Brett Mix’s- WWF Royal Rumble 1998 Review:
“Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Is going to WRESTLEMANIA!!!” –Jim Ross
-WWF Royal Rumble 1998 took place on Sunday, January 18th, 1998 in San Jose, California in front of 18, 500 fans.
-This was the 11th Annual WWF Royal Rumble event.
-The event was taglined “”Pain! Just a 4 Letter Word.””
-The build up to the Royal Rumble match itself focused almost entirely on Stone Cold Steve Austin. Infact visible in front of the camera all night long is a sign that reads “Stone Cold is Bout It”. He declared that before the match he would be living by the motto “Do unto others, before they do unto me” interfering in matches regularly on Raw is War, or appearing just as matches finished, delivering the stunner to anyone in sight as well leaving other wrestlers back stage buried under tables and chairs. In the final segment of the Raw preceding the event, all competitors of the Royal Rumble were in the ring, waiting to draw their number of entry when Austin ran in through the crowd and began throw punches all over the ring, sparking a brawl between the various wrestlers fueding in the ring, and kicking the number generator out of the ring.
-Triple H and Chyna were not entrants in the Royal Rumble Match despite appearing.
-This is the only Rumble where someone has came in as seperate personalities. Mick Foley did so in three different persona’s in this Rumble match and even made the final four as his weakest of the three.
-Referee Jack Doan was inadvertenly kicked by Phineas Godwinn during his elimination, resulting in the referee suffering a concussion.
-Jim Ross and The King call the action together for the first time with just them two at a Rumble event. This marked the 10th time of 11 Royal Rumble events where the commentary pairing was altered.
-Mike Tyson is in a skybox above before the whole “Austin-Tyson-DX” storyline took place on the way to WM 14, infact it would begin the next night on Raw.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- Vader vs The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (with Luna Vachon)
The Mastadon was well over in San Jose.
Goldust, well he….well I actually don’t know what the hell he was in this match. A mixture of Marilyn Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Prince, Leonardo (The Ninja Turtle) and Alice Cooper I guess.
In any event (OH no, I’m sounding like McMahon now) Goldust began the match by attacking the big man from the beginning.
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust is just going to have to be called Goldust whether he likes it or not. Poor Dustin Rhodes, he actually was in a gimmick that made him look worse then the one where he rubs himself down and acts like a Queer. Worse yet, with his weight they actually had him dress like Sable. At least they don’t dress him up like a baby….oh wait they did that too, in a Crapper 3:16 no less.
Goldust obvioussly tried to gain an early advantage on Vader by hitting him with some solid shots until Vader irishwhipped Goldust into the corner and then he got a big splash. Goldust then got out of the ring and the place booed until Vader met him with another splash. Vader posed and the fans ate it up, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler put over how Austin hasn’t arrived yet. Apparently this show is about one person. Might as well have been.
Vader chants as he rammed Goldust into the steel steps. Vader then grabbed the steel steps and referee Jack Doan said he can’t use them or he’d lose the match. Goldust then connected with a stiff clothesline after Luna distracted Vader. Goldust hit a sunsetflip and Vader dropped his body weight on him and he avoided the contact then struck quickly with another clothesline. Goldust then with a elbow drop to Vader’s Quad. Goldust off the top drops the elbow into the groin of Vader. They’re actually calling him the son of American Dream Dusty Rhodes so you can see Kayfabe starting to die a little. Goldust then irish whipped Vader hard into the steel steps. Luna behind the officials back choked some of the oxygen out of the big man.
Back in the ring Goldust stomped on vader and raked his face before hitting him with some rights and lefts in the corner. Goldust then went up top and got 9 right hands in and then proceeded to lay his lips on Vader. Vader then hit an inside out left handed clothesline to Goldust. Goldust then with a slap and an attempt to scoop slam Vader and he pulled his lower back when attempting to slam him until Vader kicked him in the groin and slapped on a front facelock followed by a vertical suplex. Vader off the side ropes hit a big splash on Goldust but only got a two count. The Man they call Vader then hit a STIFF clothesline. Jim Ross then lets us know something I didn’t want to know, “Vader is thick.” Good. Vader then signalled for a Vader Bomb and went up and shook the ropes until Goldust hit a low blow, while the ref was containing Luna from coming in.
Goldust went for a sunsetflip on Vader again and still can’t do it because of Vader’s body weight, only this time Vader connects when dropping the bodyweight to Goldust and then he calls for a Vader Bomb and he drags Golddust to the corner of the ring. Vader doesen’t care when Luna jumps on his back so he hits the splash with her on top which gets a big pop and he gets the three.
In the end Vader won at 7:47 when pinning The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust after a Vader Bomb with a sprinkle of Luna.
Decent in parts, pretty solid opener but nothing more.
2) Max Mini, Mosaic and Nova vs Battalion, El Torito and Tarantula in a special 6 man midget tag (w/Sunny as Special Guest Referee) Lawler made me laugh a dozen times during this match, I loved how he hated every babyface back then with a passion like Taka or Max Mini in this case. The King poked fun at Mini a ton of times during this match with many different short jokes.
