Brett Mix’s- WWF Royal Rumble 1997 Review:
“See the problem here with you TV guys is you always got the TV cameras where they don`t belong. The fact is I`m not talking to anybody until I throw 29 pieces of trash over the top rope to advance to face the champ, so you can take your camera and stick it son! That`s it! Cut….cut.” –Stone Cold Steve Austin
-WWF Royal Rumble 1997 took place on Sunday, January 19th, 1997 at the the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in front of 60, 525 fans.
-This was the 10th Annual WWF Royal Rumble event.
-Vince, JR and The King are doing commentary together for the first and ONLY time at the Royal Rumble events.
There were a lot of Free For All Matches before the event due to the show residing in Southern Texas, they got to showcase a lot of the local talent. Here is some of what went down…..
1) Venum and Perro Aguayo, Jr. defeated Maniaco and Mosco de la Merced (10:00)
2) Octagón, Blue Demon Jr., and Tinieblas Jr. defeated Heavy Metal, Abismo Negro, and Histeria (14:00)
3) Mascarita Sagrada and La Parkita defeated Mini Mankind and Mini Vader (4:29)
During the Free For All pre-event match featuring “Mini Vader” and “Mini Mankind”, Vince McMahon inquired if there was a “Mini King” (in reference to Jerry “the King” Lawler), to which Lawler promptly reminded him that were, in fact, “mini Kings”, in the form of Cheesy, Sneezy, and Queasy at a Survivor Series event years before.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Curtis Hughes) (c) vs Goldust (w/Marlena) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
This opening contest was very long but it was a very solid wrestling match to no surprise as Triple H and Goldust are two very solid workers. The crowd could have been louder but that was about the only thing that made it seem to drag. (Kind of a theme for the night) A lot of holds but a pretty good number of moves throughout as well.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley and The Golden one didn’t take long to get things going in this match.
Goldust who was the babyface by this time after slapping Jerry Lawler in the face on Raw when being accused of being a queer, went straight after Mr. Blue Blood in the entrance way.
The Brawl was on!
Hunter Hearst Helmsley was being beaten on by Goldust and the match had not officially begun but he was giving Hunter Hearst Helmsley some shots. Goldust threw him inside the ring. Goldust then gave him a series of right hands in the corner. Goldust tossed him outside the ring again. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then dropped chest first on the security rail on the front row. Goldust threw Hunter Hearst Helmsley face first to the top of the turnbuckle and he gave him a succession of right hands until Hunter Hearst Helmsley turned the tide of the match by dropping Goldust up top and gave him an inverted atomic drop, Helmsley was a real thinking man’s wrestler. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then set up Goldust for the pedigree early but Goldust flipped him over and catapolted him over the top rope to outside. His lower back caught the edge of the ring and then Goldust picked up the Steel Steps and then dropped them on Helmsley’s back. The ref was allowing Goldust get a lot of momentum outside the ring in the early stages of the match. Goldust risked being DQ’d and then he dropped Goldust dropped him on the metal steps. Goldust then waited for Helmsley to get back in the ring and then he got caught as HHH turned the tide to buy himself a bit of time when he dropped Goldust across the throat on the top rope.
Helmsley tried to get back into the match with some shots to Goldust but he shot back with a clothesline. Helmsley grabbed Earl Hebner and anything he could to get away from Goldust until he pushed him outside the ring. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then turned the corner in the match and jumped from the outside corner and dropped a double axehandle to Goldust before throwing him right into the ring post. I absolutely loved when Vince McMahon announced that the super fans were thrown out of the building so randomly and Jerry Lawler laughed at it. Goldust got back into the match by throwing Helmsley into the steel security railing outside of the ring. Goldust then dropped the steel steps on Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Goldust got back in the ring to break the count. You can see some of the attitude in the era being displayed as this match was pretty violent for its time as they kind of broke the rules on more then one occasion. Goldust then back inside the ring with a single leg takedown and then asserted his leg into the leg of Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Goldust dragged the leg of the soon to be Game and dropped it to the canvas. One of Hunter Hearst Helmsley`s advantages in this match was his quickness and due to Goldust working over the legs this would then take that away from him. Goldust with a leg lock, taking the knee out of him. Hunter Hearst Helmsley got out of that predicament in agressive fashion. Hunter Hearst Helmsley with a kick up top on Goldust and then he shot back with a shot to the mid-section and then he went back to the bad leg. Goldust`s bizzareness can mask his ring ability, isn`t that the truth Ross.
Goldust then slapped a figure four to Hunter Hearst Helmsley reminiscent of HHH`s mentor Ric Flair. A sign in attendance even said Flair is God. Goldust used the ropes for leverage and he kept the figure four leglock on. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then reached over and went outside the ring to buy himself some time or perhaps intentionally trying to get himself boughten some time. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then was scouted like a cat by Goldust and he took the leg out of him with a hard shot. Goldust then threw Helmsley back into the ring after he bashed his head onto the apron from outside the ring.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley`s leg then targetted again as Goldust dropped his bad knee onto the steel steps outside the ring. Hunter Hearst Helmsley came back in the ring and Goldust gave him a hard right hand and then he went to fly towards HHH and he caught nobody and he missed the steel steps on the outside but still landed on the concrete. HHH had boughten himself some time. Hunter Hearst Helmsley with an irish whip to Goldust into the fencing on the outside. The Gaurd rails, the ring post, the steel steps all used in this back and forth, inside and outside the ring contest for the Intercontinental Championship.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley then shoved Goldust into the ring post and Hunter limping came into the ring and did his bowing taunt. Helmsley then went outside the ring and delivered a hard shot to Goldust. Hunter Hearst Helmsley grabbed Marlena`s director`s chair and then threw it to the side and kicked at the mid-section of Goldust. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then threw Goldust into the gaurd rail. Hunter Hearst Helmsley threw Goldust back into the ring. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then snapped Goldust over and then dropped the knee into the throat of Goldust and it damaged his own leg even more but he still was able to get a nearfall on Goldust. Hunter Hearst Helmsley irish whipped Goldust but it was Goldust who fired off the ropes with a clothesline. Goldust then pounded on the canvas to try and gain some momentum. Some hard right hands by the Golden one and then with more intensity he sent Hunter Hearst Helmsley to the ropes and then he delivered a back bodydrop.
