Whoever is the World Wrestling Federation champion by the time WrestleMania 14 rolls around in March they can count on a volatile can of whoop ass being opened on them. As turnbuckle heads world-wide predicted before the bell even rang in California’s San Jose Arena, federation rattlesnake “Stone Cold” Steve Austin beat out 29 other men to win the ’98 Royal Rumble match and a shot at the WWF heavyweight title (see below for full results). Yes, you read correctly. That was 29 other men not the scheduled 30 participants.
The missing 22nd contestant was one of slew of perplexing questions that confounded wrestling fans watching the 11th annual event.
Why did Jeff Jarrett Pearl Harbor Owen Hart for no apparent reason as he was about to enter the bout and why was Owen permitted to join in midway through the over-the-top-rope elimination battle royal (starting with two men then adding one every two minutes until all the contestants are accounted for) when he failed to make it to the ring during the two minute time limit? How come managers / cohorts were allowed at ringside? Why weren’t Terry Funk (as Chainsaw Charlie) and Cactus disqualified for using foreign objects? The Royal Rumble isn’t a “street fight” rules match. And why did Kane and Paul Bearer bother to lock The Undertaker in a coffin and smash it open with an axe if they planned on setting it ablaze anyways?
In defiance of the WWF booking staff’s sloppy planning, the Rumble itself and the subsequent World Title match of champion Shawn Michaels defending against challenger The Undertaker were spirited contests.
Looking on from a corporate box, disgraced boxer Mike Tyson (sitting beside WWF Prez Vince McMahon and his son Shane) gave Shawn Michaels a “crotch chop” as the Boy Toy walked the aisle with Chyna and Triple H of D-Generation X. Each time Tyson was shown on the arena monitors throughout the evening, the fans in attendance energetically booed him.
Appearing slightly worse for wear, The Undertaker couldn’t put his undead mitts on HBK at the start of their no disqualification / no pinfall Casket Match in which the winner would be the first wrestler who could dump his opponent into a ringside casket and close the lid. At 5 minutes and 4 seconds in, The Undertaker had HBK in the coffin but Michaels managed to keep one arm out stopping the lid from shutting. Springing up from the black box, Michaels threw that old blinding white powder into The Man From The Darkside’s eyes. The fight then moved to the arena floor.
HBK poleaxed The Undertaker with the steel ring steps twice before piledriving him on the stairs. While Taker lay beaten, Triple H hobbled over laying blows in with his crutch. At 16 minutes even, Michaels rolled his foe into the coffin (with a visible assist from the Taker himself) but The Undertaker pulled HBK inside too. The two fought inside as the lid remained closed. A standing Tombstone Piledriver in the casket brought out The Los Boriques and The New Age Outlaws. They thrashed The Man From The Darkside until the arena lights went out and Kane made his entrance. The Undertaker’s “younger brother” cleared the ring of the attackers raised his arms but his trademark fireworks and flames didn’t go off.
Turning on his “sibling”, Kane chokeslammed him into the coffin. Closing the lid gave Shawn Michaels the victory and handed The Undertaker his second casket match loss. Kane and Paul Bearer rolled the casket to the entrance way. There, Kane chopped at it with an axe and lit it on fire in front of the horrified fans.
The next WWF pay-per-view is In Your House: No-Way-Out on February 15th., 1998.