“The Sharks play hockey in this rink, if Max played he’d have to be on an ice cube.”
“If Max Mini and Sunny ever had a baby, it’d be good it would give Max somebody to look up to.”
“I saw Max Mini in the back before the show went on the air and he was reading a book. Little Women.”
“Don’t worry, I heard Max Mini has been hurt before. I heard he tried to commit suicide by jumping off a curb.”
Among many others cracked me up which is a bonus to the actual match paying off big time.
Sunny of course was amazingly attractive in this period, probably her peak, this was just before the 98 Sable Boom.
Dave Meltzer rates this match *** 1/2, and the reason that might be semi-controversial is because it’s the same rating he gave Ric Flair vs Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 24. I happen to think there’s at least a star and a half difference between the two but that might be just me.
Nova started in there and got clotheslined by Tarantula. Nova then hit an armdrag takedown followed by a quick head scissors take over. Nova dropkicked him to the outside and I liked Max Mini’s offense after this, a modified armdrag take over mixed with other high flying moves made it fun to watch.
El Torito got tagged in after Battalion did some damage to Mini and then Mini tagged in Moasic. El Tarito hit Moasic with some nice elevation and then irish whipped him before Moasic countered in mid-air with some decent looking arm drag sequences over and over. Tarantula then hit Moasic with a nice clothesline before tagging in Batallion. El Torito then got taken down by Nova and then he went to splash Nova but he countered again in mid-air several times with armdrag take down’s. This was a replayed spot in the match.
It was still fun to watch though.
Mosaic with head scissors to Battalion was a familar spot with him. Tatantula came in the ring and delivered Max Mini a big boot to the face. Max Mini got back dropped onto the apron which is a long way up from him, he came off the top with a hurricanrauna and then a backslam. Max Mini then slid to the outside trying to get to Tarantula. Max Mini got back in the ring and was booted from behind by El Torito which the San Jose fans reacted to appropriately. Max Mini was the smallest athlete in the world at this time at just 87 pounds.
Max Mini though kicked El Torito in the mid-section, came off the bottom to side ropes for some sort of leverage but ended up taking a big right hand, until ducking under Sunny where she’d then pick him up and he hit drop kicks on all of his opponents in the ring. Battalion then chopped Mosaic in the ring and he took him to the outside before a cannonball to the outside through the ropes. EL Torito then with a moonsault, and Max Mini with a springboard corkscrew. Tarantula then dove out to the outside on everyone which just left Nova to fly out there and sprung backwards off the middle rope with a moonsault onto everyone.
Back in the ring Max Mini was in there with El Torito. Max Mini then capitalized off of El Torito missin ghis mark and jumped off the top with a head scissors take over, armdrag into a cradle pinning combination and the victory!
So in the end Max pinned Torito with a Cradle at 7:49.
Wow it’s hard to believe this was JUST 2 seconds longer then the opener, it felt a little shorter (no pun intended) due to the insane pacing.
In the weeks leading up to the pay-per-view, Ken Shamrock had been facing various members of the Nation of Domination ahead of his booked match against Intercontinental champion Rocky Maivia, defeating Kama Mustafa and Faarooq with his ankle lock despite interference from other Nation members. The Raw is War before the Rumble saw Shamrock tag up with Mark Henry against Maivia and D’Lo Brown but just as Shamrock looked set to lock his submission on The Rock, Henry turned on him, joining the Nation in giving him a post-match beat down.
3) The Rock (c) vs Ken Shamrock for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Rocky still had his Nation theme during this event and he cut a great promo before the match continuing to improve into 1998 where he would really break out.
This wasn’t as FUN as there Wrestlemania 14 match, a little slower but still solid and in my opinion the best match to this point on the evening.
Ken Shamrock got a huge pop when announced from Sacramento California. Rock had a ton of heel heat to which helped Shamrock’s popularity in the match. Rock was starting to get some fans due to him starting to come out of his shell as a true character but that didn’t really start to pick up with most fans at live events until the Spring-Summer of 1998 further down the line in his reign.
Ross pimps Rock’s wait and leverage advantage, while pointing out Shamrock’s more then just a submission only athlete and he has adapted well to the WWF style.
Both men tie up mid-ring after a some hesitation and Rock forced Ken Shamrock into a corner and then went for a right hand (a cheap shot) after Keota told him to break but the World’s Most Dangerous Man had him well scouted.
Both men tied up yet again and this time Shamrock got Rock into a corner. Rock tried to get another cheap shot but Ken Shamrock blocked a right hand from the Champ and followed it with one of his own and Rock looks pissed. Rock flexed the Pecs and then kicked Ken Shamrock in the mid-section before hitting some rights and then he was irish whipped to the ropes, ducked a clothesline and then Shamrock with a thrust kick to the shoulder of Rock took him down before being sent to the outside by Ken Shamrock.
