Royal Rumble Count-Up – 1999: It’s Russo Booking. Let’s Just Plow Through It.

Royal Rumble 1999
Date: January 24, 1999
Location: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California
Attendance: 14,800
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

The company is in full control of the Monday Night Wars at this point as WCW is managing to find ways previously unimaginable to mess up their company. We’re about three weeks after the Fingerpoke of Doom here, so to say the people are annoyed with WCW is an understatement. In essence, the WWF has a free show here where they can more or less do whatever they want as long as the ending works and they’ll be praised for it.

Your two big things going on at the moment are obviously Vince vs. Austin and then the great but kind of forgotten feud of Mankind, the reigning WWF Champion here, vs. Rock in the I Quit match. The company has also started to shape itself for the future, as people like the Hardys, Edge and Christian, Val Venis and Test are all around now.

They’re not a big deal yet, but it’s coming. There’s a $100,000 bounty on Austin’s head from Vince tonight in the Rumble, so it’s in essence Austin vs. the world. That sounds decent so let’s get to it.

Personal story: on this night I was coming home from Winchester which was 30 minutes from Lexington. Halfway my dad’s car broke down and we had to walk an hour to get to a house to use a phone and I missed the show. The feed was messed up so the show didn’t air anyway but I was pissed. My dad had said that the car having 250,000 miles on it wasn’t a problem at all and he didn’t need a mechanic. Good to know pop.

Before we start we get an exclusive interview with Road Dogg saying he’s working twice tonight. Boss Man says he wants the bounty. He never should be allowed to talk. Mark Henry wants the money as well. Jarrett uses the term storylines which just doesn’t sound right for some reason. Him talking about Austin is just amusing as Austin is the reason Jarrett is gone from the company forever.

Allegedly Jarrett and Austin were in a smaller company together once and Austin wasn’t happy with his pay and he was looking at his check one night. Jarrett said that it’s not going to get any bigger by staring at it, which Austin took as Jarrett saying Austin wasn’t working hard enough.

Austin got the top spot in the WWF and made sure Jarrett was never allowed back. Once WCW went under, Jarrett started TNA since he had nowhere else to go. Cornette talks about Chyna being #30 and says she’s in for a surprise but never says that she can’t do it which is a nice little touch.

The video says that Austin has No Chance in Hell, which is also the theme song for tonight. In case you didn’t know, that’s where Vince got the song from. Oh I forgot: Shawn was Commissioner at this time. Austin will be #1 and Vince will be #2 in the Rumble so there we are. Vince’s acting was pretty good back then actually. After our standard intros we’re ready to go.

Road Dogg vs. Big Boss Man

Roadie is face now while Boss Man is head of security for Vince’s Corporate Team. I swear you needed a scorecard to keep track of all this stuff back in the day. Dogg gets a hugs pop here as he’s got the intro down. He’s hardcore champion here but this is nontitle. Dogg wasn’t a great wrestler, but he found something that worked for him and he RAN with it.

Boss Man and Shamrock are tag champions here but they would lose them the next night to Jarrett and Owen. Boss Man tries to scare him and is told what to do which involves an imbibing of Road Dogg’s penis. The crowd is way hot here. In something unrelated, Mankind got beaten up in a match with Mable on Heat that will come into play later. The announcers can’t figure out why the Corporation didn’t make this for the Hardcore Title.

Naturally this is mostly a brawl, which granted I guess makes sense given who is in there. Lawler asks if Cole ever exercises his right to be silent. Cole transitions into saying Vince has been exercising to get ready for tonight. Wow. This is more or less all Boss Man. While choking Road Dogg on the ropes, Boss Man shouts to Lawler. He’s WAY too loud here and is clearly miked up. Jerry is full blown heel here which is what he was best at so there we are.

Roadie starts his comeback and hits the really stupid three punches called the Shake Rattle and Roll for two because no one with any self esteem would get pinned by that. Boss Man hits the slam out of nowhere for the pin. I mean he was down and being covered and Road Dogg came off the ropes and got hit with it.

Cole offers a pearl of wisdom by saying that this would have been different had it been under hardcore rules. In other words, he’s saying if it had been different it would have been different. Ladies and gentlemen I give you the voice of Raw!

Rating: C-. It was kind of long but very standard stuff. There’s nothing special here, which I think was kind of the problem. Either way, I think this worked pretty well given what they had as Boss Man was little more than a joke while Road Dogg was a gimmick wrestler. Given what they had to work with, this went as well as possible.

