Brett Mix’- WWF Royal Rumble 1996 Review:
“He’s done it! 2 Years in a row, I can’t believe it!” -Mr. Perfect
-WWF Royal Rumble 1996 took place on Sunday, January 21st, 1996 at the Selland Arena in Fresno, California in front of 9, 600 fans. It was the first royal rumble to contain pyrotechnics.
-This was the 9th Annual WWF Royal Rumble event.
This was the first Royal Rumble match to include theme music for all 30 entrants as they came down to the ring.
This was the first pay-per-view event to feature the Free for All, a free preshow for pay-per-view events.
This was also the first Rumble event to have a WWF Title match AFTER the Rumble match itself.
The state of California has hosted the Royal Rumble 4 times. (More then any other)
A Women’s Championship match between Aja Kong and then champion Alundra Blayze was to take place, as had been advertised in WWF Magazine. However, the match was scrapped after Blayze was fired.
They showed a sketch from Billionaire Ted’s segment during this PPV. Featured was Vince Russo and the like where they ripped off Mean Gene, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.
Mr. Perfect joins Vince McMahon to call the action on this night.
In the Free for All match: Duke Droese defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley by disqualification (6:25) Helmsley was disqualified after using brass knuckles. The winner of the match earned the right to enter at #30 while the loser of the match was forced to enter at #1.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- “Double J” Jeff Jarrett vs Ahmed Johnson
For the second straight year Double J opens the Rumble PPV.
This time around he’s not winning the Intercontinental title against Razor, he’s just going up against Ahmed Johnson in a singles match to open the PPV.
Ahmed feels the urge to shout every time he delivers a power move during this event. He also feels the need to run in the ring and leap over the top ropes.
Ahmed Johnson started the match with some right hands to Double J. Jeff had none of that and went for a walk until he cornered Ahmed Johnson until he tried to hiptoss him from the corner and ended up getting hiptossed. Jarrett put him in a side headlock and he said he was going to give him a wrestling lesson which didn’t last long due to Ahmed Johnson showing his strength as he shoved him to the opposite corner. Ahmed got some rights by Jarrett but he reversed it into a powerful clothsline. Hennig points out Ahmed Johnson has a lack of experience for not covering him.
Ahmed Johnson with a scoop slam to the canvas. Double J kicked out just in time and Ahmed Johnson who was undefeated at this time came off the side ropes with a flying clothesline. Ahmed Johnson then missed a clothesline and Double J Jeff Jarrett ducked it noticed Ahmed got his arm got between the middle and top rope. Jeff Jarrett then gives him a blow from the ring apron. Jeff Jarrett with a clothesline outside the ring and then sent him right into the steel steps and back into the ring.
Double J Jeff Jarrett then choked out Ahmed out on the middle rope and then went off the opposite ropes and landed on the back of his head before he strutted around the ring. Jarrett then went up high and dropped the double axehandle to Ahmed in one corner, and then Ahmed just kicked it off and Jarrett repeated this notion three times until Ahmed caught him in mid-air. Ahmed then dropped him with an atomic drop and another powerful clothesline. Ahmed Johnson then signalled for a Pearl River Plunge but he sent him to the ropes and came off with a powerful spine buster! Jarrett rolled out of the ring. Ahmed flew over the top rope onto Jarrett on the outside and then he threw him back in the ring.
Ahmed Johnson then went upstairs and missed a moonsault. Jarrett then signalled for the figure four leglock and he had it applied. Jarrett caught Ahmed’s back on the canvas while in the hold but only got a two, and the crowd started to cheer on Ahmed Johnson while he was in the figure four, and the undefeated Ahmed Johnson reversed the figure four but Jeff Jarrett went to drop his elbows on the weakened knee of Ahmed. Double J went for another figure four but then was kicked out by Ahmed Johnson and then when Jarrett realized he couldn’t beat Ahmed Johnson with his figure four he goes outside the ring and gets his guitar.
In the end Ahmed Johson defeated Double J by DQ at 6:40 when Jarrett resorted to coming from the top on Johnson smashing a guitar through his head.
Ahmed chased Jarrett to the back and then stopped once he got inside the entrance but he probably would of kept running if he knew the camera was still on him.
Good opening material, nothing more.
2) The Smokin’ Gunns (Billy and Bart) (c) vs The Bodydonnas (Skip and Zip) (w/Sunny) for the WWF Tag Team Championship
Sunny looked pretty good here as usual.
This tag match flowed pretty decently and there was a spot where Billy “accidentally” knocked Sunny off the ring apron and Sunny pretended she was dying on the outside to distract the Gunns who she’d later manage in her career.
Sunny got on the mic and said “I have Skip, I have Zip, and in just a few moments I’ll have the WWF Tag Team Championship.”
Billy Gunn started the match off with Skip. Skip with a standing side headlock, pushed off to the ropes and caught a shoulder block from Billy Gunn who got a nearfall. A lot of ducking off the ropes and Gunn took him down with a head scissors and then hit a back drop, as he charged towards Skip he pulled the top rope down and Billy Gunn fell to the outside. Bart came in and then was double teamed to the outside by the Bodydonnas.
