Hello! Welcome back to the Royal Rumble series. Today, I will be talking about the 12th annual Royal Rumble. Did you miss any earlier volumes? I provided links below:
Royal Rumble #12 – Anaheim, California
With an attendance of 14,816, Rumble ’99 had one of smallest crowds to date. The 12th Rumble used the tag line, “No Chance In Hell”, and introduced the theme “No Chance In Hell”, which became Mr. McMahons and The Corporations theme. For the first time in a few years, the Rumble was the main event. There were no dark matches before the show. Usually I only watch the Rumble match itself, but this time I watched the whole show.
The undercard had some forgettable matches, however, the Sunday Night Heat before the PPV was one of the most viewed shows (not called Raw / Smackdown) in the history of WWE. A lot of their top stars were on the card, and the main event was Mankind vs. Mabel. Big Boss Man beat Road Dogg in the opener, which got pretty good near the end. Ken Shamrock continued The Corporations dominance with an IC title defense against Mr. Ass. The only match not to include Vince McMahon’s stable was an X-Pac European title defense against Gangrel. Shane McMahon felt Sable wasn’t worthy of holding the Women’s title, so he recruited Luna Vachon to do the deed; yet she failed because of super stalker “Tori” interfering.
One of the most disturbing matches in WWE history came next. Everyone remembers the day when The Rock and Mankind fought in the very first I Quit match for the WWF title. It’s arguably one of the most memorable matches of all time; due to its brutality. Mankind went in defending the WWF Championship against The Corporations chosen one. It went to the next level when The Rock handcuffed Mankind and got a steel chair. He smashed him square in the head with it, not once, not twice .. but five times. And he was meant to stop there, according to Mick Foley. The Rock took some liberties with Foley’s healthy, and kept hitting him over the head with the chair.
I believe it was over 13 shots in the end .. and commentary were screaming to stop the match. It’s hard to watch now, knowing all the information about concussions and what they can lead too. After a very brutal contest, The Rock became champion for a second time. Certainly not for the faint of heart. And next up is the Rumble itself, which also .. was filled with controversy. Anything after this will spoil the match if you’ve never seen it before.
Safe to say, the entire match centered around the feud between Mr. McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Vince was willing to do anything and everything to stop Austin being the WWF Champion. Due to the corrupt nature of McMahon, he announced Austin would be entering number 1. He was originally meant to come out #30, but commissioner Shawn Michaels changed it to #2. While Fink was announcing the match and its rules, Lawler angrily talked over him and said he was taking far too long, and they’ve only got an hour left. Austin came out to the expected big pop. McMahon came out looking ripped, to a chorus of booes. Austin got the upper hand early. He could’ve thrown McMahon out early, but he wanted him to suffer first. Golga out as #3, wearing his extra, extra, extra large South park shirt. He lasted 15 seconds.
McMahon got out of the ring and ran away. Austin chased after him, but neither were eliminated. The camera took us backstage, as Austin pursued the boss. McMahon found his way to a toilet, which was filled with his Corporation guys to ambush Austin. Droz out next, who stood on his own as everyone watched the screen. He looked very impatient. Finally the countdown came up and he was happy to see Edge coming to the ring. They fought .. but no one cared, they wanted to know what was happening with Austin.
OMG it’s GILLBERG! GILLBERG! What a legend. He was in for 7 seconds, before Edge dumped him. Backstage, The Corporation left Austin laying in the toilets. Ring filled up with guys like Steve Blackman, Dan Severn, Tiger Ali Singh and The Blue Meanie. Fans screamed “Austin” as he was seen stretchered in to an ambulance. Spending a lot of time looking at Austin than the match itself. The cameraman was mobbed by fans as the ambulance pulled away. Big Mabel out! Looking very black (his attire I mean). He took the place of Headbanger Mosh after taking him out backstage. So in a very short time, Mabel eliminated Severn, Blackman, Singh, Blue Meanie, and Droz. Road Dogg came down and attacked Edge, but was stopped by Mabel. Edge delivered a low blow to the big man to slow him down. Road Dogg eliminated Edge.
As Road Dogg and Mabel came to blows, the arena went black. The Ministry Of Darkness appeared, with The Acolytes & Mideon eliminating Mabel. They kept up the offense as The Undertaker and Paul Bearer appeared. Undertaker got in his face and said something, which seemed to confuse Mabel. Taker’s minions kept punishing Mabel, and they later kidnapped him. The angle transformed Mabel in to the darker gimmick known as Viscera. Back in the ring .. Road Dogg waited for his next opponent; Gangrel. He doesn’t do well against DX, as Road Dogg eliminated him quick. Kurrgan out .. looking rather odd as part of The Oddities. At least he’s big enough to punish Road Dogg. Al Snow out next .. to a loud pop. But he didn’t last long, as Road Dogg decided to stop helping him eliminate the bigger man .. so he could eliminate Snow. Incoming Goldust! Looking really good as well. Godfather out with his hoes. Lawler was disappointed he left his hoes to enter the match.
It’s Kane! In his Royal Rumble debut. Goodbye Road Dogg .. Kurrgan .. Godfather .. Goldust. Guys in white suits showed up to take Kane back to the mental hospital, but he refused to put his straitjacket on. Kane was so infuriated he eliminated himself to pursue them. Mr. McMahon slinked his way back in to the ring, as his Corporation member Ken Shamrock entered. McMahon endorsed Shamrock as he got out of the ring, and headed for the commentary table. Billy Gunn rushed out and fought frantically with Shamrock. His ankle was injured earlier from their match, so he was fighting on one leg. As we cut to the Ministry Of Darkness kidnapping Mabel, an ambulance pulled up very quickly in to the arena. McMahon gulped, as he had a feeling his nemesis had returned with a vengeance. In the ring, Test and Shamrock teamed up on the one-legged Mr. Ass.
