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Nickrj’s Rant for Royal Rumble 1998

 

This event aired on January 18th 1998 at the San Jose Arena in San Jose California

 

This was the first WWF PPV which had the new attitude logo in the bottom left corner instead of the old blue and yellow one.

 

The announcer in the opening says that everyone dreams of being the WWF champion from Collegian Champions (The Rock), to former Gridiron Greats (Farooq, Vader), to second generation superstars with championship pedigrees (Jeff Jarrett, TAKFA Goldust, Owen Hart), to First year rookies with youthful aspirations (Steve Blackman, The Headbangers) from Olympic Heros (Mark Henry) to the master of the Octagon (Ken Shamrock) from a renegade with a cold blooded identity (Steve Austin) to a man who will willingly exchange three personalities for one with a championship label (Mick Foley)

 

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, Your Spanish announcers are Carlos Cabrera and Tito Santana. Your French announcers are Ray Rougeau and Jean Brassard. Iron Mike Tyson is shown in the press box with Vince and Shane McMahon throughout the night

 

Opening Match: Vader VS The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust

We get a look at Goldust leaving Marlena in November then introducing us to Luna Vachon. Then they show Goldust in two outreagous outfits, dressed as a baby and as Sable and he attacks Vader with a coconut. Match starts with Goldust pounding on Vader to start. Vader comes back with a sholderblock and a clothesline in the corner. Vader throws Goldust into Luna on the outside. Vader pounds on Goldust on the outside and runs him into the steps. Vader almost throws the steps on Goldust. Vader hits a backdrop. He goes into the ropes and Luna grabs the leg of Vader giving Goldust the opportunity. He clotheslines Vader and tries a sunset flip and makes Vader miss a butt splash. Goldust hits an elbow into the low abdomen. Goldust throws Vader into the steps this time. Luna chokes Vader outside the ring. Goldust pounds on Vader inside the ring and does the 10 punch count in the corner and bites his face. Vader hits a big clothesline to counter. Goldust tries to slam Vader and hurts his back. He runs into a foot and Vader hits a suplex and a big splash for 2.  Vader knocks down Goldust and goes for the Vader Bomb but Goldust hits a low blow while Luna distracts the ref. Vader sidestep a flying kick and hits a clothesline. Goldust tries a sunset flip but Vader sits on him. Vader tries the Vader Bomb again and Luna jumps on his back but Vader climbs to the 2nd rope any way and he hits the Vader Bomb with Luna on her back and gets the pin at 7:47. Not bad for an opener *1/2

 

Michael Cole tries to interview Steve Austin who has just arrived in the arena but Austin tosses his keys at Michael. The Godwinns come in and grab Michael trying to find where Austin is.

 

Six man midget match Battallion Tarantula and El Torito VS Nova Mosaic Max Mini

Sunny is the guest referee here. Match starts with Nova missing a drop kick on Tarantula. Nova takes down Tarantula in a nice move and he hits a flying head scissors. He drop kicks Tartantula outside the ring. Mini and Battallion go at each other. Mini sends Battallion outside the ring as well. Torito and Mosaic go at it. Torito press slams Mosaic and takes him down in a high maneuver. He does it again but Mosaic hits an arm drag. Tarantula gives a flying clothesline on Mosaic and tags Battallion. Nova comes in and drop kicks Battallion out of the ring. He hits Torito with a flying arm drag and a flying head scissors. Nova hits another flying arm drag takedown and Batallion sends Torito out of the ring and Torito and Batllalion go thru a nice sequence. Max Mini gets kicked by Tartantula. He misses a charge and Mini goes to the top and hits a spinning hurricurana. Mini hits a slam and a nice arm drag. Mini nails Tarantula outside the ring but gets caught inside by Torito. Torito hits a clothesline. Mini fights back and runs into Sunny. Sunny uses Mini to drop kick the three heels. Mini gets chopped to the outside and Battallion works on Mosaic. Mosaic hits a nice arm drag that sends Battallion to the outside and Mosaic hits a cannonball and Torito hits one on both and Mini hits one on all three Tarantula hits one on all four. Nova stops but hits an Asai moonsault on all five. Torito slams Mini inside but misses an elbow. Mini goes to the top and hits a spinning hurricurana and arm drag into a pin at 7:48. Actually a decent match between these midgets **1/4

 

Farooq and the Nation (with it’s newest member Mark Henry) break down the door to Steve Austin’s dressing room but they find a foam middle finger.

