Elseworlds: 1996 WWF: The 1997 Royal Rumble

Not a hoax, not a dream, but definitely an imaginary story.

KnicksFanForLife Usenet report posted:

Dark Match: Stevie Ray and Godfather/Steve Corino and Sid, Stevie pins Corino.

Dark Match: Sugah Shane and Jammin Jamie w/Matt Hardy and Cuddly Chris vs. Hakushi/Bradshaw, Bradshaw pins Noble. Hakushi and Bradshaw have good chemistry, and Hakushi looked good.

Dark Segment: Brian Pillman comes out to wander among the audience and yell at people individually.

Dark Match: Bart Gunn vs. HHH, Hunter goes over.

Dark Match: British Bulldog vs Stan Hansen, Bulldog goes over. Oh man, was this one for the Colliseum Home Video release. This was almost as good as the main events. They even brawled into the stands once or twice. Hansen was dog tired by the end, when Bulldog gave him the Running Powerslam for 3.

Dark segment: Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels & Mick Foley welcome everyone to the show in the hallowed halls of WWF’s home. Shawn talks about having what he considers the best match of his career right here in the Garden at Wrestlemania 10, and Foley talks about seeing the match that inspired him to be a wrestler right here, between Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco.

Heat kicks off with Captain Lou backstage with his guys at the number tumbler.
“Okay, Hakushi, pick yourself a number, come on baby, pick a good one.”
Hakushi reaches in and picks one out. He then shows it to Captain Lou.
“Alrighty, alrighty, that’s a good one, good job, now go get ready, you don’t want to get a cramp during the Rumble. Now, Bradshaw, it’s your time to shine, pick yourself a number outta that tumbler.”
Bradshaw reaches in and picks one out.
“Oh, man, is that a good one! You go ahead to the locker room, I gotta pep Jerry up for his big IC Title match tonight!”

Elsewhere backstage, Ted DiBiase tells Taz he’s replacing Sid in the tag team match tonight, so that if his team loses, Sid can still enter the Rumble. Taz is irritated, but says he’ll still try his best.

IC Title defense: Jerry Lynn/Rick Martel, Lynn goes over. Martel was angry straight out of the gate, and wouldn’t let up on Lynn until Albano distracted the ref, allowing Bradshaw and Candido to attack Martel. Martel was using some decidedly non-beautiful language as they wore him down, Bradshaw eventually clobbering him with the Clothesline From Hell, before skedaddling out of the ring so Lynn could get the 3.


Handicap match: Kane vs ICP w/ Doink and Vampiro, Kane pins Violent J. Kane was just a monster, plowing through all the interference and tricks the ICP tried to pull, before planting the both of them with a double chokeslam.

Royal Rumble Intro, Vince McMahon runs down the card over a montage of Rumble moments of years past: Hacksaw winning the first Rumble, Bret Hart and Lex Luger both falling to the floor, Yokozuna elminating Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan holding the Peace In The Middle East sign, Michaels just barely holding on to the ropes. “THE ROAD TO WRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRESS-SSSSSSSSSTLLLLLLLLLEMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAAANIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA STARTS TONIGHT!”

We see the Brave Lions backstage, picking their numbers for the Rumble. Piper picks his, and when he shows it to Jericho and Liger, they respond with reserved enthusiasm.

“Not bad, not bad.”
Jericho picks his next, and as he picks it out, a smile creeps across his face. “Ooooooh, interesting!”
Liger picks his out last, and when he shows to the others, they are just shocked. “Oh man, dude, that’s awesome! High five!”
The Lions walk off, beginning to chat strategy. Jericho was good, as always, but without a script, Liger was kind of lost.

Heartbreakers/Million Dollar Titans, only the winners enter the rumble, Foley pins KKB. Taz held the majority of the match, as DiBiase yelled at him to tag Bundy in. Taz was doing fine on his own, even reversing the SCM into a Fisherman Suplex, but eventually Bundy tagged himself in, and ended up eating Sweet Oblivion for the 3 as Ted bickered with Taz on the apron, both men too distracted to help their teammate.

