The 31st annual WWE 'Royal Rumble' pay per view event is coming up this Sunday on the WWE Network. It will be the first time ever that in addition to the traditional men's 30 man match, there will be a 30 woman over the top 'Royal Rumble' contest. It goes without saying that I'm looking forward to the event.

The way the 'Royal Rumble' works is there are 30 participants/wrestlers that are entered into the match. Each participant draws a number from 1-30. Numbers 1 and 2 come to the ring first, then after every two minutes, the next participant enters the ring. In order to be eliminated from the match, a wrestler must be ejected over the top rope (from another participant) and both feet must touch the floor. In addition, there are no friends in the 'Royal Rumble.' It's every participant for himself/herself. The wrestler remaining in the ring after all 29 participants have entered and have been eliminated is declared the winner.

Let's take a trip back in time to when the 'Royal Rumble' was turning 5 years old. The  1992 WWE (then WWF) 'Royal Rumble' was held at the Knickerbocker Arena (now Times Union Center) in nearby Albany, New York. The event took place on January 19th. My 9th birthday was the next day. As you may have predicted, I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday by attending the event. My father, uncle, 3 or 4 of my friends & a couple of my cousins, all attended together and had a spectacular experience.

This was a time when the WWF was really in it's prime. The wrestling boom occurred only a few years earlier with the success of Wrestlemania 3 and to say we along with all of the WWF fans were excited, would be an understatement. The 30 man over the top rope 'Royal Rumble' match had an incredible roster consisting of Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Rowdy Roddy Piper, the Big Boss Man, the Undertaker, Jake The Snake Roberts, Sid Justice, Sgt. Slaughter, the 'Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Shawn Michaels, the Model Rick Martel, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Col. Mustafa (a.k.a. the Iron Sheik), the British Bulldog, the Texas Tornado, Greg the Hammer Valentine, Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, and Ric Flair to name a few. You really can't get much better than that lineup and I still can't believe I was present for the event.

The other aspect that made this particular 'Royal Rumble' event unique and special was the fact that it was the first time ever that the winner of the match would also win the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship title. Winning the title at a 'Royal Rumble' match would not happen again until 2016 when Triple H came out victorious. At that time it was really difficult to predict who was going to come out the winner and new champion. Obviously Hulk Hogan was a logical contender (he won the 'Royal Rumble' two years in a row, 1990 and 1991). Still, with Undertaker, Macho Man, the newly added Sid Justice and Ric Flair, it really was anybody's guess.

The match was fast, furious and full of excitement. A little over an hour later, it came down to three wrestlers, Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice and Ric Flair. My friends and I thought Ric Flair wouldn't win, he drew # 3 out of 30. We figured it had to be Hogan. However, Sid Justice (Hulk's so called friend) tossed Hogan out from behind and it was down to Sid and Ric. It has to be Sid. That was not to be. Hogan grabbed Sid's arm from outside and Ric came from behind and grabbed Justice's leg and as a result goodbye Sid. Your new, undisputed WWF champion is Ric Flair....wooo! Needless to say, we were shocked.

Here are my top 6 reasons why the 1992 Royal Rumble is still one of the best (in no particular order)

(1) It was the first time the winner would also be awarded the championship

(2) The incredible roster (also as a side note, this particular rumble wasn't cluttered with tag teams. As a matter of fact, not a full two man tag team was entered into the match)

(3) The unpredictably factor. Who was going to win? We had no idea. You don't see that as much these days, especially with the internet and online rumors.

(4) The spectacular undercard. Each Royal Rumble event has a mix of 4 or 5 traditional singles and tag team matches before the 30 participant main event. The 4 matches here were great. There were 3 tag team matches and one singles match for the Intercontinental Championship title. Let's review these matches now.  

The first undercard match was a tag team attraction between the 'New Foundation' (Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart) against the 'Orient Express' (Kato and Tanaka). It was fast and furious but in the end the 'New Foundation' came out the victors.

The second undercard match was for the Intercontinental Championship (the midcard title). It was the Champion 'The Mountie' VS. Challenger, Rowdy Roddy Piper. By way of a sleeper, Piper came out victorious and it was the first time the rowdy one ever won a title (he had been in the WWF for just about a decade at that point, needless to say, his championship win was long overdue)

The third undercard match was the 'Bushwhackers' (Luke and Butch) taking on the 'Beverly Brothers' (Beau and Blake). Whenever the Bushwhackers are involved, it's always a highly entertaining, comedy whirlwind of a match. Through some underhanded tactics though, the Beverly's came out on top.

The final match before the big 30 man event was for the WWF Tag Team Championship titles. It pitted Champions 'Legion of Doom' (Hawk and Animal) taking on over 800 pounds of the 'Natural Disasters' (Eathquake and Typhoon). Back and forth action ensued but in the end, the 'Legion of Doom' lost by way of a count out. However, Hawk and Animal kept their titles because championships in the WWE/WWF can only change hands by way of a pinfall or submission.

(5) Ric Flair set a record of being in the match for over an hour (remember he drew #3). At that time, nobody in the history of the 'Royal Rumble' who drew numbers 1-5, came out victorious. 

(6) This was a huge pay per view event and it was somewhat local as it took place in nearby Albany, New York. I love the local factor. 

I hope you have enjoyed my Royal Rumble memories. I know I'm looking forward to this Sunday's festivities. It's time to rumble, it's time for the ROYAL RUMBLE!!!