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Attitude Era Classics: WWF Royal Rumble 1998

WWF Royal Rumble 1998

18th January 1998

San Jose Arena, San Jose, California

Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

Attendance: 18,542

Buy Rate: 0.97

 

We kick off 1998 with the 11th annual Royal Rumble event. What a year 1998 turned out to be! It’s one of my favourite years in wrestling so I’ll be looking forward to reviewing pay per views from this year. At this point in time, WCW is still leading the way in the ratings but the WWF are starting to close the gap and eventually, they’ll regain their position as the top wrestling company in the world. While the winner of the Rumble match is obvious, it’s the right choice considering the direction the company was taking at the time. Also tonight, WWF Champion Shawn Michaels goes up against the Undertaker in a casket match which will end up having major implications in the future both professionally and personally.

 

The video package puts over how it’s the dream of every WWF Superstar to become the WWF Champion and that winning the Royal Rumble is a step in achieving that dream. We get the pyro and a wide shot of the arena. We are welcomed to the show by our announce team, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. Up in one of the sky boxes, Mike Tyson is watching the event with Vince & Shane McMahon. VERY loud boos for “Iron Mike”. Our opening contest is about to begin.

 

The Artist Formally Known as Goldust /w/ Luna vs. Vader

During Goldust’s entrance, we get a video package showing the recent events leading up to this match. Both men have been having issues since Goldust walked out on Vader at Survivor Series so he’s looking for revenge. Goldust has taken his new gimmick to another level since we last saw him including a segment on Raw where he was dressed up as Baby New Year! I must say Vader got a massive reaction upon arrival here. Goldust tries to get some shots in on the big guy early on, but Vader fights him off as well as some interference from the equally bizarre Luna at ringside. The match is a pretty good start to the show which is always a good thing. Vader pretty much destroys Goldust for much of the match, but the crazy Artist gets his shots in throughout. In the end, Vader looks to put Goldust away with his Vader Bomb, but Luna gets in the ring and climbs onto the back of the big man as he climbs the turnbuckle. Deciding to go with it anyway, Vader comes down with Luna on his back, hitting Goldust with the Vader Bomb in the process, allowing the Mastodon to pick up the win.

Winner: Vader via pinfall

Rating: ** ½

Such a fun match to open the show here. Vader was mega over here despite being pushed further and further down the card in recent months. His face run had a lot of potential as the crowd could certainly get behind him.

 

Stone Cold arrives to the arena. Michael Cole tries to get a word with him but Austin mistakes him for a Valet. As Austin leaves, the Godwinns arrive on the scene demanding to know which way Austin went. The story goes that everyone was after Austin since he was taking everyone out in the weeks leading up to this event.

 

Sunny is introduced to the crowd as the guest referee for the upcoming midgets contest.

 

Batallion, Tarantula & El Torito vs. Max Mini, Nova & Mosaic

Guest Referee: Sunny

Its midget filler time as we have seen on a few of these recent shows. Sunny is the referee for this one simply because she doesn’t have anything else going for at the moment. King was on fire with the “little” jokes. He said that once, Max Mini tried to commit suicide by jumping off a curve. That was funny.  As always, there’s not much to say about this stuff. It’s fun enough, but it’s nothing spectacular at this point. After some assistance from Sunny in delivering some dropkicks to the heels, Mini picks up the expected win for the face trio with a hurricanrana into a cradle on El Torrito.

Winners: Max Mini, Nova & Mosaic

Rating: **

A fast and fun match but got a bit too repetitive with all the hurricanranas though.

Backstage, The Nation of Domination are standing outside Austin’s locker room. Faarooq tells Mark Henry, the newest member of the group, to prove his worth and to attack Austin. They break in but Austin is nowhere to be found. They can only manage to find a Austin 3:16 foam hand.

 

We get another shot of Mike Tyson up in the Skybox with Vince & Shane. Jim Ross mentions that Tyson is in negotiations with the WWF. His role will be clearer the next night on RAW.