Both Bodydonnas reverse elbow Billy in the ring and then with both of them in there Bart used the top rope to send them to the outside. Billy Gunn then sharged over the top rope and came off with a crossbody to the outside on both Bodydonnas! The Smoking Gunn’s celebrate in the ring.
Skip and Billy Gunn tie up again when things settle down and Skip gets kicked to the corner when grabbing a leg of Billy but he then corners him and hits him with a ton of right hands. Both Gunn’s continued to take down Skip from outside the ring apron in Bart’s case and inside the ring to this point in Billy’s case. Sunny shook he stuff on the outside to try and distract the Gunns.
Zip came in the ring and went for Billy but he tagged in Bart. Bart Gunn then got chopped a couple of times by Zip and he was shaking his head as it had no effect on him and then he cornered Zip and hit him with some chops as well. Bart then cornered Zip scooped him up and slammed him down.
Bart connected with a left hand and then Zip tagged in Skip and he took down Bart with a blind clothesline takedown. Bart leap frogged over Skip, held him up for Billy Gunn to come in and clothesline him. A double team move. Sunny jumps up and down on the apron which shows her underwear, good stuff. She then gets knocked off the ring apron as Billy knocked her to the outside accidentally. Billy goes outside the ring to check on her in this paticular spot I was elluding to before, and then the Bodydonnas attack Billy Gunn from behind. Bart Gunn attacked both when he realized what was going on. Bart sent Skip inside the ring. Skip flew from inside to the outside on top of Billy Gunn and he was grounded as Zip went to work on him out there. Zip sent Billy who was the legal man into the ring. Skip tagged in Zip and then he got slammed on top of Billy Gunn by his partner Skip.
Zip then raked Billy Gunn’s face with his boot and then he gave him a hard shot in the corner before slamming him head first to Skip in the corner. Zip slammed down Billy Gunn again and he tags in Skip. Zip then slams Skip onto Billy Gunn and he gets just a two count.
Billy Gunn would like nothing better then to tag in Bart but Skip wouldn’t allow it and then held a front facelock to Billy Gunn before Zip snapped Billy Gunn down. Zip tried to neutralize Billy and keep him in his corner and then he applied a reverse chinlock.
Skip tagged in and then he made sure Billy Gunn couldn’t escape and he slams him down hard to the canvas. Skip then connected with an elbow to the sternum but only got a two count.
Skip tagged in Zip and then the two men double teamed Billy Gunn to wear him down some more, double teamed him to the ropes and then both gave him a back bodydrop. Zip with just a two count on Billy Gunn as he kicked out yet again.
Zip tagged in Skip and then Billy Gunn ducked under both leaps from Zip and he ended up hitting his partner Skip down in a move McMahon calls as most unusual. Both men get to there feet but Skip comes up first and Billy managed to tag in Bart who hits both guys with a series of right hands. Bart Gunn with a succession of left hands and then a backdrop to Zip before a reverse elbow to Skip. Bart Gunn and Billy Gunn then send both the Body Donnas towards each other and then Billy Gunn with a slam after great tandem offense by the reigning champions.
Billy held Zip on his knee and Bart came off with a big legdrop, then behind the official’s back Skip came flying off the top to Bart and then only got a two. Both Bodydonnas send Bart to the ropes and hit a double back bodydrop to him. The Bodydonnas then with a double suplex attempt to Bart, Billy Gunn came charging in and both members of both teams collapse to the ground but the one thing that remains similar is the Gunns are on top of The Bodydonnas.
In the end Bart Gunn pinned Zip at 11:14 to retain the tag titles after Billy helped reverse the Bodydonnas’ double suplex attempt on Bart into a small package from Bart on Zip.
Good stuff, the match was nicely booked. Typical tag work and Billy and Skip did most of the work in this one.
“The Bad Guy”‘s fourth straight match at a Royal Rumble event for a title belt, as he was NEVER in the Royal Rumble match.
Razor Ramon then looked at Goldust as he was down on his knees crawling around playing mindgames. Ramon then looked over at Marlena sitting down in the director’s chair and was wondering what was up.
Goldust felt his chest and stook his tounge out and then Razor Ramon threw a toothpick at his face.
Goldust showed off his body during the early stages of the match and Scott Hall looks like he wants a beer.
Razor Ramon grabs the arm and stomps on the canvas as he means business. Razor Ramon with an armbar locked on Goldust and then he slapped him around. A standing side headlock to Goldust and he got out of it by pushing him off. Goldust then with a go behind to Razor Ramon after Razor did one to him and Goldust felt Razor’s chest and the crowd screamed on. A big Razor chant is the result of that spot. Pretty memorable even if for all the wrong reasons.
Goldust cornered Razor Ramon and then was told to back off and he rubbed the hair of Razor Ramon until the Bad Guy had enough and he pushed him down. Razor Ramon was being sent off his game by the Bizzare Goldust. Goldust with a hard slap to Razor Ramon and he seemed to have lost his smile.
Curt Hennig says maybe Goldust likes it rough. Razor Ramon got back on top and slapped towards Goldust’s head. Razor slapped Goldust and he acted as if he liked it and then he got punched to the outside and he went for a walk. Goldust then held Marlena in front of him.
