Friday Flashback: Remembering the 1992 Royal Rumble, AKA "Flair's Rumble"

Aaron Bower@@aaronbowerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2014

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Of the 26 previous editions of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, there are several that immediately spring out to wrestling fans as some of the very best. Think 2008, with John Cena's remarkable return that saw him enter last to win the Rumble at Madison Square Garden.

Or 1995, when Shawn Michaels became the first man to enter at No. 1 and go on to win the event. That Rumble is special enough without even mentioning the contribution of The British Bulldog to that match.

However, for every Royal Rumble in the history of the WWE, the 1992 edition would surely have to rank as one of the most special and unique. It was one of the biggest nights in the career of Ric Flair, too, which also gives it a pretty important place in the overview of the company.

It wasn't even just the Rumble match itself that makes the event so special—there were plenty of other superb matches that caught the eye. The tag team titles changed hands at the event, as the Legion of Doom dropped the belts to The Natural Disasters—aided and abetted by Jimmy Hart.

It marked a historic moment in the career of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper—as it was the one and only occasion he won a major singles title with the WWF—a remarkably lean feat.

Piper won the Intercontinental Championship from The Mountie—another star who had Jimmy Hart by his side at the event. It's bizarre to think that the 1992 Royal Rumble was the only occasion Piper lifted a major title, and he dropped the belt soon after at WrestleMania, in a superb match vs. Bret Hart.

As for the Rumble match itself, it had a rare and unique mantra, in that it was the only Rumble match in history where the WWF Championship—or any belt, for that matter—was at stake for the winner.

The situation had arose because of two hugely controversial finishes to championship matches between Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker in the previous months. First, at the 1991 edition of Survivor Series, a chair thrown into the ring from Ric Flair allowed Undertaker to deliver a Tombstone Piledriver onto the chair to win the title from Hogan.

Then, less than a week later at the Tuesday in Texas event, another controversial finish led Jack Tunney to strip the title from Hogan—who won the belt back when he threw ashes in the Undertaker's eyes toward the end of the rematch.

That left a vacant belt for the Royal Rumble—and Tunney decided the winner of the Rumble match would take the WWF Championship in a unique twist to the Rumble. Hogan and Undertaker were given an advantage of sorts though, as they were promised numbers between 20 and 30 in the draw to determine what order they would enter the Rumble.

However, it would be the man entering at No. 3 who would prevail, rather than the two championship contenders. Flair lasted 59 minutes and 26 seconds, eliminating four men along the way to claim his maiden WWF Championship victory—his second would follow later that year.

At the time, it was a record for length of stay in a Royal Rumble match, and it was a truly remarkable feat. The fact it was the only Royal Rumble in the history of the company to feature such unique circumstances makes it one of the most memorable nights in WWE history.