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WWF Royal Rumble: January 19, 1997

LIVE from the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas – this is Everyone’s Formerly Favorite Pay-Per-View Of The Year Until That Daniel Bryan Stuff Started – the Royal Rumble! VINCE MCMAHONJIM ROSS, and JERRY LAWLER make up a horrifying trio that’ll leave me wanting for Tony Schiavone. Actually, ARTURO RIVERAHUGO SAVINOVICH, and CARLOS CABRERA are on Spanish duty, can we listen to them? They seem pretty amped. Where’s my retroactive SAP button? RAY ROUGEAU and JACQUES ROUGEAU SR. cover la commentaire en Francais.

Allegedly over 60,000 people are here, which isn’t a wild exaggeration. And, it’s entirely possible that as many as 5,000 of them PAID to be here!


GOLDUST (with Marlena) vs. HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY (with Curtis Hughes) (for the WWF Intercontinental title)

Our recap reminds us of a much more innocent time, when Jerry Lawler, on Network television, asked Goldust “aren’t you a queer?” This would be the lesser of the offensive words used by Lawler during that timeframe, and nobody batted an eye. THIS WAS LESS THAN 20 YEARS AGO. Did we grow up in the stone ages?!? “Bizarre!” and “Misunderstood!” are your shouting points du jour for Vinny Mac. Goldust attacks Hunter during his entrance, and hauls him back to the ring to start the contest. That lasts for about 2 seconds before they’re back on the floor, and Helmsley is dropped throat first across the guardrail. The fans pop for the first time when the camera finds Marlena. Goldust tries the 10-punch count-a-long, but Helmsley powers loose at 5 and hits an atomic drop. Pedigree attempt is countered with a slingshot, and the power of falling backwards is too much for Hunter to take, launching himself over the top rope and to the floor. Goldust slithers after him, and slams the ringsteps over Hunter’s back. By god, those are 900 pounds! How will Hunter recover? And Goldust benches 900 pounds? All stud. Vince cuts everything off with a big update: George and Adam have been thrown out of the building. “I don’t mind that humorous, what a terrible misunderstanding, maybe we’ll get it sorted out.” I’m all on board with getting this taken care of, if it means Vince abandoning his post for a short period of time. No more than 30-45 years, tops. Hunter has recovered, and throws Goldust face first into the ring post. Taking an eternity to set up his next move, it’s somehow a shock when he misses his running knee and hits the guardrail. Goldust slams the ring steps over Hunter’s knee again, and rolls him back in. Goldust drops a knee across the injury, and … seriously, psychology with these two? I’m shocked, in a good way. I was expecting no less than 15 minutes of Goldust rubbing himself, and both guys focusing their attacks on each other’s penises. Goldust applies a figure four to the delight of the Tejans, and Hunter nearly gets counted down a number of times. Helmsley escapes and hits the floor, where Goldust yells at a fallen Triple H “GET UP YOU PIECE OF SHIT!” That’s promptly ignored by Vince. I’m shocked he didn’t immediately erupt into disgust and apologize on behalf of the World Wrestling Federation (where ANYTHING can happen!). Goldust misses a crossbody attack, and the momentum keeps him rolling like a log all the way to the floor. Helmsley gimps after him, and gently eases Goldust into the steps. Back in, Hunter tries his curtsy, but fails due to his injured leg – but SOMEHOW he has the ability to throw a knee at Goldust on the floor. Helmsley grabs Marlena’s director’s chair, but it’s taken away before anything interesting comes of it.

In the crowd, TODD PETTENGILL is chatting with “country western superstar” COLLIN RAYE. Todd tells him “I listen to you” with all the sincerity of Sean O’Haire, while Raye gushes about the fact the WWF has somehow travelled all the way to Texas. This is the kind of important interview that could not have possibly waited for Superstars, and I’m glad they attended to that immediately.