After the match, Ted DiBiase looks cross, and comes into the ring. “Taz, you screwed this up for the last time! I swear, you are the most incompetent piece of shit I have ever had the displeasure of managing in my entire career!” “Shut the hell up, Ted! Shut up! That fat sack of shit King Kong Bundy is the problem here! He’s taken the pin in just about every single match he’s been in since your stupid ass brought him into the WWF! Meanwhile, I was the sole survivor of that Survivor Series match you loaned me out for! I brokered that goddamn deal, do you remember that? You let those MUL-TI-MILLIONAIRES just WALK AWAY! You call yourself the MILLION DOLLAR MAN, and you let an easy mark like that, a PRIME GODDAMN BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY WALK OUT THE DOOR! I am sick and tired of you, you arrogant son of a bitch! From now on, you can go find some other guy to do your dirty work for you, because I’m not going near your ass or any member of your cheating scumbag crew!” Taz then spits in Ted DiBiase’s face and walks off. Goddamn, I did not expect the pop he got. Really good turn, and I can’t wait for wherever Taz goes from here.

Pillman comes out to cut a promo. He says he’s gonna win the Rumble, and win the title at Wrestlemania. It’s just another Rumble promo, really. Then Dave Taylor came out as the mystery opponent, and really, if it were anyone else, I think I would have been fine with this segment, but as it is? Snoozeville.

Pan-Am Title Match: Brian Pillman/Dave Taylor, Pillman goes over. This is probably the best match Dave Taylor has had in this company. He got time, and he got a good opponent. I thought he was actually gonna hit the Churchill Crusher at one point, but Pillman was able to reverse it into a neckbreaker before hitting Air Pillman for the 3.

After that, we got a short little set of Rumble promos from Pillman, HHH, Dudleyz (Dirty Dutch, D-Von, Bubba), all going through the yadda yadda 29 guys, yadda yadda top rope, yadda yadda, Wrestlemania. You know the routine.

Owen Hart/Vader hype video, recapping the events (The Bret/Owen matches, the handshake and hug in Canada, the Vader/Bret matches, Owen turning face, Owen challenging Vader, etc) leading to this match.

Owen Hart vs Vader (c)
WWF Title

The match starts with Owen delivering a series of kicks to Vader’s legs, evading attack after attack, and wearing down the giant. Cornette tries to distract the ref so Bulldog and Skunk can double team Owen, but Bret is able to pull Skunk and Bulldog to the floor before they can even cross the ropes. Vader still uses this opportunity to hold Owen in the corner, clobbering him with forearms, before walking back and running into the corner with a flying splash!

From here, the match falls into chaos as Skunkrocker is able to distract Bret, allowing Bulldog and Vader to beat down Owen. Cornette seems to have given up on distracting the ref, and resorts to just clobbering him in the head with his tennis racket, knocking the ref cold. As Cornette’s Camp is destroying Owen while the ref is down, Bret, fighting off Skunkrocker, keeps looking to the entranceway, almost desperately. Just when Skunkrocker is about to Skunk Spray Bret–

YT: Stan Hansen Arena Theme “Sunrise (Instrumental)”

Stan Hansen runs from the back, and drops Skunkrocker with a Lariat. He rolls into the ring, hits Bulldog with a backdrop suplex, and stares down Cornette. As Cornette begs and pleads, Hansen winds up, and destroys Cornette with another Lariat, sending Cornette over the ropes to the floor. As Bulldog gets up, Hansen hits him with another Lariat, over the ropes to the floor. Vader looks on in shock as Hansen just leaves the ring to help Bret drag all the members of Cornette’s Camp off. Vader, frustrated, goes for a pin on the beaten-down Owen Hart as the ref staggers to consciousness.

1…2…2.9, Owen kicks out just in the nick of time! Vader drags Owen up for another powerbomb, but Owen puts all he can into laying into Vader with punches, before reversing the powerbomb into a huracanrana. He doesn’t go for the pin, but gets up, goes to the top rope, and hits a beautiful missile dropkick onto Vader, who rolls out of the ring onto the floor. He looks around, but Cornette is not at ringside. Neither is Bulldog. Neither is Skunkrocker. They’re all laid out on the ramp, and standing between Vader and the ramp are Bret Hart and Stan Hansen. Vader tries to buy time on the outside, but Owen hits him with a dive through the ropes, almost knocking him through the barricade. Owen then dumps him back into the ring, and applies the Sharpshooter.