Rock was getting a ton of heat outside the ring and he lipped off some fans. Rock was hesitant to come back in the ring, Rock’s hesitation suited his coward character at the time but it definately slowed this bout’s pace down considerably. Rock cornered Ken Shamrock and hit some right hands before a hard irish whip and a clothesline. The Rock stayed on top of Shamrock with some right hands until Ken Shamrock retaliated with a clothesline. Shamrock went for a hurricanrauna but Rocky blocked it and was able to elevate Ken Shamrock into the air throat first on the top rope. Rock with the advanatage stomped on Ken Shamrock while the fans chanted that he sucked of course. Shamrock after the FANS bought him some time hit some right hands but Rock still cornered him and dropped him low with some stomps up high to Shamrock. Rock choked him out trying to build upon his advantage. Ken Shamrock had yet another instance where he’d fight back with hard rights and lefts followed by a crossbody off the ropes and a fishermans suplex and a nearfall. Rock though got up first and hit him with a clothesline and just tossed Shamrock outside of the ring.
Rock sent Ken Shamrock face first into the steel steps.
Rock sent him back in the ring under the bottom rope. Ken Shamrock relied on his fists again to get back on the offensive, but Rock came off the ropes with AN AMAZING DDT.
Literally, amazing. It got by far the biggest pop of the night to this point, he came off the ropes and Shamrock flipped absolutely perfectly. Rock went right into a reverse chinlock into a headlock after this while the fans chanted he sucked.
Ken Shamrock up to a vertical base and Rock went for another DDT this time out of desperation but Ken Shamrock wisely countered with a modified fireman carry takeover, and with great elevation! Both men down and Keota counted up.
Ken Shamrock was able to block some of Rock’s offense and then he hit him with a powerslam. Ken Shamrock with fists to Rock and it appears as though he has snapped again. Rock rakes the eyes of Shamrock and then sends him face first into the turnbuckle. Shamrock then with a hurricanrana from the corner and Rock reached into his tights.
The Nation ran to the ring, Ken Shamrock knocked them off the apron and Rock hit Ken Shamrock with brass kuckles, then pinned Shamrock but he kicked out to the fans surprise!
Rock picked up Shamrock, but Ken Shamrock reversed it into a belly to belly suplex!
Ken Shamrock gets the three. It appears as though he won, he’s announced the NEW IC Champion. But wait, there’s more to the story as Rock complained to Mike Keota.
Shamrock originally pinned Rock after a belly-to-belly suplex. However, after persuasion from The Rock, the referee found a pair of brass knuckles The Rock had planted in Shamrock’s trunks and Rock was given a disqualification win at 10:53 and then some.
Good ending, I remember my brother was a huge Rock fan at the time (before many were) at this point and called it “the best thing on the show” the next day after the show was complete.
Ken Shamrock then lipped off Keota, he suplexed him and he tapped out until more referee’s ran out and Shamrock cleared them out. The World’s Most Dangerous Man was still not the IC Champion but San Jose was chanting for Shamrock.
Good match here.
4) The Legion Of Doom (Hawk and Animal) vs The New Age Outlaws (c) (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) for the WWF Tag Team ChampionshipA Decent tag match that never really picked up is this match, Road Dogg and Gunn had Green Bay Packer Jersey’s on during the match to gain heat from the Bay Crowd area.
Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were very entertaining as a team at this point, both on the mic (mostly Road Dogg) and with some of there actions during matches. It was likely the heel tactics like wearing a despised sports team jersey’s to ensure they’d get a lot of heat due to them being pretty entertaining. Animal and Hawk though had a Legion (no pun intended) of fans so it’s not as if the extra heat was needed but it worked.
Road Warrior Animal had a sore back coming into the match due to a slam through the table on Raw weeks before the match. The Warriors (mostly Animal) cut a 80’s like promo before the match.
The AWA titles in 84, the NWA titles in 88, the WWF titles in the early 90’s, no team could quite measure up to the success of this team. King mentioned they had impressive statistics in the past, but the key term being the past which couldn’t of been more true.
The Outlaws were definately more cutting edge while LOD were just old school. Road Dogg was elevated with a powerbomb by Road Warrior Animal early on in the match and the Outlaws went for a little walk.
New Age Outlaws tried leaving ringside but the Road Warriors threw them back in the ring. Hawk then irish whipped Road Dogg and caught him with a shoulder block. Hawk with another hard clothesline and a boot to the face from the corner. Hawk jumped down with an elbow and then tagged in Road Warrior Animal.
Both men hit Dogg with a reverse elbow. Road Warrior Animal then twisting the neck of Dogg. Road Warrior Hawk hit a reverse neck breaker to Road Dogg when being tagged in but he still managed to tag in Gunn but he got taken down with a Lou Thesz press by Hawk. Road Warrior Hawk then swung Gunn by the hair in a circle until he landed face first on the mat and then tagged in Animal. Road Warrior Animal with a back suplex to Billy Gunn after he missed a right hand. Road Warrior Animal then missed an elbow drop and Gunn connected with a right and then off the ropes Road Warrior Animal hit him with a powerslam!
