1998 Royal Rumble
First PPV in 1998, following a number of incidents in 97 that were starting to gain the company momentum.
Match 1 – Vader Vs The Artist Formally Known as Goldust – Ever need proof that Vince Russo is NOT a creative genius, look no further than the massacre of the Goldust character (one that Russo himself had a HUGE hand in btw…). Shitty gimmicks aside, on paper this should be great. Dustin is great, Vader is great, they’ve had great matches in the past back in WCW. Then again… Dustin was having problems at this time which affected his work, and Vader was never allowed to be VADER in the WWF. That and the heel/face roles are reversed. Goldust takes what might be the worst steel ring steps bump I have ever witnessed. Goldust kisses Vader, so Vader clotheslines him straight, or at least attempts to. Finish sees Vader hitting a Vader Bomb with Luna on his back. Not as bad as I remember, but has nothing on their WCW matches. **.
Austin arrives, ignore Michael Cole. Godwins… or Southern Justice I think they go by now(?) chase after Austin, who is a marked man. Whoever stops him winning the RR or something gets money.
SUNNY. Short shorts. Nice. As a ginger, being out in the sun for too long isn’t the best thing, but I’d happily risk getting burnt to spend some time in Sunny. Too much information? Tough!
Match 2 – 3 Minis Vs 3 Other Minis – Not sure if a match or Jerry Lawler challenge for most bad midget jokes… either that or an excuse to put Sunny in shorts. I choose to believe the shorts thing. Match is filled with arm drags and head scissors. Then the babyface minis win. 1/4*.
Backstage and the Nation of Domination are looking for Austin too. They decide to send in Mark Henry first so he can prove himself. They charge into his locker room and find a giant foam middle finger in a chair waiting for them. Mike Tyson is sat watching the event in a skybox with Vince and Shane.
Rock getting interviewed before his IC title defence. They show footage of the free for all show where all the NOD members argue over who will eliminate Austin. Nothing worth mentioning from Rock’s promo. No surprise there.
Match 3 – The Rock Vs Ken Shamrock – Intercontinental title is on the line here. Not too much to say here other than its actually a good match. Shamrock looks like a competent pro wrestler, and Rock isn’t nearly as annoying and shitty in the ring as he would later become. Though he does rake the eyes of Shamrock about 20 times because apparently he doesn’t know any other heel ways of stopping the momentum of his opponents. D-Lo and Kama show up and get knocked on their arses… well… D-Lo gets his leg caught in the ropes for about a minute lol. Rock uses some brass knucks, Shamrock kicks out and no sells, hitting a Belly to Belly to win the IC title! Until Rock tells the ref he got hit with knucks, and the ref checks Shamrock and finds them on him, and reverses the decision. Had to rewind to see how they got there, turns out Rock put them there after he used them. I quite liked that idea. Rock can’t get caught with them if they are in his opponents crotch region, and should things go wrong (like Shamrock kicking out), he has a great way to cheat his way out of a loss. ***1/4.
Backstage, Shamrock attacks The Rock in the locker room. Los Boricuas are also backstage and now looking for Austin too. They attack some bald guy and it turns out to be someone from the DOA who brawl with Los Boricuas. Fuck, how many stables did WWF have back then? And how many were actually good? Too many and not enough is the answer.
Match 4 – Legion of Doom Vs New Age Outlaws – Tag titles on the line now. LOD want to MURDER the Outlaws following a vicious beating a while back which resulted in Hawk’s legendary Mohawk being cut, and Animal powerbombed through the announce table. Animal walks to the ring like he’s shit himself. Wow, NWA and AWA mention. Outlaws get the shit kicked out of them in the early going. Road Dogg’s mouth is busted open. Oh wow, Hawk applies an STF that looks worse than Cena’s. Seriously! After some heel tactics the Outlaws gain control, and Road Dogg gets revenge for being busted open by literally kicking Animal while he’s down. Repeatedly lol. Then Hawk gets pissed off and starts manhandling the tag champs until he goes shoulder first into the ring post. Now BOTH of LOD are down and hurting! So what do the Outlaws do? Handcuff Hawk to the ring post of course! I like how the ref doesn’t give a shit and just carries on refereeing the match like normal. Animal manages to hold his own for a little while and nearly wins the match, but Road Dogg cracks him in the back with a chair repeatedly and gets DQ’d. They really wear out Animal’s back, which I *think* was genuinely injured at this time, and Hawk finally breaks free to come to the aid of his partner. Match is nothing special but certainly fun. **1/2.
Mildred wins a pickup truck.
