WWE Royal Rumble Review – 1997

1997 was a turning point for the WWE. After years of struggling popularity-wise, the wrestling industry was about to hit a boom unlike any they’ve ever seen before. The WWE was in the midst of creating a whole crop of new superstars that would end up changing the wrestling world forever. But first, we have to get through the 1997 Royal Rumble!

LET’S DO THIS!

 

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Royal Rumble 1997

Our first two entries are;

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#1 – Crush

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#2 – Ahmed Johnson

Crush comes out with the rest of the “Nation of Domination”, a stable I was a big fan of. Crush is angry because he’s a convict of course. Ahmed Johnson gets #2 and Vince is hyped because AHMED HATES THE NATION OF DOMINATION! Crush looks worried now. Jim Ross reminds us that the entries will be coming in every 90 seconds this year, which is stupid. KEEP IT AT TWO MINUTES VINCE! Ahmed gets in the ring and Crush immediately goes for the beat down. He’s taking care of Ahmed and is in complete control. Ahmed is hulking up though and he starts hammering on Crush now. A clothesline sends Crush down to the mat. Now they are wrestling on the mat. Crush starts punching Ahmed. Crush is now beating on Ahmed’s back. Johnson is already in trouble. Crush goes for the elimination now. Ahmed is holding on though. #3 comes out and we have no countdown clock for some reason……

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#3 – Razor Ramon

You want to talk about stupid? Why the hell did we not get a countdown clock? This just ruins the whole thing. Plus, it’s “Razor Ramon” and not the actual RAZOR RAMON (Scott Hall). This is going downhill quick. Vince lets us know that we are having issues with the clock, so at least we have a clock….it’s just broken. Razor goes right after Ahmed. Razor then does the “Scott Hall finger point” taunt and Ahmed isn’t having it. He grabs him and throws him out (elimination #1). Thanks for coming buddy. Ahmed and Crush now square off again. Ahmed gets the advantage and has Crush in the corner. Ahmed goes to throw Crush out, but Crush survives. Ahmed then hops over the top rope because Faarooq is standing in the aisle (elimination #2). Ahmed apparently hates Faarooq so much that he doesn’t care about the WWE title. Ahmed chases Faarooq back to the locker room now. Crush is now in the ring all alone. Here comes #4 as the clock is still broken…..

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#4 – Phineas I. Godwin

Henry O’ Godwin’s cousin Phineas! Unfortunately The Godwins weren’t “crazy hillbillies” yet and were still hanging out with Hillbilly Jim around this time. PIG hits the ring and starts brawling with Crush. PIG gets the advantage and goes to throw Crush out, but Crush stays in. Crush now jumps on PIG and gets him in a choke. The two start trading blows again. A headbutt sends PIG into the corner. Crush is now beating on PIG. All of a sudden #5’s music hits because the CLOCK IS STILL BROKEN……

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#5 – “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Seriously though. How hard can it be to fix the clock? This is ruining the Rumble for me. Austin takes his time getting down to the ring while PIG beats on Crush. PIG greets Austin with some punches. He whips Austin into the corner and hits him with a clothesline. Crush goes after PIG though and stops that. Crush is now yelling at Austin. Crush holds PIG so Austin can hit him, but PIG moves and Austin hits Crush instead. Austin just shrugs about it. PIG then grabs Crush and tosses him out (elimination #3). PIG turns around and STONE COLD STUNNER! Yep, that one hurts! Hey look at that! THE CLOCK IS WORKING NOW! Here comes #6……..

