MLW Owner and former WWE writer, Court Bauer, has given credit to another wrestling legend for aiding in putting together the Royal Rumble Match, Michael P.S Hayes.
While Pat Patterson is the undeniable driving force behind the popular 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, creating it, planning it for years and making sure that the outing was an unmitigated success, the former ‘Pretty Boy’ couldn’t have done it alone and later in the event’s history former Fabulous Freebird, Michael Hayes, stepped into the some very big shows.
Speaking to Fightful for their in-depth ‘Inside the Royal Rumble’ feature, Bauer detailed how Michael Hayes was responsible for all the big spots and memorable moments in the Rumble fracas
“Michael was the day-to-day guy on that (when I was there). So, Michael has kind of come up with entertaining scenarios and collaborating with talent and seeing what they can add to it to sprinkle in. That’s starting, really, right around early December / late November and you go through January. Sometimes you know you’re destination and it’s assumed everyone knows, everyone’s on the same page. We know who the winner’s going to be. Other times it can almost be up to a game-day decision. It just depends on how stable the operation is, the creative direction, how healthy the talent is, what opportunities come in at the eleventh hour for WrestleMania that may require the creative team and the chairman to rethink the game plan for the Rumble. So, there’s so many variables that can come into play that can change up anything and everything. But, you try, in your best effort, to have a game plan and hopefully stick to it. But, year to year it’s different, and regime to regime it’s different within WWE.
It’s a collaborative process. Everyone has their opinions, their thoughts, their vision for the Rumble, which is essentially the big bang for the year for WWE. It kicks off WrestleMania season and that then takes you into late spring into summer. So, everyone has their vision how they see the year playing out and the tent poles throughout the year. Rumble, then Mania, etc, and so, you’re constantly having informal conversations in the hallways at the arenas or Titan Towers. You’re having a flurry of e-mails traded back which has everyone on it. Once in a while, Vince will jump in and bark something or put over something or just not feel it at all. You have guys like Michael Hayes who had taken over the day to day operations of being the architect for the Royal Rumble from the days when Pat Patterson was real hands-on, and he still contributed to it. ‘Cause he’s a phenomenal finish man. Just laying out matches, he’s just a wizard at it. You’re collaborating for the few weeks going into the Rumble. It can be fine-tuned and stuff, but right now, Michael Hayes, Pat Patterson, Shane McMahon will be in a hotel suite they’ll rent out in Stamford, Connecticut. They’ll have a lot of food and there will be some liquor and they will game plan the Royal Rumble: the entrances, the eliminations and by the end of the week, the last week going into the holiday, they’ll then pitch and present their game plan to the creative team and Vince McMahon. This is what it was like for 2006, at least.”
While there have been too many to count, some of Michael Hayes’ contributions include Kofi Kingston’s memorable elimination escapes and Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s bathroom brawl from 1999 which took place during the bout itself and of course the rise of Rey Mysterio in 2006.
While it was Vince McMahon who wanted to make the master of the 619 the next Eddie Guerrero following the star’s passing, it was Pat Patterson who convinced him that the cruiserweight should go all the way to WrestleMania – after Vince was ready to scrap the storyline – and Michael Hayes who was partly responsible for the memorable finish to the bout which set those wheels in motion.
Credit for the interview and transcription: Fightful