Goldust starts a comeback in here somewhere, but I was too busy listening to Todd singing karaoke with his new friend. Going up to finish, Goldust shoves Earl Hebner backwards into the ropes, crotching Goldust HARD. Helmsley scales the ropes, but Goldust fights him off so he can hit his big spot – The Missed Elbow Drop. Curtis slides Helmsley the belt and distracts the referee. Hunter, realizing his chance to focus on the match and retain his title, starts French kissing Marlena like a sex deprived federal inmate. Once that ends (and only because Marlena got away; if she hadn’t moved, that might have been the last spot for the remainder of the Rumble), Helmsley has given Goldust plenty of time to recuperate and deliver an uppercut. He wallops Hunter with the belt, but Hughes pulls Triple H out of the ring before the count. As Goldust turns his attention to Curtis, Helmsley clotheslines him from behind and hits the Pedigree to retain at 16:53. That … took … forever. I mean, they tried, but neither guy (especially Hunter) was anywhere near ready for that kind of time. *

BRET HART refuses to Turn Back. MANKIND doesn’t want the World Title, he wants to hurt a lot of people he doesn’t like. Ok!

FAAROOQ (with PG-13, Clarence Mason, D’Lo Brown, Kona Crush, a Woman in a Cocktail Dress, and Several Well Dressed Men) vs. AHMED JOHNSON

Faarooq has an entourage that would make Floyd Mayweather swoon. I’m probably going to say this every single time that Ahmed fights, but watching the video package to build up this match just leaves me in a state of disbelief that he wasn’t one of the three biggest stars to come out of the Attitude Era. This guy could not MISS, with the intense Mr. T eyes, Hard Knock attitude, but love for the fans who supported him. I talked about characters in my last Superstars ‘cap – THIS guy had character. And sure enough, Faarooq gets a mansized beating right off the bell, and the fans are eating it up. He figures Faarooq is already so battered down the referee should “ring the bell”, but he doesn’t. Crush throws a belt to Faarooq, picked up quickly by Ahmed, who whips the tar out of Faarooq. Outside, Ahmed whips him from stairs to stairs, until Faarooq grabs a Nation member as a possum. Off the distraction, he clotheslines Ahmed and drops him kidney first (did I mention his allegedly destroyed kidneys? No? Consider them mentioned!) across the top of the chair in a spot that looks insanely dangerous with absolutely no upside. Faarooq folds the chair up and swats Ahmed across the kidney, which looks MUCH safer, sad as it is. Back in, Faarooq starts booting at the kidney area, and if it’s actually a target that could lead to a life threatening situation, it be fairly irresponsible of the WWF to continue letting him wrestle. But, then again, I should probably worry less about fake kidney problems when half the roster is going to be inflicted with various brain injuries in the coming years from untreated concussions. Faarooq puts on a camel clutch, while JC Ice flashes him Black Power. Crush stares on, showing off his lovely rosy cheeks that stand out amongst his allegedly rugged exterior. Faarooq orders Ahmed to stand up, and he appeases him, putting Faarooq in the electric chair and falling right back, taking them both out. Faarooq recovers first, but he goes upstairs and flies right into a powerslam. He goes to finish, but a spinebuster turns things around, allowing Faarooq time to remind us some more how bad he is. Ahmed uses the time to stand up, and hit a spinebuster of his own. Crush hits the ring now, and is tossed aside, but the whole Nation is right behind for the DQ at 8:47. Ahmed kills all of them and chases Faarooq right up the aisle. One of the tuxedo’ed dudes stops him, so Ahmed stalks him back to ringside and puts him through the French announce table with the Pearl River Plunge to a massive pop. All the same mistakes as the WWF’s booking of Goldberg were on display here. Too much selling from a guy who should have come in, killed Faarooq, and moved on. 1/2*

TERRY FUNK reminds us there’s a lot of younger wrestlers than himself in the Rumble.

FAAROOQ and THE NATION have moved on to spend time with TODD PETTENGILL. He rants and raves, promising to put down “Uncle Tom”. Poor Uncle Tom.