Road Dogg came in and got powerslammed by Road Warrior Animal as well! Road Warrior Animal then put Billy Gunn into a Camel Clutch. LOD then isolated Gunn in there corner of the ring. Hawk then slapped an STF on Gunn and tagged in Road Warrior Animal.
Animal got sent to the ropes and tripped by Dogg on the outside behind the official’s back and then Gunn sent him over the ropes to the outside. Road Dogg irish whipped Road Warrior Animal into the steel steps who already had an injured lower back. Road Dogg beat on Animal’s back outside the ring with some kicks all behind the official’s back apparently as Hawk was trying to get him to turn around. Road Warrior Hawk charged in the rihg with Gunn and then both younger, fresher Outlaws took over Hawk in the corner. JR thought Animal was the legal man and so did I. Sloppy stuff here outside the few good moves.
Road Warrior Hawk charged towards Road Dogg but caught nothing but the ring post and he rammed shoulder first. Road Dogg sent Hawk face first into the steps. Road Dogg then handcuffed Hawk to the ring post. Gunn beat on Animal and then both Outlaws in the middle of the ring went for a double backdrop to the hurt Animal but he flipped over and hit a double clothesline. Road Warrior Animal then hit a shoulder block to Gunn and then got a nearfall. The underdog story wasn’t going to quite work here, as Gunn hit Road Warrior Animal with a thumb to the eye. Gunn went for blow from the top but Road Warrior Animal hit a sloppy looking powerslam.
In the end The NAO were disqualified after Road Dogg hit Animal with a steel chair while Animal was pinning Gunn at 7:56 after the powerslam.
Second straight DQ title match.
Fans weren’t happy with the decision and this wasn’t exactly the best passing of times type match.
In the long run it’ll be remembered as nothing more then filler before the Rumble match.
5) The 1998 WWF Royal Rumble Match1 Cactus Jack
02 Chainsaw Charlie
03 Tom Brandi
04 The Rock
06 Phineas Godwin
08 Blackjack Bradshaw
09 Owen Hart
10 Steve Blackman
11 D’Lo Brown
13 Marc Mero
14 Ken Shamrock
17 The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust
18 Jeff Jarrett (lone NWA representative)
19 Honky Tonk Man
20 Ahmed Johnson
21 Mark Henry
22 Skull – Unable to compete
23 Kama Mustafa
24 Stone Cold Steve Austin
25 Henry Godwinn
26 Savio Vega
28 Dude Love
As you can see, despite it lacking in talent it DID INCLUDE one red-hot Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Actually, I didn’t wonder then and I don’t wonder now. When anyone even says the year “1998” I immediately think of the Texas Rattlesnake. He’s as 1998 as the Goo Goo Dolls, Southpark or Spice Girls, actually probably even more.
Onto the Rumble! 90 Second intervals again this year, I find that time works best, unfortunately this isn’t the greatest match. I don’t think that’d be hard to guess looking at the lineup.
Cactus Jack comes out as #1, Funk comes out at #2 to the sounds of nothing else but a Chainsaw! Old School Funk and Foley start off the Rumble and for the first time in its history, things get a little bit extreme. A little bit over the edge, maybe just a little bit INSANE. Cactus Jack backed through the middle ropes as Funk came at him with a Chainsaw. Foley threw Chairs into the rings and Funk just chainsawed them away. Cactus Jack then smacked the Chainsaw out of Funk’s hand with a chair and the bell rang. Funk connected with some hard shots to Foley. Cactus Jack then hit Funk with a few shots. All of the sudden Chainsaw Charlie asked for a big shot and Cactus Jack delivered with a giant one to the cranium which King says knocked the FUNK out of him. Cactus Jack then gave Funk the chair and he asked for a shot. Funk then went to throw out Foley over the top rope and the buzzer rang.
Tom Brandi who had a forgettable run as Salvatory Sincere (the ultimate jobber on WWF Superstars) was thrown over the top rope by both Foley and Funk within ten seconds of his arrival. Charlie and Jack, Funk and Foley, whatever you call them brawled it out in the middle of the ring hitting hard rights back and forth. Cactus Jack elevated Funk with a backdrop in the air. Cactus Jack then suplexed Funk’s middle aged back through two folding chairs. Cactus Jack went to throw out Funk but he hung onto the ropes.
The Rock was next. Nation’s theme hit and out comes Rocky Maivia for the 2nd time on the night. Rock’s impressive and often forgotten Rumble performance gets underway here. Rock with a right hand to Terry Funk in the corner of the ring, these two actually battled it out in the 97 Rumble a bit. Funk then raked the eyes of Rock and Cactus Jack hit Rock in the head with a trash can. (I guess Rock would pay him back with head shots the next year) Both guys hit chairs to Rock who had a trashcan on his head and then he fell out through the ropes, not over. Funk then low-blowed Cactus Jack who was posing on the top turnbuckle.
