Anybody can win Royal Rumble: Hacksaw Jim Duggan - Hindustan Times
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Anybody can win Royal Rumble: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

ByHT Brand Studio
Feb 03, 2022 07:26 PM IST

Hacksaw has won the inaugural royal rumble and thus knows the game better than anyone else.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan, the winner of the first Royal Rumble, tells the media in an interview about how he made history in wrestling and gives tips to the contestants of this year.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Hacksaw has won the inaugural royal rumble and thus knows the game better than anyone else. He was number 13 out of 20 that year and battled his way through in the finals where he was met with a 6ft 9in tall and 450 lb One Man Gang who fell from the gap in the ropes which left Hacksaw as the last standing man.

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Hacksaw said, “Stay away from people because the less you are in contact, the longer you are in the ring!. The entire thing is about longevity. That is why everyone goes straight to the corners because it's a safe place.”

WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan says, “you have to be strong, quick and aggressive and the draw of luck also plays a part in it. It is favorable to come in later as you're a fresher for the guys who have been longer in the ring. One comes behind you and the game is over. It is easy when it's one on one but in Royal rumble or in a battle royale, you cannot do anything. Nobody can control anything and it is wild out there.”

When it comes to single pay-per-view, nothing is as good as Royal Rumble in drama, chaos and unpredictability. It is the wrestling event of the year that everyone watches. In 1998, it was a unique concept that had been the brainchild of the WWE wrestler, producer and consultant, Pat Patterson.

The group of the guys back then was unique. According to Duggan, these days overall the talent is much better when it comes to athletic abilities but his generation of guys were more creative in comparison. They didn't have a board of guys coming up with their character. He owned Hacksaw Jim Duggan and trademarked it long before going to WWE so he was much more willing to try something new and that was the open-mindedness that led Duggan to grab an opportunity that was undoubtedly career-defining for him.

Duggan says “When you see my portfolio, it's the biggest achievement in wrestling. Even I was surprised along with everyone else when I won that thing. I do sometimes look at the order of the guys that went down and kept going down until ultimately I got to be the winner. I was never a world, tag team or intercontinental champion. I was lucky enough to win a match given my character.”

What he lacked in the glitzy side, he made up for it in grit and determination which helped in Royal Rumble. “I wasn't a wrestler. I'm a brawler because when people ask me my favorite move, I say kick and punch. When I would work with Ric flair and get beat 1-2-3 in the middle, I would grab a 2x4, hit Ric, the referee and the timekeeper. I wouldn't win the match but I’d win the fight. I was a tough guy.” His passion inspired him to come back to WWE in 2009 and 2012. He fought against Dusty Rhodes, Dibiase and Bob Orton in WWF and then their kids in WWE. “I knew them because they would come to shows and sit on my lap. First I beat up the dad, then the kid!” says Duggan.

It was in 2012 when Duggan entered the royal rumble again at age 58. He came in at number 19 before he was eliminated by Cody Rhodes, son of Dusty Rhodes. “Everything about the RR in 2012 was hard. I wasn't in my prime anymore and the kids were 15-20 years younger than me and I worried about how I looked physically because I wore trunks and boots and my trunks just got bigger. It's a show millions watch. The anxiety is there but multiplies by 10 when they put you in pay-per-view and add another five and people know you're Hacksaw and you won the first one. When I stepped out, people were cheering and I could have taken on Andre the Giant. I was 10ft tall when I entered the ring because the people elevated me every time I entered the ring and had me walking on the clouds that day too.”

He is 68 now and is recovering from cancer for the second time and won't be back in the ring again. Even though he won't be in the ring after a glorious career in wrestling, he has some advice for the young contestants. He says “In Rumble, anything goes. People joked about my eyesight but it doesn't matter. If it moves you hit it. If people were betting on the first Rumble, the odds were pretty high that Hacksaw Jim would pull it out. Anybody has a chance at the Rumble. Anybody can win it and it can change their career like it changed mine. Go in, stand up and be counted. Never give up or surrender!”.

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