Vader struggles, and struggles, and struggles, but he must eventually tap out.

Owen Hart is the new WWF Champion!

We’re back to the room from the previous pretapes, but now the lights are on. The old man with the frail voice is wearing the stocking, so we can’t see his face. He’s wearing ragged clothing, and holding a chainsaw. “Mick Foley, if you think you are prepared for me, you are sorely mistaken. I have my entrance number, and I am coming for you.” He begins to run the chainsaw, and cackles madly.

Before Candido’s match, Lou Albano cuts a promo.
“Yeah, Captain?”
“You’re gonna go down there, and you won’t need words to let Ahmed Johnson know what you think of him! You’re gonna use that natural wrestling talent to take him pillar to post, bind him, shine him, and grind him, and get that 123! I know that you can!”

Ahmed Johnson vs. Chris Candido, Johnson goes over. This was an OK match from what I saw, but I went to the toilet like halfway through. Got back just in time to see Ahmed hit the Pearl River Plunge.

After the match, Lou Albano is quick to give Candido an encouraging word. “Well, maybe you weren’t lucky that time, but if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

Quick Rumble promos. Dude Love, Steve Austin, Ultimate Warrior, Goldust, Chris Jericho, Bret Hart, Mark Henry, and Shawn Michaels all promo on why they will be the one to win the ’97 Royal Rumble. They were all pretty good, though formulaic.

Howard Finkel enters the ring and starts bellowing his classic Rumble intro. “Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time… FOR THE 1997 RRRRROYAL RRRRRUMMMMBLEEEE!”

“Introducing the man who drew number 1! From Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, weighing 212 pounds! One half of the WWF Tag Team Champions! The Lionheart… Chris Jericho!” Tough week for Jericho, having a title defense and then starting at #1 in the Rumble.

“Introducing the man who drew number 2! From Greenwich, Connecticut, weighing 234 pounds! Hunter Hearst Helmsley!” HHH storms out of the back, going right after Jericho as the bell rings. Hard right hand from Hunter starts the match, and Jericho gets backed into a corner. Jericho gets a forearm smash in to get his space back, followed up with a great spinning kick off the second rope! The countdown starts and out comes…

#3 – Skunkrocker. He steps between the ropes, interrupting Jericho and HHH. He takes a knee lift from HHH and is immideately clotheslined out by Jericho.

Elimination #1 – Skunkrocker (by Chris Jericho)

Hunter and Jericho turn their attention back to each other, and soon the next man comes in…

#4 – Davey Boy Smith, the British Bulldog followed by Cornette. He lays out Hunter, gets a gut kick in on Jericho and goes for a powerbomb. Jericho turns it into a hurricanranna and tries to dump Bulldog out, but it’s not enough to get him over the top rope. Jericho rolls back in under the bottom rope, straight into a knee drop from HHH that leaves him down. The countdown starts again…

#5 – Kane, bringing hellfire and brimstone! The guys in the ring turn their heads as the wall of fire comes up and Kane makes his way to the ring. He irish whips Bulldog and tries to grab him for a Chokeslam, Bulldog ducks it and keeps running, into a cross body by Jericho! Hunter is on Jericho’s trail, but Kane turns his attention to him instead. 3, 2, 1…

#6 – Hakushi. HHH manages to bring Kane down with his knee smash, goes for the Pedigree, but Kane pulls with all his might to avoid getting his arms hooked. HHH goes over the top rope by way of a backdrop, but he wraps his arms and legs around the ropes to avoid elimination. Jericho gets up and takes on Hakushi as he steps between the ropes. Kane tries to finish the job on Hunter, but gets forearm smashed in the back of the head by Bulldog.

#7 – Dude Love gets a big MSG welcome, and shakes hands with a couple fans on his way to the match. The ring is really filling up at this point – Hunter and Bulldog are now working together to eliminate Kane, but they are both fought off. Hakushi catches Kane off guard with an arm wrench and gets Kane to the turnbuckle corner for the Ogami Watari. As Hakushi comes down to chop Kane, he is caught by the throat and is chokeslammed to the outside.