Headbanger Mosh came out next. Rock must of hated being in the same ring as him, do you not remember what The Great One said backstage at Royal Rumble 2000? Mick Foley as Cactus Jack here took apart The Rock in a corner while Funk headbutted Mosh. Chainsaw Charlie with a moonsault from the top to Mosh but he missed it and hit the canvas.
Phineas Godwinn comes out next and he gets a ton of heel heat, and maybe in that X-Pac Heat kind of way. Phineas and Rock then pounded on Mosh. Rock couldn’t wait for another heel to join the ring area clearly so he could double team with another heel, and Phineass during this period was now a heel. Phineass worked over Charlie in the corner, until Rock hit him with a right hand and Foley was tangled up with Mosh in the corner.
Out ran 8-Ball at #7. Jim Ross wonders if seven is going to be his lucky number, I don’t… Cactus Jack got thrown out of the ring by Chainsaw Charlie after a backdrop over the top rope. Foley wasn’t done on the night though, and something tells me we’d see him again. Just a feeling I had. Phineas with a camel clutch to 8-Ball, Rock worked over Funk, Mosh hung around in there teaming with 8-Ball on Phineass Gowdinn. Rock kicked at Funk and nearly got him out but he held on somehow.
#8 was Blackjack Bradshaw. Bradshaw hit Mosh with some knees to the gut and Phines and 8-Ball were in the mix, while still in the corner of the ring Rock and Funk were going at it.
At nine, the Soul Survivor- Owen Hart came out to a good pop as this was just a bit after the screwjob and during his brief face run. Jarrett and Cornette though came out pre-maturely and attacked him for no reason at all with a racket. Owen was taken out of the action for awhile. Jarrett walked to the back, oh and I should note Mike Tyson and Shane McMahon give Owen a standing ovation until Jarrett’s attack. Jim Ross calls him the sole survivor. I’m not even going to touch that one but the good thing is he came back in the match. The action in the ring meanwhile continued.
Steve Blackman was #10. The Martial Arts expert came out and went right for Chainsaw Charlie and hit him with a right hand and he flipped over the ropes but only one of his feet hit the floor while his hand was tied up in the ropes. 8-Ball then hit a piledriver to Chainsaw Charlie. Rock and Phineas Godwin choked out Steve Blackman on the top of the rope, Bradshaw kicked at Funk, Rock went over and kicked at Mosh and 8-Ball joined him. Blackman then choked Phineas in the corner of the ring with his boot. Blackjack Bradshaw then man handled Chainsaw Charlie and hit him with a devistating powerbomb to the back of the already hurt middle aged and crazy Funk.
D-Lo Brown then made his in-ring Rumble debut as we saw the 2nd of 5 Nation members to enter the ring. Rock choked out Blackman in the corner with his boot while Bradshaw whipped D-Lo Brown into the corner of the ring. D-Lo and Rock teamed up on Bradshaw in the corner showing there Nation unity until Rock and D-Lo went at it and the fans reacted to this spot well. Action all over the ring.
#12 was Kuurgan. We at least he didn’t get a feud with Undertaker or a World Title Reign because that would of been so cliche. Kuurgan had his face raked by Mosh and then up high Kurrgan threw him out. Blackman went for a high kick to Kurrgan and then choked him out in the corner before hitting him with a gut shot with his knees. Kuurgan then dropped an elbow to the back of Blackman’s head in mid-ring. Bradshaw meanwhile tried to suplex The Rock out of the ring.
#13 was The Man formally known as “WILDMAN” Marc Mero with Sable. Mero now as a tweener and a boxer with short hair attacked Blackman in the ring. They’d duke it out again on CNN discussing the Chris Benoit case. Fans chanted for Sable. Kurrgan then tossed out Blackman who fell outside the ring right next to Sable. Hey, why is she allowed out there? Double standards. Rock then hit D-Lo with some hard right hands in the corner. Every man for themself being portrayed here. D-Lo then stood up and hit Rock with a reverse low blow with a boot to the groin. Bradshaw held Kurrgan while Phineas chopped him.
Out came Ken Shamrock. Kurrgan then ducked a clothesline but caught a ton of kicks from Shamrock who was screwed earlier in the night and he took the big man off his feet. Then every single member in the Royal Rumble took Kurrgan off his feet by throwing him over the top rope. Kurrgan then threw a fit outside the ring. Funk levelled Rock in the corner with right hands. Shamrock in another corner hammered away on Phineas Godwin. 8-Ball hit a sidewalk slam to D-Lo Brown. Bradshaw with a big boot to the face of D-Lo brown and then he choked him out with 8-Ball on the middle rope.
Halfway through the Rumble match and the fifteenth entrant was none other then HEADBANGER THRASHER. This talent pool is just stacked….CLEARLY…. The Rock then got choked out in the corner by D-Lo Brown and King was wondering what he was doing? The Rock sat in the corner with a well deserved break. Mero jumped around like a boxer until 8-Ball jumped him and then threw him in the corner. Mero raked his face to get out of that predicament. D-Lo Brown gave right hands to Phineas Godwin while Shamrock was being beaten on in the corner.
