‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan’s pre-event prediction that a late spot is a big advantage in the Royal Rumble proved to be bang on the money on Saturday.
After losing his WWE Title to Bobby Lashley earlier in the night, Brock Lesnar entered the Rumble as the 30th participant and went on to claim victory.
Screwed earlier by Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman in the title match, the ‘Beast Incarnate’ threw out Drew McIntyre to win the event and set-up a WrestleMania match with Roman during April.
The result will have been totally unsurprising to Duggan, who famously won the first-ever Rumble in 1988 to cement his status as a wrestling legend.
In an interview with Betway Casino ahead of this year’s Rumble, Duggan predicted that anyone entering the event in a late position would be tough to beat.
“You want to be aggressive, you want to be strong, you want to be quick, and luck of the draw has a lot to do with it as well,” he said.
“It’s always better to come in later. You’re fresher than the guys who’ve been out there longer. For the first five guys, that’s a long time in the ring.
“You can be kicking butt and then somebody comes up behind you and that’s it.
“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.”
Lesnar’s victory was no surprise given he was the last man to enter the ring, but many fans and pundits were less enamoured with the outcome or the Rumble line-up.
The lack of superstars was clear for everyone to see, with the WWE once again turning to Lesnar to carry the company over the next few months.
With Ronda Rousey claiming victory in the women’s Rumble, the WWE have effectively given a push to two stars who are not full-time members of the roster.
While Rousey’s success sets up the much-rumoured women’s title match against Becky Lynch, that alone is not enough to fire the WWE back to its former glories.
There was a time not too long ago where the Rumble was seen as the event which set rising talent on the way to superstardom, but this is apparently no longer the case.
As the winner of the first Rumble, it is fair to say that Duggan has a unique insight into why the event was created and its role in the wrestling calendar.
He believes that things have changed massively since his time in the WWE, and is not convinced the current crop of wrestlers are up to much creatively.
“You had a unique group of guys back then,” Duggan told Betway. “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.”