Elimination #2 – Hakushi (by Kane)

HHH tries to eliminate Kane while his back is turned but Kane hits a hellacious elbow to Hunter’s temple as the countdown for the next entrant begins…

#8 – The Junkyard Dog has made his return to the WWF! He runs to the ring and drops everyone inside down with Thump powerslams! While everyone is down, JYD gets on all fours and begins headbutting each one. HHH tries to get the jump on JYD, but he starts growling and biting the air, intimidating HHH into backing off. It doesn’t work on Dude Love, whoever, who drops JYD with a neckbreaker. With JYD temporarily out of the way, HHH brawls with Dude Love but eventually finds out that he made a hige mistake as Foley gains the upperhand, nearly eliminating HHH by clotheslining him over the top rope but HHH hangs on and rolls back in. Junkyard Dog’s recovered from the neckbreaker and begins hitting his heatbutts again but when he goes to headbutt Kane, he’s grabbed by the throat and chokeslammed to the outside just like Hakushi. Thank god, JYD was really showing his age and stunk up the ring.

Elimination #3 – Junkyard Dog (by Kane)

It’s about time for the next entrant of the Rumble… and the lights go out! A chainsaw revving can be heard and a spotlight turns on to show the man from all those vignettes still with the stocking over his head. He places the chainsaw on the ground and removes the stocking over his head as his music hits to reveal…

#9 – It’s Terry Funk! Dude Love cannot believe it! Funk makes a straight beeline for Foley and the two begin slugging it out all over the ring, bowling over whoever is in the way of their brawl. HHH takes this opportunity to try to eliminate the both of them as they slug it out along the ropes but both Funk and Foley turn to him and punch him in the face at the same time before turning their attention back to each other. As a reeling HHH holds his hands up to his face, Jericho goes to throw HHH over the ropes but Hunter has enough wherewithal to kick behind and hit Jericho with a legal low blow. Bulldog and Kane are engaged in a chopping war as they both chop each other’s chest but Bulldog’s attention moves elsewhere as the next entrant comes out.

#10 – We get another massive pop as Bret Hart is the next one in! Cornette is screaming on the outside of the ring at Bulldog to get rid of Bret, but as Bulldog goes to clobber Bret, it proves to be a mistake as Kane grabs Bulldog and hits a belly-to-back suplex. Bret grabs the prone Bulldog’s legs and hits his signature gut stomp! Bret picks up the groggy Bulldog and leans Bulldog against the ropes, trying to push him over the ropes when all of a sudden Vader comes in through the crowd and pulls Bret down as revenge! Bret and Bulldog are now hanging on the apron, kicking each other to try and get the elimination as security escorts Vader away from the ring. Bulldog hits a well-placed elbow that has Bret hanging from one hand! Showing off, Bulldog attempts to skin the cat, but the whirlwind of punches/kicks/biting that is Funk and Foley tangle up with Bulldog. Bulldog gets to his feet but Kane hits a monstrous uppercut that sends Bulldog flying over the ropes.

Elimination #4 – British Bulldog (by Kane)

With Foley and Funk’s brawl finally broken up, Dude Love lets out an uncharacteristic primal yell as he runs towards the recovering Terry Funk and he hits a clothesline that sends both over the rope and out of the Royal Rumble.

Eliminations #5 and #6 – Terry Funk and Dude Love (by Dude Love)

As Foley and Funk brawl to the back, each man using the barricade as a weapon of its own, Jericho gets back into the action, going after HHH, but HHH reverses an Irish whip and gets Jericho in the corner, hammering away and going for the elimination.

As soon as the music hits, #11 – Rowdy Roddy Piper gets up the commentary desk and enters the fray! HHH drops Jericho the moment the Piper gets up from the commentary desk knowing he’s outnumbered with both Brave Lions in the match and rolls out of the ring and crawls underneath the ring to hide. Leaning on the ropes to see where he went, Piper and Jericho are nearly eliminated by Kane, but Bret Hart makes the save. All three fight off Kane, but Kane proves a formidable foe as he gets all three off balance with swift uppercuts. Amidst all the action, Cornette replaces Piper on commentary bemoaning the results of the WWF Championship match and how both Bulldog and Skunkrocker have been eliminated already.