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#6 – Bart Gunn

Bart Gunn’s music hits, but in the meantime, Austin grabs PIG and throws him out (elimination #4). Look guys. “Stone Cold” is not messing around tonight, OK. Gunn gets in the ring and starts punching Austin. He whips Austin into the ropes, but Austin reverses it. Gunn reverses that though and hits Austin with a knee. Austin gets the advantage though and goes to throw Gunn out. Gunn manages to grab on to the top rope, but Austin comes over to make sure he goes out for good (elimination #5). And I told you guys “Stone Cold” wasn’t messing around tonight. Gunn is not happy, but he sucks. Go back to the locker room. Austin taunts him by doing push-ups. Now he’s on the top rope and is looking at his fake watch begging for more victims. Just in time for #7……

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#7 – Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Jake “The Snake” comes out and Austin is not impressed. Austin starts praying in the middle of the ring, mocking Jake. Jake throws the snake in the ring, but Austin doesn’t care. The two start trading blows. Roberts gets Austin in a wristlock. Austin starts punching Jake though. The ref finally gets the snake out of the ring. Just in time for another entry to hit the ring……

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#8 – British Bulldog

The Bulldog starts heading to the ring, just in time to see Austin eliminate Roberts (elimination #6). Bulldog starts running now and starts beating on Austin. Vince informs us that these two guys do not like each other. Bulldog is pretty good in the Royal Rumble though, so I expect him to last a bit. Bulldog picks up Austin and hits him with the SLAM! Usually that doesn’t hurt that bad, but when Bulldog does it…it can kill you. Bulldog goes to toss Austin out just in time for another entry…..

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#9 – Pierroth

And we get another random foreign wrestler because Vince loves throwing those guys in the Rumble for some reason. Pierroth goes right after Bulldog. Bulldog throws him into the ropes and slams him down. Bulldog and Pierroth are now exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Austin goes to the top rope and hits Pierroth and now Bulldog and Austin are beating on Pierroth. GET HIM BOYS! Austin throws Pierroth into the corner. It’s time for another entry though……

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#10 – The Sultan

The Sultan comes out with the Iron Sheik. In case you didn’t know, this is actually Fatu under a mask in a really stupid gimmick. Sultan goes right after Pierroth. He tries tossing him out, but Pierroth is holding on. Bulldog and Austin are trading blows in the corner. Bulldog tries to dump him, but Austin survives. Pierroth tries picking up Sultan, but that’s not happening. Here comes #11 now…..

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#11 – Mil Mascaras

Mil Mascaras is a legend, but he gets no reaction. He gets in the ring and starts trading blows with the Sultan. Mascaras gets the advantage and throws Sultan into the corner. Lawler mentions that it would be a big deal for someone to unmask Mil Mascaras in the Royal Rumble. A big deal to who exactly? Mascaras and Sultan are still punching each other while Bulldog has Austin and Pierroth in some weird elimination move. Seriously, there’s no way to explain what’s going on there. And here comes another entry…..

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#12 – Hunter Hearst Helmsley

HHH comes down and the crowd doesn’t like him. He goes right after Bulldog. Sultan comes over for the assist. Mil Mascaras starts beating on HHH now. Austin is over there pounding on Pierroth. Bulldog has finally had enough of looking at the Sultan’s stupid ass and clotheslines him out of the ring (elimination #7). He turns his attention back to HHH. Austin goes to throw HHH out, but HHH holds on. Austin now hits HHH with the elbow from the top rope. And here comes lucky #13……

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#13 – Owen Hart

Owen Hart is holding his “Slammy Award”, but unfortunately he won’t be able to bring that into the ring. Owen goes right after Austin. They have a lot of history. Austin has Owen already on the verge of elimination, but Bulldog comes over for the save. Pierroth is somehow still in the ring. Bulldog picks Austin up to throw him out BUT OWEN COMES FROM BEHIND AND ELIMINATES THE BULLDOG (elimination #8)!!! Bulldog is pissed and is now arguing with Owen. Owen is insisting that he was trying to get Austin out and did it on accident, but we all know the truth. Owen now goes after Mil Mascaras. It’s time for another entry……

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#14 – Goldust

Goldust is making his Royal Rumble debut here. Austin welcomes Goldust as the two start trading punches. Austin whips Goldust into the corner and hits him with a clothesline. A knee drop to Goldust now. Goldust eye rakes Austin though and now he’s in control. Mascaras has Owen Hart almost out of the ring. Owen is a “Slammy Winner” though and you have to try harder than that to get him out. And here comes #15……

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#15 – Cibernetico

Here comes another guy no one cares about that Vince decided to just throw into the Rumble randomly. He goes right after Mil Mascaras. HHH whips Goldust into the ropes, but Goldust reverses it and hits him with a clothesline. Mascaras and Cibernetico are exchanging blows. Goldust is on the verge of elimination, while Austin and Owen fight right beside him. Now we have a whole lot of action going on. Just in time for someone else to come out….