VADER vs. THE UNDERTAKER

Cornette isn’t with us because The Undertaker killed him on Superstars a couple of weeks ago in a very underreported story, all told. I mean, the announcers mention it here, but still, you would think the death of the legendary manager might warrant a little more than a passing thought. Vader attempts to attack before the bell, but apparently The Undertaker has eyes in the back of his head, so he sidesteps and Vader eats buckle. Big ol’ soupbones are delivered courtesy of Dead Man Inc, but Vader stops that with a clothesline. Taker sits up instantly, so Vader uses his “sizeable girth” according to Vince. Does that make Flash Funk the most likely man to win the Royal Rumble with those qualifications? Vader hits a jawbreaker across the top rope, which is enough to stun Taker temporarily. Of course, no follow up is death, and Vader takes a Fameasser! Big leg drop gets 2. That takes us directly into the Old School spot, and Vader uses his head by just moving forward, tripping Undertaker up and crotching him violently across the middle ropes. Vader goes low one more time, and Undertaker reminds us that he’s not as dead as we might believe, while a camera crew rushes over to the much more important …

TODD PETTENGILL, who is standing with SUMMER BISHOP, WWF Superfan. She saved her money all summer by babysitting just so she’d be able to follow Shawn Michaels to the Alamo Dome. She was one of the brilliant fans who appears to have shelled out $175 bones to sit in the front row, which is great and all, except the SECOND most expensive ticket in the house was … $18. I’m not kidding. And that’s before we get into the 13,000+ who were comped. Oh Summer … there’s a lesson to be learned here somewhere, but I’m not entirely sure what it is.

Vader Time remains the theme, and the big man heads up for some sort of belly to belly belly, getting 2. The fans start to make a little noise to rally the Undertaker, with Vince providing the updates. “He’s up, no he’s not!” Eventually a belly to back suplex takes them both out, and a zoom in to Vader reveals … he’s awake and telling the Undertaker what the next spot is? Is this a fix? Why would they be in cahoots? Was this a plan from the start to eliminate James E Cornette? Now I’m questioning EVERYTHING. Taker misses an elbow, and Vader goes up top, only to get powerslammed. Still, he catches Taker with a good looking powerbomb, but Taker kicks out after a pretty fast 2 count. Taker comes back with a clothesline, and goes for a second round of Old School. This time, Vader’s far too stupid than to move a half inch forward, and he gets hit with the move. This draws in PAUL BEARER, and perhaps they want to kill him too? Taker hits a Chokeslam and wants to finish, but he spies Paul so he dumps Vader to the outside instead. Casually, he moonwalks back to the ramp-side, and self-clotheslines to the outside, catching Bearer off guard and punching him. They wind up back in, but Vader’s back now, so Undertaker decks Bearer quickly and takes Vader to the outside with a Cactus clothesline. If there’s a storyline here, it’s a mess. Taker sets up the stairs for a running avalanche, but Bearer yanks Vader to safety and Taker nails the rail chest first. Those nurples gonna be purple tomorrow. Before Taker can get to his feet, Bearer whacks him in the face with the Urn, because it MUST be the focal point of every Undertaker moment through 1999, and a Vaderbomb gets the pin FINALLY at 13:21. Vader and Bearer head to the back together, arm in arm. Sexy. Honestly, we should have seen it coming, Mini Mankind and Mini Vader have been working together for weeks. *1/2

STEVE AUSTIN promises to throw 29 pieces of trash over the top rope tonight. If he focused on a couple of wrestlers too, he might have a chance. THE BRITISH BULLDOG vows to win the “Woil Whumble” because he’s “Bizaaaah!”

HEAVY METAL, FUERZA GUERRERA, and JERRY ESTRADA vs. HECTOR GARZA, PERRO AGUAYO, and CANEK

Awww dude, what the shit is this? You can tell Vince has absolutely no idea why he’s stooped to this level, because he starts promising a “REAL TREAT” with “THE GREATEST MEXICANS!” while having absolutely NO idea what anyone’s name is. About 15 years ago, this was amongst the first shows I ever recapped (atrociously – let us never speak of it again), and I was basically unable to tell you a bloody thing about the match because at NO point do the announcers distinguish any one wrestler from anyone else. 15 years later … Christ, what do YOU think, I’m older and can’t even remember to sign various paperwork with the year 2015 despite the fact it’s now February. Perro is identified as The Really Really Really Old Guy, not to be mistaken with the Really Old Guy, and the Pretty Old Guy. JR starts reading directly from whatever stats he was fed before the show, about one of the guys having won over 30 masks in his career. He fails to explain why this is a big deal. I’ll have you know, if I REALLY applied myself, I too could win over 30 masks, but it would take a lot of ring tossing at State Fairs, and I’m fairly sure my “triglycerides” would not agree with the volume of corn dogs needed to get me there. Oh, somehow I’ve forgotten to inform you that the referee is Spanish Terry Funk; an archaeological discovery wearing a purple headband. I have no doubt he’s an important part of some sort of history, but Vince McMahon is too busy guffawing at all the moves he’s incapable of calling by name. Certainly at least one of you were in the crowd that night, right? Can you articulate to me, exactly how long the lines to the bathroom were during this match? There are 60,000 people in attendance, and the only noise coming from any corner of the arena in McMahon’s insistence that anything can happen in the World Wrestling Federation. In one particularly exciting moment, at the 10:57 mark, one guy pins another. This was an embarrassment to Mexican wrestling, both on commentary, AND in the ring. I’m looking forward to TheCubsFan weighing in on this. DUD