Goldust and Razor Ramon both back up in the standing position and Goldust hit him with a side headlock takedown, until Razor got him in the head scissors and then Goldust did this spot back and forth a few times until The Bad Guy hit him with a devistating blow, a hard clothesline that sent Goldust to the outside and then he hid behind Marlena again.
Goldust came back in the ring and blew a kiss to Ramon and then the Bad Guy gave him an irish whip, he stopped so Razor just clotheslined him to the outside of the ring. Razor had been in the driver’s seat of the match but couldn’t build enough momentum due to Goldust’s mind games. Razor grabbed Marlena out of the way and then Goldust used this spot to his advantage as he knocked down Razor Ramon on the outside. Goldust drove Razor`s lower back into the outside of the ring apron. Goldust with a hard uppercut as the fans chant for Razor.
Goldust then broke the count and threw Razor back in the ring. Goldust had Razor down and he dropped a double axehandle from the top to the back of Razor Ramon. A methodical attack by the Golden one and he irish whipped Razor hard to both buckles twice. Golddust focusing on the lower back of Ramon until he hits a bulldog and gets just a two count. Goldust then behind Ramon scooped him up and used Razor`s legs to bounce him off the top and Goldust suplexed him to the mat and got a two. Goldust`s hands were in risky places there on that slingshot suplex and then Hennig said Goldust was getting everything he wanted from this match.
Marlena then blew Gold sparkles into Razor`s face and then he slammed Ramon`s head down into the mat before he hit him with a swinging neck breaker. Mr. Perfect did a good job of putting over Dustin Rhodes`s wrestling skill. Goldust with a irish whip and caught Razor Ramon into a sleeper. Goldust tried to break Razor Ramon`s momentum but soon enough Scott Hall kicked in the mid-section with a low blow and Razor kicked Dust down and by this point in the match he had basically lost most of his paint. Marlena looked on closely.
Goldust though got his arm over Razor but only a two count. Ramon with a big right hand and Razor connecting. Goldust went down after a hard right hand and then an irish whip, both men reversed a hip toss and Razor grabbed the mid section and planted Goldust back first in the middle of the ring. Razor Ramon scooped up Goldust and leaned backwards planting him from front to back. Goldust climbing to the top but Razor Ramon knocked him off his balance and he landed on the top. Razor Ramon from behind gives Goldust a big suplex from the top rope. Marlena came inside the ring and apparently twisted her ankle only as a distraction for the 1-2-3 Kid to come in the ring and give Ramon a spinning heel kick from the top rope.
In the end Goldust pinned Razor Ramon after The 1-2-3 Kid came and hit Ramon with a top rope Spinning Heel Kick while Marlena distracted the referee to become the new IC Champion at 14:17.
Now Goldust has ALL THE GOLD says Perfect.
Good stuff here!
Probably Dustin Rhodes’ first three star match in the Federation.
This was a much better upgrade for a Rumble match then the year previous, in bold are guys who could have logically won at this point.
1 Hunter Hearst Helmsley
2 Henry Godwinn
3 Bob Backlund
4 Jerry Lawler
5 Bob Holly
6 King Mabel
7 Jake Roberts
8 Dory Funk,
10 1-2-3 Kid
11 Takao Omori
12 Savio Vega
14 Doug Gilbert
15 Squat Team #1
16 Squat Team #2
17 Owen Hart
18 Shawn Michaels
21 Aldo Montoya
24 The Ringmaster
25 Barry Horowitz
27 Isaac Yankem
28 Marty Jannetty
29 The British Bulldog
30 Duke Droese
Now if you compare that to the year before, much better.
Interesting to see guys like Kane, Steve Austin, Rikishi, The Godfather in this match under different and unsuccessful persona’s. Steve Austin who was the Ringmaster persona, was so creative that even though his perfomance was forgettable he immitated both HBK and Diesel with both their respective taunts. Hilarious.
Timed Intervals down to Two minutes as they obvioussly saw the 1995 one did NOT work so well.
This was perhaps the best Rumble match for seeing Wrestling’s Past in Lawler, Funk, Backlund and Roberts, Wrestling’s present in Owen, Shawn, Diesel, Bulldog, and Wrestling’s Future in Austin, Kane, Triple H, etc.
The 1996 Royal Rumble is underway!
Helmsley and Henry Godwin who they called the “Hog Farmer” here started the match. Hennig says it is pretty much a replay from In Your House as both men had some bad blood with one another at the time. Henry O Godwinn called the hogs before a back bodydrop to Helmsley and Hennig said that a lot of ladies moved in to the front row. Hunter Hearst Helmsley with a thumb to the eye and then started to choke him on the middle rope. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then choked out Henry Godwin in the corner and he turned around and dropped some solid right hands to the man we all know as Triple H. Henry with a scoop slam to Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Bob Backlund came out at #3 and WOW, there is music now. Refreshing to see music for entrants not just #1 and #2. Backlund still holds the Rumble Endurance record entering this match and he went right for Henry O who was up and had dropped Hunter Hearst Helmsley just before this. Bob Backlund then tried to get the big Henry Godwinn over the top rope. Hunter Hearst Helmsley with a kick to the mid-section on Godwinn. Backlund then slapped at the back of Hunter Hearst Helmsley and then speared at him at the side of the ropes. Henry Godwinn and Hunter Hearst Helmsley went back at it when Helmsley gave Henry a thumb to the eye just before Henry was going to eliminate Backlund. Hunter Hearst Helmsley was about to be backdropped by Backlund over the ropes, then Henry Godwinn went to throw him out. Nobody gone yet.