Goldust then went to the top but Hunter Hearst Helmsley shoved Hebner into the ropes and then Goldust dropped groin first to the top rope. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then spotted Goldust up top and then he went to slap on a vertical suplex but Goldust delivered a headbutt. Goldust from the top rope went to drop a flying elbow and he missed Helmsley. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then limping picked up the IC title which Mr. Hughes threw in the ring. Marlena came on the ring apron and then Hunter Hearst Helmsley kissed her. Behind the ref`s back Goldust hit Hunter Hearst Helmsley with the title until Mr. Hughes pulled Hunter Hearst Helmsley out of the ring before the referee could finish the count. Mr. Hughes was Hunter Hearst Helmsley`s manager before Chyna. Hunter Hearst Helmsley then attacked Goldust from behind with a devistating clothesline and then he hit the pedigree for the victory.
In the end Helmsley retains the IC Title at 16:50 with the pedigree.
Perhaps a little overbooked but still some nice psychology with a lot of back and forth, in and out of the ring offence kept the match entertaining and it was a great effort by both men.
Very solid opener, nice psychology in and out of the ring, that was KEY in this match.
2) Ahmed Johnson vs Farooq (w/Nation of Domination Members)
This was a very underrated feud in 1996-1997. But this Rumble undercard match between the two was very forgettable. Dissapointing and rather boring to say the least.
Farooq came out with The Nation singing his way to the ring. I still don`t know how Ahmed got “You`re goin down!“ over to the point where the crowd chanted it along with him and with a lot of passion as well.
Ahmed Johnson took down the Nation`s leader right away and the match began.
Ahmed hit him with a ton of rights and then he irigh whipped him hard to the buckle until he bounced off and then he just shoved him back in the corner to level Farooq down. Ahmed started to chase Farooq on the outside and sent him head first to the ring post. Ahmed Johnson then threw Farooq back in the ring and then he kicked at his mid-section. In kayfabe, Farooq injured Ahmed Johnson`s kidney section. Lawler intelligently points this out but I thought of it first so I guess I just am good like that. Farooq though had some sort of belt and he whipped at Ahmed and temprorarily got in control until Ahmed Johnson sprung off the side ropes and took him down with a shoulder block. Ahmed Johnson started whipping at Farooq with that belt and like McMahon said I don`t think he cares if he`s DQ`d. Crush was the one who gave the belt to Farooq originally. Ahmed then sent him face first into the steel steps. Ahmed Johnson then gave him another shot head first into the steps. The fan with the long hair and sunglasses can be seen in the front row here. D-Lo Brown as a Nation`s Bitch can be seen standing at ringside during the match as well.
One day he`d wrestle in this very stable, he must be proud. I love D-Lo though, it`s too bad he wasn`t in this match.
Farooq by this point was in control outside the ring and dropped him kidney first across a folded up chair. Farooq then smacked at the back of Ahmed Johnson with a chair. Yet another match on the night that has gotten very violent. Farooq threw Ahmed Johnson into the ring. Farooq with a hard kick to the stomach. Well, no one said this wouldn`t be a slow moving big man match. Ahmed got his revenge early with big shots but Farooq has since turned the tide of the match and focused on Ahmed Johnson`s weak point, the kidney area. More damage inflicted to the kidney region, Farooq them stretched him open on the top turnbuckle and kicked to the back of Ahmed Johnson once again. Farooq choked out Ahmed Johnson with his boot while he layed under the bottom rope. Farooq then turned over Ahmed Johnson and gave him more kidney shots with his forearm before he slapped on a camel clutch. Farooq then dropped his body weight to the lower back of Ahmed Johnson. Good psychology by the Leader of the Nation, then Farooq asked the referee Mike Keota to ask him if he quit while he slapped the Camel Clutch on again. sooner or later Ahmed had the power (about all he had) to get up and drop Farooq to his back. This bought Ahmed Johnson some moments to breathe in some air. Farooq came flying off the top and Ahmed Johnson hit him with a power slam! The crowd got excited as they realized the mastch might be coming to a close but Farooq caught him with a Spinebuster Slam off the side ropes. Farooq talked trash but Ahmed got up out of no where and hit a spinebuster to Farooq. Crush came in but Ahmed fought him off. Other Nation rappers came in and then the referee asked for the bell. Ahmed choked out one of the punks according to Lawler and then he threw him over the top rope.
So in the closing moments Faarooq was disqualified after the Nation interfered and attacked Johnson at 8:48.
Following the match, Ahmed put one of the Nation’s members through the French Announcers table.
This was a little better then remembered, but that isn`t saying much. At least it had a story and a rivalry to it, wasn`t just filler.