THE ROYAL RUMBLE

The World Title match has been moved to the main event slot (which they’ve experimented with a few times over the years), meaning one of two things: Shawn Michaels is getting the belt back in the Feel Good San Antonio Moment Of The Year, OR Vince is looking to pull the plug on his company at warp speed. KONA CRUSH draws #1, and is escorted by PG-13 and CLARENCE MASON. Before he even has a chance to get comfortable, AHMED JOHNSON’s music hits, and he burns a hole right through the entire Nation. Unbelievably, because the booking hasn’t been completely backwards enough tonight, it’s CRUSH who gets the early offense, stopping any potential crowd explosion they might have had left for Ahmed tonight. #3 is NOT RAZOR RAMON, coming out with no countdown. Come on, that’s the ONE guaranteed spot to have the crowd completely hooked every 2 minutes. Razor’s immediately dumped by Ahmed, leaving the first two again. FAAROOQ comes down to ringside, so Ahmed willingly jumps over the top rope to chase him to the back. Really? They’re bound and determined to keep him from getting anything tonight, to hell with the lot of you! PHINEAS GODWINN is #4, with HILLBILLY JIM in tow. Vince finally admits they’ve been Clock Blocked, and are working to fix it. STEVE AUSTIN draws #5, which probably wasn’t part of the plan; not that he seems to particularly care. Maybe Bret Hart can show up at ringside so he can jump over the top and eliminate himself, cuz that’s how we do. Austin nails Crush with a clothesline, letting Phineas send him packing, and Austin’s right behind him with a Stunner and a mouthful of shit talking. As he’s dumped, BART GUNN heads in with the clock back up and working. That lasts about 30 seconds before Austin clears him, and starts doing pushups. Unfortunately for him, JAKE ROBERTS is #7, snake in hand. The fans are begging for the DDT, as the referee pulls Damian(?) to safety. Austin continues to hold Jake’s number, tossing him just as THE BRITISH BULLDOG comes in. JR plays up Bulldog’s surprisingly stellar Rumble record, which is a reminder of how weak the roster was in the mid 90’s. Doc Hendrix’s pick, PIERROTH, is #9. He’s a “notorious rule breaker” in Mexico, and goes right for the Bulldog … trying to score pinfalls because apparently nobody explained to him how the Rumble works. THE SULTAN with the IRON SHEIK is #10, and changes nothing.