The King came out at #4 and looked as hysterical as ever. Helmsley kicked down Godwinn. “Burger King” chants were out and then King went to the outside and got the Slop bucket. Henry O Godwinn got a kick to the mid-section on King and then the Hog farmer could not get anyone with the slop but then when each of them were on the outside Godwinn sprayed the rest of the slop on Lawler. Some of it sprayed onto the fans. I don’t think they appreciated that very much. Even McMahon and Hennig speculated what it’d of been like near that disgusting slop bucket.
Bob Sparkplug Holly came out next and Vince told us to start our engines. Okay, because that will get over! Holly choked out Lawler in one corner and Godwinn helped him while Hunter Hearst Helmsley was being taken apart in another corner by Bob Backlund. An elbow drop from Godwinn to Hunter Hearst Helmsley and then Bob Backlund twisted the back of Godwinn’s head. Lawler had Holly up top and he was twisting him but he would not go out. Backlund then kicked at Lawler in the mid-section and then he hammered him with a hard right hand.
Out next was King Mabel. Mabel came to the ring and he had Sir Mo with him. Well that is what Mr. Perfect called Mo, I really dont think I would ever resort to calling him Sir Mo. Big men inside the ring. Henry Godwinn, Mabel and King were all pretty big. Helmsley, Holly and Lawler were the other three in the ring. Action going on at all areas of the ring. Backlund went to eliminate both Holly and Hunter Hearst Helmsley but they hung onto the ropes.
Jake THE SNAKE Roberts came out at lucky #7. A snake was in the bag and he let it go inside the Rumble match. Jake always comes out early in these matches, and his return got a huge pop. The Snake was loose and everyone loved it. Lawler’s tights shared the same color as the Python. Jake Roberts then put the Snake on top of Jerry Lawler and then he crawled out of the ring. Lawler then went under the ring but it was not shown on camera. Jake Roberts pounded on Hunter Hearst Helmsley while Henry Godwin held him and the action was everywhere else in the ring as well. Bob Holly jumped on the returning, “born again” Jake the “Snake” Roberts. Mabel tied up in the ropes and Backlund is set up high. Holly, Godwinn, Helmsley all brawling. No one knew where Jerry the King Lawler was all of the sudden?
Dory Funk came out next. Just 30 years past his prime. Former NWA Champion, wow did McMahon really just say that…either way he was giving legendary Funk forearms to Bob Backlund and the two men looked the same. Pale, old and in blue trunks. Terry was asked but couldn’t come from Germnay, Hennig calls him Middle Aged and crazy. Holly and Roberts went to work on Hunter Hearst Helmsley while Mabel choked out Henry Godwin with his boot. Dory Funk went to throw out Bob Backlund but he remained on the ring apron. No one has yet to be eliminated. They catch a shot of King underneath the ring taking a peak to see if the Snake would catch him. Dory Funk went for Bob Backlund for some old school wrasslin’.
Out next was Yokozuna. If there was not enough big men in the ring then there would be now. Yokozuna was just translating into a babyface at the time so he got a decent reaction coming out was a tweener. Yokozuna at the time was a big threat as a two time WWF Champion and at the time the biggest man in the history of the business. He came in and hammered on Backlund from behind, Yoko had won a Rumble before in 1993 last eliminating Macho Man Randy Savage. The same rumble, ironically that Backlund held the endurance record in. Yokozuna then tossed out Bob Backlund and he became the first person eliminated. The ring was pretty full. Yoko went for Mabel in the corner and the two men tugged on one another. Bob Holly attacked by Jake Roberts and Dory Funk working over Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the corner. Dory Funk vs HHH both in there primes would have rocked I would imagine. Other big men were on the way was teased by McMahon, as he knew Vader was going to make his federation debut.
#10 was the 1-2-3 Kid and he looked behind him as he came to the ring. Razor Ramon was chasing him and then Ramon went into the ring for two seconds, which was the only Rumble Match he had ever taken part of. Ramon then chased the Kid around and then the officials took him out. The 1-2-3 Kid then got in the ring and was cornered by Mabel. Ramon came back in the ring though and Mabel attacked him and Razor tried to attack the Kid, and the crowd chanted for Razor. Dory Funk picked up X-Pac sorry, the Kid and went for a spin. The strength of Mabel lifted up the Kid but he remained in the ring.
Omori came to the ring like a Wildman. Well he was billed as The Wildman so it made sense. Omari hit Mabel with a nice dropkick. Dory Funk almost eliminated The Kid real names, Sean Waltman. Mabel and Yoko both chopped Omari on the side ropes, but both big men tried to stay away from one another. Jake Roberts was able to take Yokozuna off his feet and the place popped.
Savio Vega came out and went at Mabel inside the ring. Uh-Oh, King of the Ring 1995 flashbacks. Savio hit a spinning heel kick to Mabel. Savio then with a chop to Yokozuna. Savio had been in Rumble matches before but just under the persona Kwang. Yokozuna then eliminated Mabel to a big response. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then went to eliminate Jake the Snake Roberts but ended up eliminating Omari over the top rope to the floor. Helmsley had Jake down in the corner and Holly kicked at Yoko, while the Kid battled Savio and Dory Funk middle aged and crazy just looked on. Funk with a nice suplex to Savio vega.