3) The Undertaker vs Vader
Pretty good big man slugfest early and these two work pretty well together given the size and weight differences for both being big guys. This match came off alright and most definately better then the one previous to it on the card. I remember when I was younger I was pretty excited to see Taker FINALLY get his hands on Paul Bearer after he turned his back on him at Summerslam 96.
The Undertaker and Vader would both later appear in the Rumble match.
Vader missed a corner attack (Sqaush) on The Undertaker but he retaliated with some right hands and despite Vader`s best efforts to get on The Undertaker, when he realized he truely was a Dead Man he was shocked.
Vader hit the Deadman with a reverse elbow and then a clothesline. Vader irish whipped The Undertaker and then hit him with a big splash. Vader sent The Undertaker to the ropes and used his width for another splash. Taker sat up again so Vader took a walk outside the ring when realizing Taker barely feels pain. Taker jumped from the apron onto Vader and then gave him an uppercut on the outside of the ring and then another. A big right hand to Vader. Vader then got a shot to the ribs but The Undertaker caught a jaw breaker. However once back in the ring The Undertaker caught Vader with a leg drop off the ropes, showing his great agility and flexibility.
The Undertaker then with ease slammed a 450 pounded as if he was Spike Dudley. The Undertaker then hit a leg drop and got a nearfall. The Undertaker twisted the arm of Vader and then he was going to the top rope for some Old School. The Undertaker walked the rope but at the last moment Vader had the move scouted and pushed The Undertaker off his balance and he fell groin first on the top rope. Taker eventually got up and then Vader gave him a lowblow. During the match Todd Pettingill interviewed a female fan who loved Shawn Michaels (shocking) and she said she saved up her money from babysitting. Meanwhile on the left of the screen Vader beat on The Undertaker with some big right hands and the fans booed. King rips on the fact they talked about babysitting when Vader was beating on him in the corner and that was pretty hillarious. Vader shoved The Undertaker to the corner and came off with a clothesline, as the Mastadon was displaying his great size and power.
Vader from the top rope connected with a big splash but only got a two. Vader with a Trapezius hold onto Undertaker to wear the Deadman down but his homestate fans (despite him still being billed from Death Valley) at the time cheered him on. The Undertaker tried to get to his vertical base and then when he couldn`t he just turned around and gave Vader rights and lefts from his knee. The Undertaker then with a back suplex to the big man Vader and his back hit the mat, Vader was down but The Undertaker was spent. Taker still managed to sit up first (shocking) and he went off the side ropes for an elbow drop but again Vader scouted the move and moved out of the way. Vader connected with his elbow drop attempt. Vader signalled to going to the top, he did and then coming off Taker hit a big powerslam in mid-air. Few people have the strength to do what Taker did here but few people have that kind of agility like Vader. Vader then gave The Undertaker a big powerbomb but somehow The Undertaker kicked out! Taker kicked him in the mid-section and connected with some shots. The Undertaker flew off the side ropes and hit a clothesline.
Taker walked the top rope this time and connected with his Old School move.
Paul Bearer walked towards the ring and then Taker hit the chokeslam to Vader. The Undertaker signalled for the Tombstone but Bearer coming to the ring distracted Taker and Vader got up but still was clotheslined to the outside. Taker dropped over the top rope and gave Bearer a shot. Taker threw Bearer in the ring and grabbed him by the throat and then Vader came in the ring and Taker hit him with a shot to the gut and then another clothesline to the outside. The Undertaker with a righthand outside the ring and then when charging towards Vader, Paul Bearer moved Vader out of the way and The Undertaker landed on the railing sternum first.
Bearer got in the ring with the Urn and Vader was inside and Taker was struggling to get in the ring. Bearer with all of his weight jumped off the apron and hit The Undertaker. King said Paul sacrificed his own body. Vader then came off the corner and hit the Vader Bomb to The Undertaker and that`s what he used to defeat The Undertaker.
In the end Vader pinned Undertaker after a Vaderbomb at 13:19.
After the match, The Undertaker chokeslammed referee Jack Doan out of frustration and for a pop I`d imagine.
This really was a great match looking big, awesome back and forth power wrestling.
4) Héctor Garza, Perro Aguayo and El Canek vs Jerry Estrada, Heavy Metal and Fuerza Guerrera In a Bonus 6 Man Tag
The crowd was dead for this, which is a shame.
However when looking back on things it`s certainly easy to understand.
You bought a ticket for The Royal Rumble, you`ve seen some big stars already at the event and you`re pumped for the Rumble match and then all of the sudden they give you a random tag match without anyone you barely recognize. A tremendous amount of moves shown throughout this contest, almost hard to keep up with which is FINE by me given the nature of the contest.
The crowd was absolutely dead throughout this match which as said hurt the overall presentation but it didn’t hurt the action throughout as it was absolutely magnificent for the most part. Truely great. The WWF had noticed that WCW had expaded into the Mexican culture and down south the WWF thought they`d treat fans to the same variety. Unfortunately it just didn`t come off very well, and they`d try the same in 98 at times.
Heavy Metal took down El Canek and McMahon thought it was Garza. Hillarious, I don`t think he liked JR correcting him from the beginning but either way the two men go at it and Heavy Metal hit a hiptoss. A standing side headlock by Canek but Estrada took him down with a backdrop. Both men tagged out. Perro Arguayo in his 27th year of competition went at it with Fuerza Guerrera and he backdrops a charging Fuerza over the top rope. Perro Arguayo has won over 30 mask matches in his career. Jerry Estrada was only seventeen during this match and he threw Hector Garza to the ropes and he came off with a crossbody. Two athletes flip in and just before this King said he wished Ross was from Mexico. McMahon and Ross ask why, and King stated because he would then have to wear a mask. Good stuff.
