be there. But these were legal run ins. Beep! You’ll go! You know what I mean? You think, for television it would be great. We did it. And I’ll never forget that morning, I had it all in my head about how it was going to work, and now, the next day – the day of, Vince says to me, “Well, have you set up your Royal Rumble?” I said, “No.” He said, “Well, f–k! You got to do it.” I had to do all that by myself. I did. It worked.
Obviously the popularity of the Rumble helped Vince warm to it over time. Not to mention the fact that he won it himself in 1999.