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#16 – “Wildman” Marc Mero

Mero heads down to the ring just in time to see Cibernetico get tossed (elimination #9). Well, he had a short night. Mascaras then does us another favor and throws Pierroth out as well (elimination #10). THIS IS MASCARAS’ TURF GUYS! Mascaras has apparently not been filled in on the Royal Rumble rules though and heads to the top rope and jumps on Pierroth outside of the ring. Yep. He just eliminated himself (elimination #11). What a dumbass. Mascaras heads back into the ring though and the refs let him know that he’s been eliminated. Mero and Goldust are beating on HHH and Goldust decides to finally clothesline him out of the ring (elimination #12). Mero and Goldust start trading blows now. Owen is battling Austin on the other side of the ring. Mero picks up Goldust and has him on his shoulders and is trying to eliminate him. Here comes #17…..

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#17 – Latin Lover

WHAT THE HELL IS WITH ALL THESE GUYS NO ONE CARES ABOUT? Was the WWE roster so thin in 1997 that they had to go find foreign stars just to fill the Royal Rumble? I mean, one or two of them are fine….but FOUR? Latin Lover hits the ring and he has no idea what to do. Owen starts beating on him though. He flips the script on Owen and nails him. Goldust punches the Latin Lover in the face now. Goldust tries throwing Owen out, but Owen survives. The Latin Lover tries dropkicking Goldust, but Goldust moves. Unfortunately he moves right into the waiting arms of Owen Hart who throws him out (elimination #13). And here comes another entry…..

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#18 – Faarooq

Faarooq comes down so that means he was able to escape the wrath of Ahmed Johnson from earlier. WHEW! Faarooq starts beating on Latin Lover. Latin Lover gets Faarooq into the ropes and goes for a big splash, but Faarooq back drops him out of the ring (elimination #14). THANK YOU FAAROOQ! Austin clotheslines Faarooq now. AHMED JOHNSON IS BACK THOUGH! AHMED HAS A 2X4 AND IS HITTING FAAROOQ WITH IT! Faarooq says “fuck this shit” and jumps over the top rope eliminating himself (elimination #15)! He’s in pain though after getting hit with the 2×4. The Nation retreats back to the locker room and in the meantime AUSTIN THROWS MARC MERO AND OWEN HART OUT (eliminations #16 & #17)!!! AND AUSTIN IS ALL BY HIMSELF ONCE AGAIN!!!! Here comes another entry though…..

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#19 – Savio Vega

Austin and Vega have a lot of history, but this is a different Austin than Vega is used to. They start trading blows right away AND IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG! Vega gets the advantage and slingshots Austin into the corner. A spinning heel kick puts Austin on the mat. Austin gets up though and the two have a nice little exchange. The exchange ends with AUSTIN HITTING SAVIO WITH A BACK DROP ENDING HIS NIGHT (elimination #18)! Austin is on fire right now! Austin is on the mat defeated, but he’s still asking for more. And here comes #20……

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#20 – Jesse James

This isn’t going to end well for Jesse James. James hits the ring though and starts punchisizing Austin’s face. A clothesline from the corner to Austin and “Double J” is in complete control. Welp, spoke too soon. Austin kicks James in the gut and throws him out. James hangs on, but Austin comes over to make sure the job is done right (elimination #19). Good showing “Road Dogg”. Austin poses in the ring and gets some much-needed rest. Here comes another entry though…..