Heavy Metal and Perro Arguayo with some unbelievable back and forth stuff that is very difficult to keep up with, a lot of high flying, back breakers, flips, reversals, impressive agility and the like. Oh and the crowd was still dead.
El Canek tied up with Fuerza Guerrera and Canek got flipped over after he won the initial test of strength. An armdrag take down and then another armdrag by Canek over and over into an armbar. Canek with an irish whip to the corner but missed his target and a roll-up was unsuccessful. Perro Arguayo tagged in and took a drop kick right to the chest. Guerrera all over him with some solid chops. Guerrerra irish whipped to the ropes and Perro Arguayo hit him with a hard chop. Guerrera ducked a clothesline and then hit an armdrag takedown. Perro Arguayo with a big slap and then a kick to Guerrera and then he leaped towards him but fell to the outside of the ring. Perro Arguayo best known for his aerial tactics.
El Canek with some shoulder blocks and then taken down by a clothesline by Heavy Metal. An Ankle Lock by Canek to Metal and then he tagged in Hector Garza and he leaped over. Garza irish whipped Heavy Metal and he hit a big time clothesline. Not a great deal of mat wrestling or psychology in this match but a lot of flash. An STF though by Garza to Heavy Metal.
Garza tagged in Perro Arguayo. Perro Arguayo dropped an elbow to the leg of Heavy Metal that had been worked on. Perro Arguayo then picked him up and gave him a Samoan drop. Perro Arguayo dropped a succession of elbow drops to Heavy Metal who couldn`t tag out. Perro Arguayo snapped Heavy Metal over and tagged in El Canek. Canek dodged a kick by Heavy Metal. Guerrera then came in the ring and Canek elevated him showing a good deal of strength and dropped him. Heavy Metal couldn`t land on Garza and then Garza with a corkscrew moonsault on the outside.
Canek with a press slam inside the ring. Perro Arguayo came in with a double stomp, he was the reigning middleweight champion during this time period and he got the three count. The fans sarcastically applaud because it was over. Definitely not as good as I remembered but we saw some fantastic action throughout. In the end Aguayo pinned Metal after a diving double foot stomp off the top rope at 10:56.
Nice little foreign spotfest.
A new entrant came out here during this one approximately every 90 seconds this time around in 97….
This was the second straight year the Rumble match was not the main event of the PPV.
-Stone Cold Steve Austin broke the elimination record for a single Royal Rumble match previously held by Hulk Hogan from the 1989 Royal Rumble with ten eliminations in this match.
Two Rumble STAND OUT performances that almost go un-noticed besides the earlier ones like Valentine, Martel and Backlund are The Rock in 1998 and Steve Austin in 1997. It’s clear the company wanted to push both men big time around those periods and by making them last long in the Rumble match it was a nice way of doing so, a clear sign. That`s not ALWAYS the case though.
Looking at some of the bigger names in this Rumble match.
2 Ahmed Johnson
3 “Fake” Razor Ramon
4 Phineas Godwinn
5 Stone Cold Steve Austin
6 Bart Gunn
7 Jake Roberts
8 British Bulldog
10 The Sultan
11 Mil Máscaras
12 Hunter Hearst Helmsley
13 Owen Hart
16 Marc Mero
17 Latin Lover
19 Savio Vega
20 Jesse James
21 Bret Hart
22 Jerry Lawler
23 Fake Diesel
24 Terry Funk
25 Rocky Maivia
27 Flash Funk
29 Henry O Godwinn
30 The Undertaker
A better list then the year previous, a stacked Rumble card. Definitely one of the best ever here in this unique setting of Texas.
The Rumble match started with Ahmed Johnson and Crush. (The second time on the evening Ahmed would go against a Nation member) Crush couldn`t believe that Ahmed was entrant number two. Crush went to work on Ahmed Johnson and then Crush with kicks to the mid-section in the corner after he worked on his back. Ahmed then tried to fight back in the match and landed some right hands. I thought I was done seeing Ahmed for the night but I forgot about this appearance. Oh well it`s not very long if I recall….Crush took off and the two rolled around on the canvas as the two were just brawling on the mat out of pure hatred yet no one in Texas seemed to care. Crush then took apart a fatigued Ahmed who had wrestled before while Crush had an easier schedule and then he worked on the kidney`s that Farooq had earlier worked on. Crush took out Ahmed on the top rope.
Entering third was the “Fake Razor Ramon. Talk about a dissapointment. Not only was it not Scott Hall (as the fans knew by this time) but the clock didn’t work and he had no entrance music! Ouch! Pretty dissapointing stuff from memory and still is looking back due to the technical difficulties. Ahmed eliminated the fake Razor right away and the fans loved that at least. May that guy rest in peace. I hear he is dead like the rest of the wrestling world in an event pre-2000. Ahmed had Crush and he went to throw him out but he rolled under the bottom rope and then Ahmed took apart Crush some more until he eliminated himself when he saw Farooq coming towards the ring. What an idiot. Crush is by himself in the ring.
Phinneas Godwinn was number four. Phinneas came out with Hilbilly Jim who gets a good reaction due to the event being in Texas. Phinneas with some rights to Crush in the corner of the ring. Phinneas then tried to throw Crush out but he hung onto the middle ropes. Crush wrapped himself around the ropes to try and avoid being eliminated. Crush took down Phinneas on the mat and then he gave him a solid kick to the head. Phinneas battled back and the two slugged it out. Crush then with a headbutt to Phinneas and he was cornered where Crush then hit Phinneas in the corner.