 

Up next is the Intercontinental title match between Ken Shamrock and the Champion, The Rock. Other the past few weeks leading up to this event, Shamrock has gained the upper hand on the Nation defeating them all with the ankle lock. The previous Raw saw Mark Henry turn on Shamrock during a tag match against The Rock and D’Lo Brown. Michael Cole interviews Rocky who is still in the infant stages of his heel run.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship

The Rock © vs. Ken Shamrock

Rock comes out alone to some massive heat as he’s one of the most hated men in the company here.  There are a lot of “Rocky Sucks” chants and a few “Die Rocky Die” signs in the crowd. He gets on the mic before the match and tells the crowd to shut their mouths and that he’s the greatest Intercontinental Champion there ever was. Shamrock follows on his way out to a decent pop, mainly because he’s from California. They start out with Rocky starling at every opportunity, eventually they start brawling as we get going. Shamrock battles back and hits a crossbody and a fisherman’s suplex for two. Rocky regains control via a clothesline to the floor they go where Shamrock meets the steel steps. The Rock drops Shamrock into the float-over DDT and then a reverse chinlock. Shamrock frees himself; Rocky goes for the float-over again but Shamrock counters into a Northern Lights release suplex. Shamrock begins to dominate with knuckles; he fires up and hits a big off-the-ropes powerslam, a hurricanrana follows. Shamrock begins to “snap”, here comes Kama Mustafa and D’Lo Brown to aid the Rock. Shamrock dispatches with them but hangs D’Lo in the ropes; while the referee is dealing with him Maivia blasts Shamrock with brass knuckles. He hides them in Shamrock’s trunks. Shamrock kicks out and clobbers the Rock with a belly-to-belly suplex for three. When I originally watched this show, I was actually surprised with this finish (not the official finish but I’ll get onto that in a second) as it just came out of nowhere!

Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock via pinfall

As it seems Shamrock is the new I.C champion, Rock starts to complain to the referee, telling him to look into Shamrock’s trunks. The ref does just that and finds the brass knuckles planted their by Rock. The referee then reverses his decision and awards the match to the Rock via DQ. Rocky is still the I.C Champion and he gets out of there as Shamrock snaps, locking in the ankle lock on the official.

Winner and STILL WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Rock via DQ

Rating: ***

It was a solid mid card match with a clever finish which portrayed Rock as being a sneaky heel champion who used his intelligence to keep hold of the title. It paved the way for re-matches down the road.

 

Backstage, Los Boricuas believe they’ve found Austin so they attack him, however, it isn’t Austin. It’s Skull from the Disciples of Apocalypse! The rest of the DOA arrives on the scene and a huge brawl breaks out between them all. And here’s me thinking that the ‘Gang Warz’ was over!

 

The Tag titles are on the line in our next contest. It’s the New Age Outlaws against the Legion of Doom.  The video package which accompanies this match looks back on the Legion of Doom’s dominance in tag team wrestling which has made them into legends but are being disrespected by the Outlaws. Hawk got his head shaved and Animal got powerbombed through a table.

 

Michael Cole is standing by with the Legion of Doom. They say this match is about pride after being humiliated by the Outlaws in recent weeks.

 

WWF Tag Team Championship

New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn) © vs. Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal)

The Outlaws wear Green Bay Packers jerseys to the ring. Cheap sports heat! They all brawl to start; Animal gets a powerbomb on Road Dogg. Hawk clobbers Road Dogg and Animal tries to twist his head off. Hawk returns and hits a neckbreaker on Road Dogg; he attacks Billy Gunn, for some reason, allowing a tag, it does not matter though as Hawk rips through Billy as well. He face plants Billy by the hair and a backdrop suplex. Animal tags in but misses an elbow drop; he comes back and powerslams both Outlaws. Hawk applies an STF; Animal returns but Road Dogg trips him from the floor and then Billy Gunn sends him over the top rope. On the floor Road Dogg whips him into the steps furthering the damage to his bad back. Hawk comes in to take out Billy and double clotheslines both Outlaws. Hawk misses a charge posting his shoulder; now both Road Warriors are down and out. Road Dogg handcuffs Hawk to the ring post. Animal flips out of a double atomic drop and floors both of the Outlaws. The referee finally realises Hawk is handcuffed to the post but elects to do nothing about it. Animal continues to dominate. Billy Gunn comes off the top but right into a powerslam. Road Dogg interrupts the three count with a chair to Animal’s back; drawing a DQ. Post-match the Outlaws destroy Animal’s back with a chair until Hawk breaks the handcuffs and clears the ring.

