Bob Backlund has the distinction of being the first true surprise competitor. In previous Rumbles, all 30 competitors had been previously announced. Backlund's entry came completely out of nowhere. He hadn't been in active competition in years, and was last seen trying to run for president in 1996.
Backlund only lasted two minutes before being eliminated by Chris Jericho, and rather than leaving through conventional means, he went through the crowd. It was a really hilarious sight in a Rumble that was filled with many funny moments. Backlund, who may have been treated as a joke in recent times but was a truly respected performer in his day, received a great pop from the MSG faithful.