The Glass smashed so it must be someone`s Ass that is about to handed to them. Austin walked to the ring, took off the vest and Phinneas went to work on him. Phinneas caught him with a hard clothesline. Crush then gave Phinneas a couple of hard shots to the throat. Crush hammered on Phineas`s back. Crush held him up for Austin but he missed him and ended up clotheslining Crush. Phinneas then eliminated Crush and as he turned around Austin hit the Stunner. Stone Cold Steve Austin then mocked him with his head taunt. Stone Cold Steve Austin then threw out Phinneas afterwards.
Austin by himself in the Rumble match awaited Bart Gunn who ran to the ring and Stone Cold Steve Austin got caught with some left hands and then a sloppy looking legdrop. Bart then drove his forearm into the back of Austin`s head. Austin then clotheslined Bart Gunn out of the ring. Austin then started to do push up`s, HILLARIOUS. Austin got some laughs and cheers out of that. Austin then got to the top rope and wanted his next opponent. He checked his watch.
Austin wanted a Rumble victory to go along with his 1996 King of the Ring title. Jake Roberts`s music hit. The Snake was competing in his sixth Rumble match, which was more then anyone at the time. Austin hilariously got down on his knees and prayed while Roberts came to the ring and you have to watch up top of Jake to see it since they don`t show it directly on camera, check out the screen. Roberts ties up the wrist of Austin, in an attempt to get revenge from KOTR when Austin beat the hell out of him and his ribs. Jake not an Austin 3:16 follower. The clock got back working at least. This would be Jake`s last Rumble Match. Roberts hit a clothesline on Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Davey Boy Smith then came out next and Austin eliminated Roberts out of his last Rumble which again you have to watch the screen to see since it isn`t shown seen directly. Bulldog had problems with Stone Cold Steve Austin and then he stomped on him in the corner. Bulldog who had some success in Rumble matches, was a runner up in 95, and a final four in 1996. Bulldog then scooped up Stone Cold Steve Austin and slammed him hard against the canvas with his awesome looking powerslam! Bulldog and Owen Hart were the tag champions at the time but they both chose to enter the match to add to the storyline if Owen and Davey Boy Smith were perhaps falling apart…
Austin hung on to the ropes but Bulldog press slammed him. Out next was Pierroth. Bulldog had taken out Austin momentarily and then he went to work on Pierroth but he ended up clotheslining down Davey Boy Smith and then snapped him down and locked him with a reverse chinlock. Stone Cold Steve Austin came off the top and hit Davey Boy with a double axehandle and then Austin went for Pierroth. Pierroth and Bulldog then double teamed Austin, every man for themself!
Number 10 was The Sultan. He had been in many Rumble`s by this time, as Fatu but not as The Sultan, he`d later in his career enter a few as Rikishi. Sultan came in the ring and took on Pierroth and then Bulldog stomped on Austin in the corner of the ring. Austin was almost eliminated by The Bulldog but he didn`t go out and then he gave Bulldog a thumb to the eye. Sultan then slammed Pierroth to the mat hard. Austin then softened up Bulldog`s injured knee.
Out came Mil Mascaras. He actually gets a big pop, the crowd actually knows him which is a relief. He went to work on the Sultan and then hit him with a crossbody. Ring starting to fill up a bit as the action slows as most men try to wear the other down with some tying up all over the ringside area.
Hunter Heart Helmsley who had already wrestled earlier when he retained the IC title in an opening contest war. Helmsley wasn`t running at full speed and then he hit Bulldog in the corner with a succession of right hands. Helmsley had a good Rumble outing the year before this. Mil Mascaras then gave Helmsley some shots. Bulldog with a big clothesline to the Sultan and then eliminated him with a lot of power, showing great display of his upperbody strength. Austin then thought he had eliminated Triple H and celebrated to soon. Austin snapped him down and then drove the elbow into his sternum.
Number 13 was Owen Hart. Vince calls him “Bret Hart`s stinking rotten brother.“ King gets angry as he calls him a Slammy Award winner. Owen and Austin get it on in the ring and then Austin goes to eliminate Owen but Bulldog his tag partner saves him. Bulldog then scooped up Austin and then all of the sudden from behind Owen Hart hilariously eliminated Bulldog. Owen shook his head and Bulldog called him an idiot. AWEWSOME. King sticked up for Owen, great stuff.
Fourteenth was Goldust who had wrestled Hunter earlier. Goldust then in his first RUMBLE match, but had already wrestled in two Rumble Card PPV matches went for Austin from the get-go. Seems logical to go for the guy who had been in the longest. Mil Mascaras almost threw out Owen Hart and then in the other corner Pierroth and Goldust worked over Austin.
The Middle Entrant at Number 15 was Cibernético. Cibernético was only 20 years old, the youngest competitor in the match. He went straight for Mascaras. Austin rested in the corner. Cibernético grew up idolozing Mil Mascaras and the two went at it in the corner of the ring. Owen stomped on Goldust and Austin in the corner of the ring. Pierroth almost threw out Helmsley. Cibernético almost threw out Helmsley and Austin dropped his body weight on Owen in the corner. Cibernético then eliminated. Mil Mascaras eliminated Pierroth and then himself by jumping off the top with a crossbody. The second man to eliminate himself in this match. Hilarious.
