Ranking The Royal Rumble Winners – Part 22 (The Final Spot)
It’s Royal Rumble season, which means it’s almost WrestleMania season. Thanks to the WWE Network, you can go back and watch all the old Royal Rumble pay per views and matches, and in that spirit, I decided to rank the winners. I’ll be ranking the winners every day until the we reach #1, and if you’re interested in checking out who’s already on the list, use the tricky magnifying glass at the top of the screen and search ‘Royal Rumble winners’ or scroll through the blog. We’re officially into the top 2, so now is the time to check out the rest of the list. Onto the rankings!
1. Hulk Hogan – 1990 & 1991 Royal Rumbles
To be honest, I’m surprised Hogan didn’t win the first five or six Royal Rumbles. He was so unstoppable in the 80’s and early 90’s that it seemed like Hulkamania would never end. Ultimately it did, and Hogan reinvented himself, which is a big reason he’s #1 on this list (more on that later). The 1990 Royal Rumble was known more for the first ever meeting of Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior than for the actual ending. This stare down led to a title vs. title match at the following WrestleMania, with Hogan going in as the Heavyweight champ and Warrior as the IC champ. As far as the ’90 Royal Rumble, Hogan entered at #25, eliminated 5 participants on his way to win the match. In his repeat bid in 1991, Hogan entered one spot lower at #24, but lasted almost 20 minutes, eliminating 7 more participants on his way to become the first ever back to back Rumble winner.
The Good: similar to Flair, their really isn’t a “not so good” category for Hogan. You can bring up the backstage politics if you’d like, but that’s not what this list is for. He was so important to the wrestling industry, and really put in on the map as a mainstream entity in the 1980’s. The top spot on this list really couldn’t go to anyone else. While he and Flair could be interchangeable, Hogan’s uber baby face character of the 80’s and early 90’s actually benefited him later in his career. While Flair was originally a cool heel early in his career, as he got older, it was impossible for fans not to cheer for him, so he never really had to change his character. Hogan, on the other hand, was the flag bearer and ultimate good guy early in his career, which made his switch to Hollywood Hulk Hogan that much more shocking. That he was able to be the top good guy and top bad guy a decade apart made it easy to put Hogan at #1 on this list. What Hulk Hogan was to “taking your vitamins an saying your prayers”, Hollywood Hulk Hogan was to cool, bad ass heels. No one wrestler is more synonymous with wrestling than Hulk Hogan, and with the help of the WWE and the WWE Network, his legacy will go on forever.