We get a quick recap of Billy vs. Shamrock. More or less, Billy showed Shamrock’s very hot “sister” his namesake to get us this match.

Intercontinental Title: Billy Gunn vs. Ken Shamrock

So wait. Why did they go with the two singles matches here? You have the most popular tag team in the company and have them face the tag champions in back to back singles matches? I get that the titles were going to Owen and Jeff the next night, but you couldn’t have a cheating heel win here? The Outlaws were always better as a team, yet they’re going single here. I don’t understand that one at all.

Shamrock had some great facials most of the time. He looked freaking insane and it helped his character a lot. After some bad punches to start, Cole says that a clothesline Shamrock hits was unreal. No, I’m pretty sure he hit him with it. Less than two minutes into this and we’re in a chinlock. That can’t be a good sign. Ken literally kicks Billy around the ring. After going outside and Billy literally missing the post, we go through about 8 minutes of pure average stuff.

It’s not great, it’s not horrible, but it’s just average all around. That means it’s kind of interesting but at the same time you might as well not even be watching at all. In a move that stuns, yes STUNS I say, the world, the referee goes down. They desperately tried to make Gunn a big deal time after time and it never worked, just like here. Venis runs out and nails Shamrock because they were also feuding over his sister.

I can’t blame them as she was hot. Billy somehow botches a running splash. How can you do that? He jumped early I think. How is that possible? After going to the top and missing, Billy hurts his ankle. Guess what happens. Ok so let’s see: storyline based on sex, rather pointless run in, illogical booking as Gunn had all the momentum in the world coming up to this, and an overly long brawl. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this was a Russo match. And by George, IT WAS!

Rating: D+. Again, this was the same as the last one was: kind of pointless. Why did these guys need almost 15 minutes? Why not just give the fans what they want, as in the Outlaws as a team? There’s zero reason here to have them both in singles matches here when another team is going to get the title shot the next night. Why not, maybe Owen and Jeff get singles matches here? Are you telling me that Owen vs. Shamrock wouldn’t be better than Shamrock vs. Billy?

In the back the Stooges and Shane are trying to pump up Vince. The heat here on Vince is unreal.

European Title: Gangrel vs. X-Pac

Don’t waste your time looking for a reason for this as it doesn’t exist. Random title matches aren’t always bad though. Good grief that music was beyond awesome. Take that New Moon. It’s coming out in two days so I’m a bit annoyed with it. This feels like a match from Attitude or War Zone or something. Those are way old school video games in case you don’t know those names. It’s weird to think that Gangrel was the leader of the Brood yet has had by far the least success.

Both of these guys have a thing for sucking so at least there’s a theme. X-Pac is called the greatest European Champion ever. I’m not touching that one. We have our first heart reference. I’m actually liking this match. They’re keeping it simple, which is what I think this title is best at. It never really was a huge deal but it was played well I think. Gangrel is limited in the ring so they’re keeping it simple. Naturally that’s all thrown out the window with another big heart reference and the Bronco Buster.

I hate that move. It looks stupid, it wouldn’t be that effective, and above all else: IT LOOKS FREAKING STUPID! Seriously, what was the appeal of that stupid thing? X-Pac shows off his versatile offense by using his third spin kick in less than 4 minutes.

We get a decent little screw up from Teddy Long as Gangrel reverses a cross body and Long accidentally counts three with Pac’s shoulder up at about two and a quarter. He waves it off and the fans just let him have it. Soon thereafter we finish as Gangrel tries to throw Pac into the air but he counters with a huge X Factor to end it. Sweet ending there.

Rating: B-. This was actually good. They did the smart thing here and kept it simple which is the best solution sometimes. Why over complicate something that’s fine the way it is? It was a decent time at just under five minutes and for a token title match, this was just fine.

DX is in the back and say that tonight it’s every man for himself. Chyna, who I would do lots of evil things to if she looked like that now, says or woman for herself.

Shane comes out to pure generic music as No Chance wasn’t the official song yet. He introduces Luna. For some reason he hated Sable at this time for no apparent reason.