Match 5 – 30 man Royal Rumble Match – So Austin is the big focus of this match, with McMahon putting a bounty on his elimination. I wonder who will win… Anywho, CACTUS FUCKING JACK carrying weapons is the first entrant! All hail Mick Fucking Foley. And #2 is… TERRY FUCKING FUNK. All hail Terry Fucking Funk. Ok, so he’s Chainsaw Charlie here. Which means Funk carries a chainsaw around and puts a stocking over his head. Only Terry could do that and still remain the greatest thing ever. They destroy each other with chairs. Funk removes the stocking so Cactus can see its him under there. Because it’s the greatest disguise since Superman’s glasses. They both take turns at letting each other hit them with chairs. Crazy, awesome bastards.OMG ITS TOM BRANDY! TOM BRANDY! TOM BRANDY! He gets eliminated immediately. Damn, I put money on him to win. Rock is in next, and he went from looking good in his IC title match to looking fucking terrible here. Awful kicks, awful punches. Foley and Funk beat the shit out of him, but only knock him through the ropes rather than over dammit. JARRETT IS NOTHING BUT A BACK JUMPER. His man boobs must be freezing. Ahh Kurgan. The Great Khali of his time. Tall and useless, comes in as a big unstoppable monster, then becomes a dancing joke. If Andre’s body didn’t let him down in his later years, I wonder if he would have been “getting down with it” at some point… MANKIND. Didn’t Foley already enter? Yes he did! Which makes this whole thing awesome. Don’t remember when he got eliminated though haha. He eliminates Funk, who eliminated Cactus… at some point. Goldust (in a new outfit) eliminates Mankind. I’m sad. If only some dude could cheer me up. Jarrett gets the biggest pop of his career… when Owen Hart eliminates him. Honky Tonk Man? Uhhhh ok. HHH and Chyna follow him out, and distract Owen Hart, hit him with a crutch (HHH was on crutches at this time), and eliminate him. DX really didn’t like the Hart family. LMFAO they show Owen run after HHH through the curtain… and he falls over. And Lawler acknowledges it. Ahmed Johnson comes out, and JR mentions that he’s had numerous injuries but he’s 100% now. He barely manages to slide in the ring and stand up. Looks fat and out of shape. Not as bad as his BIG T days in WCW though. Austin finally shows up, and everyone stops fighting each other and turns to the entrance way to meet him. He comes from behind, eliminates a few people… and everyone else IGNORES HIM. They built up the fact that EVERYONE is out to get him all through the PPV. Then when he comes out nobody gives a shit. Good job guys! THE ROCK AND KAMA, JUST WAILING ON EACH OTHER’S NOB HERE. JR is coming out with some funny shit lol. DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE LOVE! DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE LOVE! Austin wins. Christ this match seemed to last forever. Wiki claims its 55 minutes, but it could be wrong. Felt like 2 hours. Not the worst Rumble match by any means, but honestly the only highlights are Cactus and Funk battling at the start, then Foley entering the match 2 more times as Mankind and Dude Love. **3/4.
COLD STONE IS MY MAN! Mike Tyson can’t even say the name of his favourite wrestler.
Match 6 – Shawn Michaels Vs The Undertaker – WWF Title Casket Match time! Good god what a build up video package for this match. If only the AE was more like this… and less like the utter shite we mostly got (SWERVE~! TRANNY~! CHOPPY CHOPPY YOUR PEE PEE~! SWERVE~! MAKES NO SENSE~! SWERVE~! SWERVE~! SWERVE~! NO SENSE~! NO LOGIC~! SWERVE SWERVE SWERVE~!). Great display of power from Undertaker early on and then…. CRACK. Bye bye HBK’s back. See you in 4 years. Crazy that he didn’t feel anything until the day after. Kinda hard to watch him take all those back bumps afterwards when you know what happened to him lol. But I’m still able to watch and love this match regardless lol. They mention that Undertaker has only lost 1 casket match, to Yoko at the RR in 94. Uhhh… didn’t he lose to Goldust in 96? Man I love that piledriver on the steel steps. Did HBK do it to anyone else other than Undertaker and then Cena in 07? Undertaker pretty much has the match won and then… New Age Outlaws + Job Squa… no, Los Boricuas, show up to beat the hell out of him. Cue KANE to make the save… and then its SWERVE~! time. Undertaker loses, then gets locked in the casket, and then MY GOD THE CASKET’S ON FIRE! THE CASKET IS ON FIRE! UNDERTAKER IS IN THE CASKET AND ITS ON FIRE! Home Video exclusive shows the fire being put out… and NO UNDERTAKER inside! Where could he be? Yeah this rules. ****.