Goldust got some revenge on Helmsley by eliminating him. Wildman Marc Mero came in the ring and then Owen hit a spinning heel kick to Austin. Stone Cold Steve Austin working over Owen in one corner and then Goldust pounding on Mero in the other. All four guys great competitors in the IC Division at the time. Some of them main event though like Owen and Austin at times which added more credibility to the division.
The Latin Lover came out at number 17 and he chopped Owen Hart pretty hard. Goldust threw Owen over but he flipped upside down showing his athleticism like he usually did and he came back in. No love loss between Mero and Austin as the two went at it. Owen then threw out Goldust and his night was over, but he did his job eliminating Hunter.
Farooq then came out and he came in the ring to join Mero, Austin, Owen and the Latin Lover. Those were the five that remained in the ring. Latin Lover got backdropped out by Farooq and that was it for the AAA Mexican Wrestlers. Stone Cold Steve Austin and Farooq went at it in a slobber knocker according to JR, fists were flying. Ahmed came out with a 2×4 and continued the feud with Farooq and he fell to the outside and was eliminated by a guy not even in the match but he went over so he was out. Ahmed earlier eliminated himself in attempt to get revenge on Farooq. Austin then eliminated Owen Hart and Marc Mero both!
Savio Vega came in to join Austin alone in the ring. Austin and Vega had a history, they mention the Classic Strap Match. Austin had a history with Owen, Bulldog, Mero, Vega, just about everyone. Savio hit a spinning heel kick to Austin. Stone Cold Steve Austin was obvioussly the more fatigued of the two and then Austin hooked the ropes and reversed a move by Vega and then he clotheslined Vega out of the ring. A lot of the fans took notice of the effort of Stone Cold Steve Austin and the fans cheered. Austin then signalled for more. Steve wanted more competition.
Jesse James (better known as Road Dogg) came out and he gave lefts and rights to Austin. Jesse James then hit austin with a clothesline did a strut but Austin threw him out and over but he stayed on the apron until catching a reverse elbow by Austin. Stone Cold Steve Austin the star of the match and all by himself, the story of the Rumble. Austin had gone through everyone and he fingered the crowd even though some cheered him on and then he sat on the turnbuckle waiting for the next entrant.
We`re so used to seeing Austin as a BAD ASS but when Bret`s theme hit, Austin looked as scared as ever. Stone Cold had been to hell and back and now had to face the best in the business and his biggest rival. Austin put his hands over his head in fear, Bret got a great pop and Vince screamed “YES!“ the last time Bret was in a Rumble match he co-won it in 94. It`s such a refreshing sight to see Austin and Bret go at it in the middle of the ring together alone in a Rumble match and the fans ate it up. Good stuff! Bret worked on Austin in the corner. Bret then locked Austin in the Sharpshooter!
King`s music hit and he left the broadcast booth. In one of the best spots of the Rumble match he took off his jacket, he said “It takes a King!“ then Bret gives King an uppercut after dropping the Sharpshooter on Austin, and then he said “to know a king!“ just seconds later. Hilarious. At least he didn`t hide under the ring this time. Austin had been in for 24 minutes and Bret with a headbutt to Austin in the lower abdomen. Bret then with a back breaker to Austin.
The 23rd entrant was Big Daddy FAKE Glen Jacobs Diesel. Bret went right back to Austin in the corner and gave him a sound headbutt in the corner of the ring. Diesel then attacked Bret from behind and gave Bret a hard shot as well and slammed his head in the top of the buckle. Diesel then threw his body weight into Bret in the corner and then tried to throw out Steve Austin in the corner. Austin raked the eyes and then Austin and Hart like two pitbulls went right back at it. Austin threw Bret`s sternum into the corner.
Middle aged and crazy Terry Funk jumped the gun and the Texas Legend came out before the buzzer hit to no theme. Funk then cornered Austin and he gave him a hard left hand in the corner. Funk and Austin got it on so to speak on Shotgun Saturday Night which you can see as an Extra on Austin`s Life and Legacy DVD on Disc 1. Funk and Austin, two of Texas`s legends went to work in the corner while Bret choked out Diesel in the other corner. Austin almost had Funk eliminated but Bret dropped Austin to save Funk. Funk then hit Bret in the mid-section.
Funk, Bret, Austin, and the Fake Diesel were the four guys left. Funk gave Bret a botched piledriver and then The Rock came out. Rocky Maivia came in the ring and hammered on the soon be Kane, who is the Fake Diesel inside the ring. Look at the talent in the ring, Rock, Bret, Austin, Funk, Glen Jacobs. Bret then went to throw out Funk but he remained in the ring. Rock went to eliminate Austin. That`s strange seeing Rock and Austin tangle this early. Rock then tried to eliminate Diesel in the corner.
Mankind was the next entrant, number 26! Foley now joined the likes of Rock, Funk, Diesel, Austin, Bret. Legends galore. Star power everywhere! Just what you need when you want to end a Royal Rumble match.
Diesel gave Rock some elbows in the corner of the ring. Austin then suplexed the Hitman and hammered away on Bret. Austin had been through hell, a lot of guys had the endurance in previous Rumbles but I do not know if any of them were as memorable as good as Austin here. Austin with a jaw breaker to Bret. Flash Funk is #27. Funk comes towards the ring, he is a good worker in his own right when he was Scorpio anyway. Surprisingly it didnèt take Funk and I mean Flash, as there were two Funks in the ring, 20 minutes to enter. Flash Funk took down Terry Funk and Diesel. Hart tried to eliminate Austin. Rock and Mankind went at it. Again, very strange to see any kind of connection between Rock and Bret, Rock and Funk, Rock and Austin, Rock and Jacobs, Rock and Foley, just given the fact Rock had only been in the company under 2 months.