#13 was the man they call Vader! VADER TIME was repeated by Curt Hennig who pointed out the fact he was amazingly agile for a man of his size. Vader then got in the ring and levelled Holly with rights and lefts. Vader with a big forearm shot to the gut of The 1-2-3 Kid. Savio Vega then was able to backdrop Dory Funk to the outside and some of the place booed as if they were dissapointed Dory Funk was not going to Wrestlemania. vader pounded on Savio Vega in the corner.
Out comes Jobber of the year Doug Gilbert. Hennig says that he was partners with his brother years ago in the federation. All of the sudden Jake was about to go for the DDT on Doug Gilbert and then Vader knocked out Roberts. Fans boo but Vader’s power is put over. Yokozuna and Vader teased going at it. The man formally known as Big Van Vader then grabbed Gilbert and knocked him down with ease. Vader with a big clothesline and then a headbutt to the 1-2-3 Kid. Vader pounded on Gilbert in the corner. Savio with a boot to the head of Yokozuna. Vader then knocked Gilbert down and asked who the man was and the place popped.
#15 was Sqaut Team Member #1. He was # one too many. Another 300 pounder billed as a 400 pound guy. Holly corners him and delivers a kick to the mid-section. Vader is still beating on Doug Gilbert until he just scoops him up and tosses him out. Vader then attacks the Squat Team member after he tried to beat on him. Vader and Yokozuna stood in seperate corners and locked eyes. Yoko and Vader went at it.
#16 was the other identical twin Sqaut team member. Both of them turned around and one of them was not legal. Vader did not care and beat on both guys. Vader and Yoko both threw out the Sqaut team members.
Owen Hart then came out next, The King of Harts came out with a cold stare. He helped out HHH who was still in the ring as entrant #1 and both guys went to work on Holly. Hennig said Owen had the greatest martial arts kick and the man who put Shawn Michaels on the shelf as if it was something to be proud of. Gotta love kayfabe color commentator days. Savio then dropkicked Vader from behind and then Yoko grabbed him and Vader took him apart with right hands. Vader irish whipped Savio Vega in the corner and then Yoko rushed towards the corner and squashed Savio Vega in the corner. Holly worked on Owen in the corner and then vader slammed Savio Vega as did Yokozuna down on the canvas.
Shawn Michaels then came out at #18 to a loud pop, he danced towards the ring and went right for Savio Vega. He did a nice little circled hop-around opening and Michaels then hammered on Waltman, and then Helmsley. Shawn Michaels then with a right hand to Owen Hart. Vader then got his mask knocked off and Yoko and Vader went at it in the middle of the ring. Yoko dropped him with a headbutt. Shawn then eyed them both near the ropes and HBK used his momentum to eliminate both men. HBK then threw out the 1-2-3 Kid. HBK then gave Holly an elbow a forearm and snapped Owen down before dropping a toe to his throat. Shawn Michaels is everywhere! Can you tell it was Michaels’ time?
Hakushi came towards the ring and then Vader attacked Yoko from behind. I found this tidbit very interesting….After Shawn Michaels had eliminated Vader, Yokozuna, and the 1-2-3 Kid, Vader re-entered the ring and eliminated Shawn Michaels, Bob Holly, and Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Owen Hart was only thrown through the ropes both times). However, unlike previous instances where eliminations by eliminated wrestlers stood (e.g. Big Boss Man’s elimination by Hulk Hogan in 1989), none of these eliminations were deemed official and WWF President Gorilla Monsoon forced Vader to get out of the ring. So things changed up a bit from this point on.
Good pacing to this Rumble Match. #20 was Tatanka. The confusion is being sorted out. Hakushi from the top dropped down to Owen in a battle of two aerial specialists. Battle of two high flyers here, Owen then got some martial arts against him in the corner. Michaels threw out Cornette and then his good buddy Helmsley (not in the script yet) beat on him in the corner. Bob Sparkplug Holly managed to stay in the ring this time. Owen then pounded on Tatanka and Hakushi. Helmsley had been in the ring for over 40 minutes. Tatanka with a big right hand to Owen Hart, revenge for King of the Ring 1994. Hakushi almost eliminated Michaels but HHH grabbed on and then when Shawn came back in Owen tried to take the leg out of him. Owen liked to take legs out of people in these sort of events.
Owen threw out Hakushi right before Aldo Montoya came out and you could hear a pin drop when he came out. That is Just incredible. Tatanka and Owen inside the ring tried to take apart Aldo Montoya. Shawn was outside the ring, he gave Holly a shot. Shawn had gone threw the ropes and was investigating because he is Shawn Michaels so it is allowed. Shawn went under the ring and Hennig hillariously claimed he was trying to hide under the ring. HBK dragged Lawler who was hanging onto Cables under the ring. Shawn then gave King a big right hand. Shawn then with another right hand and then Tatanka threw Aldo Montoya over the top rope. HBK then threw out the King.