“The Legendary”, and future Hall of Famer, MIL MASCARAS is #11. This should be interesting, just to see how much he’s willing to sell. Sure enough, nothing the Sultan dishes out even results in a flinch, and Mascaras takes over with his stupid punches. He tries to dump the big man, but he doesn’t hold the book here so it doesn’t happen. #12 brings us HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY, while Bulldog takes out the Sultan. Austin nearly tosses Hunter, but it’s clear it’s not happening when Vince starts shouting “OH YES THERE GOES HUNTE… no, not so close.” OWEN HART with his Slammy is lucky #13, and he teams up with Bulldog to work on Austin. Unfortunately, as they have him on the ropes, Owen gives an extra shove and sends his brother-in-law over and out instead! Davey loses his mind, while Owen pleads total innocence. Elsewhere, Mil Mascaras stands around, trying to look championly. GOLDUST is #14, and he focuses on Triple H … allowing Austin a chance to rush over and take the fight to him instead. CIBERNETICO is #15, and if 1992 is the gold standard for Royal Rumbles, this lineup is basically the polar opposite. MARC MERO draws #16, while Pierroth and Cibernetico take their leave. Mascaras then drops a plancha on one of them, and pops back in the ring, apparently completely unaware he’s done. In fact, the referees are forced to explain it to him, and even then, he doesn’t seem to believe them. Goldust finishes off Hunter, and this would be the last time he’d basically be used as Rumble fodder. Hart drops Austin with a gorgeous enzuigiri, while LATIN LOVER is #17. He flattens Hart with a Superkick that draws a good reaction from the fans; the first of the Mexicans to do anything more than annoy the piss out of everyone in attendance for being a part of this. Goldust tries to finish Owen, but he skins the cat and eliminates Goldust instead! FAAROOQ is #18, having apparently managed to avoid Ahmed Johnson backstage. Vince: “Don’t tell me it’s going to be Faarooq and the Nation of Domination winning this thing!” Dude, there’s 12 guys to go! Latin Lover is tossed to no fanfare, but AHMED JOHNSON returns with a 2x4, and he beats the hell out of Faarooq to a MASSIVE pop – backing up everything I’ve been saying all night. Mero and Hart eliminate each other, and somehow, unbelievably, Austin is once again all alone in the ring. Keeping in the tradition of Austin’s old foes coming out of the woodwork, SAVIO VEGA is #19. And, like the rest, he’s gone quickly, and Austin, despite being down and out of energy, keeps calling for more. The fans are slowly turning in favor of the Austin show here. DOUBLE J draws #20, but during a Shake Rattle and Roll, he’s given a trip into the front row. Austin stands defiantly, and draws a super strong 50/50 reaction.

BRET HART comes out at #21, and Austin looks like he’s seen a ghost as the fans explode. Still, he readies himself, and the place is deafening as they trade punches. Bret locks on the Sharpshooter, as JERRY LAWLER leaves the commentary table at #22. He’s promptly returned. NOT DIESEL is #23, and ridiculously, he takes control of the match. TERRY FUNK jumps the gun, running down the ramp about 5 seconds early as #24. A group of SuperFans start parading a massive Funk banner around in the front row, as Bret saves him from near elimination. Funk thanks him by punching him in the face and piledriving him. ROCKY MAIVIA is #25, and he stares his future in the face by going after Austin. Lawler, still loopy, can’t wait for his number to be called. MANKIND is #26, and there’s starting to be a lot of bodies in there (and a fair bit of future star power). FLASH FUNK comes out just as Bret gives Austin a spike piledriver – and I cringed watching it even though I know he’s still 100% at this point. VADER returns at #28, while Lawler vows to enter the Rumble next year. HENRY GODWINN is #29, and Vince’s octaves climb to previously uncharted levels. THE UNDERTAKER draws #30. Vince declares him the winner of the Royal Rumble, so you can rule him out. He starts dishing out chokeslams to all the heels, while Lawler begs him to chokeslam Hart. Vader tosses Flash Funk with a fallaway slam and to the floor in a pretty sick spot. Everyone else sits around throwing punches like a normal boring battle royal, and the fans are ready for something to give now. Taker tosses Godwinn, but he holds on and comes back in because lord knows we need the Godwinns teasing eliminations now as opposed to moving this along. A couple of minutes later, Taker does it for real. Rock is put in the Mandable Claw, and the floor is his only safety, so he’s out. Mankind and Terry pair off, and a Cactus Clothesline looks to end both, but somehow they BOTH hang on. Mankind then finishes Funk for real with a vertical suplex, while hanging on to the ropes to save himself. A big boot from Taker while Mankind’s still on the apron finishes that. Mankind starts a fight with Funk, and then tries to get back in drawing all of the officials to that corner, and that coincides with Austin getting tossed by Bret as the entire arena explodes! But, the referees are busy with Mick, so Austin gets right back in unnoticed, and dumps Taker and Vader who are brawling by the ropes. Hart finishes Diesel, and Austin rushes in to dump HIM, securing the Royal Rumble win at 51:32!! The fans AND Hart are completely irate, while Austin is plenty proud to celebrate his win all the way to the locker room. Hart grabs McMahon by the tuxedo, and demands to know what the hell he’s going to do about Austin’s nonsense? “I THREW HIM OUT OF THE GODDAMN RING!” Vince, stunned, sits there in silence, only calling it “unsportsmanlike conduct” once Bret’s out of earshot. Rumble sucked, finish was fantastic. **