Vader time at #28. After a controversial victory over Taker (who had still not entered) out came the Mastadon to add to the star power of the match. Funk almost eliminated Foley. So many stars in the ring right now, I will say it again. Scorpio, Terry Funk, Vader, Austin, Bret, Foley, Rock, Jacobs! Crazy. It is certainly good booking to keep these stars for late in the match. Bret Hart then with hard right hands to Vader. Vader beat Bret on Raw recently so Bret wanted revenge.
#29 entered the ring and it was Henry Godwin. His “brother” was out earlier but he had his ass handed to him by the Rattlesnake. Godwin was the second entrant in 1996 and then went straight for Vader and knocked him down.
Rocky Maivia then went for Funk on the outside apron.
The 30th and final entrant came out and it was none other then The Phenom. The Undertaker had lost to Vader earlier in the night so he had a score to settle. The lights went out and King said that’s the way they should of done the whole Royal Rumble! Good stuff. Taker came to the ring and he joined all the other legends. I’ll do a final run down since it’s so significant. We had Austin and Bret who are arguably the two best ever, Taker and his soon to be brother Kane. Terry Funk and Scorpio. Godwin, Foley, The Rock and Vader. Big time competitors remaining.
Taker gave Austin a chokeslam. Then for follow up from earlier in the night he gave Vader a chokeslam for the second time n the night. Interesting to see Taker go for the Fake Diesel given who it is obvioussly.
The Favourite was Taker or Bret said McMahon. Rock with right hands to Taker. Vader then threw Flash Funk out of the ring. Terry Funk gave Godwin some shots. Mankind worked on Jacobs, Austin speared Bret in the corner. Action all over the ring and everybody had entered the ring!
Brawling in every corner. Austin had been in the ring for over fourty minutes and his mannerisms, taunts, attitude, endurance, skill and everything else was the highlight of the Rumble. Rock then who Lawler kept calling THE ROOKIE almost threw out The Hitman! Interesting to see Rock and Bret go at it. Austin and Funk hooked up in the corner and exchanged a chopping war.
Taker grabbed Godwin and unbelievable strength as he threw Henry Godwin right out of the ring after grabbing him by the throat. Vader with hard shots to Diesel in the corner. Taker then almost eliminated Austin, Rock came off the top and Foley caught him with the Mandible claw and then Mankind eliminated The Rock. Foley then had Funk tied up in the ropes and Foley and Funk have a history and the two go at it in a big way and the two double clothesline each other over the top rope but both feet of either men didn’t hit the floor. Mankind then suplexed Funk over the top rope and he’s out and you can hear the boos from the Texas crowd. A lot of rivalries in this one, Taker threw out Mankind.
The officials distracted by Funk and Foley going at it on the outside and then Bret threw out Austin to the biggest pop of the night. Austin after so much comes into the ring behind the officials back and he eliminated two men in Taker and Vader. Bret then threw out Diesel and Austin came from behind and eliminated Bret Hart. Both unique and controversial.
This added to the whole “Bret getting screwed” slow transition into the heel turn wonderfully. Bret threw a fit after the match, and went to the commentary booth and grabbed Vince after Austin walked by him and declared himself the winner.
So after being eliminated, Mankind and Terry Funk began brawling outside the ring and had to be broken up by referees. This was the significant spot because as this was going on, Hart eliminated Austin but as the referees were preoccupied with the brawl, Austin’s elimination was unseen. Austin then snuck back in and proceeded to illegally eliminate Vader and the Undertaker (who were fighting on the ropes) and then Bret Hart (who had just eliminated the fake Diesel) to win the 1997 Royal Rumble at 50:29.
Royal Rumble 3:16 #1, he added a Rumble victory as well as KOTR title to his resume, Austin was on fire but the best was yet to come. He`d wrestle perhaps his finest match and his most important match ever in just two months at Mania.
It was a unique ending but the fans were puzzled clearly as they probably didn’t know if Austin was supposed to go out, or if it was all in kayfabe where he’d sneak back in so it didn’t come off well LIVE but looking back it’s a pretty epic finish that added more fuel to the already existing Bret/Austin fire. It added more fuel to the fired up “Screwed” Hitman character.
It had its moments, with star power at the end. Austin was the star and made the Rumble match basically, nicely paced, some hillarious spots, fun stuff for the most part.
A great Rumble match but not one of the very best overall, still very good carried by Austin in Texas.
I have there Survivor Series 1996 clash from the Garden at the full four stars.
HBK gets a huge ovation as he comes out in his hometown of San Antonio with pyro’s and all. He gives his mother a hug at ringside and then poses and dances, takes up more time then the match itself I’m pretty sure.
Sid is the villain here obvioussly and looks pretty intimidating as WWF Champion with his black vest and that bad ass Psycho theme, and the letters S-I-D beside him at ringside with his pyro.
This is your typical Heel beat down the Face until he makes his triumphant comeback type match.
This was a highly anticipated match, especially in Shawn’s hometown. A great feud and the rivalry was personal.
Could Shawn Michaels do it though? Could he take on the Master and the Ruler of the world and win back the title to close this rivalry? After Shawn poses for an eternity (but it was good for the spectacle of the whole thing) the match finally begins.
