Pretty much every wrestling fan loves the Royal Rumble.
It doesn't matter if you're a WWE loyalist, a lapsed fan who prefers what AEW is doing or anything in between. January is Rumble time, and it's viewed by many as the official launching point for WrestleMania season. 2024's version will be the 37th supershow since the then-WWF ran the first in 1988, and the 36th on pay-per-view (that original was a TV special).
However, did you know that the iconic match type was actually held before airing in front of fans on TV? What's more, were you aware that WWE has actually copied the TV only format over the years by producing no less than five other non-PPV specials?
It's actually remarkable the Rumble got off the ground at all when you know the backstory. Other facts and stories on offer here include wrestlers being drunk during the event, how an unlikely AEW star made event history, which Rumble wrecked a key media partnership, and why Randy Orton wants someone to take his unwanted record.
Unfortunately for comeback king 'Mr. RKO', that could take some doing!
10. Vince McMahon Thought It Was “Stupid”
WWE patriarch Vince McMahon thought the Royal Rumble sounded pretty crap when Pat Patterson pitched it during creative meetings in the late-1980s. Still, Vince was scrambling for an idea that'd suit NBC exec Dick Ebersol, and he had nothing else to present on the day.
That's when McMahon turned to Pat and told him to lay out the "stupid idea [he] had" for a multi-man match. Patterson did, and Ebersol thought it sounded like tremendous fun. Better yet, Dick could see the value of having fresh faces roll out to wrestle every few minutes, because that'd be perfect for a TV audience.
Vince was presumably stunned. Relieved, but stunned.
He might've been expecting NBC to scoff at Pat's suggestion like he did. Instead, they loved the concept and the Rumble was born as a TV concern. By 1989, the idea was so popular internally that McMahon decided to run it as a fully-fledged pay-per-view.
Remarkable considering he hated it at first.