Women’s Title: Sable vs. Luna

This is a strap match. Why is it a strap match? I don’t have the slightest clue but that’s the Attitude Era for you. Luna hurt Sable earlier so apparently we have no match. Sable’s bad acting is almost funny. She just won the title in a match where again it was all about her being pretty and having nothing to do with talent or anything like that. Luna was good in the ring but she never got a run with the title because of the witches like Sable.

Sable says the match is on, making the segment with Shane completely pointless. Oh geez it’s a corners match so this could be awhile. It’s very difficult not to make strap on jokes here. Shane says this is about Sable taking advantage of his father. I shudder to think of what that might imply.

Since this is a strap match, the ending is one person touching all three corners with the other following and doing the same then the ending. In this case, Tori, who was just known as Sable’s stalker at this point, nails Luna to keep the belt on Sable and keeping us all in this nightmare world.

Rating: F. There was nothing of note here and we had to put up with Luna’s unshapely figure. It wasn’t much at all and lasted like 4 minutes. This was a waste of time with Sable of course being made to look great as she always did.

In the back the Corporation is talking about the match tonight. Shamrock is REALLY short.

We hit the recap of Rock and Mankind. The idea here is that Mankind took the title in the night where Tony Schiavone said that he did, causing a ton of people to change the channel. Rock wanted a rematch and listed off all kinds of stipulations that Foley refused to agree to.

Finally Rock said he quit and Foley shouted that he accepted Rock’s challenge of an I Quit match. He followed that up by summarizing this match perfectly: “Rock, how does it feel going into a match that you can’t win?” That’s your match right there. This was a great recap of a great feud that’s kind of overlooked which is a shame.

Rock says he’ll win in a lot more words than that.

WWF Title: Rock vs. Mankind

This match is notoriously difficult to watch due to what happens in it, but let’s get going. As Foley comes to the ring we see a clip from earlier in the show where he had a “warm up” match on Heat with Mabel who hit some splashes on him to soften him up. Remember when Heat used to actually mean something? I miss those days. Almost right off the bat we get a great line from Lawler. Cole says that he can’t see Mankind saying I Quit.

Lawler says you don’t see it you idiot. Note: Foley’s family is at ringside. Mankind is completely dominating at this point. That ends after the knees to the steps spot that always looks ridiculously painful. Rock gets on a headset during the match which is another thing that he always did which was at least entertaining. This is brutal already. We get the sock 5 minutes into the match. How brilliant of an idea was that?

It’s something so completely stupid and basic but it caught fire like few other things ever have. Rock goes out from it so Foley starts talking on the mic that the referee carries and says he’s going to split open that ridiculous eyebrow. We hit the crowd and now we’re ready to go. Foley is way over at this point and was more or less the champion of the people which was the reason the people’s champion thing for Rock worked so well. It really was amusing.

Rock gets the bell and the hammer and puts the bell to Foley’s head and rings it. You know, instead of hitting him with the bell or the hammer. Rock tries to Rock Bottom him through the Spanish table but it breaks. It went off prematurely. This is working because it’s Mankind who was supposed to be just a guy that wouldn’t quit no matter what against a great athlete like the Rock. I’m completely buying into the idea here, which granted it might be that Foley is my all time favorite wrestler.

We’re up by the entry way now as Lawler channels Gordon Solie. A DDT on the floor doesn’t make Foley give up. Rock pulls out a ladder which would kind of foreshadow one of their next gimmick matches. They go up a ladder for no apparent reason and fight on something like a scaffold. Rock hits a running shot and Foley goes into the equipment and gets electrocuted, prompting the lights to go out and Cole to shout out Christ Almighty. That’s a bit much.

Apparently Foley may be dead despite rolling around on the floor and making noise. Shane comes out too as if nothing else they’re doing a good job of making this look serious. Rock says no doctors because Foley is going to say he quits no matter what. I love how Rock says the words I Quit while talking there so technically he just lost the match.

Foley is more or less dead as they go back to the ring. While he’s laying on the mat, Cole asks how he can stand. That got me to roll my eyes at the stupidity of it, as Rock gets handcuffs and we move into the segment that’s been called the most brutal in company history. Foley can get his hands up and Rock just goes nuts with all kinds of free shots. In an impressive sequence, Foley gets the advantage despite having no free hands. That’s very cool to see actually.

And Rock gets a chair. Oh this isn’t going to be easy to sit through. With Foley on the mat, Rock puts the chair over his head and drops the elbow, which apparently shatters Foley’s skull. So, an elbow to the chair which is laying on his head cracked his skull but being rammed into all kinds of things didn’t? I can’t stand Cole. Anyway, Rock has the chair, and starts swinging at Foley’s head with it.