MANKIND then came out at #16 and JR says this isn’t right and he’s a little confused. Mankind went straight for Funk to get revenge and then he eliminated Chainsaw Charlie even though Funk had already eliminated one of his alter ego’s beforehand. Mankind then got his head slammed by The Rock into the top turnbuckle. Again, he’d get his brains scrambled a little harder the next year by the Great One. Bradshaw gave Mankind a clothesline from hell.
Also appearing for the 2nd time on the night was The Artist Formally Known as Goldust. Mankind and Mero attacked Goldust while Rock and Shamrock went at it in the corner to follow up on there match earlier in the night. Bradshaw and Phineas Godwin were double teaming Headbanger Thrasher. Mero couldn’t stand the Sable chants (and she was still at ringside for some reason btw) so he posed, taunted and boxed away inside the ring. Goldust then eliminated Mankind, so Foley was gone for the 2nd time.
Jeff Jarrett the lone NWA representative in the match came out next followed by Cornette. Jarrett strutted to the ring and then Owen ran to the ring and fired right hands to Jeff Jarrett’s head. Owen got a great pop and now he’s allowed in the Rumble match. Owen with a back heel kick to Jarrett. Jim Ross says “Owen Hart who has won every championship but the BIG ONE”. Jarrett thought he had eliminated Owen so he strutted until Owen threw him over the ropes and out to one of the biggest pops of the night.
The Honkeytonk Man came out and meanwhile Rock threw out Shamrock and the two were furious with each other. Helmsley and Chyna followed Honkytonk to the ring and while Owen Hart blocked Chyna’s crutch shot attempt, Helmsley on the apron hit Owen out of the ring. HHH and Owen were feuding from late 97 to the spring of 98 and put some great matches together. Owen was gone and the fans weren’t happy. He’d at least appear in one more Rumble match and might have even fell down when running to the back chasing after Hunter.
Ahmed Johnson came out to virtually no reaction at all. Everyone had forgotten about his push by this point. Ahmed got real slow, real fast in the ring. Ahmed Johnson headbuted Phineas Godwinn. King went “OH MY COUSIN! The Honkytonk Man! I mean The Honkytonk Man, he’s safe now” while being worked over by 8-Ball in the corner. Ring was very full.
Now out was the World’s Strongest Man Mark Henry at #21. Mark Henry who was the newest Nation member then teamed up with fellow Nation members The Rock and D-Lo Brown to take apart Ahmed in the corner. Mark Henry threw powder into Ahmed Johnson’s eyes.
All of the sudden entrant #22 didn’t come out. Fans speculated and then booed as King said this was supposed to be Austin’s turn. Someone must have got to Austin in the back was the thought. WWF just trying to build suspense. Phineas Godwinn and Ahmed Johnson both eliminated to no reaction and then brawled all the way to the back. Rock and D-Lo then argued and D-Lo and Henry started going at it.
“We are the Nation” hit for about the millionth time on the night as the 23rd member Kama Moustafa came out pushing Ahmed Johnson on his way out to boot. Farooq the THEN leader of The Nation was still to come out but four others did, and we also heard that theme when Rock battled earlier on the night. Rock had been in there for 38 minutes plus and he was being worked over by a former IC Champion The Honkeytonk Man. D-Lo then saved Rock in the corner and attacked him. 8-Ball and Mero were still in there as was Headbanger Thrasher and Blackjack Bradshaw.
THE GLASS finally HIT! King lets go a big “WHAT!?” There was a MONSTER POP in San Jose and Stone Cold Steve Austin came from behind everyone inside the ring was waiting on Austin. He attacked Mero and threw him out. Austin then tossed out 8-Ball! Stone Cold Steve Austin then kicked at Thrasher and the place just blew up and the crowd was extremely fired up as he gave Thrasher and D-Lo a low blow. Austin took off his vest and then choked out D-Lo Brown. Austin then sent D-Lo face first into the corner turnbuckle.
Henry Godwinn came out next. Henry went straight for Austin, he was looking for him earlier on the night and then started to choke him out. Bradshaw has been in the match for over 38 minutes. Rock and Kama battled it out on the side of the ring.
Savio Vega and his Boricuas went straight for Austin. Savio had a long history with Austin and the two battled it out and then Vega avoided the Stunner. Austin then clotheslined the hell out of Goldust. Ross said it would give Goldust an attitude adjustment, well he needed one. Rock landed a righthand on D-Lo Brown as the on again-off again Nation went at it in the ring. Austin went after Headbanger Thrasher.
The Rock threw out Austin but it was through the middle ropes, some of the crowd screamed as they thought Austin was gone I guess. Farooq meanwhile was coming out as the last Nation member. (Thank God) The 5th and final time. Rock threw Austin into the steel steps and then dropped him chest first onto a security rail. Austin and Rock had met at In Your House D-X the month before this.