Diesel came out at #22. Diesel came out and he had the the most DOMINANT performance to this point when he eliminated seven men in 1994. Diesel attacked Tatanka from behind who was beating on HBK and he tossed him out easily. I really liked the booking here. Now Diesel, HBK, Owen, HHH and Holly were left in the ring. Diesel knocked down HBK despite them being BEST FRIENDS. Owen then threw Diesel to the corner and gave him a hard right hand. Helmsley tried to flip over HBK but he remained in the ring. HBK with a dropkick to Owen and then slammed him headfirst to get any sort of revenge he could. HHH and Bob Holly the stand out performances. Diesel wasted no time running through any jobbers in site as they get to the nitty gritty now.
Kama the surpreme fighting machine, one of his many gimmicks. Not Papa Shango, Not Kama Moustafa in the Nation, not the Goodfather, not the Godfather, but Kama the fighting machine came out and went right to work on Diesel. Michaels on top of Holly gave him hard right hands and got to 10. Owen then went to eliminate HHH in one corner. Kama beat on Diesel until HBK helped him at the corner of the ring. Kama levelled the big right hand to the chest region of Diesel.
#24 was the Ringmaster. Steve Austin came to the ring and seeing him to no response is so amazing. Hennig does call him the winner thoughr right away (although he did that too many) and he took out the leg of Holly. Perfect did a nice job of putting over Austin in many 1996 ppv’s. Austin then sent Holly head first to the buckle and gave him a big chop. Holly reversed it and gave him a big chop. The Ringmaster went for Nash and sent him head first to the buckle. Austin with a reverse elbow to Bob Holly. Holly almost threw out Austin and Diesel almost threw out Michaels until Austin finally eliminated Bob Holly after all that time. Triple H then gave Austin a big right hand. Owen tried to eliminate HBK on another side of the ring. It looks like Owen Hart is giving Shawn Michaels a long lasting vertical suplex that is paused with the shot of Michaels holding onto the ropes. Holly had a good run but he is gone. Perfect said Austin was as close to perfect so he reminded himself of himself in so many ways.
#25 was UNDERDOG Barry Horriblewitz, Horriwitz***. Hennig said he if ended up winning the rumble he was getting back in the ring and McMahon gives that laugh. Diesel knocked him down. Michaels kicked at Owen in the chest region and he almost went to the outside. Horrowitz with a jawbreaker to Owen. Austin rested in the corner and then grabbed the top rope to get up until Owen layed some shots on Austin in the corner. Michaels choked out Horrowitz and Diesel launched Hunter out of the ring. Helmsley drew #1 and close to 50 minutes, and then eliminated by Diesel. Kama sent Owen head first to the buckle. These two would never get that re-match unfortunately at Over the Edge 99.
Fatu better known as Rikishi came out next to some awful rap music. Fatu with a big shot to Owen and then he nailed Kama. He liked the thrust kick. Diesel choked out Austin on the side ropes. Diesel nailed on Steve Austin in the corner. Fatu then gave Kama a forearm and Owen set up HBK for a vertical suplex. Michaels in the air and he held on to Owen. Diesel then in the corner was working over Austin. Austin caught up to him and gave him some blows and taunted him. Austin immitated the Diesel train. Good creative stuff from a younger Steve Austin wanting to stand out.
DDS Isaac Yankem, the evil dentist with the worst entrance theme ever comes out next. Horrowitz thrown out by Owen. Owen then kicked HBK the same way he had been injured before this. Yankem choked out Diesel in the corner and the man that would be known as the new Diesel was going to work on the old one. Oh yeah, Isaac Yankem was also a guy named Kane but he is pretty much irrelevant. Austin then irish whipped HBK to the corner of the ring and taunted HBK by doing his pose with one leg to the side. Diesel then choked out The Ringmaster in the corner with his big boot.
Marty Jannetty came out to that 80s Rocker Music that you are so used to hearing loud roars to after it goes off but barely an ovation for Marty here. Fatu almost eliminated Michaels as he hung upside down. The Rockers then went at it for the 80th rumble in a row it seemed. Hennig cracked that Rocker`s joke, I found it funny.
#29 was Davey Boy Smith the British Bulldog. Diesel with a hard sidewalk slam to Marty Jannetty. Bulldog went right after HBK and Austin then attacked Isaac Yankem. They show Diana Hart and thank god she isnt holding her face like she was at SS 92 or IYH DEC 1995, I mean good for its time but it`s getting redundant already! Marty backdropped to the outside and he`s out! Austin then headbutted Fatu, the guy that would RUN HIM down years later for DA ROCK.
Fatu throws out the Ringmaster! Fatu then got dropped to the outside. Rikishi eliminated Austin and then he got thrown out!
Kama, Diesel, The Bulldog, Michaels, Isaac Yankem, and the odds on favourite, Duke THE DUMPSTER DROESE left. #30 is the Garbage Man.
Duke out, as is Issac Yankem. Owen then came from the back to help Bulldog take apart HBK on the outside. Michaels slid back in the ring and clotheslined Bulldog out. Kama almost throws out Shawn and then Diesel throws the big man over.
Diesel turns around only to be superkicked by Shawn Michaels to the outside and down to the floor! Fans erupt!