Shawn Michaels stood toe to toe with the big man. Shawn then got shoved down by Sid who had the great size advantage and then Shawn fliped back but went right back face to face and smiled at Sid. Shawn tried to play mind games but Shawn Michaels got shoved down again and Sid gave him some hrd forearm shots. Sid then with a hard shot to the gut followed by an irish whip which Shawn ducked but then caught Sid with a crossbody and then slammed him head first to the mat. Shawn Michaels then had the support of the crowd and kicked Sid to the outside. Sid layed there as he knew if he got counted out he could keep the title.
Shawn Michaels then went to the outside but Sid was toying with him as he threw Shawn into the apron, lifted him up but Shawn landed. Shawn then had Sid back in the ring, came off the top but Sid caught him in mid air and slammed him to the mat. Sid then got behind Shawn Michaels and slapped on a camel clutch to wear down the quick challenger. Shawn had the flu around this time which would effect his stamina in the match and then Shawn was being worn down by not only the Camel Clutch but Sid dropping his weight down on Shawn. Jose Lathario said this would be the last time he would come out with Michaels. I still say the best moment for him was at KOTR 96 when Owen called him Jose Estrada a dirty Mexican.
Shawn got out of the clutch predicament and used the fan support for motivation and then Sid reversed an irish whip to Shawn Michaels into the corner but Shawn caught him with a boot to the jaw. Sid still had the power to threw Shawn inside out and upside down over the top rope. Shawn bumps so well. Sid on the outside then picked up HBK Shawn Michaels and slammed him into the unforgiving steel ring post twice. The kidneys and the lower back being damaged by Sid. sid with a hard forearm shot to Shawn Michaels. Sid clearly the agressor and working on the lower back area was the Big Champion disecting the challenger. Sid trying to wear down HBK and keep things basic. Sid with his power and intimidation utilized it greatly and had a chinlock but Shawn Michaels got back to his feet with some shots, he sprung off the side ropes but Sid hit a clothesline.
The fans booed Sid and he got great heat, and Sid began to taunt him and did the Hogan ear taunt, clearly because he is the master and ruler of the world. There`s no denying the great chemistry between Shawn and Sid. Sid continuing to damage the lower back of HBK and irish whipped him twice to the turnbuckle. Sid then slapped on a bearhug. Michaels had the fans clapping and he got out of the bear hug and hit an inverted atomic drop to Sid and then he went off the top rope but Sid caught him in the air and slapped on a bearhug. Sid the aggressor continued to damage the lower back of HBK, a simple and yet basic formula for most Sid matches to keep things slower but it worked effectively here given the story of the match.
Sid came off the side ropes with a leg drop and got a close nearfall. Sid then with a reverse chinlock to Michaels. Shawn Michaels then flipped over Sid and slammed him after a few hard shots. Michaels reversed to the side ropes and came off with a flying forearm, the basic HBK comeback. Shawn then kicked up and went upstairs and with Sid down he nailed him with the elbow. Shawn Michaels building momentum and the crowd loved it. Shawn in the corner tuning up the band and went for the Sweet Chin Music, Sid turned him around, missed with the right hand, turned around again, and then Sid elevated Michaels all the way over the top rope to the floor. Sid then went to Powerbomb HBK on the outside of the ring and he did it!
Sid grabbed Jose by the throat and King`s laugh was hysterical. Sid threw HBK back in the ring which bought him some time. Nice psychology by Sid to work on HBK`s back in this match, especially with the powerbomb on the floor. Sid hit a chokeslam to Michaels but the official was knocked down. Keota came in as a replacement but Michaels kicked out! Sid then in the corner with a couple of hard rights and then he struck Keota. Sid then choked out Shawn with his boot as he was down in the corner. Jose came on the apron and then a camera guy gave his camera to Shawn who hit Sid with the camera getting revenge from SS 96 and the fans went wild! HBK covered Sid and there was still no ref despite Jose getting Hebner who slowly began to count but only got to two.
Sid kicked out and then Shawn went in the corner and tuned up the band and hit the Sweet Chin Music!
In the end Michaels pinned Sid after after hitting him with a camera (revenge for Lathario being hit from Survivor Series 1996), followed by a Sweet Chin Music at 13:49 to win the WWF Championship for a second time in his own hometown!
Shawn has done it! It`s too bad this reign didn`t last awhile due to the smile being gone from Hickenbottom just all of the sudden.
Shawn Michaels later vacated the WWF Championship on the Thursday RAW Thursday special. So due to this and the controversial situation over the Royal Rumble ending, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Vader were pitted against each other at In Your House 13: Final Four in a Four Corners match for the WWF Championship. As a result, Austin was the first Royal Rumble winner to not receive a WWF Championship shot at the following WrestleMania since the stipulation was introduced in 1993. But it’s ok because Stone Cold did get to main event a Wrestlemania and win the gold in a year in which he did not win the Rumble (1999) so it all evens outself out in the end. Plus this Mania of the year 1997 was most remembered for Steve Austin’s match anyway and not the WWF Title match itself.
This Main event title here match was kept relatively short but that came off well as Sid doesen’t usually fair all that great in long matches. Not nearly as good as Sid’s arguable best match at Survivor Series 1996 with Shawn Michaels but this one was still pretty good overall.
Great booking in parts, typical formula but worked well.
I enjoyed this, better then I remembered, very good ending.
This show has been called a dissapoint, average, and not one of the best Rumble’s. While all that might be true, it’s still hard to ignore some of the candid storytelling in the undercard matches, the unique feeling this event had in front of the Rumble’s largest crowd, the feel good ending, the controversy and the overall action. Considering all things, logic would say a 6.5/10 rating seems fair. Pretty good event overall.