Mrs. Foley’s baby boy is pulling a triple header as Dude Love’s theme hit. Bradshaw in there for over 40 minutes was kicking away at Thrasher and then was FINALLY eliminated. Austin hit a clothesline on Goldust outside the ring. Austin got in the ring and went for Rock until Savio Vega took Steve Austin down.
Entrant 29 was Chainz of the DOA otherwise known as The Fake Undertaker. Farooq backdropped D-Lo Brown over the top rope showing him who`s boss I guess. The Rock has been in the ring for over 50 minutes and he even defended the IC title earlier in the night. Austin got up to his feet but was being beat down in the corner by Henry Godwin. Mark Henry stomped on him. Austin was a marked man coming in and he was being hammered away.
The last entrant, number 30 was the man they call Vader. Vader and Goldust went at it to follow up on the opener they had earlier. Vader threw out Honkeytonk Man and Ross said “there goes cousin Honkeytonk Man“ and King hillariously responded with “He`s your cousin!“ Austin backdropped Thrasher out of the ring. Austin has eliminated more people in Rumble history and you can really see why. Austin then backdropped Kama out of the ring. Savio attacked him then and set up Austin for a piledriver which would end him states Lawler, and then Austin countered with a backdrop. Austin then launched over the top rope and out of the ring.
Goldust got revenge on Vader as he clotheslines him to the outside and out. Henry Godwin then missed Dude Love and went oer the top rope. Chainz then tossed out Goldust. Getting down to the final members now. Farooq then with an awkward looking elimination on Mark Henry.
The Final Four. Austin and Dude former tag champions on one side. Farooq and Rock both pretty much co-leaders of the Nation on the other side. Dude Love then hit Rock with a double armed DDT. Dude then caught Austin with a mandible claw and Austin hit him with a low blow. Farooq then clotheslined Dude Love out of the ring. Farooq was trying to get Austin up and over and Rock sneaked up from behind and threw out Farooq which would start problems between Rock and Farooq.
Rock and Austin are left as the final two. Austin fired back with right hands and Rock raked his eyes. Austin then threw out Rock but he stayed in the ring and then Austin hit the Stunner and threw out The Rock! Place pops!
Austin is going to Wrestlemania and wins at 55:24 to a thunderous roar.
So Austin leaves as the winner! As if there was any doubt…Jim Ross uses the infamous “Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold!” line for the first time.
The place goes crazy!
When going back and watching this, evaluating everything with the Owen Hart stuff, Foley and his three appearances, some Nation action, Austin and that storyline in the Rumble match, The Rock and his impressive performance, this Rumble was a bit better then I remembered but still no where near one of the best or one that I would be quick to call good, especially for a Rumble Match.
Tyson then calls him Cold Stone and how he is his boy. Jim Ross says Tyson is obviously a huge fan. This must have set Steve off for the next night on Raw.
6) Main Event- “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (c) (w/Triple H and Chyna) vs The Undertaker in a Casket Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
The last time these two met they went to hell and back as they showed clips of the Hell in a Cell match.
They did a nice job showing the build up to this match. Kane offered his hand to Taker in an unspoken bond to his older brother The Undertaker on Raw. They were perhaps on the same page, we would find out here.
Fink does his great opening bit as usual then the DX theme hit and Michaels posed for a bit but the entrances were both longer as Taker walked to the ring at his normal deadman speed.
JR says not Hogan, not Savage have outmatched Michaels in title matches. See we forget about Bret Hart in this time period obvioussly.
Taker turns the lights on in the corner as he usually does and we are about to get underway.
It was during the match, Michaels took a back body drop to the outside, smashing his lower back on the casket causing him to herniate two disks and crushing one completely, leading to his four year hiatus as an active wrestler from the WWF. (You can see him in pain on the outside after this bump at the beginning of the match)
Shawn Michaels and The Phenom of the World Wrestling Federation for the WWF title in a Casket Match! Tyson was doing crotch chops from the Box. Michaels looked scared and intimidated by Taker as he always does which always helps the chemistry between them.
The Undertaker looked at HBK with a cold stare and had him momentarily cornered and went for a big shot but Michaels intelligently ducked and then shot Taker with some stinging lefts and rights until Taker threw him into the corner and before Undertaker could hit right hands Shawn Michaels turned the tide and cornered him and hit him with fast lefts and rights. Shawn Michaels then cornered Taker and hit him with rights and lefts in the corner of the ring. Taker grabbed him by the throat but Michaels hit him with a knee and then irish whipped by Taker to the corner but jumped off the corner and Taker displayed great power by elevating him high in the air with a choke hold. Shawn Michaels man handled by Taker in the air and then backdrpped back first right onto the wooden casket. The pain looks pretty rough and you can see it on Michaels face when he gets up, Ross on the replay points out the edge of the Casket hitting the lower back of Michaels. Shawn Michaels then introduced to the ring post by Taker before being scooped up and slammed down back first on the mat. Michaels then got shoved inside the Casket and he looked as scared as ever so he immediately got out but Taker kept after him.
Shawn Michaels then had a hard time walking around the ring.