Winners: The Legion of Doom via DQ

Rating: ½ *

It was a boring match it must be said. Animal looked tired early on but he still worked hard though. The match demonstrated the Outlaws abilities to cheat and willingness to take the easy way out.

 

Recap of how the WWF made “Stone Cold” Steve Austin the hottest star in wrestling. Attacking and stunning EVERYONE in sight; heels, babyfaces, referees, announcers, security guards, etc… it was totally fresh and different at the time. Now, EVERYONE in the company is gunning for Austin in the Rumble.

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now time for the 1998 Royal Rumble match”, man, I used to get pumped up whenever Fink introduced the Rumble match. Howard Finkel starts off by explaining the rules as usual. He says the intervals are two minutes, but they vary between 90 seconds and two minutes in reality. “And now, let us all find out who drew number one….”

 

The Royal Rumble

#1 Cactus Jack and #2 Chainsaw Charlie starts us off. They take turns throwing chairs at each other; Jack and Terry Funk have a chair duel. A referee slides in the ring to remove the live chainsaw. Funk asks for a chairshot and then Jack gives him the chair and asks for one himself. Both men are faces by the way. They beat on each other with some stiff chair shots to the head that would thankfully never happen today. Here is #3 Tom Brandi. Jack and Chainsaw double team him and quickly eliminate him. Tom Brandi is eliminated by Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie. Cactus sets up two chairs and suplexes Chainsaw onto them. Now #4 “The Rock” Rocky Maivia runs down. Funk and Cactus double shoulderblock each other. The Rock goes to work on Charlie then stomps on Cactus. Jack gets a trashcan and wallops Rocky with it; they drape it over his torso and punch it and hit it with a chair. #5 Headbanger Mosh enters the match; Chainsaw tosses a chair at him as he is on the way to the ring which was pretty funny. No one can throw a chair quite like Terry Funk. Mosh works on Charlie while the Rock and Cactus go at it. Cactus knee in the corner on the Rock; Chainsaw misses the Funk U-sault. Here comes #6 Phineas I. Godwinn now a heel; Godwinns were better as nasty heels anyway. He goes straight to work on Cactus then Charlie. The Rock nails everyone from behind when he can. #7 8-Ball, only because the graphic tells me so, heads to the ring and attacks the Rock since DOA and the Nation hate each other. Terry Funk ducks a Cactus Jack charge and eliminates him. Cactus Jack is eliminated by Chainsaw Charlie. 8-Ball works over Phineas as Jerry Lawler claims through his “sources” that someone has finally gotten to Steve Austin in the back. Jim Ross is dubious. Everyone brawls on the ropes trying to eliminate each other. Chainsaw hangs on by his foot; I have no idea how, it defies physics. #8 Blackjack Bradshaw heads out in one of his failed singles pushes. He clobbers everyone in his path then settles on working over Chainsaw. Bradshaw and 8-Ball brawl and gets him over the top. Chainsaw goes over again but not out. #9 “Black Hart” Owen Hart but NWA representative Jeff Jarrett and Jim Cornette attack him in the aisle to fire the opening salvo in the mini NWA/WWF invasion storyline. Everyone brawls on the ropes and Phineas knocks down the Rock.