#12 – Mark Henry is the next man in, and does he go on a rampage. He goes to work battering everyone who goes near, and this time even Kane is taken to the mat. Soon he’s the only man standing in the ring, raising his arms in triumph. As he picks up Jericho to throw him out, a low blow from Piper takes the wind out of the big guy! Seeing Mark Henry staggered, everyone rises to their feet and gangs up to try and throw him over the top rope. Henry fights out and gives Jericho, Piper, Bret and Kane a World’s Strongest Slam each. Henry lets out a roar as everyone else in the ring is out cold as the next man enters.

#13 – All American Scotty Bollea enters, full of confidence despite losing to Henry on Raw. He gets in the ring, cups his ear to the crowd and does the three Bollea poses as his theme music continues blasting. Finally he locks up with Mark Henry, but with a single strong push Henry sends Bollea clean over the top rope.

Elimination #7 – Scotty Bollea (by Mark Henry)

#14 – Bradshaw is next, who rushes Henry with the Clothesline from Hell. Henry ducks it. Bradshaw goes for the Clothesline again, but Henry stops him in his track with a gut punch and throws him over the top rope.

Elimination #8 – Bradshaw (by Mark Henry)

#15 – Vampiro at the halfway point. Just like the last two entrants, Mark Henry awaits the new guy with a wry grin on his face. Vampiro looks Henry dead in the eye and goes for the Vampiro’s Bite chokeslam. Henry just grabs his hand, Irish whips him over the rope, and belly-bumps him to the outside.

Elimination #9 – Vampiro. (by Mark Henry)

Kane recovers the World’s Strongest Slam and tries to push Henry out as the next entrant comes in.

#16 – Road Dogg, the former New Age Outlaw now Dudley is in to try his luck. He looks fired up as he runs to the ring, and interrupts the fight between Kane and Henry to try and push both over the top. Kane and Henry both stop to stare him down, and realizing he’s in over his head Road Dogg jumps over the top rope and eliminates himself.

Elimination #10 – Road Dogg Dudley (by Road Dogg Dudley)

Kane and Henry resume their brawl, and soon the countdown starts again. Kane has Henry on the ropes when…

“BUSINESS HAS JUST PICKED UP!” Jim Ross yells as #17 – The Undertaker comes out. Both Kane and Henry stop to look in awe as Taker makes his way to the ring. All three goliaths stare each other down and it’s not too long before the three are in an all-out war against each other! Jericho rolls out of the ring as does Piper and they both start looking under the ring apron to try to find HHH.

Oh testify, it’s #18 – D-Von Dudley. D-Von comes to help Undertaker against Kane and Henry, but proves not much help as he gets sandwiched between the three brawling giants and squashed. Jericho on the outside crawls underneath the ring to try to find HHH as Piper stay outside as a lookout.

#19 – Bubba Ray Dudley completes Goldust’s goon squad, so the 20th entrant shouldn’t be much of a question. Bubba Ray drags D-Von out of the monstrous brawling trio and tends to his brother. Meanwhile, Jericho comes back out from under the apron, dragging a struggling Hunter Hearst Helmsley out with him! A couple hard strikes from both Brave Lions and a roll into the ring later, and HHH and the Brave Lions are back in the matchup.

#20 – Goldust of course comes out with his complete goon squad in the ring. Goldust is already barking orders to Undertaker and the Dudleyz before he’s even in the ring, delegating Undertaker to take on Kane and the Dudleyz to work on Mark Henry. Mark takes both Dudleyz down with a double clothesline, but HHH gets him with a double axe handle and fatigue starts catching up to Mark Henry as more people start teaming up on him. Bubba and D-Von gets Henry on the ropes, Goldust and Taker help them HHH joins in, Foley, Jericho, Piper back them up, Kane lifts him by the legs… and Henry’s out!

Elimination #11 – Mark Henry (by Jericho, HHH, Kane, Bret, Piper, Undertaker, D-Von, Bubba Ray and Goldust)

Hunter stops to gloat, and pays for it big as he gets thrown out by Jericho!