You have to remember, Foley’s hands and arms are useless at this point. He can’t get them up to even cushion the blow at all. The original plan was for Rock to hit him I think 3 times with it and then Foley would be out cold and they would do the finish. However, Rock didn’t do that. He wouldn’t put the mic near Foley for the finish so Mick had to just keep getting up. Rock hits him with literally t0 shots, all unprotected to the head.

He has chances to hit him in the back or anywhere else where at least it wouldn’t have looked as bad, but Rock went for the head every time. You can tell the announcers are having a real problem with this as even Lawler who has been behind Rock all night long is saying that’s enough in that voice of his where you can tell he’s being legit about something. Rock hits perhaps the sickest looking chair shot I’ve ever seen to the back of Foley’s head to knock him down again. Foley is DEAD.

Rock says a bunch of stuff on the mic and then shoves it at his mouth, and a prerecorded tape of Foley screaming I QUIT from a promo a few weeks ago plays to give Rock the title again. This was really confusing at the time as Foley was clearly out cold yet the voice was really loud.

I had missed that segment from Raw so I was confused. Anyway, this was absolutely brutal at the end and Foley was legit messed up bad from this match. Rock had to give him a big apology for it and I don’t think Foley’s family has been to a live match of his since, which I can’t blame them at all for.

Rating: B. This really was a solid match. The gimmick aspect was indeed brilliant as Foley would never say he quit and in the match he didn’t. The chair shots were WAY too much as everyone was clearly not comfortable with how far Rock took that.

Foley and Rock had great chemistry together and you could see it every time they were on the screen together. There was no need to go that far with it though and it showed clearly. Foley would get the belt back in 2-3 weeks at Halftime Heat before losing it in a ladder match on Raw that no one remembers.

We talk about the Rumble and the bounty because the 12 promos about them weren’t enough. Also we get a long video about Vince vs. Austin which we know already as well.

Royal Rumble

Like has also been said all night, Austin is first and Vince is second. The intervals are 90 seconds this year, which means about 75 in reality. Howard takes WAY too long for the rules which draws all kinds of heckling from Lawler. Literally, he talks for over a minute. Vince has no music at this point which just is odd. This is the first time we’ve ever seen Vince with his shirt off so the physique is something unheard of.

Of course Austin beats the living tar out of Vince and the crowd is on fire for it. Austin drops an F bomb by mistake which means nothing. This right here should have been the main event of Wrestlemania. Golga, more commonly known as John Tenta or Earthquake is 3rd. The fans are dancing with him if nothing else. Golga jumps Austin after a Thesz Press but is gone in about 10 seconds as Vince and Austin hit the floor and run away through the crowd.

Austin is so ridiculously popular it’s scary. Droz, a very sad story indeed, is 4th and because of the brilliant booking so far, has nothing to do but stand in the ring and wait on someone to fight. In the back we see Austin chase Vince into a bathroom where the Corporation is conveniently waiting on him to beat the heck out of him. After about 20 seconds, Edge is fifth. Remember that Austin and Vince are still in this but they’re just not here at the moment.

Edge and Droz get something going so we don’t have an empty ring. If nothing else they’re two young and mostly over guys that are getting a chance to show what they can do. The problem is no one cares and there’s no way anyone but Austin or Vince will win this thing, which is the problem with the Rumble as a whole. About a minute after Edge is in Gillberg, who might be the funniest gimmick is in at 6th.

In case you don’t know he was a parody of Goldberg, complete with holding sparklers and having fake chants piped in, but unlike WCW, they pushed them as fake. Edge drops him in about 8 seconds. We cut to the Corporation beating on Austin, because that’s far more important than what’s going on in the ring. Don’t you love Russo? Seventh is Steve Blackman as we’re in jobber land already.

Hey, let’s go back to that bathroom because we haven’t done that enough lately, as Austin is being put on a stretcher and taken away. Droz is trying to be part of the LOD at this point, as Hawk was just a mess in real life and in storylines. Dan Severn is number 8, because we need another glorified jobber here. He held the NWA title for years, having to drop it because of MMA stuff. Austin is shown AGAIN, this time being taken to an ambulance.