As Bossman was scheduled to enter, Austin made his way to ringside. He chased McMahon around the ring, and in to the ring, where he was cut off by Shamrock. Bad idea, as Austin eliminated Shamrock. Bossman did a good job of keeping Austin busy, as Triple H entered the mix. The Big Valbowski out next .. and straight in to a clothesline from HHH. Austin got sick of Billy Gunn pestering him, so he eliminated the Ass Man. One DX member out and another one in, as the European Champion X-Pac looked to make an impact. The World’s Strongest man out next. And then we got Jeff Jarrett with Debra .. her boobs being more over than half the roster. And then we got D’Lo Brown, accompanied by the Pretty Mean Sisters (PMS). Feels like a lifetime since the last elimination.
Speak of the devil, McMahon was getting anxious because Austin was still in there despite Corporation members in the ring. Test tried having a go, but Austin soon had him kissing floor. X-Pac tried jumping at Bossman, but his attack was dodged so he was eliminated. Owen Hart came out as #29 in his last Rumbe match before his tragic death five months later. McMahon doesn’t care who eliminates Austin, he’ll pay anyone the 100,000 dollars for getting rid of him. Austin must’ve heard him, as he rolled to the outside and chucked a pitcher of ice-cold water over McMahon. And coming in as #30, the first ever woman to enter the Rumble .. Chyna!
She eliminated Mark Henry right away. Austin saw this and figured he’d surprise her with a clothesline, which eliminated her next to Henry. Val Venis out next, courtesy of Triple H. Austin kept his good form by eliminating Triple H, and later Owen. Big Boss Man got his second elimination by getting rid of D’Lo. Just Bossman, Austin, and McMahon remaining. Immediately after the D’Lo elimination, Austin stunnered Boss Man, and clotheslined him over the top. So as it started, it’s down to Austin & McMahon. Vince really didn’t want to come off commentary. They started scrapping on the announce table. Austin stalked him with a chair, waiting til he turned around before bashing him square on the head. Austin threw the boss back in to the ring. Out of desperation, McMahon low blowed Austin. But it didn’t stop him .. Stunner! Oh oh, here comes the WWF Champion The Rock.
Cole said something interesting here. He said The Rock is who Austin will face at Wrestlemania, like he’d already earned the title shot? Despite the Rumble usually deciding who faces the champion in the main event? So I guess this Rumble was for nothing? Or Cole spoiled the storyline? Anyways, The Rock goaded Austin, got on the ring apron, and they exchanged blows as Vince got behind Austin and eliminated him! Mr. McMahon is the winner of the Royal Rumble! “SON OF A BITCH!” shouts Austin, before taking his anger out on The Rock. Cole thought he was dreaming and asked for someone to slap his face. Cole now said “Vince is number one contender!”, despite saying Austin would get that chance only a few minutes ago. Shane came out with a microphone and told his dad he’s “going to Wrestlemania!”. McMahon and his stooges got someone to throw them Austin’s beers, and they celebrated in the ring at his expense. You’ve got .. NO CHANCE IN HELL!
I’ve read others reviews on this PPV and I have to disagree with most. The fact of the matter is .. the PPV had a tagline of “No Chance In Hell”.
What does that mean? It means The Corporation had to come out as the victors leading in to Wrestlemania season. Not long before, the WWF started beating WCW in the ratings, and it was mainly the Austin/McMahon rivalry which drew fans in. McMahon painted himself as the ultimate bad guy, surrounding himself with a stable and a set of stooges. He even had his son doing dirty work for him. McMahon was the slimiest heel in the history of the company, and if The Rock was going to have serious heat leading into ‘mania, he needed his boss to be as corrupt as possible.
Don’t get me wrong! Aside from the memorable, brutal WWF title match, the quality of all the matches were below average. Don’t watch this PPV if you’re a 5-star match nut .. you’ll be scratching your eyes out watching the poor quality. But seriously .. the Attitude Era wasn’t about 5-star matches, it was about moments and telling stories. This Rumble match told a better story than many other Rumbles combined, and at the time .. I think the only reason this Rumble got so much backlash was due to who won. Some fans may have seen it as a kick in the face to the talented wrestlers who deserved to win such an historic match .. while I see it differently.
Having McMahon win this match shows anything is possible in the WWF. He went above and beyond to win, and it was up to Austin to put it right for the fans. We all know Austin did go on to Wrestlemania anyways, as McMahon forfeited his title shot the next night on Raw. I guess some might see the result as a waste? But I honestly feel like it added to the vile, disgusting nature of McMahon. It kept the rivalry going, and as many will know, it escalated in the coming months. Royal Rumble 1999 showed The Corporation was in charge, and if you wasn’t part of the group .. you had no chance in hell! At least they kept to the theme .. and 1999 ended up being one of their most successful years.
I won’t say it’s the greatest Rumble, but it’s certainly not the worst. It may have been all about Austin & McMahon, but at least they had focus on something successful. Previous Rumbles lacked rivalries, and this one made up for it in that sense. Even if you know the result, it’s worth watching .. just to see how The Corporation dominated. It was the beginning of a magical time, when stables ran roughshod over the product. I remember my friend .. buzzing with excitement in 1999. It was so much fun .. but only if you’re not obsessed with 5-star matches. Avoid Rumble ’99 with the plague if you care about match quality. I enjoyed it overall! And if you didn’t, I’m afraid to say you’ve got no chance .. no chance in hell!
Thanks for reading everyone! You can see my edited, old review on Wrestlemania 15 here: >>> Wrestlemania XV