Elimination #12 – HHH (by Chris Jericho)

While Jericho taunts Hunter, the Dudleyz have cornered Roddy Piper and after hitting a Bubba Bomb on Piper, Bubba Ray yells to D-Von.
D-Von’s already back from the outside with a table. Jericho sees that Piper’s in trouble and goes to help him, but Goldust intercepts Jericho by knocking him out with the urn! Bubba whips Piper into the ropes and the Dudleyz hit a big 3D through the table! Bubba and D-Von quickly lift Piper and throw him over.

Elimination #13 – Rowdy Roddy Piper (by Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) … but Jericho sneaks up and lifts D-Von over by the legs!

Elimination #14 – D-Von Dudley (by Chris Jericho)

Bubba turns around livid, grabs Jericho and hits another Bubba Bomb. He leans over the ropes and yells to D-Von.

“GET THE TAB-” Bubba is interrupted by a clothesline from Kane which sends him to the floor.

Elimination #15 – Bubba Ray Dudley (by Kane)

Jericho thinks he’s in the clear until Kane grabs him by the throat too! Kane is about to chokeslam Jericho to the outside but Undertaker blindsides him, allowing Jericho to get away.

SMASSSSH! #21 is Stone Cold Steve Austin! He hits a Stunner on Jericho, hits a Stunner on Bret, Stunners Goldust and goes to hit the Stunner on Undertaker, but Taker chokeslams Austin. Undertaker wrenches Austin’s arm, goes up for Old School, but Austin kicks the ropes causing Undertaker to lose his balance and crotch himself on the ropes. Undertaker doesn’t react though and while still straddling the ropes, he grabs Austin by the throat! Kane uppercuts Undertaker, causing Taker to lose his grasp on Austin, but Undertaker hits a stiff elbow on Kane and finally re-enters the ring.

#22 – Sycho Sid takes his time getting to the ring, arguing with fans with ringside seats. Austin is trying to push Jericho – who has been in the ring for more than half an hour at this point – over the ropes, but Jericho is able to stay in with a rake to Austin’s face. When Sid finally gets into the ring, he teases joining the Undertaker/Kane brawl, but instead chooses to put the boots to a downed Bret Hart on the ground.


#23 – Ultimate Warrior wastes no time, running to the ring, and charges Goldust, who commands Undertaker to take him out. Taker grabs Warrior for the Chokeslam, but Kane bails Warrior out with a hard tackle to his brother. Warrior again charges at Goldust, who puts Sid in between himself and Warrior. As Warrior and Sid trade blows, Goldust sneaks out and helps out Undertaker in his unending war with Kane by blindsiding Kane with the Money in the Bank briefcase. With Kane temporarily out of the picture, Goldust yells for the Undertaker to try to eliminate Warrior again. This time, Taker is able to hit the chokeslam, planting Warrior over the ropes and to the floor.

Elimination #16 – Ultimate Warrior (by Undertaker)

Goldust starts berating Undertaker for letting Warrior escape from the chokeslam the first time. When Taker starts to look angry at Goldust, Goldust goes for the urn, but Jericho crashes into Goldust and sends the urn flying out of his hands!

Undertaker throws Jericho out of the way and picks the urn up, stopping for a moment to stare at it. Goldust is pleased, and asks for the urn back… but Goldust’s grin turns into a look of horror as he realizes what is happening to The Undertaker! Undertaker breaks the urn open releasing green smoke. His mind control broken, he gets Goldust with several hard rights, and sets him up for the chokeslam. Goldust counters with a kick to Undertaker’s gut, but then Kane sets Goldust up for the chokeslam. Another gut kick from Goldust, but both Kane and Undertaker grab Goldust by the throat and Goldust is thrown out with a double chokeslam!

Elimination #17 – Goldust (by Undertaker and Kane)

Undertaker and Kane then both turn to each other, staring each other down for what seems like forever. Finally Kane extends a hand to the Undertaker, and Undertaker is about to shake hands until…

#24 – Brian Pillman slides into the ring and with the help of Austin, they both dump Kane and Undertaker over the ropes!

Elimination #18 – Kane (by Brian Pillman)
Elimination #19 – Undertaker (by Stone Cold Steve Austin)

A furious Undertaker stares daggers at Kane before walking to the back. It’s a shame Undertaker didn’t get a lot of time in the Rumble as a good guy because the crowd loved it.

