In the lead up to this year's Royal Rumble, we'll be counting down the 20 greatest moments in the history of WWE's most famous match. This list was determined by a panel that included Geno Mrosko, Bill Hanstock and me. We tried to keep it diverse, with a mix of comedy, emotion, story, and wrestling.
With a tear in my eye
The moment so good, you're getting two write-ups of it.
Well, not really. 1992 is pretty much universally agreed upon as the best Rumble EVAH. When ranking the 28 editions of the over-the-top rope battle royal, this one wins, and then you debate a handful of others for second.
So it's fitting that my boss would get so excited after watching it for his Dumbest Ass series that he wrote up a fantastic breakdown of how perfect a celebration of Ric Flair it was - forgetting that we'd already planned to write about it for this "Moments" series.
Geno's feature expertly explains the story the match told... so just go read that and leave me alone.
Just kidding. I wouldn't do that, because it wouldn't be "fair to Flair", as Bobby Heenan says about 1,000 times in his amazing performance as color commentator/guy who bet on the match for the Nature Boy's big win.
The specific moment that Mrosko, Hanstock and I settled on from the bout is that iconic post-match promo. Actually, we debated whether that counted as a Rumble moment, since it happened after the bell, but one of the reason's why the "Remembering Ric Flair's legendary Royal Rumble 1992 performance" piece is essential is because it covers one of the least remembered aspects of Naitch's night - the match!
There are two reasons why the interview is the thing. For one thing, it cemented Flair as one of the best ever for whatever small subset of fans in the Northeast who couldn't bring themselves to accept anyone with a Southern drawl as such. Even as the territories were breathing their last, the McMahons was the only one Ric hadn't conquered. Until Jan. 19, 1992.
Second, the guy who'd been so associated with Jim Crockett Productions drove a nail into the coffin of NWA, WCW and every other promotion in the United States by unequivocally and emphatically proclaiming the WWF belt as not only the most important world title, but the ONLY ONE THAT MATTERED.
And, he did it with less than a 100 words! In under 40 seconds!
I'm gonna tell y'all, with a tear in my eye, this is the greatest moment in my life. When you walk around this world, and you tell everybody you're number one, the only way you get to stay number one is to be number one. And this is the only title in the wrestling world that makes you number one! When you are the king of the WWF you rule the world!
The Nature Boy outworked and outsmarted 29 other men for over an hour to claim the WWF title and end any doubts as to his claims to being the World's champion. With what amounted to an end credits scene, he changed the course of Royal Rumble and pro wrestling history, ending any doubt that he was the Man.