Royal Rumble Series #10 (1997)

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Hello! Welcome back to the Royal Rumble series. Today I will talk about the tenth annual Royal Rumble. Notice in the below picture how the Rumble match takes a backseat? There’s “Razpr Ramon” and “Diesel” advertised; terrible considering it was for fake Razor and Diesel as Scott Hall & Kevin Nash left for WCW. No mention of Steve Austin either.

There’s an issue with the series at the moment. The user who uploaded the Rumble matches had their account taken down, which means I have to go back and replace all the videos with new ones. I’ll do this after I’ve finished here, and will leave a comment in Disqus (under this piece) when I’m finished. Did you miss any of the earlier volumes? Links provided below:

#1 (’88)#2 (’89)#3 (’90)#4 (’91)#5 (’92)#6 (’93)#7 (’94) #8 (’95) #9 (’96)



Royal Rumble #10 – Alamodome, Texas

With an attendance of 60,477, Rumble ’97 is one of the most highly attended events in WWE history. The 10th Rumble used the tagline “No More Mr. Nice Guy!. For the second time in history, the Rumble was not the main event. There were a few dark/free for all matches before the show. Hunter Hearst Helmsley opened the main show by retaining his title against Goldust. Faarooq got disqualified in his match with Ahmed Johnson. Vader overcome The Deadman. A surprisingly Mexican feel (due to a talent exchange with the AAA promotion) as we saw the team of El Canek, Hector Garza and Perro Aguayo defeat Fuerza Guerrera, Heavy Metal and Jerry Estrada. In the main event, Shawn Michaels got back to the top of the mountain by defeating Sycho Sid for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.


HBK later vacated the title after his infamous “lost smile” promo, to take time off to recover from injuries. Rumble ’97 included four AAA wrestlers, as well as a few others making their debuts. Although participants were supposed to come out every 90 seconds, Vince McMahon said (on commentary) that they had issues with the countdown clock. Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross provided commentary for the match.

Due to the Rumble videos getting taken down, finding quality videos has gotten tougher. Luckily I managed to find one this time, but it’s the entire PPV instead of just the Rumble match. If you only want to watch the Rumble, fast forward to the 1 Hour 22 Minute mark. You may have to get through a few pop ups (no .. your computer will not be infected), but it definitely works:

http://sharemovies.net/watch/qd74PBvK-royal-rumble-1997.html




Rumble Roundup

Crush in first with the Nation Of Domination. And just to continue the feud, Ahmed Johnson came out to face them. Not the most exciting way to start. “The Bad Guy” out next to no countdown and some jeers, til he was eliminated by Ahmed. Shortly after, Johnson saw Faarooq at ringside, so he eliminated himself from the match to chase; he’s not so smart. Phineas Godwinn out next with Hilbilly Jim. Yawn. STONE COLD! Business is about to pick up .. oh, but Phineas clotheslined him hard. Godwinn got rid of Crush, before Austin eliminated him, leaving Stone Cold alone in the ring as Bart Gunn entered.

Bart didn’t last long, so Austin started doing press ups. He sat on the turnbuckle, looked at his invisble watch, and waited for his next opponent. Jake Roberts! JR said this was Robert’s sixth Rumble .. which makes him the record holder for amount of times entered, although I’m sure Rick Martel holds the record. Roberts worked Austin over for a minute. As Bulldog entered, Austin got rid of Jake. Bulldog got the upper hand and stopped Austin’s dominance. Pierroth of AAA out, and helped Bulldog with Austin. Yet again Rikishi was repackaged as The Sultan. Alberto Del Rio’s uncle and WWE Hall Of Famer Mil Máscaras entered to little reaction.

Mascaras looked great as he took on The Sultan. And here comes the IC Champ Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Bulldog got rid of The Sultan. Owen Hart entered next with his Slammy award in hand. Bulldog went to eliminate Austin, so Owen came over to help .. but actually got rid of Bulldog; Owen claimed it was an accident. Here comes Goldust for his Rumble debut. 20-year-old Cibernético is the third AAA guy to enter the match. Mascaras went straight for him, and a minute later Cibernetico was eliminated by Mascaras and Pierroth. Marc Mero entered next, with Sable by his side. And umm .. yeah, clearly no one explained the rules to Mascaras as he eliminated Pierroth, then eliminated himself by getting on the turnbuckle and diving to the outside on him. Mascaras got back in the ring, but the referees jumped up and told him he was eliminated (whatever happened to the rule where you need to be physically eliminated by someone else for it to count? Inconsistencies everywhere!).

