"I'm gonna tell you all, with a tear in my eye. This is the greatest moment in my life."
Resounding words said by the winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble regarding his victory—none other than the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. This Royal Rumble was unique, as it was the first, and only, Royal Rumble match in which the winner became the WWE Champion.
It all started in WCW. Then-Executive Vice President Jim Herd was in charge, and he quickly begin to make a shift in the company that virtually no one agreed with.
Especially Ric Flair.
After a contract dispute, and a proposal by Herd to make an entire overhaul of his gimmick, Ric Flair decided that he would not continue to wrestle for the promotion. Along with this, the Big Gold Belt owned by Flair would accompany him due to another refusal to come to terms.
WWE capitalized on Flair's free agency, as well as his possession of the Big Gold Belt, by having him debut as the "Real World Champion." The belt was even pixelated as a form of censorship, bringing even more of a controversial element to the storyline. Flair immediately began to commence feuds, namely with Roddy Piper and a teaser with Hulk Hogan.
Around the time of Flair's debut, Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker were involved in a heated rivalry for the WWE Championship. After controversial title changes between the two, then-President Jack Tunney decided to vacate the title and give it to the last man standing in the 1992 Royal Rumble match.
At the Royal Rumble, a worried Bobby Heenan—who was the adviser to Flair—expressed his concern all throughout the match as he was fulfilling his duties as a color commentator. The worrying began when Flair drew number 3, having to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to attain the coveted championship.
Flair managed—despite multiple close-calls—to be one of the final three participants, along with Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice. Although the other two remaining were allies, animosity drew when Sid Justice eliminated Hulk Hogan. This led to Hogan holding Sid's arm, and Flair taking advantage of the opportunity by eliminating him and becoming the last man in the ring.
At the time, there were no other Royal Rumble winners who lasted as long as Flair, and there have been only four that has outlasted him in the history of the pay-per-view. His win in 1992 will truly go down as one of the most memorable Royal Rumble victories of all time.
Classic build. Classic moment.
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