So the final two men were Shawn Michaels and Diesel. In the end Michaels hit Diesel with Sweet Chin Music that sent Diesel over the top rope to win his second straight Rumble at 58:49.
Awesome Rumble match, good booking! Made a lot with the material it had.
This is one of the better constructed Rumble matches and when judging it as a whole, it comes off just as that appropriately.
A good build-up to this match between two great workers, well I find that Undertaker became a much better work in the second half of the 90`s going against the likes of Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash and of course here, Bret Hart. Bret`s fourty third PPV appeareance.
A guy that never misses a date.
They went with the Babyface vs Babyface type allignment match. Good guy, against good guy and it was really about 50-50%.
Bret Hart dodged The Undertaker and his attack twice before delivering a succession of right hands. Taker threw him back into the corner and delivered a ton of hard shots, before grabbing Bret Hart by the throat with his purple gloves. Hennig clearly pointing out that Bret can NOT win a street fight with Taker (Or put on a good one with McMahon for that matter) and he needs to get down to the mat and wrestle him, take the bigger man off his vertical base. Well duh, that`s Bret`s fortay.
Undertaker with a shot to the back and a hard irishwhip to Bret and then he choked out Bret in the air grabbing him by the throat with both hands. Undertaker then slammed Bret Hart head first into the top of the turnbuckle before grabbing onto the face of Bret. Bret cornered and Taker with more hard right hands. Taker with a HARD, HARD irishwhip to the buckle focusing on the lower back of Bret Hart. The Hitman Bret Hart against the grasp of the Deadman and Bret sold wonderfully like no other. Then Taker with tremendous pressure grabbed Bret by the face and squeezed on it.
The crowd encouraged on Bret as they were for both men, a methodical pace displayed by Undertaker. He got The Hitman back first to the mat and inside this hold was getting counted a couple of times. Hart put his leg on the bottom rope and it broke the count but Taker kept his position and maintained control of the title match with his big purple glove across the face of the Hitman. Taker kicked at Bret and his already injured back. Undertaker went up top and walked across the top rope and came off with a big blow after tremendous agility being displayed by the deadman wearing a blue mask after recieving a crushing blow as of late. Taker then grabbed Bret with his glove again, another CLAW by Taker, Barry Windham like.
Bret with his shoulders planted to the canvas had the life sucked out of him by Taker but he kept coming right back up.
Undertaker then with a hard uppercut to Bret Hart. A lifeless Bret who had been worn out got irishwhipped hard to the corner and then he jumped off the corner and hit Taker with a desperation clothesline and his fans conme out.
Bret Hart then clotheslined Taker to the outside, then he leaped over the top rope and landed right on top of Taker!
Taker got delivered some hard right hands by the Hitman. Taker was kicked off from the ring apron and Taker grabbed Bret who jumped in mid-air with a bear hug and he drove him right against the ringpost. His spine hit the post, and that would hurt his lower back even further. Undertaker with a hard shot to Bret Hart and then scooped him up, but Bret countered by flipping over him and he drilled him face first into the ring post. The mask must have helped Taker because he felt no pain. (Not that it was anything new) Taker with a big boot to Bret Hart by the ring post.
Undertaker, the challenger dominated the first half of this Championship match!
Taker with a hard shot outside the ring and then he gave him yet another shot to the head. Undertaker went to irish whip Bret but got caught by The Hitman and he reversed the irishwhip outside the ring and sent Taker into the steel steps. Bret Hart then viciously attacked the leg of Taker outside the ring. Perfect compliments Bret and his ring smarts. Hart then spotted the leg injury and went to work on the Deadman. Bret Hart then in control by breaking the count. Bret was thinking towards the Sharpshooter and then twisted Taker and his leg by going back first with leverage. The momentum had shifted in the match as he kicked at his leg and then he put hit boot on the bottom rope and he dropped his bodyweight on him and his leg.
Taker tried to reach for hair or whatever else he could on the Hitman. Bret then raked the face of Taker in an act of revenge but he had a mask. Bret Hart got flipped over by Taker but as he tried to maintain his vertical base he kept collapsing due to Bret and his attack to the legs of the Deadman. Nice selling. Bret then with a leglock, and then drove the point of the knee into Taker and his injured leg. Bret then twisted it again. The Hitman stomped on the left leg of Taker and then slapped on a figure four leglock! Bret Hart continiously tried to weaken the leg of The Deadman and in the figure four, those long legs were in pain by Taker and he had a pinnind predicament once or twice during this hold. Bearer tried lifting the Urn on the outside to get Taker to his feet.
In order for the Hitman, the WWF Champion to control the second half of this match he must take apart Undertaker like he was Nash, taking out the vertical base. Undertaker in the driver`s seat once he drove Bret spinefirst into the post, but when the Hitman retaliated he worked over the Deadman`s legs keeping him grounded.
There an experienced mat technician can go to work and methodically disect the Phenom of the WWF.