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#21 – Bret “The Hitman” Hart

IT’S BRET HART! AND THE CROWD IS JACKED! Austin obviously looks concerned now. Hart and Austin are blood enemies at this point. Hart is ready to throw down though and so is Austin! THEY START GOING AT IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING! Bret gets the advantage! A knee drop to Austin! Hart has Austin in the corner now. Austin is reeling now. Austin finally gets the advantage, but it doesn’t last long. An irish whip into the corner followed by a clothesline from Hart! BRET NOW HAS AUSTIN IN THE SHARPSHOOTER! Here comes #22 though……

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#22 – Jerry “The King” Lawler

Lawler’s music hits and it’s funny because he’s actually doing color commentary at ring side. Vince is confused and Lawler tells Vince “I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, it takes a King” and then heads to the ring. Lawler gets in the ring as Hart lets go of the Sharpshooter. Hart starts punching Lawler and a right hook sends him flying out of the ring (elimination #20). Lawler sits back down at the commentary booth and finishes his previous sentence with “to know a King” like he was never gone in the first place. HAHAHA! That’s marvelous! Austin and Bret are back to squaring off while Lawler is all confused. Bret headbutts Austin in the midsection while Austin begs for mercy. And here comes #23 now…….

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#23 – Diesel

It’s “Diesel” but unfortunately it’s not Kevin Nash…..it’s Glen Jacobs. Diesel enters the ring and goes right after Hart. He throws Hart into the corner now. He walks over and punches Austin for the hell of it. He turns his attention back to Hart now and hits him with some knees. Diesel goes to eliminate Austin now and Hart comes over the assist. Austin is fighting back though. And we are getting another entry…..

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#24 – Terry Funk

Terry Funk comes out before the clock expires because he gives no fucks. He’s also looking as old as ever. He goes right after Austin. He’s hitting Austin with some mean lefts. Now he’s elbowing Austin in the head. Hart is hitting Diesel with some kicks in the other corner of the ring. Now he’s choking him with his boot. Austin has Funk on the verge of elimination but Hart comes over and helps him. Funk repays him with some punches to the face. A piledriver to Hart now. Here comes #25 though……

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#25 – Rocky Maivia

Here comes a complete jobber. Unfortunately this guy never amounted to jack. Rocky gets in the ring and goes right after Austin. This would be the last time these two would meet in the ring, I think. Rocky is now going after Diesel. Funk meanwhile is tied in the ropes. Rocky picks up Austin and goes to throw him out. Hart tries throwing Funk out, but he holds on for dear life. Diesel hits Rocky with a big elbow. We are getting another entry now……

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#26 – Mankind

Mankind is making his Royal Rumble debut and it’s ON LIKE DONKEY KONG! There are a lot of future WWE stars in the ring at the moment (The Rock, Austin, Mankind, Kane). Mankind immediately goes after Terry Funk and tries throwing him out. Austin hits Hart with a suplex. Good to see he’s still alive. He’s now pounding on Hart’s head. The camera catches Austin obviously calling a spot with Bret. Oops. And here comes another entry…..

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#27 – Flash Funk

Pack it up folks. Let’s go home. This thing belongs to Flash Funk! HE’S FUNKY MAN! Funk goes right after Diesel. Hart picks up Austin and hits him with the piledriver. Flash Funk is now going to the top rope and splashes both Diesel and Terry Funk. Hart is trying to eliminate Austin again. Diesel hits Flash Funk with a nasty forearm. Mankind is punishing Terry Funk with his boot on the other side of the ring. And here comes #28……

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#28 – Vader

AND BUSINESS HAS PICKED UP! Vader is here and he isn’t fucking around. Vader goes right after Bret. Flash Funk comes up from behind Vader and grabs him. Vader makes him pay for that though. Austin is now beating on Vader. Vader also makes him pay for that. Hart is now beating on Vader and the man just gets no respect. And now #29 is heading to the ring……