Goldust got rid of his rival Hunter! The last AAA guy Latin Lover out next. Owen eliminated Goldust. Austin got rid of Mero. Faarooq came out next, and eliminated Latin Lover. But his time was short as Ahmed Johnson popped up with a 2×4 to make sure he got eliminated. In the commotion, Austin eliminated Owen; which left him alone in the ring again. Austin’s old rival Savio Vega out, but was no match for The Rattlesnake. Jeff Jarrett’s new best friend Jesse James (AKA Road Dogg) made his debut, but again, Austin made sure he was gone within a minute. So Austin sat on the turnbuckle again, but his expression changed to one of shock and desperation when Bret Harts music hit!

Unlike many others, Austin had trouble eliminating Bret. Next up, Jerry Lawler left the commentary table to enter the Rumble. Four seconds later he was gone, thanks to Bret. Fake Diesel AKA Isaac Yanken/Kane/Glenn Jacobs out next. And unlike Fake Razor, he lasted way longer than a minute. The match changed, as more participants came out and weren’t so easy to eliminate. The first was Terry Funk, who got down to the ring well before his countdown clock. Rocky Maivia entered for his Rumble debut .. and straight for Austin! If only they knew what they’d go on to do together. The ever troubled Mankind came in next, and not surpringsly .. attacked his good friend and mentor Terry Funk. Flash Funk AKA 2 Cold Scorpio out!


Bret nailed Austin with a piledriver. Flash Funk took to the skies and took out Fake Diesel and Terry Funk (no relation). It’s time! It’s time! It’s VADER TIME! He got in the ring and took on anything that moved. Henry Godwinn out, getting a way better number than the previous year. Godwinn literally clotheslined Vader off his feet! Amazing. And the last entant .. The Undertaker! Vader threw Flash Funk over his head to the outside. Godwinn eliminated next, thanks to ‘Taker grabbing him by the throat and forcing him over. Mankind eliminated his future Rock N’ Sock Connection partner from his first Rumble with the Mandible Claw. Mankind kept his momentum by getting rid of his mentor Funk. King said Mankind and Funk should form a team .. which I’m sure they did.

Undertaker eliminated Mankind, so Funk and Foley continued their feud on the outside. While the referees were distracted by the brawl, Bret threw Austin over the top and to the floor. Austin slunk his way back in and eliminated both Vader and The Undertaker!! After Bret got Fake Diesel out, Austin blindsided him and eliminated Bret! And announced as the winner is Stone Cold Steve Austin! Bret was super pissed off, so he started manhandling the referees. Bret went over to Vince and grabbed his suit, telling the boss he was screwed over. This may have been one of the first times they acknowledged Vince being in charge. Austin was the winner, and the first man to do so despite being eliminated.


Conclusion

Austin made up for his mistake from the previous year with a decent performance. What I liked most about Rumble ’97 is how it represents the early stages of The Attitude Era. Commentators planted the seed for the naming of the era by saying fans respected Austin’s talent, but didn’t appreciate his attitude. And like the previous years, the WWF had to look elsewhere to fill gaps, and the AAA talent didn’t look better afterwards. Bret Hart getting overly frustrated furthered his whiny character, which we know turned heel at Wrestlemania 13 in his epic fight with Steve Austin.

I enjoyed the match mainly for Austin and Bret, but there were a few “what the hell!?” moments. Austin took most of the eliminations, so no one outside Bret looked like a serious threat .. but it really helped Austin 3:16 to get over. It’s only good to watch if you’re a big Stone Cold fan, otherwise you’re not going to find anything amazing. The controversial finish shaped the build for Wrestlemania, with many of the WWF’s top stars jockeying for a match on the card. The last two in the Rumble (if you don’t count Austin’s elimination) ended up a 5-star Submission match, while Psycho Sid looked to retain against The Undertaker in the main event. Thanks for reading everyone! You can see my old review on Wrestlemania 13 here: >>> Wrestlemania 13


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