Jim Duggan made history by becoming the first to win the prestigious match in 1988 during the inaugural Royal Rumble event. He entered at #13 and outlasted 19 other stars, including Bret Hart and The Ultimate Warrior to win the bout.
During a recent interview with Betway Insider, Hacksaw shared his experience competing in the Rumble match. He disclosed that longevity is the key to survival.
“The whole thing is about longevity, that’s why when you watch the Royal Rumble, everyone goes straight to the corners. That’s a safe place. It’s very different to a singles fight. I liked being able to control the pace in a fight, but in a battle royale or a Royal Rumble, forget about it. Nobody’s controlling nothing, it’s like the Wild West out there,” said Duggan.
Jim Duggan says modern wrestlers are athletic, but his generation of wrestlers was more creative
Duggan is known for his trademark 2x4 wooden plank, catchphrase, and wrestling style. Like many other performers of his time, he didn't perform many athletic or big moves like superplexes and spinning powerbombs in his matches. He was a brawler who used a clothesline as his finishing maneuver.
Jim gave credit to today's wrestlers for their athleticism, but he mentioned that wrestlers in his day were more creative:
“I think overall the talent nowadays is much better in terms of athletic ability, but my generation of guys were much more creative. We didn’t have a board of guys coming up with our character – I own Hacksaw Jim Duggan and trademarked it long before I went to WWE – so we were much more willing to try something new. I wasn’t a wrestler... I’m a brawler. I would work with [Ric] Flair sometimes, get beat 1-2-3 in the middle, grab a 2x4, hit Flair, hit the referee, hit the timekeeper. HOOOO! I didn’t win the match, but I’d win the fight. I was a tough guy,” said Duggan.
The Royal Rumble has evolved significantly over the years, and many stars have won the match. However, Jim will always be remembered as its first winner.