#10 Steve Blackman jogs down and almost eliminates Chainsaw. 8-Ball adds a piledriver to Chainsaw’s list of head injuries; more rope brawling follows. Bradshaw clobbers Charlie. Blackman and Funk hang on the ropes on opposite sides as #11 D’Lo Brown comes out. He goes for 8-Ball as Chainsaw goes over again; Mosh and Bradshaw try to drop him to the floor. Running lariat from 8-Ball to D’Lo. Rocky and D’Lo go at it to a reasonable ovation. Here comes big #12 Kurrgan the Interrogator to the ring. Everyone stops brawling to keep an eye on him; he no-sells everything Mosh and Bradshaw can throw at him. Mosh stupidly climbs the buckles against Kurrgan so he just throws Mosh off the top rope. Headbanger Mosh is eliminated by Kurrgan. Blackman spin kicks him; that pisses him off so he shouts at and destroys Blackman. #13 “Marvelous” Marc Mero heads out to the ring, all the fans care about is Sable though. Poor Mero! Mero uses knuckles on Blackman; Kurrgan rams Bradshaw and Steve Blackman together and then elimintes Blackman. Steve Blackman is eliminated by Kurrgan. Bradshaw clobbers him with a running elbow smash but Kurrgan no-sells it and makes mean faces at Bradshaw. The Rock and D’Lo continue their battle in the corner, as Mero and Chainsaw battle. Kurrgan destroys Phineas so Bradshaw reverse bearhugs him. Here’s #14 Ken Shamrock he heads for Kurrgan and finally floor him. Everyone now gets the hint and gangs up on Kurrgan, together they all eliminated him. Kurrgan is eliminated by loads of people. After he’s eliminated Kurrgan shouts something along the lines of “bagawabhbagbahwbahah!!!” at everyone in the ring. Everyone resumes on the rope brawling. Shamrock works over Godwinn while Bradshaw big boots D’Lo. At the halfway point of the match, #15 Headbanger Thrasher comes in. D’Lo chokes the Rock in the corner. Bradshaw hits the Clothesline from Hell on Thrasher; not sure if it was called that at this point. More rope brawling. Bradshaw and 8-Ball brawl; here comes #16 Mankind, LOL. Mankind goes for Chainsaw Charlie naturally and eliminates him. Chainsaw Charlie is eliminated by Mankind. Mankind now goes for the Rock so D’Lo now helps him. Shamrock finally notices the Rock is in there after about two or three numbers have gone by since he got there. #17 The Artist Formally Known as Goldust runs with red & black facepaint on and a silver jumpsuit. Mankind works on him as soon as he enters the match. Mero has been dancing around the ring and celebrating in lieu of fighting. Goldust hiptosses Mankind over the top rope. Mankind is eliminated by Goldust. Mero and Goldust battle on the ropes; they’d become chummy in the future weeks then wind up fighting at WrestleMania XIV. Here is #18 Jeff Jarrett representing the NWA, strutting along the way. He goes for everyone until Owen Hart runs back in at attacks Jarrett and hits a spinning wheel kick. Jarrett sidesteps Owen who, unbeknownst to Jarrett, skins-the-cat back in and throws his future tag team partner out of the match. Jeff Jarrett is eliminated by Owen Hart.  Former Intercontinental Champion, #19 Honky Tonk Man comes in flanked by Triple H and Chyna, whom Owen was actually feuding with; they attack Owen with his crutch and eliminate him. Owen Hart is eliminated via outside interference. During the chaos, Ken Shamrock got eliminated by the Rock. Ken Shamrock is eliminated by The Rock.