#25 – Tatanka! Buffalo! Tatanka tries to get fired up, chopping Sid over and over, but as the last chop sends Sid to the ground, Brian Pillman knocks Tatanka out with a shot from his Pan-Am belt and is soon tossed out of the ring.

Elimination #20 – Tatanka (by Brian Pillman)

#26 – Jushin Thunder Liger enters the ring and dazzles everyone with his highflying offense before turning his attention to Pillman. Pillman goes for a belt shot on Liger, but Liger leapfrogs over Pillman and hits a Pele Kick to the back of Pillman’s head! As Sid recovers from the chops he got from Tatanka, Bret gets revenge on Sid by leaping from the second rope and hitting a Bulldog on Sid. Bret plays to the fans, but pays the price as Austin his a big boot to Bret’s head.

#27 – Tom Prichard. He hasn’t been having much luck lately, but maybe he can turn it around with this Rumble. Sid tosses Liger over the ropes but Liger hangs on and goes for a springboard hurricanranna on Sid. Before Liger can jump off the ropes, Sid gives a big push to the chest of Liger and sends him flying!

Eliminatio- no wait! Liger lands on the commentary desk! Cornette tries to knock Liger off with his tennis racket but Ross and Okerlund restrain him. Liger looks around trying to assess his situation as Sid turns his attention to poor Tom Prichard. Prichard never had a chance as Sid completely dominates him, hits the Sycho Bomb and tosses his limp carcass over the ropes.

Elimination #21 – Tom Prichard (by Sycho Sid)

Sid turns his attention back to Liger and begins trashtalking at the masked man. Liger kneels down on the table and then places his hands on the ground, almost looking like he’s doing a push-up with his feet on the table. Liger lifts his legs into the air and does a handstand! As Liger slowly walks on his hands to the ring, Sid yelling at Liger that it doesn’t matter “what lucha mucha smoocha stuff” he does, Sid is going to eliminate him. Sid continues rambling until…

#28 – Shawn Michaels comes into the ring like a house of fire. He turns Sid around and superkicks him over the ropes!

Elimination #22 – Sycho Sid (by Shawn Michaels)

Sid throws a tantrum at ringside shouting “WHY ME? WHY ME! AAAAAUUUUGGGHHH! WHYYYY MEEEE!” as Liger finally gets back inside the ring.

#29 – Marc Mero gets in the ring and starts shadow boxing with everyone. An unamused Shawn Michaels hits Mero with Sweet Chin Music, Austin follows with a Stone Cold Stunner to Mero, and Mero continues eating everyone’s finishers: a Ligerbomb, an Air Pillman, a Lionsaut, a Shooting Star Press, etc. Finally Bret Hart hits a reverse atomic drop on Mero and clotheslines him out.

Elimination #23 – Marc Mero (by Bret Hart)

Pillman tries to hit Liger with the Pan-Am belt again, but again Liger dodges out of the way… into a Stone Cold Stunner. Pillman finally hits Liger with the belt and it sends Liger over the ropes.

Elimination #24 – Jushin Thunder Liger (by Brian Pillman)

#30 – Stan Hansen is our final entrant and Cornette is hopping mad. So mad that he leaves the commentary desk and starts yelling into his walkie-talkie. Hansen is taking on Austin one on one and almost has him thrown over, but Skunkrocker and Bulldog, responding to Cornette’s call, get back in the ring! Skunk gets Hansen with the Skunk Spray, and Bulldog clotheslines him over! Hansen hangs on, gets back in and fights back against Camp Cornette… but Austin gets Hansen with a haymaker and throws him over the top rope!

Elimination #25 – Stan Hansen (by Stone Cold Steve Austin)

Hansen continues brawling with Bulldog and Skunk, eventually Lariating Skunk over the barricade into the crowd. Austin irish whips Jericho and jumps for a Thesz Press on the rebound, but Jericho slides under Austin, dropping Austin to the floor, and stretches him in the Liontamer! Pillman hits Jericho in the back with the Pan-Am belt, gets him up, and tries to hit him again for the elimination… but Jericho reverses and hits a spinning heel kick to Pillman’s face through the belt! Pillman goes out!

