Wrestling Observer mentions the Royal Rumble no one knows about

I’ve always loved reading the Wrestling Observer (I got hooked on it after being a fan of Dave Meltzer’s pro wrestling columns in the old National sports newspaper). An issue of the Observer this month gave me yet another reason to like it: The discussion of the first Royal Rumble, which I knew nothing about.

I was floored to read about it, because I consider myself pretty aware of WWF history from the 1980s. I, like many of you who were fans back then, remember that the first Royal Rumble was on the USA Network in 1988, which Hacksaw Jim Duggan won. Well, at least that’s what I thought history had written.

It turns out the first Royal Rumble was a year earlier in St. Louis and drew just under 2,000 fans. The event “was a major flop,” according to the Observer. It had been announced that the winner would get the next title shot in St. Louis against Hulk Hogan, and wouldn’t you know it that during interimission — before the Rumble — the crowd heard that the main event for the next show as Hogan vs. One Man Gang.

Yep, Gang won the Rumble later that night, after he and Junkyard Dog went over the top rope at about the same time, but JYD hit the floor first. The crowd turned on the match.

“This event has been erased from WWE history,” the Observer said.

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4 comments

  1. Pingback: The 1984 all-cage card in Hartford that I never heard of | Boston Garden Balcony
  2. Mark

    I am totally floored. I (like u) thought that I was totally aware of WWF history from this period and now I’ll have to do some investigating.

  3. Atlee Greene

    Something kind of similar happened in Boston on a smaller scale. Ken Shamrock won a battle royal at a house show in August of 1997. The winner was supposed to get a WWF title shot at the next Boston house show. November of 1997 rolls around and Ken Shamrock wrestles HHH and Shawn Michaels, the champion at the time, defended the belt against the Undertaker instead. I was clueless to the internet and the way “wrestling works” at the time so I was shocked and a little disappointed when Shamrock didn’t get his title match.

  4. Pingback: Royal Rumble 1988: Vince McMahon’s FU to the NWA | Boston Garden Balcony

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