Fair to Flair

Fair to Flair

The 1992 Royal Rumble is regarded by WWE fans around the world as one of the greatest in the pay-per-view's 20-year history. For the first time, this over-the-top-rope main event would actually name one of its 30 Superstars as the undisputed WWE Champion. If that alone doesn't convince you of the significance of this contest, then consider the "Who's Who" in sports-entertainment that competed in it: Hulk Hogan (who had won the previous two). "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Undertaker. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Jake "The Snake" Roberts. British Bulldog. "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. Shawn Michaels. Kerry Von Erich. Big Boss Man. Sgt. Slaughter. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. Sid Justice.

Six champions, past and future, all in one ring. And that doesn't even include the real World's Champion—the winner of this all-Superstar classic in 1992, who delivered WWE.com's No. 2 Over-the-Top Rumble Performance: none other than the "Nature Boy," Ric Flair.

There had been no official champion since December 1991, after several months of controversial match decisions between Undertaker and Hogan (in which Flair also involved himself) prompted then-WWE president Jack Tunney to vacate the title. No one believed that Flair, who spent his first five months in WWE proclaiming himself as "the real World's Champion," could possibly validate that statement true after entering the Rumble at No. 3. Yet for more than 60 minutes, the "Nature Boy" defied the limits of human endurance, scoffed at the forces of gravity, eliminated (or helped eliminate) five Superstars, and dealt 54 knife-edge chops that kept Albany's sold-out Knickerbocker Arena crowd bellowing "Woooooo!"

Providing this simple word picture really isn't "fair to Flair," as The Brain himself would tell you. To be fair to Flair, you simply have to witness his Rumble performance (available on DVD and WWE 24/7 On Demand) to believe it. Then you'll notice how every participant seemed to notice some invisible target painted on the Nature Boy, since just about all of them attacked him upon entering the ring. The Dirtiest Player in the Game gave as good as he got, however, and more important, he knew when to seize an opportunity. He had barely escaped elimination for the umpteenth time when Sid jumped Hogan from behind and hurled him over the ropes. So when an incensed Hulkster tried to drag Sid along for the same ride to the outside, Flair provided the momentum, hoisting over Justice's six-foot-nine frame and making WWE history.

Nestling the gold over his shoulder, Flair best summed up his Rumble victory and becoming the undisputed WWE Champion in a post-match interview with "Mene Gene" Okerlund: "For the Hulk Hogans, the Macho Mans, the Pipers, and the Sids…now it's Ric Flair, and y'all pay homage to The Man! WOOOOOO!"

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