As seen in the video above, WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson was recently in the UK and sat down for an interview with Inside The Ropes. Patterson reflected on both his early contributions to the Royal Rumble match as well as the historical night in January 1992 when Ric Flair won the Royal Rumble match to become the WWE champion for his first time.
Patterson jogged his memory recounting the moment he first introduced the idea for the Royal Rumble match to Vince McMahon and NBC television executive, Dick Ebersol. Even though Vince initially seemed unimpressed, Ebersol found the idea to be brilliant for television.
"I had a big meeting with Vince McMahon and Dick Ebersol," Patterson explained. "I'm there with Vince and we're talking about Dick Ebersol, he's on NBC Network, wants a big show, something special, something that's never been done. So, I gave my idea to Vince. He knew the idea but he didn't like it, but I gave him the idea. And Vince says, 'Alright, tell Dick Ebersol that stupid idea you've got.' I said, 'Well first of all, it's not a stupid idea.' So, Dick Ebersol, I told him the idea. One guy, two guys, bing boom! Dick Ebersol went crazy, he says, 'Vince, this is unbelievable for television.'
"You know what he called that? When a guy runs in from the dressing room - it's a run in," Patterson continued. "He's not supposed to be there. But these were legal run ins. Beep! You'll go! You know what I mean? You think, for television it would be great. We did it. And I'll never forget that morning, I had it all in my head about how it was going to work, and now, the next day - the day of, Vince says to me, 'Well, have you set up your Royal Rumble?' I said, 'No.' He said, 'Well, f--k! You got to do it.' I had to do all that by myself. I did. It worked."
After that day in January 1988, the Royal Rumble match would become an annual event. Patterson explained that part of the reasoning to keep it in January is to maintain interest after the holidays and WWE Survivor Series.
"I think the second time it probably came up that we got to do [The Rumble], do it again. Come in in January, it was the perfect date," Patterson said. "Like, here's to go after Survivor Series during the holidays, every [Thanksgiving]."
Fellow WWE Hall of Famer, Ric Flair was victorious in the 1992 Royal Rumble match, and for the first time, his victory in the Rumble granted him the WWE Championship. In Flair's book, To Be The Man he mentions not knowing he was going win the title until he arrived at the arena that very same day. The resulting surprise and joy was something that Patterson looked back on fondly.
"That was in Albany, New York. I remember," Patterson recalled accurately. "And after that, when he came backstage, I was there. He was so happy, he was hugging me, he was crying like a baby. He was so happy because he came in to WWE as a big star and he wins the Royal Rumble, like, 'I can't believe you did that for me!' You know, he was so happy. Good for him! I like Ric Flair, he's a hell of a guy."
You can listen to the full interview in the video above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Inside The Ropes with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.