They mess up and catch him moving his arm just because we have to be real or something, which makes no sense but nothing on this show does so there we are. Tiger Ali Singh is ninth. Think Million Dollar Man meets Muhammad Hassan minus any semblance of talent. Time for an Austin cut, as he’s leaving the arena. Apparently the eight minutes or so that Droz and Edge have been fighting constitutes a long time. Blue Meanie is 10th as we’re flying through this tour of jobber ville.

He’s in the Job Squad here in case you’re that bored. Apparently the Brood and the Job Squad are feuding. Yes, that’s correct: two more or less useless factions are feuding, and still no one cares about either of them. Brood had cool music if nothing else though. Maybe 40 seconds after Meanie,

Mable is 11th, but he doesn’t come out just yet because it was supposed to be Mosh. Mabel attacks him so he can take his place. IT’S DRAMA TIME! I’m quite bored here so I have to make fun of stuff where I can. He’s gimmickless here and is just beating on people. He puts out Tiger, Blackman and Severn in about 10 seconds. Oh come on. After MAYBE 30 seconds Road Dogg is next.

They’re just saying screw it with the time here. Everyone but Edge and Mabel are gone so it’s Road Dogg, Mabel and Edge and never mind as Edge is gone now. They go at it but the lights go out and we have Taker music. We come back to have the APA and Mideon beating on Mabel to put him out. Taker, in full demon priest mode here, looks at Mabel and I guess hypnotizes him or something as he is beaten down.

He would become Viscera the next night which was his character for the rest of his career as still no one would care. This was WAY over the top and yet again, we have one person in the ring. Remember, Austin and Vince are still in. Gangrel, rocking his awesome music, is 12th. The people in the front row dancing badly to his music is funny. Other than Austin and Vince, Road Dogg is the biggest star in here so far.

Gangrel is out in about 12 seconds, so we have nothing going on again. Rock on Russo! This is riveting, RIVETING I SAY! They just forget the clock again as about 30 seconds pass before Kurrgan of the Oddities is 14th. I really hate this match. Seriously, we’re halfway through this thing almost and we’re watching Kurrgan vs. Road Dogg. Al Snow gets us to 15 as I flip through my DVD collection since it’s far more interesting to look at match listings that I’ve already seen before.

Snow lost Head for some stupid reason that likely went nowhere. Dogg puts him out in about 45 seconds. We get Road Dogg vs. Kurrgan for the 2nd time tonight as Rock and Austin are in danger of being passed for best feud ever. Goldust is next as he’s entered that point in his career where no one cares about him as he’s just Goldust. There’s nothing freaky about him anymore and he’s just a guy in gold that no one really cares about.

The last ten here better be freaking AMAZING. Dogg mocks Goldust and sets up for Shattered Dreams, but we can’t have Dogg beat up anyone so Kurrgan saves him. Godfather is 17th as we’re thankfully flying through this. Of course he’s got Hos with him which gets a bigger pop than anything else as I’m suddenly ashamed of being a fan of the Attitude Era. This isn’t wrestling. There’s nothing redeeming about this.

Let’s see what we have here. A pimp, a man that molests other men for no apparent reason, a guy that dances badly and is proud of the fact that he’s a social outcast, and a guy constantly making references to someone sucking his penis. What is possibly appealing here? Kane, a guy named the Big Red Retard is 18th as he at least has a ton of jobbers to beat up.

Kane has recently been rebelling against the Corporation, meaning he’s now just shy of being a face for the first time other than for 6 days at this time last year. He clears the ring inside of 30 seconds. Hey, we’ve got one person in the ring AGAIN! Dang he’s getting a pop for this. So let’s see. We have a former world champion who is quite over and dominating. My goodness we’re on to something here! We have a guy that could be a legit challenger to the standard winners!

This could make Kane a legit…oh screw it you know where this is going. Naturally he’s in the match less than a minute as a group of men in white coats come back, allegedly to put Kane back in a mental institution. He beats them up and jumps over the top rope, eliminating himself.

Shamrock is 19th, and due to the brilliance of this booking, has to stand in the ring and do nothing for 90 seconds, killing any heat the Kane built up for him. We could have had a decent showdown between a crazed monster and a submission machine. How does that sounds? Shamrock vs. Kane? It wouldn’t main event a Wrestlemania but it could have been interesting if nothing else, but instead we have Shamrock literally standing in the ring just waiting for something to happen.

