Royal Rumble is highly regarded as one of the most if not the most exciting pay-per-view in WWE. The eponymous battle royale comes with endless possibilities coupled with huge debuts and surprise entrants. However, how many of us know about the contribution of Pat Patterson to the iconic Royal Rumble concept?
The Hall of Famer was the first-ever Intercontinental Champion and is the creator of the Rumble. Often described as “Vince McMahon‘s right-hand man”, Patterson held massive power backstage.
As a former wrestler, creative consultant, and producer, Patterson was also a visionary. WWE held the first Royal Rumble in 1988 and Patterson was the mastermind behind it.
The difference between Rumble and any other Battle Royale was that the participants came in at two minutes intervals. Patterson wrote in his book,
“I wanted to create something special, something just like we had in San Francisco where it had been such a hot event. The more I kept running the idea over in my mind, the more it took shape and I was sure I was on to something. I felt it: every instinct in my body told me it would work.”
However, Vince McMahon soon brushed the idea off as he thought “an hour was way too long to keep fans interested.” But Pat again pushed the idea in a USA Network meeting.
They needed a three-hour live show with the impact of WrestleMania or Survivor Series. Hence, the Network specialist Dick Ebersol loved the concept and green-lit the idea.
Vince never gave any input on the show as Patterson revealed, “The final touches were completed at the arena on the morning of the show because I kept expecting Vince to give me some direction on where he wanted things to go. But he never did.”
Despite being a new concept, the first Royal Rumble became a huge success. The name was selected from 50 names in the office.
“The talent was freaking out on the morning of the show because of all of my detailed instructions. None of them had ever done a match quite like this before. When it was all said and done, I think they loved it. I was happy, too,” Patterson wrote.
As the creator, Patterson had some final touches to the coveted Battle Royale. He wanted the match to become like the Stanley Cup in Hockey where he’d come and give the winner the cup.
“You would have all the past winners’ names on it and people could look for the names of their favorite Superstars on there. The winner could celebrate by drinking champagne from it.”
Unfortunately, Patterson passed away in December last year. Although he might not be there in person today, he will always be deemed as the creator of the greatest Battle Royale in history.