WWF Royal Rumble ’98 results
Royal Rumble Stats
|Number Drawn||Elim. Order|
|1. Cactus Jack.||1. Tom Brandy.|
|2. Terry Funk.||2. Cactus Jack.|
|3. Tom Brandy.||3. Mosh.|
|4. The Rock||4. Steve Blackman.|
|5. Mosh.||5. Kurrgan.|
|6. P.I.G.||6. Terry Funk.|
|7. 8-Ball.||7. Mankind.|
|8. Justin Bradshaw.||8. Jeff Jarrett.|
|9. Owen Hart.||9. Ken Shamrock.|
|10. Steve Blackman.||10. Owen Hart.|
|11. D-Lo Brown.||11. Ahmed Johnson.|
|12. Kurrgan.||12. P.I.G.|
|13. Mark Mero.||13. Mark Mero.|
|14. Ken Shamrock.||14. 8-Ball.|
|15. Thrasher.||15. Justin Bradshaw.|
|16. Mankind.||16. D-Lo Brown.|
|17. Goldust.||17. Honky Tonk Man.|
|18. Jeff Jarrett.||18. Thrasher.|
|19. Honky Tonk Man.||19. Kama.|
|20. Ahmed Johnson.||20. Savio Vega.|
|21. Mark Henry.||21. Kama.|
|22. None.||22. Goldust.|
|23. Kama.||23. Vader|
|24. Steve Austin.||24. H.O.G.|
|25. H.O.G.||25. Chainz.|
|26. Savio Vega.||26. Mark Henry.|
|27. Faarooq.||27. Dude Love.|
|28. Dude Love.||28. Faarooq.|
|29. Chainz.||29. The Rock.|
|30. Vader.||30. None.|
|98′ Rumble Winner:||Steve Austin.|
The Royal Rumble
: The starting pair – Cactus Jack and Terry Funk – smack each other with chairs and garbage cans.
: Jack and Funk put a garbage can over The Rock and chair shot it.
: Triple H and Chyna accompany Honky Tonk to the ring. Chyna tries to clobber Owen with a crutch but Owen grabs it so she pulls him out of The Rumble.
: As Austin’s music plays everyone looks to the entrance way. Stone Cold surprises them by coming out of the crowd behind them.
: When Savio Vega enters he brings his gang to waffle on Austin.
: The Nation battle themselves and don’t team up ever.
: Foley joins The Rumble three times (Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love).
: The Rock eliminated Faarooq.
: Austin stuns The Rock and heaves him out for the victory.
: In a post-match interview Mike Tyson says “Cold Stone is my man!“. Nope. No typo there.
Winner: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at 55 minutes and 25 seconds.
Goldust Vs Vader
: Vader hits both Luna Vachon and Goldust with a double-sledge punch.
: At 3:39, Luna uses a spiked heel to choke Vader.
: Luna on his back, the Rocky Mountain Monster drops a Vader Bomb on Goldust for the win.
Winner: Vader at 7 minutes and 51 seconds.
: Austin arrives in his truck throwing the keys to an awaiting interviewer telling him “Just park my truck and if you scratch it you’ll get your ass whipped”.
Battalion / Tarantula / El Torito Vs Max Mini / Nova / Mosaic
: Sunny is the special guest referee and shows why she shouldn’t quit her job as a model or a manager.
: Sunny picks up Max Mini and lifts him to kick the opposing midgets at 5:57.
Winners: Max Mini / Nova / Mosaic at 7 minutes and 48 seconds..
The Rock (champion) Vs Ken Shamrock (challenger) (WWF Intercontinental Title Match)
: The Nation arguing amongst themselves doesn’t accompany The Rock to the ring.
: Lawler says of Shamrock…”Heis in the Zone…the Twilight Zone.” and “He probably thinks a quarterback is a refund”.
: At 10 minutes and 7 seconds in, The Nation interferes and The Rock punks Shamrock with brass knuckles storing them in Shamrockis trunks. Shamrock kicks out and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for the three count at 10 minutes and 53 seconds.
: Shamrock is declared the winner but when the ref finds the knucks in his trunks he reverses the decision. Shamrock slams and ankle locks the ref.
Winner: Via DQ…and still Intercontinental Champion…The Rock at 10 minutes and 52 seconds..
The New Age Outlaw (champions) Vs The Legion Of Doom (challengers) (WWF Tag Team Title Match)
: The Outlaws are attired in NFL 49’ers jerseys ticking off the crowd.
: At 6 minutes and 32 seconds, Hawk is handcuffed to a steel post while The Outlaws wail on Animal’s back with a steel chair. The Outlaws are disqualified. Hawk breaks the cuffs creaming them chair in hand.
Winners: Via disqualification…The Legion Of Doom at 7 minutes and 57 seconds. Note: Title belts do not change hands on a disqualification decision. The New Age Outlaws retain their straps.
Shawn Michaels (champion) Vs The Undertaker (challenger) (WWF World Title – Casket Match)
Winner: …and still WWF Champ…Shawn Michaels at 9 minutes and 51 seconds.
Total event time: 2 hours and 50 minutes.