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#29 – Henry O’ Godwin

After drawing #2 last year, HOG gets #29 this year. Luck of the draw baby! HOG goes right after Vader of course. The ring is really full right now and bodies need to start hitting the floor at some point. Flash Funk is working on Rocky Maivia in the corner. HOG and Mankind are squaring off on the other side of the ring. Diesel is on the brink of elimination and I’m not sure why he’s even still in there. Here comes #30 though and of course it’s……

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#30 – The Undertaker

THE LIGHTS GO OUT AND THE UNDERTAKER IS ON HIS WAY! BODIES ARE GOING TO HIT THE FLOOR NOW! Undertaker gets in the ring and starts squaring off with Vader immediately. He turns his attention to Mankind now. Vader wants some more though. Undertaker gives Austin a chokeslam! A chokeslam to Vader now! Undertaker punches his broth….errrrr Diesel in the face now! Flash Funk says “what’s up” and Undertaker punches him! Flash Funk goes to hit Vader with some kind of fancy move and ends up paying for it as Vader tosses him out of the ring (elimination #21). Rocky is now facing off with Undertaker. Not a wise move young man. Austin is beating on Bret in the corner and there is still a ton of guys in this thing. Let’s get some people out of here man. HOG is beating on Undertaker because that makes a lot of sense. Diesel is somehow still in there. Rocky starts trading blows with Bret and goes to throw him out. Austin makes him pay for that though. Austin and Terry Funk start exchanging punches and chops. Undertaker and Vader start going at it again as Vader hits Taker with a headbutt. Diesel is now choking Mankind against the ropes. Undertaker finally picks up HOG by the throat and throws him out for good (elimination #22). That was impressive. Undertaker and Hart go to eliminate Austin, but HE SURVIVES! Rocky goes to the top rope and tries hitting Mankind with an axe handle. Mankind reverses it though and gets Rocky in the MANDIBLE CLAW! HE TOSSES ROCKY OUT USING THE MANDIBLE CLAW (elimination #23)!!!!! Terry Funk and Mankind start brawling now. Funk is tied up on the ropes while Mankind beats on him. Undertaker is choking Bret Hart in the corner. Mankind goes to clothesline Funk and they both almost end up going over. However, there arms get locked up in the ropes and they survive. Funk goes to suplex Mankind back into the ring, but Mankind reverses it and it’s ADIOS FUNKER (elimination #24)! Mankind is still on the ring apron though and Undertaker comes over AND BOOTS HIM OFF (elimination #25)! Terry Funk and Mankind continue fighting on the outside of the ring. Austin and Diesel are now brawling in the middle of the ring. BRET COMES OVER AND THROWS AUSTIN OUT OF THE RING THOUGH! AUSTIN IS ELIMINATED! AUSTIN GETS BACK IN THE RING THOUGH BECAUSE THE REFS ARE BUSY DEALING WITH MANKIND AND TERRY FUNK!  Austin walks over to Undertaker and Vader who are fighting on the ropes AND DUMPS THEM BOTH OUT (eliminations #26 & 27)!!!!!

The Final Four Three:

Steve Austin

Bret Hart

Diesel

Who wants it????????

Bret immediately throws Diesel out, so he doesn’t want it (elimination #28) and it’s BRET VS. AUSTIN ONE-ON-ONE! Austin just comes up behind Bret who has no idea Austin is still in the Rumble and throws him over TO WIN THE 1997 ROYAL RUMBLE!!!!!! WHAT A FINISH! Bret is pissed and is arguing his case, but the refs saw what they saw. Austin heads back to the locker room while Hart starts planting the seeds for his upcoming heel turn. BRET SCREWED BRET!

The Verdict:

This was a pretty entertaining Rumble overall. Steve Austin’s performance was outstanding as you really started to notice that he was going to be the next big thing in the WWE. I also loved the finish where Austin got eliminated, but the refs didn’t see it and he got in the ring and won the damn thing. It was right up his character’s alley to pull off something like that. I’d recommend watching this Rumble to see Steve Austin in his prime pull off one of the best Royal Rumble performances of all-time.

Royal Rumble Review Grade: **1/2

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