Royal Rumble: The Complete History

Royal Rumble 1997

The feud between Goldust and Hunter Hearst Helmsley centered around Goldust’s manager, Marlena. During the free broadcast prior to In Your House 12, Helmsley attempted to seduce Marlena. Goldust responded by attacking Helmsley during matches in the following weeks.

Date: 19th January, 1997
Venue: Alamodome
City: San Antonio, TX
Attendance: 60,525
Commentators: Vince McMahon,
Jerry “The King” Lawler & Jim Ross

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Background

Royal Rumble 1997 promotional poster

Royal Rumble 1997 promotional poster

The feud between Goldust and Hunter Hearst Helmsley centered around Goldust’s manager, Marlena. During the free broadcast prior to In Your House 12, Helmsley attempted to seduce Marlena. Goldust responded by attacking Helmsley during matches in the following weeks. The feud escalated on the December 30, 1996 episode of Monday Night Raw during a match between Goldust and Jerry Lawler. Helmsley came to the ring and tried to carry Marlena away. Marc Mero, who had dropped the WWF Intercontinental Championship to Helmsley, blocked Helmsley’s path, but the distraction was enough to cause Goldust to be counted out.

On July 22, 1996, Faarooq Asad (later Faarooq) made his WWF debut by attacking Ahmed Johnson, the Intercontinental champion. He claimed that he attacked Johnson because Johnson was not “from the streets”, as Faarooq claimed to be. Soon after the attack, Johnson was diagnosed with alegitimate kidney problem, so the WWF claimed that Faarooq’s attack had hospitalized Johnson. Johnson was unable to compete for several months and was forced to vacate the Intercontinental Championship. When Johnson returned to the WWF, he interfered in several matches involving Faarooq’s stable, the Nation of Domination. He attacked them with a two-by-four, which led to an angle in which Johnson was suspended for the attacks. By December, Johnson’s injury had recovered sufficiently to allow him to resume wrestling, and a match was scheduled for the next pay-per-view, the Royal Rumble.

Vader and The Undertaker did not have a substantial buildup to their match at Royal Rumble 1997. Vader had joined other heel wrestlers to attack The Undertaker on several occasions, but there was no major storyline behind their match. The Undertaker had been involved in a feud with Paul Bearer that dated back to SummerSlam 1996, when Bearer had turned on The Undertaker. On the January 5, 1997 episode of WWF Superstars, The Undertaker attacked Vader’s manager, Jim Cornette, leaving Vader without a manager at the Royal Rumble.

The feud between Sycho Sid and Shawn Michaels dated back to 1995. The storyline saw Michaels hire Sid to be in his corner during the Michaels vs. Diesel main event at WrestleMania XI. Sid interfered in the match by distracting the referee, but the plan backfired when the referee was unable to count the pinfall after Michaels superkicked Diesel. On the following night’s episode of Monday Night Raw, Michaels told Sid that he would not be needed in the case of a Michaels vs. Diesel rematch. Sid responded by turning on Michaels and powerbombing him three times. This attack led to a feud between Sid and Diesel, but Sid and Michaels were reunited as partners in an elimination match at Survivor Series 1995. During the match, Michaels accidentally kicked Sid in the face, which led to Sid being eliminated. Sid retaliated by powerbombing Michaels again. Once again, the feud was not developed, as Sid left the WWF. Sid returned to the WWF on the July 8, 1996 episode of Monday Night Raw when Michaels introduced him as a partner in a six-man match at In Your House 9. Sid helped Michaels several times in the coming months by saving him from attacks by other wrestlers. At In Your House 11, Sid defeated Vader to win a WWF Championship match against Michaels at Survivor Series 1996. During the match at Survivor Series, Sid attacked Jose Lothario, Michaels’ manager, with a television camera. While Michaels was distracted, Sid hit him with the camera and powerbombed him to win the title. A rematch was later booked for Royal Rumble 1997.

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Match Results

Free-For-All Match: 
Perro Aguayo Jr. & Venum defeated Maniaco & Mosco de la Merced (10:00)

Free-For-All Match: 
Octagón, Blue Demon Jr. & Tinieblas Jr. defeated Heavy Metal, Abismo Negro & Histeri (14:00)

Free-For-All Match: 
Mascarita Sagrada & La Parkita defeated Mini Mankind & Mini Vader (4:29)

Intercontinental Championship: 
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (c) (with Curtis Hughes) defeated Goldust (with Marlena) (16:50)

Singles Match:
Ahmed Johnson defeated Faarooq (with The Nation of Domination) by disqualification (8:48)

Singles Match:
Vader defeated The Undertaker (13:19)

Six-Man Tag Team Match:
Héctor Garza, Perro Aguayo & El Canek defeated Jerry Estrada, Heavy Metal & Fuerza Guerrera (10:56)

Royal Rumble Match:
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin won by last eliminating Bret “Hitman” Hart (50:29)

WWF Championship:
Shawn Michaels (with Jose Lothario) defeated Sycho Sid (13:49)

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Aftermath

Shawn Michaels later vacated the WWF Championship on the Thursday Raw Thursday special. Due to this and the controversial situation over the Royal Rumble ending, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and Vader were pitted against each other at In Your House 13: Final Four in a Four Corners match for the WWF Championship, which saw Hart win the vacant WWF title. The next night on Raw, Austin interfered in a WWF title match between Hart and Sycho Sid. As a results of Austin’s interference, Hart lost the belt, which resulted in Hart’s short-lived title reign. On the March 17 edition of Raw, Hart and Sid faced off in a Steel Cage match for the WWF title. Sid won after interference by both Stone Cold and Undertaker. At WrestleMania 13, Undertaker defeated Sid for the WWF title, while Hart and Austin battled each other in a Submission match with Ken Shamrock as the special referee.

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Royal Rumble Stats

Draw Entrant Order Eliminated by Time
1 Crush 3 Phineas Godwinn 6:17
2 Ahmed Johnson 2 Himself 3:02
3 “Razor Ramon” 1 Johnson 0:17
4 Phineas Godwinn 4 Austin 2:52
5 Steve Austin WINNER
45:07
6 Bart Gunn 5 Austin 0:26
7 Jake Roberts 6 Austin 1:10
8 The British Bulldog 8 Owen Hart 8:04
9 Pierroth 10 Mascaras 10:32
10 The Sultan 7 British Bulldog 3:23
11 Mil Máscaras 11 Himself 7:28
12 Hunter Hearst Helmsley 12 Goldust 6:42
13 Owen Hart 17 Austin 8:29
14 Goldust 13 Owen Hart 5:33
15 Cibernético 9 Mascaras and Pierroth 1:25
16 Marc Mero 16 Austin 3:53
17 Latin Lover 14 Faarooq 1:47
18 Faarooq 15 Himself
0:41
19 Savio Vega 18 Austin 0:46
20 Jesse James 19 Austin 0:29
21 Bret Hart 29 Austin 21:42
22 Jerry Lawler 20 Bret Hart 0:04
23 “Diesel” 28 Bret Hart 17:49
24 Terry Funk 24 Mankind 15:18
25 Rocky Maivia 23 Mankind 13:01
26 Mankind 25 Undertaker 12:20
27 Flash Funk 21 Vader 6:12
28 Vader 26 Austin 10:06
29 Henry Godwinn 22 Undertaker 6:11
30 The Undertaker 27 Austin 6:46

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