Bret then had the hold reversed by Taker somehow and Bret reached the bottom ropes to break it. Taker partially back on his feet due to the prior leg damage. Undertaker remembering to sell. Taker tried to get Bret in the corner but Bret continued to hammer down Taker. Taker got taken off his feet and Bret stomped at Taker and his injured leg. Bret wrapped Taker and his knee around the rope and pulled on for more leverage and more damage to the left leg of Taker. The Hitman took the side of Taker and his leg and stomped on the mat. Bret twisting the knee of Taker and then while down on the mat he tried to grab the face of The Hitman. undertaker with some hard blows but when Taker gained an inch, Bret dropped the leglock and just beat on Taker and his facial area, trying to get the appliance of his face. Bret then dropped a ton of weight to Taker. Bret twisted the knee and almost changed it into an Indian Deathlock. Perfect pointed out that Bret weighed more so the match had to be in his favor due to conditioning. Bret then drove his knee into Taker and his injured knee before twisting a leg lock on him yet again.
The master of the mat, The Hitman saw his oppurtunity with the leg injury of the Deadman and expertly applied the Indian Deathlock to it`s full advantage. Perfect puts over his good friend`s abilities from a technical standpoint. (Perfect)
And despite the Hitman weakening the Deadman for a potential Sharpshooter, these two went outside the ring and roughed it up a bit remembering Taker driving the Hitman into the post, spine first. Or the Hitman going into the steps and smashed across the steel barricade.
But now we were in the ring and that`s the story. A side leg-lock takedown, and Taker crawled over trying to counter by grabbing the head of the Hitman but he held the leglock in to perfection.
Taker then sat up out of no where and dropped his good leg onto the throat of Bret Hart. Undertaker using the ropes for leverage again showing fabulous agilit up and then he limped towards Bret.
Taker having mobility problems and then he tossed Bret outside the ring. Taker must have needed a rest said Hennig due to him throwing him out because Taker wanted to win the title. Soon we would figure out just why Taker did this. Taker then began choking out Bret outside the ring with cable cords and the fans booed. Paul Bearer was distracting the official and Taker irishwhipped Bret into the time keeper table and Bret had taken a ton of punishment. Taker threw Bret back in the ring. Bret reached for the top rope and then Taker slammed him head first into the buckle. Hart being set up by Taker but Bret spotted a weakness and he went back to the leg. Bret twisted the left leg of Taker and then the fans gave him mixed emotions. Bret Hart then stomped on the mat while he twisted the leg of Taker again. Bret Hart then dragged the leg of Taker and seperated both of them while he rammed his injured leg into the steel post while half the crowd booed. Bret followed up showing signs of a desperate Champion doing more of the same, taking the leg out of Taker.
Bret twisted the legs of Taker. McMahon said he couldn’t see Taker submitting. His character was well protected by McMahon and company, and still to an extent is after 20 years. This matches ending would further illustrate that.
The neither individual will be the same after this match line was used, as Taker pushed over Bret and dropped the GOOD leg onto Bret and his throat. Bret irishwhipped by Taker and he gave The Hitman a clothesline. Undertaker limped towards Bret, scooped him up and his leg buckled, but Bret from the apron got out of the way. Bret then came back into the ring and gave Taker a jawbreaker on the top rope while Taker went for a blow to Bret. Bret and his experience were weighing in. Taker pushed Bret to the ropes and Bret came off with a DDT.
Bret then covered Taker but still only a two count. Bret The Hitman Hart raked the back of Taker and then gave him a nice Russian Legsweep. The Hitman with a shot to the mid-section and then a running bulldog where Taker hit mask first. Hennig drew the analogy as if this would be like trying to take down Frankenstein. The Hitman then hit a side walk slam to Taker!
Bret then went up to the corner of the ring and off the middle rope dropped the elbow to the mask of Taker, one of his signature moves. What a war this had become.
Bret them did a thumbs up, thumbs down a good deacade before Dave Batista signalled for a Sharpshooter! Hennig had been calling for it all match! Taker broke it up and grabbed Bret by the throat! Taker up to his vertical base and delivered a knee to Bret and his abdominal area. Both men came off the side ropes and hit a double clothesline. The air out of both men in this war.
The Hitman sat up first and then began to take off the top turnbuckle padding exposing the metal. Bret with another hard shot to Taker tried to setting him up. Bret hammering down with tremendous momentum and Bret went for the facial appliance yet again but Taker snapped Bret over. Bret got the mask off of Taker. Taker went for hard shots in both corners but Bret pounded on him and then Undertaker with a hard irish whip. Bret not only took of Taker and his mask but sent him face first to the exposed metal corner while some of the place booed. The idea here was Bret had to do what he had to do. Bret then with Taker in mid-ring and gave him a big headbutt. Bret then went for a clothesline on a dazed deadman but out of no where he hit a Tombstone to Bret!
Out of no where! A maskless Taker almost got the three but Diesel pulled Earl Hebner out of the ring. Diesel screwed Taker!
In the end Bret Hart was disqualified after Diesel came out and pulled referee Earl Hebner before he could make a 3-count for The Undertaker following a Tombstone Piledriver at 28:31, so Bret kept the title.
Diesel then flipped off The Undertaker going to the back. (Which was very different for this time period)
My kind of match! Not everyone will appreciate the slow, methodical pace with a dead crowd but the match`s story is brilliant.
Final Rating for WWF Royal Rumble 1996 = 7.5/10
This show is a very good one. It is capped off by an excellent title match, it features perhaps the 2nd best Rumble Match to this point in time and that is enough reason to check it out.