This is how it’s done. Whether they knew it or not, the WWF was witnessing their next big star explode on to the scene. A lot of people automatically credit the King of the Ring victory as the moment Austin came to form, but Austin was actually forgotten about for much of the summer, and didn’t even appear on several of the PPV’s. (This, despite the fact that the roster was pretty much made up of whoever showed up to the arena on any given day at this point.) However, during Bret Hart’s absence, Austin taunted the former champion until it became clear that during Bret’s return his only option was to shut the guy up. Of course, Bret won, but didn’t come close to succeeding the task because Austin was tough enough, AND crazy enough to come at a gun wielding Brian Pillman; a Canadian bred shooter wasn’t going to slow him down. Tonight, he not only capitalized by winning over the fans for a period of time with the Steve Austin show during the early stages, but poured gasoline on the fire of his Bret Hart feud by continuing to do whatever he could to make the old man crazy.

This was a guy just a year into his tenure with the company, who was getting the rocket strapped up his ass, and pushed to high hell. There was no scripting his promos, and lord knows Austin wouldn’t have remembered them anyway. They just instructed him to remind the world how much he hated Bret Hart (and everyone else, for that matter), and Austin made damn sure he did. The rest of the booking came into place naturally. There’s a whole lot of lessons the company could learn if they watched this back. You can’t force a star, you can only let it shine.

Of course, we have one more piece of business to attend to.

SHAWN MICHAELS (with Jose Lothario) vs. SYCHO SID (for the WWF world heavyweight title)

This should be a positive no-doubter now, but we’ll play along nevertheless. Shawn, realizing he is in front of family, friends, and fans, goes all out here, showing off a freshly groomed mat of chest hair. Lothario, quick on his feet, removes the studded chaps before Shawn can start flossing his ass. Sid, completely understanding his role as a heel, stops to pound fists with the fans in the front row and ask “WHO’S THE MAN?” Shawn gets face to face with Sid, appearing to breathe heavily all over the champ. Oh my god, he’s giving him the flu! WHATTAMANOOOOOVER! A crossbody drops Sid immediately, and Shawn pounds his head into the mat. He goes for what APPEARS to be Sweet Chin Music, but winds up missing a little low. Sid still sells like a gunshot, flying to the floor. Shawn follows him out, and nearly gets gorilla pressed, but a rake of the eyes saves him. Back in, Michaels bounces off the top, right into the awaiting arms of Sid, who delivers a powerslam for 2. PETE LOTHARIO has somehow acquired a front row seat, and gives Shawn Important Advice such as “get him”. Sid works a camel clutch, but the voices in his head take over and Sid starts freaking out, so he releases and drops down on Michaels instead. A second camel clutch draws those darn noises back, with Sid looking to the left and right for answers, before settling on the same drop down – but this time Shawn rolls and Sid hits canvas. Michaels goes on the attack, but gets whipped into the corner and sent to the floor hard. Sid slams Shawn’s back into the ring post a couple of times, and sends him in for 2. While Jose wills Michaels onwards, while looking like a jackass under Shawn’s cowboy hat, Sid hits a clothesline for 2. A bear hug is applied, while Jose leads a “SHAWN” chant amongst about 8 fans. Michaels escapes with a bear clap, and Sid is so stunned he immediately puts the bear hug back on. An atomic drop is his escape this time, which just serves to make Sid angrier when he re-applies the bear hug for a 3rd time. The camera brings us a close up of Pete, who continues to issue powerful words: “Come on Shawn!”. Sid drops a leg for 2, before applying a chinlock with his knee driving into Shawn’s back. Michaels fights to his feet and slams the big man, hits the flying jalapeno, and kips up. An elbow drop is the opening act, and the band starts to warm up, so Sid backdrops him to the outside and powerbombs Shawn on the floor, directly on the back of his head! If that’s not enough (and it’s not), Sid goes to chokeslam BOTH Lotharios (hey, arrest Pete, he’s just a fan!), but that never comes. Back in, Shawn is whipped to the corner, which ALSO happens to be the location of one Earl Hebner, who dies on contact. Sid his the chokeslam, and covers Shawn for about 150, but no referee. A second one runs down from the back, so Sid punches him in the face. Hah!! Turning his attention once more to Jose, Sid doesn’t see Shawn grab a TV camera from the guy at ringside, and he plants the big guy in the snout! Earl does his traditional slow count, but Sid kicks out at 2, and Shawn can’t believe it. He quickly loads the boot, and Earl rolls over for the slow count, with Sid kicking out JUST after the 3, and we have a new champion at 13:51. **1/2