#20 Ahmed Johnson comes out as Owen chases HHH to the back and falls down the steps. That was hilarious! There are a ton of guys in there, just to build to the inevitable Austin entrance. Ahmed very slowly gets in the ring and meets Phineas. JR mentions how injuries have held Johnson back and that’s very true judging by this performance. Ahmed attacks D’Lo because he still hates the Nation. 8-Ball and Honky Tonk Man roll around on the mat. #21 Mark Henry just after he turned heel and joined the Nation. It’s weird seeing him with a shaved head again because I’m too used to seeing him with his dreadlocks. Henry works over Ahmed. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Jim Ross on commentary saying, “he [Henry] is handling the big Johnson with those clubbing tree-like arms”. Wow. D’Lo comes over and assists Henry with Johnson. Ahmed looks to be in terrible shape here. He’s immobile and very tired! Mark Henry tosses powder at Ahmed as #22 Skull, of DOA, does not appear; he was hurt by Los Boricuas on the earlier misunderstanding. Also it adds credence and suspense to Lawler’s claim someone got to Steve Austin in the back. The Nation members finally remove Ahmed from the match. Ahmed Johnson is eliminated by Rock, D’Lo Brown & Mark Henry. Mark Henry then eliminates Phineas Godwinn, taking out referee Jack Doan in the process. Phineas Godwinn is eliminated by Mark Henry. Ahmed and Phineas battle back to the locker room. Camera got a close up of Ahmed’s fat ass, pretty disturbing site. D’Lo works over Mark Henry. Nation member, #23 Kama Mustafa runs into Ahmed on they down; he avoids him and joins the other three Nation members in the ring. Kama works over D’Lo, as the Nation guys like to brawl with each other instead of ganging up on everyone else. Now there are a load of wrestlers in the ring. I just noticed Honky Tonk is wearing the same style tights his cousin Jerry Lawler wears. #24 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s music hits; everyone in-ring stops brawling and watches the aisle awaiting Austin. He comes through the crowd and quickly eliminates Marc Mero from behind. Marc Mero is eliminated by Stone Cold. Everyone gangs up on him but he avoids them all and eliminates 8-Ball. 8-Ball is eliminated by Stone Cold. Austin handles D’Lo and Thrasher in the corner. Boy, for everyone “gunning for Austin” in this Rumble, they sure left him alone and went back to rope brawling pretty quickly. Things have calmed down enough as #25 Henry O. Godwinn enters. He goes for Austin. Kama and D’Lo work over each other again. Godwinn and Bradshaw dangle on the top rope. The Rock has also lasted a long time. Here is #26 Savio Vega, flanked by all of Los Boricuas, they all attack Austin. Stone Cold fends them all off and Savio, the actual legal entrant, remains. Austin tries to stun Savio Vega, lots of prior history there going back to 1996. Austin beheads Goldust with a lariat as Jim Ross says “if you will”; Austin stomps Goldust’s balls. The leader of the Nation of Domination #27 Faarooq heads down. Faarooq attacks the Rock then D’Lo and Kama; Rock and Austin brawl on the floor. Rock launches Austin into the steps as the rest of the Nation gang up on Faarooq. The Nation finally works over other people as Rocky and Stone Cold continue their battle on the floor, neither eliminated. Here comes #28 Dude Love, pulling a triple header, he gets a good pop from the crowd, and shoves Bradshaw over the top rope. Bradshaw is eliminated by Dude Love. Austin drags Goldust to the floor and sends him into the steps. The Rock drops the unnamed People’s Elbow onto Kama. Austin attacks him before he can get up. #29 Chainz heads out. Savio and Goldust beat on Austin in the corner. The Rock has been in the ring for almost fifty minutes at this point, plus defending his Intercontinental title earlier in the night. Thrasher whips D’Lo into a Faarooq backdrop eliminating D’Lo in the process. D’Lo Brown is eliminated by Faarooq. Henry Godwinn goes for Austin again and Henry picks the bones. The best draw goes to #30 Vader. Goldust goes for Vader and gets floored. Vader disposes of the Honky Tonk Man. Honky Tonk Man is eliminated by Vader. Chainz stands on Austin’s throat. There goes Headbanger Thrasher, he’s not going to Wrestlemania. Headbanger Thrasher is eliminated by Stone Cold. Austin then eliminates Kama Mustafa and stomps Henry Godwinn. Kama Mustafa is eliminated by Stone Cold. Jim Ross, for some reason, thinks D’Lo is still in there. Austin ducks a Savio roundhouse kick and eliminates Savio Vega. Savio Vega eliminated by Stone Cold. Goldust gets revenge by eliminating Vader from the Rumble. Vader is eliminated by Goldust. Dude Love ducks a Henry Godwinn clothesline and he sails over the top. Henry Godwinn is eliminated by Dude Love. Chainz ends Goldust’s dream of headlining Wrestlemania. The Artist Formally Known as Goldust is eliminated by Chainz. Guys are flying out right and left, now. I guess they’ve been told to quickly finish the match. Austin eliminates Chainz and Faarooq removes Mark Henry. Chainz is eliminated by Stone Cold and Mark Henry is eliminated by Faarooq.  We are now down to the final four of the 1998 Royal Rumble; Steve Austin, The Rock, Dude Love and Faarooq. Former tag champions Dude Love and Steve Austin each battle a Nation member. They whip them together. Austin clotheslines Faarooq and Dude Love hits Sweet Shin Music into the double-arm DDT on the Rock. Austin attacks Dude Love but the Dude gets the Love Handle (Mandible Claw) so Austin kicks him in the bollocks. Faarooq clotheslines Dude Love over the top rope. Dude Love is eliminated by Faarooq. Faarooq beats on Austin as the Rock tries to regain his breath on the far side. Rocky waits until Faarooq is busy with Austin. He sneaks up and throws Faarooq out of the match, planting the seeds for the future Faarooq face turn. Faarooq is eliminated by The Rock. It is down to Austin and the Rock. Austin throws Rocky over the top but Rocky hangs on, he gets back into the ring, Austin connects with the Stone Cold Stunner. Fans pop loud for that but they cheer even louder when Austin throws Rocky over the top rope, this time, his feet touch the floor. The Rock is eliminated by Stone Cold. Austin is the winner of the 1998 Royal Rumble.

Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Rating: ** ½

That was a fun Rumble match. There were times where the ring filled up towards the end making it hard to follow at times. It was obvious Austin was winning but it was the right call as he was becoming very popular. Whiles’ winning the Rumble last year was important for the Austin/ Bret feud, winning the Rumble this year was important of making Austin into the face of the company.

 

 

Michael Cole is up in the Skybox interviewing Mike Tyson who is pleased that “Cold Stone” has won the Rumble.

 

Recap of why Undertaker despises Shawn Michaels and DX and how Kane has had a change of heart regarding his brother. This goes back to Summerslam where Shawn accidently cost Undertaker the WWF title to Bret Hart. The first Hell in the Cell is highlighted including Kane’s debut. DX tried to involve Kane in the feud but it backfired and he helped the Undertaker.

 

WWF Championship

Casket Match

Shawn Michaels © /w/ Triple H & Chyna vs. The Undertaker

HBK tries to avoid the Undertaker as often as possible. He keeps charging in the corner and getting tossed off. Shawn springboards out of the corner but gets caught in a double choke lift, literally. Impressive. Taker looks to press-slam Shawn into the casket but he counters. Undertaker backdrops HBK over the casket but he catches his lower back on the edge of it in the spot that altered WWF booking for years and took about five years off of Shawn’s career. Taker tosses HBK into the ringpost and press-slams him on the floor. Shawn is noticeably limping and catches a huge right hand back in the ring. Shawn tries an arm wringer; Undertaker reverses and goes Old School. Undertaker pummels HBK in the corner and sends him upside down and out on the other, taking a cameraman out with him; Shawn did that an awful lot in his career. Michaels gets a desperation hangman off the top rope; he gets caught, however, in a powerslam coming off the top turnbuckle. Taker gets all of Shawn in the casket sans his hand; Shawn pops out of the casket with power in Undertaker’s eyes and it allows HBK to finally take over on him. Shawn moonsault presses onto him; HBK clotheslines him to the floor, skins-the-cat back in but Taker drags him out anyway. Taker dominates out there until Shawn sends his knees through the steel steps. Shawn uses the ring steps, on Takers back, a few times then he piledrives Undertaker onto the steps. Triple H hobbles over and gets a few licks in with his crutches. Shawn rolls the Undertaker into the casket but fights his way out and sends Shawn over the top back into the ring and nails Helmsley. HBK manages a swinging neckbreaker to stay on top. This match is unusually slow for an HBK match for obvious (injury) reasons; Shawn applies a sleeper. Taker comes back and backdrop suplexes himself free. Shawn hits the flying forearm, nip-up, top-rope elbow drop and tunes up the band. Sweet Chin Music! HBK rolls Taker into the casket but he counters with a testicular claw and punches him back into the ring, over the top, again. Undertaker hits a high-angle backdrop and sends Shawn upside down in the corner again. Big boot but Shawn avoids the 360 clothesline and Undertaker winds up in the casket. Shawn follows him in via a top rope elbow drop INTO the casket. For some reason, the referee closes the lid with BOTH of them inside. I guess it was so we could see Shawn escape but then gets dragged back into the casket by the Undertaker. Back on the floor Undertaker stalks Shawn and stalling chokeslams him. Undertaker positions HBK for the Tombstone, steps over the top rope and Tombstones him into the Casket!  Shades of the 1994 Royal Rumble here as Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, Savio Vega and the rest of Los Boricuas run down to beat the Undertaker down. Here comes Kane who clears the ring but he turns on the Undertaker! It was a set up all along! He chokeslams Undertaker into the casket and DX closes the lid to give Shawn Michaels the win. Post-match Paul Bearer wanders down and assists Kane in padlocking the casket. They wheel the casket up the ramp, where Kane whacks it a few times with an axe, and set it on fire.