 

We get a look at Ken Shamrock’s feud in the nation. He takes down D’Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa and Farooq in singles matches but in a tag match with Mark Henry VS D’Lo Brown and The Rock. He is about to put the Ankle Lock on the Rock and Henry attacks Shamrock making him the newest member of the Nation.

 

Intercontinental Title Match The Rock VS Ken Shamrock

Huge “Rocky Sucks!” chant as the Rock enters the ring. Funny as they show a Mick Foley look alike in the crowd chanting it and he sticks his tongue out.

 

King: Look at that guy, I’ve seen better heads on pencils.

 

Match starts with Shamrock missing a kick. They tie up and Rock backs Shamrock into the corner. Rock misses a right hand. They tie up again and Shamrock overpower Rock into the corner. Rock pounds on Shamrock and Shamrock hits a kick and clotheslines Rock out of the ring. Rock works on Shamrock in the corner and hits a clothesline in the other one. Shamrock hits some clotheslines of his own. He goes for a huricurana but Rock drops Shamrock across the top rope. Rock works on Shamrock in the corner again. He puts his foot across Shamrock’s throat. Shamrock fights back again but takes an eye rake. Shamrock with a high cross body for 2. A fisherman’s suplex gets another 2 but Shamrock gets clotheslined. Shamrock gets rammed into the steel steps. Shamrock fights back again but Rock hits a DDT for 2. Rock goes to the chinlock. Shamrock fights his way out but Rock goes back to the chinlock. Rock goes for another DDT but Shamrock counters with a suplex. Shamrock pounds away on Rock and starts to snap. He hits a power slam for 2. Shamrock takes another eye rake but hits a hurricurana. Kama and D Lo Brown come out and distract Shamrock and the Rock hits Shamrock with a pair of knucks and he puts it in Shamrock’s tights but only gets a 2 count. Shamrock hits a belly to belly suplex for the pin at 10:52 to become the new IC champion. But wait! The Rock complains that Shamrock whacked him with those knucks. The ref inspects Shamrock and Shamrock pulls out the knucks and the ref DQ’s him and awards the title back to The Rock. Who booked that ending? *3/4. Shamrock then snaps and puts the Ankle Lock on the ref.

 

Exculsive Home Video footage shows that Ken Shamrock attacks The Rock in his dressing room moments later

 

The Boricuas think that they have found Steve Austin and they attack him but Chainz and 8-Ball come out (Crush was gone from the WWF at this point) and beat up on the Boricuas. The Boricuas have actually attacked Skull instead of Austin.

 

We get a look at the Legion Of Doom who have defined Tag Team Wrestling but one month earlier the New Age Outlaws humiliate the LOD not only do they knock them out but they shave half of Hawk’s Mohawk and (with Shawn Michaels and Triple H) slam Animal through the announce table. The LOD seek revenge

 

Tag Team Title Match The New Age Outlaws VS The Legion Of Doom

Both Outlaws are wearing Brett Favre Packer jerseys to insult the Bay Area crowd. One week earlier the Packers beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship game and one guy holds a sign that says “Elway 3:16” Four man brawl to start. Animal slams the Road Dogg for 1. Billy Gunn is thrown outside. The Outlaws try to leave the ring but the LOD doesn’t buy it. Hawk makes Roadie beg for mercy. He clotheslines Roadie and kicks him. Animal comes in and Roadie takes a double elbow. Animal does a chinlock and Roadie’s mouth is bleeding. Hawk comes in and hits a neck breaker and nails Gunn on the outside. Gunn comes in and takes a hip toss followed by a Lou Thesz Press. Gunn takes a face slam from Hawk. Animal comes in and hits a back suplex but misses an elbow drop. Animal comes back with a power slam and he power slams Roadie as well. Animal does a Camel Clutch on Gunn. He tags Hawk and he does a snap mare into a cross face. Animal comes back in and he gets tripped by Roadie and Gunn knocks him to the outside. Roadie sends Animal into the steps. Roadie works on the injured back of Animal outside. Hawk pounds on Billy Gunn but Roadie nails him from behind and Hawk clotheslines both Outlaws. Hawk sends Roadie into the corner but shoulder’s himself on the ringpost and he gets rammed into the steps. Roadie then handcuffs Hawk to the ringpost. Animal fights on Gunn but the Outlaws try a double team but both get clotheslined. Animal works on Gunn and gets 2. Gunn slams Animal and goes to the top rope and Animal catches him and turns it into a powerslam and covers Gunn but Roadie nails Animal with a chair to DQ the Outlaws at 7:55. Subpar title match*1/4. Afterwards both Outlaws destroy Animal and Hawk breaks the handcuffs and he clears both Outlaws from the ring.

