The Royal Rumble has produced jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring fights since 1988, but never before had a Black woman won the belt.
Bianca Belair’s confidence and determination won her the event, and in doing so, broke barriers across the world for Black women.
Belair’s historic victory makes us nostalgic for the history of the Royal Rumble. Thus, in addition to Bianca Belair’s already-iconic image of her winning, we took a glimpse back at other historic WWE photos since 1988.
Bianca Belair becomes the first Black woman to win the Royal Rumble (2021)
This WWE photo shows the shock in Bianca Belair’s face, the tears rolling down her face, is evidence of the inspiring win. One that broke barriers throughout the Royal Rumble and WWE universe.
Bianca Belair (real last name Blair) was a track star in high school. Though she would agonize over her size and strength, as they were more harmful than helpful in running.
Belair found that CrossFit was a place she could use to hone in on her skills.
“I always had a lot of body image issues, I always thought I was too big. In CrossFit, it’s an amazing community, it’s just positivity all around. I fell in love with my body, I fell in love with my muscles, I fell in love with my physique.”Bianca Belair
Something that many Black women, women, and even men too can understand is being uncomfortable in one’s own body.
Belair found happiness and determination in CrossFit, and this ultimately ended up pointing her in the direction of the WWE. Moral of the story?
Never give up, and always be kind and fair to yourself. Your big break can always be right around the corner.
“Regardless of Bianca Blair or Bianca Belair, it’s the same person, essentially: talented, hardworking, athletic, a powerhouse and the best at everything that I do.”Bianca Belair
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan wins the first ever Royal Rumble (1988)
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan won the first-ever Royal Rumble in 1988. This WWE photo captures him in all of his glory.
You can see the joy and excitement in Duggan’s face after he completed his best accomplishment in his WWE career.
For years he was known as a midcard fighter who everyone just liked, but this WWE Royal Rumble championship was truly the pinnacle of his Hall of Fame career.
Hulk Hogan celebrates his Royal Rumble win (1991)
Hulk Hogan’s hand holding up the number 1 was true, Hulk Hogan became the first person to win 2 straight Royal Rumbles. He was truly number 1 in the world.
In his 1991 Royal Rumble Win, and his future Royal Rumble fights, he broke away from his hero persona, and became a traitor to his friends/allies throughout the Rumble.
In 1991, he betrayed one of his key supporters, Tugboat to be able to be crowned champion.
Lex Luger and Bret Hart co-won the (1994) Royal Rumble
Lex Luger and Bret Hart were co-winners of the Royal Rumble in 1994. It was a confusing conundrum, but after Hulk Hogan left WWE in the dust, the WWE tried their best to make up a compelling show.
Their answer, have Luger and Hart eliminate each other, which was a hard task, but it was definitely accomplished.
In the end Luger and Hart gave each other a hand shake to acknowledge the level of respect between the two.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin captured winning in this iconic WWE photo (1997)
One thing is for sure: the Royal Rumble is filled with crazy, intense fights, that sometimes just don’t make sense. The ending to the 1997 Royal Rumble was one of those instances.
A battle between Bret Hart and Steve Austin, led to a lucky win by Austin. Hart threw Austin over the ropes, which seemed to set the scene for an easy win for Hart.
However, with the two referees dealing with something on the side of the ring, Austin slowly made his way back in. And without a flinch threw all his opponents over the ropes, and won the 1997 Royal Rumble.
Asuka wins the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble (2018)
In the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble, Asuka took down Nikki Bella.
The blue- and pinked-hair Asuka essentially took down the Bella twins to win the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble.
A defeat that we can tell hurt the Bella Twins to their cores, as you can see all the work they put in to try and win the first Women’s Royal Rumble.
These Royal Rumble photographs will always remind us of greatness
The Royal Rumble has been filled with amazing moments over the years. These iconic WWE photos have given us a glimpse into the past, and with Bianca Belair, a glimpse into the present and future.
The Royal Rumble will continue to make for exciting moments that rock the fighting and sports world to their cores. And hopefully with Bianca Belair’s win, Black women will be able to see themselves in the future of the sport as well.