Winner and STILL WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels

Rating: *** ½

It was all good stuff but they’ve had better (and will have two outstanding Wrestlemania matches in the future.) matches in the past. The match also set the stage for two main event matches at Wrestlemania 14.

 

Kane and Paul Bearer look on at the fames engulfing the Casket as the show comes to an end.

 

Random Thoughts

  • There were a lot of debutants in the Rumble match as Jim Ross pointed out. The WWF was in a stage of change and that was proven here.
  • Back in 1998, I didn’t finch a bit during those chair shots between Cactus Jack & Terry Funk, now, I cringed a few times because of all the information I know about blows to the head. Thankfully, headshots are banned in the WWE today and that’s a good thing.
  • The whole “bounty on Austin” thing was a nice selling point but other than everyone stopping when his music played, they never really went after him. They could have booked it a bit better and make it seem like Austin vs. the world.
  • The Rock was on the rise at this point. The difference between Rocky of ’97 and Rocky of ’98 is mind boggling. He went from being a random guy to THE guy behind Austin. That’s an incredible leap, you’ve got to hand it to the WWF for believing in him so much.
  • You could tell Mick Foley was having a lot of fun during this match. The smile on his face when he appeared as Dude Love proved this, although he did look knackered! Foley has gone on record a number of times that this was one of his favourite moments in his career!

 

Best Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker – Shawn’s injury slowed it down a bit but it still delivered the goods.

Worst Match: New Age Outlaws vs. Legion of Doom – Not a very good match.

Attitude Era Moment: Austin wins the Rumble – The win was important in sending Austin to the top of the company.

 

Top 5 Superstars

1. The Rock – The People’s Champion was coming into his element here as the heel who was absolutely hated here. Had a lengthy run in the Rumble match which lasted almost 50 minutes.

2. Mick Foley (Cactus Jack, Mankind & Dude Love) – Was having the time of his life in the Rumble match.

3. Stone Cold – Got his big win which cemented him into the main event level.

4. Shawn Michaels – The back injury slowed him down but he worked hard.

5. Terry Funk (Chainsaw Charlie) – Bumped around like a madman throughout his time in the Rumble. Took some seriously stiff chair shots off Foley in the beginning.

 

Superstar Rankings

Shawn Michaels – 23pts

Stone Cold – 20pts

Bret Hart – 18pts

Undertaker – 14pts

The Rock – 10pts

Mick Foley – 6pts

Owen Hart/Taka Michinoku/ Ken Shamrock – 3pts

Vader– 2pts

British Bulldog/ Kane/ Terry Funk – 1pt

 

Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 7

A massive improvement from what we got last month. The WWF title was a solid match between two of the absolute best whiles the Rumble match made stars out of Stone Cold, Rocky and Mick Foley. The undercard was pretty good with only the tag title match being bad. The WWF was starting to pick up momentum and it showed. The roster was beginning to fill out so that’s a good thing. In a few months’ time, they would once again become the number one wrestling promotion in the world.

 

Pay Per View Rankings

One Night Only – 7.5

Royal Rumble ’98 – 7

Summerslam ’97 – 6

Ground Zero – 4

Survivor Series ’97 – 4

Bad Blood – 3

D-Generation X – 2.5

 

Up Next: WWF No Way Out of Texas

 

https://rifrasslin.wordpress.com/category/attitude-era-classics/

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