See, this right here is why this Rumble is complete and utter crap. This is why fans HATE Russo’s booking. Yeah a lot of stuff has happened here, but there is ZERO substance to it. We’ve had nothing but jobbers in here so far until Kane showed up, and after he gets one of the biggest reactions of the night and looks awesome, a stupid angle that went nowhere gets rid of him. Russo is notorious for trying to fit 100 different angles into a single match and that’s what he’s done here.

Instead of having a decent match which could have happened had this been booked right, and had there been anyone other than Austin and McMahon coming in at one and two. That’s the issue here: anyone with a brain can tell you that 3-30 don’t even need to show up. It’s going to come down to Vince vs. Austin, which is fine I guess as it’s the only possible ending, but they screwed this up so badly by having them come out first.

Instead, have Austin come in at like 25th or 26th and clear the ring, THEN have Vince come in at 30 to set up the showdown. The Corporation runs in for a big brawl, and then do the finish. There, see what that accomplishes? All night long you know that Austin is going to be in there somewhere, but you don’t know where. He’s going to face big odds, but no one knows how big. The other guys can build themselves up a bit and get the crowd into it.

Austin was certainly getting the biggest pop of the night, so anything anyone gets after that is going to be lackluster. Why not instead have Austin saved until closer to the end, so that he still gets his big pop but everyone else gets a nicer one as well? There’s more drama, the fans will be more into the rest of the match, and it takes some pressure off of Austin while still giving you the finish you wanted. Instead, let’s have a ton of dead spots and jobbers fight each other.

Look at earlier on. Why did Golga have to be eliminated so fast? Instead of having Droz vs. Golga (which sounds like a Japanese monster movie if I’ve ever heard one) for a few minutes, we have Droz standing there. I know that’s not the most appealing match in the world, but it’s SOMETHING. It’s not a guy standing around waiting on something to happen, but rather an actual, you know, wrestling match.

Why would we need that though when we can have pointless angles and spots that bring the match to halt after halt? This is a great example of how Russo’s booking can ruin a match in one easy lesson. ANYWAY, Vince comes out just before Shamrock to do commentary. Oh joy indeed. Billy Gunn is 20th because instead of a fresh match we need a repeat of the one from earlier in the show. Gunn is limping at least but for some reason only has one boot on.

To contine this match’s stupidity, on one ankle Gunn uses a gorilla press. I can’t stand this match. I truly can’t. Test is 21st as we cut to the future Ministry kidnapping Mabel. Oh my goodness let the shocks continue! Just at the EXACT same time as that’s happening, STONE COLD STONE COLD STONE COLD is back in an ambulance.

WAIT A FREAKING MINUTE YOU FREAKING IDIOTS! Are you really trying to convince me that in less than 30 minutes, Austin was knocked completely unconscious, strapped to a stretcher, put in an ambulance, woke up, managed to get enough wits about him to get off the stretcher, get control of the ambulance, drive the ambulance back to the arena in a city that I’d assume he doesn’t know the street design of, and get back into the parking lot?

And all that in less time than it takes to deliver a pizza? And no one finds this even the SLIGHTEST bit odd? No one at all? Yeah I still hate this match. Actually this isn’t a match. It’s a performance piece or something stupid like that. Vince is of course SHOCKED. I love how he’s shocked over things he booked. Oh come on Austin isn’t even sweating. Give me a break. Austin walks into the arena as Boss Man’s music plays since he’s 22nd.

To further take away from the people in the ring that are doing the work on this show, Austin chases Vince. They get in the ring and Austin puts out Shamrock and gets jumped again. Oh look Austin has a rope from somewhere. This is like a bad SNL sketch or something. HHH, to a HUGE pop so you know he’s not winning, is 23rd. Since he was so popular he would be turned heel at Mania in a HUGE twist. Everything is huge back then remember as this is now WCW 2.

HHH beating on Austin just feels right. Val Venis is 24th. To recap we have Boss Man, Austin, Test, HHH, Gunn and Venis in the ring and Vince at ringside. Austin puts out Gunn. Nothing of note is happening here for the most part. X-Pac is 25th and I still could care less. Allegedly he’s the lightest competitor in Rumble history. And naturally since that involves company history, it’s nonsense. Pierroth from the 97 rumble is smaller.

