“You’ve got to keep your wits about you and try to stay away from people,” Duggan says, recalling his own experience in the 1996 Royal Rumble.
“I was lucky to be in the corner, and nobody came up behind me. I had a strategy, and I was able to stay there for one hour and 40 minutes.”
That’s how long it took for him to be crowned the winner, becoming the first wrestler ever to survive over an hour in the ring.
Duggan beat Shawn Michaels, who he had previously fought against on multiple occasions when The Heartbreak Kid threw a punch at him during their feud over who deserved to win the competition.
“The whole thing is about longevity,” says retired wrestler Hacksaw Duggan, speaking to Betway online casino. “That’s why when you watch the Royal Rumble, everyone goes straight to the corners. That’s a safe place.”
In 1989, the Royal Rumble was only open to 20 competitors. In 1990, it was opened to 30 people. That year, Yokozuna entered at number 13. He battled his way through the competition until he was one of two men left. Yokozuna watched as the 6ft 9in, 450lb One Man Gang fell outside the ring by accident. The referee declared Yokozuna the winner.
“You have to go hard out there,” he says. “You want to be aggressive, you want to be strong, you want to be quick–and the luck of the draw has a lot to do with it, too.” It’s always better to come in later, and he insists: “You’re fresher than the guys who’ve been out there longer. For the first five guys, that’s a long time in the ring. You can be kicking butt, and then somebody comes up behind you, and that’s it.”
“It’s very different to a singles fight,” said Triple H. “I liked being able to control the pace in a fight, but in a battle royale or a Royal Rumble, forget about it. Nobody’s controlling anything, and it’s like the Wild West out there. In terms of singles pay-per-view events, nothing beats the Royal Rumble for drama and unpredictability.
As he reflected upon his career in wrestling, Hacksaw Jim Duggan told Sports Illustrated, “I was never world champion, I was never tag team champion, I was never an intercontinental champion, I was lucky to win a match, but that was my character.”
He says, “I wasn’t a wrestler. People ask, ‘Hacksaw, what was your favorite move?’ I kick and punch. I was a brawler. Sometimes, I would work with Ric Flair, get beat 1-2-3 in the middle, and grab a 2×4 to hit Flair and the referee. I was a tough guy.”
“First, when I wrestled for the WWF, I fought Dusty Rhodes and [Ted] DiBiase and [Bob] Orton,” says Duggan. “And then in WWE, I fought against Dsty Rhodes’s kid, DiBiase’s kid and Orton’s kid. I knew them when they were kids and came to our shows. Today I take care of business by fighting their fathers first, then taking on the kids.”
“Just stay alive,” Hacksaw says. “Don’t get pinned or disqualified.” But there’s more to it than just that. The key is to bide your time, keeping an eye on the outside while other competitors fight it out. When one of them gets tired, you can strike quickly and easily throw him over the top rope and out of the ring. “You’re not going to be a winner unless you get lucky,” Hacksaw says. “In every Royal Rumble match, there’s someone who comes out of nowhere.”