ADAM and GEORGE pound on the back door, demanding to know who won the Royal Rumble. Eventually, they just settle on a Wrestlemania road trip. They have FAR too much energy considering they just got kicked out of the one thing they’d been camping out to do for the last 6 weeks, but it’s entirely possible they’re all about the chase (as opposed to the more likely scenario: mentally retarded).

Look, there was no way they were gonna run Austin vs. Sid in a heel / heel main event, and the road is clearly pointing to a Shawn / Bret rematch. The only question is how they wrestle the #1 contender slot away from Austin; but the obvious route sees Bret appeal the Rumble decision based on his obvious gripe, and do a #1 contender match at the next In Your House, where Bret wins to end the Austin feud.


Of course, logical paths aren’t always the roads we’ll travel, and as Vince will remind us … ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IN THE WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION. A live RAW tomorrow night will answer some of the lingering questions (and it’s a doozy you’ll want to check out if they EVER upload it to the Network). ‘Til then. 

Comments

  1. Adam and George: please revel you're BoD screen names. Thanks.

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  2. For nearly 60,000 people, it's the most quiet crowd up until the Main Event. I've heard a hotter crowd for old TNA shows with less than 1,000 people in attendance.

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  3. The mere presence (nay, existence) of Jose Lothario during this period just cracks me up.

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  4. Doesn't Adam still work there as one of the video package guys? Didn't HBK thank him in his retirement speech?

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  5. I actually had to sit through a 'match' between Jose Lothario and Jim Cornette at a house show. Longest 45 second match I can recall.

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  6. Much of the crowd was papered. I actually got free tickets in the mail, but my dad wasn't gonna do the 2 hour drive for us to go on a school night.

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  7. Dustin Rhodes wasn't ready to work a long match? What?

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  8. Ahh, the good ol' days when HHH was opening shows with 15 minute matches instead of 30 minute promos.

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  9. I've seen papered crowds react better than that. There's casual mark crowds and then there's "have no clue who anyone is except the tippy top guys, so we won't react to anyone" crowds.

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  10. If that's the same Adam, dude gets mad props for amazing work. If it's a different Adam, then whoever that Adam is gets mad props for amazing work.

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  11. I just watched this show last week and that "luchadore" match was one of the worst matches I've ever seen. My favorite part was how MacMahon and Ross kept calling everyone Heavy Metal or Perro.

    1997 WWF is pretty good so far. I'm only through January, but the show has excitement and developing stories. I could not believe how much of a star Austin looked like at the Rumble. That was insane.

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  12. I'm sure he meant the two weren't ready to work that long together considering they had zero chemistry, 'cause Dustin, when motivated, was a heck of a worker.

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  13. Doing research it appears one of the guys was a dude Pettengill made fun of on WWF Mania so it's entirely possible.

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  14. THE BRITISH BULLDOG vows to win the “Woil Whumble” because he’s “Bizaaaah!

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  15. I probably needed to be more clear. As goldust, Dustin was atrocious for the first several years of his run. I'd be hard pressed to find a single early goldust match over **1/2. I guess learning deviant homosexuality isn't a style that's taught in wcw.

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  16. Also, the hard camera side was really empty. They positioned everyone around the 3 other sides to give a fullerappearance, so I bet the acoustics were all messed up too

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  17. **1/2 is mighty generous. He was all gimmick and no workrate until 2002. I remember everyone hating him coming back, and then he started busting ass again.

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  18. Or, from 1999-2001 in WCW... no gimmick, no workrate.

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  19. It takes a king....




    .....to know a king!

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  20. I don't even bother using WCW as a measuring tool for anyone. Maybe 5% of the roster was actively trying by 1999?