 

We find out that Mildred Bowers of Nashville Tennesee has won Stone Cold’s truck in a contest.

 

We get a look at Steve Austin and the havoc he has caused in weeks prior to the Royal Rumble.

 

30 Man Royal Rumble Match

Cactus Jack is # 1 and he brings two garbage cans to the ring. Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) is # 2. He brings his chainsaw into the ring. Jack throws four chairs into the ring. Jack nails Charlie with a chair and makes him knock out the chainsaw which is pulled out by a ref. Jack really whacks Funk in the head with a chair. Jack then hands Charlie the chair and he returns the favor. He tries to dump Jack out but can’t do it. Tom Brandi is # 3 and he gets attacked immediately by both crazy men and gets thrown over the top rope and eliminated. Charlie pounds away on Jack. He goes for a piledriver but gets backdropped. Jack sets up two chairs and he suplexes Funk on both chairs. Jack tries to get Charlie out but he is hooked in the ropes. Jack nails Charlie with a garbage can as The Rock is # 4. He comes in and works on both crazy men. Jack grabs a garbage can and nails the Rock with it and Jack covers his head with it. Jack and Charlie both pound away on the Rock and he goes through the ropes and Charlie hits a low blow. Headbanger Mosh is # 5 and Charlie throws a chair at him. Mosh pounds on Charlie while Rock pounds on Jack. Charlie misses a moonsault on Mosh. Jack is pounding on Rock now. Phineas Godwinn is # 6. Jack is almost eliminated. Phineas pounds away on Mosh but gets nailed by Jack. Charlie goes after Rock. Jack tries to suplex Mosh out of the ring. 8-Ball of DOA is number # 7. He goes after the Rock. Jack charges at Charlie but Charlie moves and Cactus Jack is eliminated as Lawler says that someone has gotten to Steve Austin. Rock almost has Charlie out but his foot is in the ropes. Blackjack Bradshaw is # 8. He goes after poor Mosh as well. Bradshaw almost has Charlie out of there. Bradshaw then goes after 8-Ball. Mosh and Bradshaw almost have 8-Ball out. Charlie is almost eliminated again. Owen Hart is # 9 but he gets attacked in the aisleway by Jeff Jarrett and Jim Cornette. Cornette whacks Owen with the tennis racket. Owen is sent to the back and apparently cannot compete. This is the 2nd time in 4 years that Owen is attacked before he enters the Rumble. Phenias hits a clothesline on The Rock. Steve Blackman is # 10. He goes after Charlie who’s been in there for 14:30 at this point. 8-Ball hits a piledriver on Charlie. Rock tries to get Blackman out. D Lo Brown is # 11. He goes after his rival 8-Ball. 8-Ball is whacking Brown around. Rock and Brown double team Bradshaw but then Brown goes after Rock. Kurrigan is # 12 and he’s another in a long line of big men who can’t wrestle. He goes after Mosh and Bradshaw. Mosh climbs on Kurrigan but he gets dumped over and eliminated. Blackman then goes after Kurrigan but Kurrigan overpowers him. Marvelous Marc Mero is # 13. He goes after Blackman. Kurrigan then goes after Blackman and eliminates him. He then goes after Bradshaw again. Brown and Rock are still going at each other. Ken Shamrock is # 14 and he goes after Kurrigan and knocks him down with a spin kick and he and 5 other guys dump Kurrigan out and he throws a fit before leaving. Shamrock then goes after Phineas Godwinn. 