You don't have to be a huge wrestling nerd to know what WWE's Royal Rumble is-- I mean it helps, sure, but it's arguably the second-most popular wrestling event behind WrestleMania. What you may not know is that the inaugural 1988 event was won by an Upstate New Yorker.


Getty Images
Getty Images

One of the more popular superstars of the '80s and '90s, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan was known for carrying a piece of 2x4 lumber and his war cry of "HOOOOOOOO!" He would also instigate random "USA! USA!" chants, much to the chagrin of the international opponents he often grappled with.

Raised in Glens Falls, New York, Duggan was a star athlete at Glens Falls High School, where his 1973 shot put record has stood remarkably unbroken.


WWE's Royal Rumble is a unique spin on the traditional 'battle royale' wrestling match. It consists of 30 wrestlers coming out at random in 2-minute intervals. Wrestlers are eliminated by being thrown over the top rope, and the one left standing after all 30 have entered wins. Fans often don't know the complete list of wrestlers in the match, and WWE usually throws a few surprises in there.

WWE Royal Rumble
Getty Images

The inaugural 1988 Royal Rumble aired as cable TV special, with Duggan entering at #13 and emerging victorious after last eliminating the One Man Gang.

Fast forward to 2009, when Duggan made a comeback in the Royal Rumble at the age of 58. He did not win one.

The 2024 Royal Rumble will be held on Saturday, January 27th, but an appearance by Duggan is unlikely. He has battled various health issues in recent years, including more than one bout with cancer.

Duggan now lives in Lugoff, South Carolina.

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