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  21. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogFebruary 6, 2015 at 9:10 PM

    You've got a multi-man lucha match and you don't open the show with it?

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  22. 1997 WWF is probably my favourite. They're just waking up from the coma that was the New Generation, and were starting to push the boundaries just a bit. Sure, a lot of it was reactionary to WCW's success (ie the AAA match) but it was still a breath of fresh air after Plugg, Kwang, and Dink.

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  23. This is my first time watching any of it and it's great. I can totally see how people became so invested in it.

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  24. It wouldn't have worked. It was doomed

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  25. They were throwing EVERYTHING at the wall aftrr being decimated by wcw

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  26. The look on Austin's face when Bret's music hit is priceless.
    Plus, I adore how Lawler talks about "It takes a king..." goes to the ring, lasts five seconds and comes back to the table to finish the comment.

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  27. I love that. Austin's cocky as fuck, getting ready to kill the next loser who comes to the ring and then he realises....oh shit, I'm fucked.

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  28. Ahmed was always going to be limited by the fact that nobody could understand a word he said

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  29. I remember Cornette describing this as a stadium that needed a show, rather than the other way around. They were basically giving away tickets to fill the place by the end of it.

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  30. This really aggravated me as a fan at the time because I liked Shawn and they should have let Shawn be Shawn without Jose. Shawn being with Jose is today's equivalent to Bryan being anchored down by Kane in a effort to curtail his heat.

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  31. A few years ago I helped ESPN produce the Alamo Bowl, which takes place at the Alamo Dome. First thing we had to do was film the football teams arriving at the stadium, meaning I got to stand in the exact same spot where Davey Boy cut that BIZARRRRRRRE promo.


    Wasn't TNA going to have Hector Garza end the 2004-05 Jarrett Reign of Terror before he got deported for smuggling steroids into the US?

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  32. Yeah, that match was absolutely a piece of shit. I think in retrospect that they either attempted to hire on a bunch of Mexicans without knowing which were good (and thus got crappy, old ones), or were attempting to discredit WCW's Luchadores by going "See? Lucha SUCKS!"

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  33. It sure got the WWF some coverage in the botchamanias with those AAA "talent".


    Funny thing: For such a bad Royal Rumble, we got some all time classic moments there, with Austin's face after Bret's music hits, the ending sequence and the controversial finish.

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  34. What am I missing about Ahmed? He was just before my time, but all I see is a black Ryback.

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  35. Dad hated HBK on top...was convinced he was a 'sex deviant' ever since that thing where he did a strip tease with a child.

    In all fairness, though, I didn't press the issue too much.

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  36. Ahmed was SO much more badass than just about anyone else on the roster, that's why he was so popular.

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  37. It gets better man, it really does. 1997 WWF was very chaotic. Not everything worked, but what DID work was fantastic and has very high re-watchability factor.

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  38. And looking at AAA's roster at the time, I don't think AAA could have sent much better.
    On a side note: It's kinda crazy that Fuerza Guerrera is still wrestling.

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  39. Konnan really cherry picked all the young legit stars for wcw already.

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  40. It's true. It was his real persona coming through, not a character trying to be funny

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  41. He was gonna be a star cause Dusty.loved him but I'm not sure snout ending the Jarrett reign. I think the poor guy died recently

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  42. Freebies and $4 tickets with purchase of meals at local taco bells, 7elevens, ect

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  43. According to the sheets it was Shawn's idea. I don't get it either

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  44. Is your dad Bret Hart?

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  45. The Rumble is bad mostly because the roster is just too thin for it to be a good match. But the booking around the top guys and what they set up with it was *really* good, especially the Austin/Bret stuff, obviously.

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  46. Remember when they made an entire summer storyline centered around Lex Luger bodyslamming Yokozuna? They had Ahmed do that on his very first night! That right there told you that if things had gone according to plan, he'd have been THE guy at some point.

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  47. "Mean" Dean AndrewsFebruary 8, 2015 at 6:12 AM

    You're in for a treat. I re watched it all a couple of years ago and it's still my favorite combination of year and promotion. Got to the a Final Four PPV yet? GREAT main event.

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  48. RAW post-WM 13 through the end of the year is the best run of the show ever imo

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