8-Ball hits a sidewalk slam on D Lo Brown. Headbanger Thrasher is # 15. He goes after Phenias as well. Brown is choking Rock in the corner. Mick Foley’s 2nd persona Mankind is # 16. and he goes after Charlie and dumps him out after Charlie dumped him out about 15 minutes ago. Bradshaw is suplexed by Thrasher back into the ring. Shamrock tries to get the Rock out. TAFKA Goldust is # 17 and he’s in a new outfit. He goes after Bradshaw. Mankind goes after Goldust but Goldust dumps Mankind out of there. Goldust tries to get rid of Mero. NWA North American champion Jeff Jarrett is # 18. He goes after Bradshaw as well but Owen Hart comes into the ring and starts pounding on Jarrett. Owen nails a spinning heel kick on Jarrett. Jarrett sends Owen over the top rope but Owen slings himself back in and he eliminates Jarrett. Honky Tonk Man is # 19 and Triple H comes down the aisleway behind him. The Rock lowblows Shamrock and eliminates him. Owen sees Triple H on the outside and Chyna tries to nail Owen with the crutch but Owen blocks it and Triple H nails Owen with the crutch and eliminates Owen. Owen runs into the back after Triple H as Ahmed Johnson is # 20. He goes after Phineas Godwinn and D Lo Brown. Mark Henry is # 21. He climbs in the ring and goes after Ahmed. Ahmed fights back but gets some powder thrown in his face from Henry. # 22 was supposed to be Skull but since he was beaten in the back by the Boricuas he doesn’t come out. Henry and Brown dump Ahmed out of there. Henry also dumps Phineas and he takes out the ref. Phineas and Ahmed get at each other on the outside. Brown goes after Mark Henry now. Kama Mustafa is # 23 and he gets into a shoving match with Ahmed as he comes out. He goes after 8-Ball then Brown. Honky tries to get Rock out of there. Steve Austin is # 24 and everyone in the ring stops fighting and wait for Austin to come out. Austin comes in the ring thru the audience and he goes after Marc Mero and dumps him out. Everyone corners Austin but he gets out and dumps 8-Ball out. Austin goes after Thrasher and Brown. Austin chokes out Brown with his vest. Henry Godwinn is # 25 and goes after Austin and pounds on him in the corner. Austin comes back and tries to get Godwinn out. Savio Vega is # 26 but he brings the other Boricuas with him and they attack Austin but Austin clears the other 3 Boricuas out. Austin and Savio go at it and Austin almost hits the stunner and Goldust gets nailed by Austin. Austin nails Goldust in the groin. Farooq is # 27 and now all 5 members of the nation are in there. He goes after the Rock. Austin and Rock go at it on the outside but neither are eliminated and Austin is thrown into the steps. Rock drops Austin across the railing. Dude Love is # 28 as Mick Foley pulls off a triple header. Love goes after Bradshaw and dumps him out. Goldust is thrown thru the ropes as well so he’s not gone. Austin clotheslines Goldust outside. Rock hits the People’s elbow on Brown and is attack by Austin. Austin hits a sitting butt splash on the ropes on the Rock. Chainz is # 29. He tries to get Mark Henry out. Thrasher throws Brown into Farooq and Farooq backdrops D Lo out of there. Vader is # 30. Down to about 10 men or so. Vader goes after Goldust and dumps out Honky Tonk Man. Thrasher is backdropped out by Austin. He throws out Kama as well. Savio knocks down Austin but misses a piledriver. Austin throws out Savio Vega. Goldust knocks Vader out. Henry Godwinn is thrown out by Dude Love. Chainz throws Goldust out. Down to 6. Chainz charges Austin but is backdropped out and his head is rammed into the steps. Farooq eliminates Mark Henry. Down to 4 men. Steve Austin. Dude Love. Farooq and The Rock who’s been in there for nearly 50 minutes. Love goes after Farooq while Rock goes after Austin. Farooq and Rock run into each other. Love hits a double arm DDT. Love gets the mandible claw on Love but Rock low blows him and Farooq clotheslines Love out. Farooq goes after Austin while Rock is resting in the corner. Rock then dumps Farooq out. Austin and Rock go at each other. Austin sends Rock out but he didn’t go. Austin turns around and hits Rock with the Stone Cold Stunner and throws out The Rock to win his 2nd straight Royal Rumble at 55:21. Pretty subpar rumble until the end and we all knew Austin was going to win it. *** Mike Tyson celebrates “Cold Stone’s” victory in the press box.