Elimination #26 – Brian Pillman (by Chris Jericho)

We’re down to the final four: Chris Jericho, Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels. Bret and Michaels square off and Austin and Jericho trade blows as well. Austin gets the upperhand in his brawl, hitting Jericho with a back body drop and a knee drop to the face. Austin goes to kick Jericho in the gut for the Stunner, but Jericho catches Austin’s leg and hits a Dragon Screw and turns it into a Liontamer! Austin furiously pounds the mat, but there’s no submissions in a Rumble match! Jericho holds on until Brian Pillman gets back into the ring and hits Jericho with his Pan-Am belt. Austin hits the Stunner on the dazed Jericho, Jericho falls on the ropes and Pillman pulls him over from the outside!

Elimination #27 – Chris Jericho (by Stone Cold Steve Austin and Brian Pillman)

Pillman laughs in Jericho’s face but Jericho retaliates with a Codebreaker! Pillman is out cold on the outside as a disappointed Jericho makes the long walk to the back. As Austin flips off Jericho, Bret and Michaels are still at a stalemate, evenly trading blows and neither looking tired. HBK tries to suplex Bret but Bret slips out and hits a Russian legsweep. Bret goes to the second rope and goes for an elbow drop, but HBK kips up and hits Sweet Chin Music on Bret! As HBK bends over to pick Bret up, Austin blindsides Michaels with a running knee to his skull. Austin stomps on both Bret and Michaels before his lifts HBK back up to his feet. Austin readies the Stunner, but HBK counters with an atomic drop. HBK throws Austin over the ropes, but Austin hangs on until Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music on the redneck who limply falls off the apron.

Elimination #28 – Stone Cold Steve Austin (by Shawn Michaels)

It’s finally down to two, the two who main evented Wrestlemania 12, but only one can go on to main event the granddaddy of them all! Bret gets to his feet and the two stare down for a moment before exploding into action. Bret whips Michaels in the corner and hits Michaels with several stiff elbows. Michaels turns it around when he switches places with Bret and chops Bret in the corner to a plethora of woos. Michaels gives Bret enough space to stagger out of the corner and hits a flying forearm and kips back up! Michaels goes for an inverted atomic drop, but Bret stomps down on HBK’s knee and hits his own atomic drop on Shawn. Bret tries for a Russian legsweep but Michaels elbows his way out tries to hit Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere, but Bret ducks out of the way and German suplexes Michaels. Bret attempts to set up the Sharpshooter but Michaels hits a low blow and puts Hart into a crossface! Bret slowly stuggles to his feet and Michaels releases the hold and hits Sweet Chin Music! Michaels drags Bret Hart to the ropes, props him up against them and goes for another Sweet Chin Music but Bret ducks out of the way and HBK crotches himself on the ropes! Bret clotheslines Shawn off the ropes and Michaels hits the floor!

Royal Rumble runner-up – Shawn Michaels (Eliminated by Bret Hart)

Yes! Bret Hart is going to Wrestlemania! Bret Hart celebrates in the ring… but his theme isn’t playing, nor has he been announced as the winner… what is going on? All of a sudden a furious Steve Austin slides in the ring holding a steel chair and he clatters Bret over the head with it! Steve Austin mercilessly brings the steel chair down on Bret over and over and over again, Austin must’ve hit Bret with at least 20 chairshots. Bret is in no condition to even stand and Austin dumps Bret out of the ring. Austin’s music hits and he’s announced as the winner of the 1997 Royal Rumble as a replay on the Titantron shows everyone that Austin’s feet never touched the ground! When Austin fell off the apron, his feet landed on top of the unconscious Brian Pillman! Austin and the Power Trip have screwed Bret Hart out of going to Wrestlemania!

The real Royal Rumble runner-up – Bret Hart (Eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin)
The winner of the 1997 Royal Rumble: STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD!

Austin poses on the turnbuckles and as he comes down from it, HHH and Pillman embrace him. They poses in the ring and laugh at the dejected Bret Hart sitting on the outside. The new WWF Champion Owen Hart comes out to comfort his brother and stare down TMPT. Austin points at his belt, then to himself, and then to a banner unfurling from the rafters, showing a logo:

The PPV went off the air on that image, the Harts and the Power Trip staring each other down as Austin’s music played.

It was a solid B- show. I can’t understand why WWF keeps getting consistent B minuses, but I guess it’s better than a C.