I've been a wrestling fan my entire life. My earliest wrestling memories came as a pesky youngster, pleading with my older brother to let me sit along and watch the monthly pay-per-views.
My fondest memory of those moments came during the 1995 Royal Rumble. The end of the Rumble was, to the 6-year-old me, the greatest thing I had ever seen.
Shawn Michaels, who played a cocky, conceited, narcissistic character, drew the No. 1 slot in the Royal Rumble in 1995. I ate his character up. He thought he was the best and, in turn, it made me believe in his assertions.
As the '95 Rumble dwindled down, the last two entrants still in the ring were the first two superstars who entered. Michaels and the No. 2 entrant, the brawny British Bulldog. The Bulldog appeared to have eliminated Michaels via a running clothesline. His music sounded. Vince McMahon, then on commentary, proclaimed the British Bulldog as the winner of the Royal Rumble. I was crushed.
But then something happened. One of the greatest swerves in Royal Rumble history happened.
Michaels tossed the celebrating British Bulldog from the second rope. Michaels collapsed to the mat while the Bulldog lay on the outside of the ring. Michaels was never eliminated. I remember the replay so vividly. HBK hanging on to the ropes as McMahon provides the play-by-play.
"One foot. One foot!," McMahon exclaimed.
I've never seen that before. And if you're a wrestling fan, things that are new and fresh can sometimes lead to the best moments in the ring. I was stunned.
As a whole, the 1995 Royal Rumble wasn't one of the greatest. There wasn't much star power and its one-minute breaks in between entrants makes it one of the shortest Rumble matches in WWE history.
However, the story told by HBK and the British Bulldog was enough to salvage the entire match. Michaels became the first-ever superstar to enter the Royal Rumble as the No. 1 entrant and win the Royal Rumble. His match-saving rope routine has been mimicked by superstars ever since.
HBK celebrated in the ring with Pamela Anderson. Just to put things into perspective, Pamela Anderson was basically the Marilyn Monroe of the 90's. She was America's favorite female TV actress and she was in the ring with my favorite wrestler. The self-proclaimed "sexy boy" with America's sex symbol. Icing on the cake.
The Royal Rumble match can create a lot of memorable moments for wrestling fans. Here's to hoping the 2014 edition can give us something to remember.
You can follow John Otano on Twitter @MisterOtano.
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