The Royal Rumble remains one of WWE's greatest innovations.
As the story goes, Vince McMahon wasn't too keen on Pat Patterson's idea for a 20-man Battle Royal that had wrestlers entering during timed intervals instead of working all at once. Eventually, following a one-off TV special in 1988, McMahon relented that it was genius and promoted the Rumble as a full-blown 30-man pay-per-view the next year.
Since then, the match has been tweaked and evolved naturally. There are always a few familiar spots in each Rumble; a beast-like giant is booked to throw countless cannon fodder over the top rope, there are a few surprise entrants, maybe a run in or two and WWE's announcers make bold claims about the winner headlining WrestleMania.
All of those things are practically nailed on for this year's match, but there had to be a starting point for each and every trope. After all, there's a first time for everything, and the Rumble's various traditions are no exception. The question is: when did these adjustments to an already-successful formula start, and who is responsible for making them so important?