 

We get a look at the Shawn Michaels Undertaker Feud. We look at the Hell In The Cell match at Badd Blood which I will review later. Shawn wins due to Kane’s interference. This upcoming title match is a casket match. Shawn in an interview thinks that the Undertaker is in the casket but then he sees Triple H and Chyna on the stage area below the Jumbotron and the Undertaker pops out and attacks Michaels. The next week Michaels introduces the newest member of Dengeration X: Kane. But Undertaker comes out and tries to attack Michaels again but he gets jumped by DX. Kane then comes out and attacks DX. He then extends his hand to the Undertaker and he returns the favor.

 

WWF title Casket Match Shawn Michaels VS The Undertaker

The winner must dump his opponent into the casket outside the ring and slam the lid shut. Shawn starts hammering on UT to start. He does the 10 punch count twice but UT throws him out and then gets caught in a choke but Shawn breaks it up. UT catches Shawn in midair by the throat. Shawn gets out of a press slam but get backdropped onto the casket. UT hammers on Shawn outside of the ring and rams his face into the ringpost. Shawn is press slammed onto the floor. Shawn get nailed with a right hand inside. UT slams Shawn but misses an elbow drop. UT works on the right arm of Shawn and goes to the top rope and does the top rope walk into an elbow in the back. Shawn is flipped upside down and outside the ring. Shawn clotheslines UT over the top rope. UT catches Shawn from the top rope into a power slam. UT rolls Shawn in the casket but can’t shut the lid completely as Shawn blocks it. Shawn throws powder in UT’s face but gets nailed with another right. Shawn starts fighting back on UT. UT sets Shawn on the top and Shawn nails a moonsault from the top rope. Shawn clotheslines UT on the top and UT pulls him outside. Shawn is rammed into the railing. Shawn is rammed face first into the announce table. UT is thrown knees first into the steps. Shawn then takes apart the steps and hits UT with it twice. Then just like in the HIAC match at Badd Blodd. Shawn piledrives UT on top of the steps. Triple H chokes out UT with his crutch. Triple H is hammering UT with his crutch now. Shawn nails UT in the back with a chair. Shawn hits a flying elbow inside the ring followed by a foot stomp. Shawn rolls UT over to the casket and into it but UT catches Shawn with a right hand. He nails Triple H as well. UT goes for a back drop but get caught in a neck breaker. Shawn jumps on UT and hits a sleeper hold. UT comes back up and hits a back suplex. UT sits up and Shawn nails a flying forearm. He goes to the top rope and nails a flying elbow and I’ll say this. Shawn has a better flying elbow drop than even Randy Savage. Shawn warms up his foot for the superkick and he nails it. Shawn rolls UT over to the casket and in it and Shawn stand over UT and does a crotch drop but UT grabs Shawn in the crotch and drags him back in the ring. UT hammers on Shawn and flips him over the top rope and back in. UT hits a big boot. UT misses a flying clothesline and goes into the casket. Shawn from the top elbow drops UT in the casket. The lid is shut but both men are inside so this match continues. UT grabs Shawn who’s trying to get back in. Both men are inside the casket again. UT nails Shawn out of the casket. UT nails a huge chokeslam on Michaels inside. He signals for the tombstone and he tombstones Shawn into the casket. But Chyna throws the ref into the steps and the Outlaws and Boricuas come in and beat up on UT. Then the light go out and Kane comes out. He beats up on all 6 men who are beating up UT and it looks like he has come to help his brother. But then Kane attacks UT and he chokeslams him in the casket and Shawn slams the lid at 20:32 to retain the title. Not quite as good as their HIAC match but still ****. But then here comes my award to worst ending to a wrestling PPV. Paul Bearer comes out and he and Kane lock the casket. They take it to the back of the aisleway and Kane chops a hole inside the casket with an ax. He then pours gasoline all over the casket and Paul hands him a lit matchbox and Kane throws it on the casket setting it on fire and JR yells “The Undertaker is in that casket!!!” as the show ends. Jeez if UT was in that casket he would’ve been dead for sure. Exclusive Home Video footage shows that after Kane and Paul Bearer leave some guys come out and they put out that casket. They then open it up to find UT not inside (of course) and UT’s voice over the PA says “Kane, until our paths cross again, I will never…Rest In Peace.” Not quite as bad as the aftermath of the casket match of the 1994 Royal Rumble but it sure ranks up there.

 

Summary: Well lame ending aside this was a pretty decent show. Nothing too bad, nothing too good other than the casket match. However it’s worth a look but don’t get too excited about it. Especially after that awful ending to it. MILDLY RECOMMENDED