Austin is knocked to the floor under the ropes and comes in off the top rope of all things. That was odd if nothing else. Henry, ANOTHER sex based character is the first of the final 5 guys. This is just after the very stupid transvestite bit between Chyna and Henry. Don’t ask. This just needs to end like NOW. Jeff Jarrett is 27th. Naturally Debra is the bigger deal here. Other than her face she looks ok actually.

As HHH is beating on Venis, we hear a very familiar voice ask Val “If I throw you can you hang on?”. Nice one there Hunter. To further the brilliance of this match, we’re discussing whether Vince would pay by cash or check. D’lo is 28th along with PMS. This was, you guessed it, another sex based angle called Pretty Mean Sisters, which implied that they had clients that they screwed because they were so upset with men.

Test and X-Pac are thrown out. Vince saying that Jeff Jarrett is the man made me chuckle. Owen is 29th as Jarrett is thrown out. HHH saves Austin which was just weird to type. Austin hits the floor and throws water on Vince because he’s a AWESOME. Chyna is 30, making our final batch of people Austin, Vince, Boss Man, Chyna, Henry, Brown, HHH, Venis and Owen. I wonder who will win.

Chyna puts out Henry and then Austin puts her out, making her big moment last all of 30 seconds. Vince cheering on HHH makes me wonder if he knew what was coming. That’s just amusing. We realize the issue of the money as no one wants to let anyone else put Austin out so they keep saving him. Venis is gone as is HHH, leaving the final five as Vince, Austin, Owen, Henry and Brown.

Owen hits the enziguri on Austin but gets thrown out anyway as Austin is apparently tougher than Shawn ever was. Brown hits the sweet Low Down on Austin as Boss Man throws him out. More no selling from Austin as he throws out Boss Man and we’re down to Austin vs. Vince again. Amazingly the Rumble is on the floor and in the crowd again. This is idiotic. Let’s bring a chair in because we haven’t had enough of those tonight right?

Vince hits a quick low blow to buy himself some time once we’re back in the ring. Austin has stone cold balls apparently as he hits a Stunner out of nowhere. Here’s Rock for the distraction, and we make the Rumble look like a joke as Vince throws out Austin to win it. A massive heel celebration follows as Austin chases Rock out.

Rating: F. I’m sorry to the people that worked hard in there, but this was awful on so many levels that I can’t let it pass. This match alone sums up everything that was wrong with the Attitude Era. There were a ton of sex based characters that were weirder and weirder each time. There was no story other than two guys that weren’t in the match for the majority of the time.

No one cared about 28 people in there. The ending was a give away, and the whole thing just sucked all around. There were three times where we had a maximum of one person in the ring due to some stupid angle. That’s just unacceptable all around, just like this match. This was a failure and easily the worst Rumble of all time.

Overall Rating: D-. The best match of the night might have had Gangrel in it. That sums up just about everything you need to know here. This was just a mess as the Rumble sucked, the early stuff sucked, and the title match was actually difficult to sit through. Foley and Rock’s incredible chemistry together saves this from a complete failure though, but not by a lot.

I hated this show and it took me almost 4 days to get through it which is by far and away a record for these reviews. This was just crap all around and not worth watching at all. The title match is good, but that’s all that’s worth watching here at all. Go on Attitude Era freaks. Defend this thing. I want you to. I need the target practice.

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  1. Jonny99 says:

    familiar with your work on WZ so knew you hated this. Nothing to say about the Rumble watched it yesterday and it was enjoyable for the nostalgia if not the spectacle. I have a question however, I’ve heard you say that Vince and Austin should have main evented Mania that year, if that were to be the case what would you have done with the Rumble and St Valentines Day Massacre?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    No idea. Well, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre had Foley vs. Rock for the title so that’s the easy main event match. As for the Rumble, hard to say. Probably the same ending but put Rock vs. someone else for the title. Not sure exactly.

  2. A King says:

    Definetly Russo bookig at its “finest”.

    The Rumbe outcome was predicable. It was obvious that Austin and Vince would be the last two men in the Rumble, but to have Austin #1 and Vince #2 and have those two last made the entire Rumble pointless. I’ll admit the whole bounty idea was cool but was instantly rendered meaningless once Ausitn was taken out for a time.

    I also have an issue with the Bossman/Road Dogg match. You have your Hardcore champion face the guy he beat for the belt in a non-title non-Hardcore match, and he loses cleanly to him?