Michaels had hurt his back! The pain was becoming evident, all you had to do was watch the bump, it’s relatively clear.
However back inside the ring Michaels rolled back while Taker held onto the ropes maintaining his vertical base but Taker kept slamming him back first on the canvas. Shawn Michaels then missed an elbow drop. Taker grabbed Shawn by the arm and twisted it but went to the top for Old School and hit it. Michaels then bumped around. Shawn Michaels is known for the way he can battle back in matches but it is always like this because he bumps around so well during the start of a lot of matches.
The Undertaker threw Michaels to the outside and that looked like a painful bump given the condition he was in. Taker got a jaw breaker from Michaels over the top rope from the outside which bought him a moment but off the top rope to the inside of the ring was powerslammed by Taker!
Undertaker rolled Shawn into the Casket, the lid shuts and it is over! Michaels with powder from the Casket into the eyes of Undertaker. Shawn Michaels got knocked down with a right by Taker still. Michaels hit some hard right hands on Taker in the corner of the ring.
It is interesting when watching Taker go at it with Bret at the Rumble then go at it with Shawn, both matches great but completely different pace and story telling.
Shawn Michaels then almost got chokeslammed by Taker but came off the top rope with a moonsault. Shawn Michaels then hit a clothesline on Undertaker over the top rope to the outside of the ring. Taker sent Shawn head first into the ring security railing and its unforgiving steel. Undertaker had only lost one casket match in his career and it was to a 600 pound opponent and 10 other men at this very event to this point in time. Shawn Michaels irish whipped Taker to the steel steps and then dropped them on his lower back area twice perhaps for revenge.
Just as legal as a wristlock was the Steel Steps due to Casket Matches being NO DQ. Shawn Michaels then got Taker up and he hit a piledriver on the Steel Steps. Helmsley on the outside beat down Taker with a crutch due to the match being NO DQ. Helmsley hit Taker with a crutch a couple of times and the fans chanted that they wanted Kane. (Due to there being an apparent alliance between the two at the time)
Michaels then with a vicious shot with a Steel Chair to Taker.
Shawn Michaels then dropped an elbow to Undertaker and then inside the ring went to roll Taker into the Casket.
Taker blocked it at the last second though!
Taker with right hands to Michaels but then he caught Undertaker with a swinging neck breaker.
Shawn jumped on Undertaker and gave him a big sleeper. Michaels clearly wanted to wear down the big man but Taker regained his vertical base and then hit a back suplex out of the sleeper, a great counter move after he reached down deep. Shawn and his back were already hurt so it was double important. However Michaels came off the side ropes with a flying forearm and then kicked up and went to the top to deliver an elbow to The Undertaker and he connected.
Shawn said that is it.
Michaels tuned up the band and connected Sweet Chin Music to The Undertaker.
Michaels put Taker inside the Casket and all he had to do was shut the lid and he told Taker to suck it but he grabbed Michaels by the throat and knocked him from the inside of the casket back into the ring. Undertaker elevated HBK high up and hit a backdrop. Taker then threw HBK into the corner backfirst and he went upside down until flipping back to his feet and catching a clothesline. Michaels bumping backfirst hard over and over. Taker with a tremendous kick to the face of Michaels after an irish whip to the side ropes. Taker charged for Michaels and elevated himself but Michaels dodged it and Taker fell into the Casket by himself.
Shawn joined him in the Casket!
HBK came off the top with an elbow drop into the Casket and the lid shut! Both men inside.
Then the lid opened and HBK tried to escape but Taker dragged him inside!
Shawn ducked a boot inside the ring and then Taker went for a chokeslam and hit a huge one. The Undertaker then hit a Tombstone from the ring apron to inside the Casket. Amazing.
Then during the match, The New Age Outlaws and Los Boricuas interfered and attacked The Undertaker. Kane came out to save Taker as the lights went out and the place exploded! Likely because this was the first time this area had seen the Kane character in person.
Kane then cleared the ring to help his brother. Kane turned around and stared at Undertaker as if he was Michael Meyers. Kane then went to pose and struck Taker with a hard right hand. The place booed as Kane turned on his brother. Kane then grabbed Taker by the throat and chokeslammed him into the Casket as HBK shut the lid and Shawn won the match at 20:37 and the place booed.
Entertaining match though!
Great stuff here.
After the match, Kane and Paul Bearer padlocked the casket with Undertaker inside it. They then poured gasoline on the casket and set it on fire.
A memorable ending but the match scores points due to the chemistry between the two, its pacing and the performance of Shawn Michaels.
Awesome Main Event!
Final PPV Rating for Royal Rumble 1998= 6/10
This doesen’t hold up to well but it takes place during a time where Wrestling was really picking up again in North America and in the WWF’s case thanks to the character of Stone Cold Steve Austin. It was a predictable rumble match for sure but it was important for his character; and as for the rest of the show it kind of lacked (like they usually do) and doesen’t really deserve a better rating then 6/10 overall.
Important for the Attitude Era.