OSR: WWE Royal Rumble 1997 Review
For my next edition in the Old School Review, I shall be going to a time when the WWE was truly in a transitional period, going from the time of the New Generation into the renowned Attitude Era. So this show could produce a whole mixed bag of results to be honest, I’ve seen the show before but my recollection of it isn’t great so I literally have no idea what to expect, but this event marks the only time this email particular event has being held in a stadium, The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. So, here I go again with my next edition of the OSR with Royal Rumble 1997 Review…
A promo is showing the rise of Shawn Michaels throughout 1996, to his demise at the end of 1996 and losing the WWE Championship before coming to this evening, and returning to his hometown for another championship match before we go to ringside with our announcers for this evening, Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross before introducing us to both the Spanish and French announcers before we go to the ring for our first match.
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (c) (w/ Mr Hughes) vs. Goldust (w/ Marlena)
Goldust makes his way out first, accompanied by Marlena before a promo is shown about Helmsley, and his arrogance before turning its attention to the mind games of Goldust which seen Helmsley attempt to kidnap Marlena, but it is based around the uncertainty of the sexuality of Goldust. Anyhow, we go back to the ring where Helmsley is being accompanied by Mr Hughes only to be attacked by Goldust on the entrance way, before they make their way into the ring for Goldust to be dominant over Helmsley, only for a cheap attack by Helmsley allow him to gain the momentum for a few moments, until Goldust uses the ring steps to make a comeback and begin using a series of traditional wrestling holds to ground Helmsley. In all honesty, I am having difficulty working out who is the face and who is the heel but after working the legs, Goldust locks in the Figure Four. Despite the hold being broken, Goldust continues to work the legs of Helmsley and keep him down before a flying cross body from Goldust misses, allowing Helmsley to recover and make a comeback attempt, and use a series of holds and moves to keep Goldust down. After Helmsley kisses Marlena, Goldust nails him with the IC title belt but is pulled out of the ring by Mr Hughes once again allowing Helmsley enough time to recover to nail Goldust with the pedigree to pick up the win and retain the championship. I never thought I would say this, but I am really impressed with the performance of Goldust in this match, he displayed a lot of skill and intensity which I haven’t necessarily seen from him before.
Match Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars
We go backstage to Bret Hart talking about his participation in the Rumble match this evening, before we then go to the deranged Mankind talking about the same think but also there being a lot of people he doesn’t like in the match, before we then head back to the dome for the next match.
Ahmed Johnson vs. Faarooq (w/ The Nation of Domination)
Faarooq is making his way to the ring first, accompanied by various members of The Nation before we go to the history package for the match, showing the rise of Ahmed Johnson throughout 1996 before being sidelined by Faarooq. Little bit of an intense promo, but comes across as very gangster like but it does show how much of a cracking talker Faarooq was back in the day. The history packages of this time were very simple but effective, they didn’t over complicate things for everyone. Anyhow, we go back to the dome where Johnson is making his way to the ring and quickly takes down Faarooq, before he soon takes to whipping him ferociously with a belt before the action spills to the outside of the ring where Faarooq is sent into the steel steps a few times before he uses a Nation member to cause a distraction and take down Johnson with a clothesline, gaining some momentum for a few moments until an aerial move by Faarooq is countered into a power slam by Johnson. As the win looks likely to go in Johnson’s favour, he is quickly attacked by various members of The Nation allowing him to pick up the win by DQ. Johnson then makes a quick comeback and takes down a member of The Nation with a gut wrench power bomb through the French announce table. This match, I’ll be honest was painfully dull because I cannot see what this match has achieved logistically or how it contributed to the product in anyway. Faarooq was an okay performer, but Johnson has always being very meh for me and I’ve not being fussed by him.
Match Rating: 0.5 out of 5.0 Stars
We go backstage to Terry Funk talking about his participation in the Rumble, before we then go to Todd Pettingell who is interviewing Faarooq and The Nation, who says it isn’t over between them and Johnson better watch out in the Rumble before we go back to the dome for the next match.
Vader (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker
Vader makes his way to the ring first, were the absence of Jim Cornette is talked about thanks to an attack by The Undertaker, before the gongs hit and the lights go out in the arena, and The Undertaker begins making his way to the ring and the action quickly gets underway with Vader using his power over Taker, who shows his immortality by no selling various moves, before the action soon spills to the outside of the ring with Taker taking it to Vader. Vader quickly takes it back to Taker, but he is soon overcome again by Taker’s athleticism before Vader is able to counter the old school move by Taker, followed by a crafty low blow to bring him down. Vader continues his domination of Taker for the next few minutes, including a Vader Bomb which Taker kicks out of and quickly takes down Vader with Old School, before Paul Bearer makes his way to the ring whilst Taker nails Vader with a choke slam. Taker then attacks Paul, allowing Vader enough time to recover, and a mistake by Taker sees him crashing into the railings as Paul pulls Vader out of the way, before literally jumping on him and nailing him with the urn, before Vader nails him with another Vader Bomb to pick up the win. After the match, Taker is quite irate with the referee, before he attacks him, and goes slightly mental at ringside before saying something to McMahon and leaving the dome. For a big man match, that was actually quite enjoyable with a lot of credibility and a nice story told.
Match Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars
We go backstage to both Stone Cold Steve Austin and The British Bulldog talking about their participation in the forthcoming Rumble before we return to the dome for the forthcoming match up.
Héctor Garza, Perro Aguayo & Canek vs. Jerry Estrada, Heavy Metal and Fuerza Guerrera
Not sure who is who in this match to be sure, apparently Aguayo is the one in black trunks with cowboy boots, Canek is the one in red tights, Garza is the one in yellow and black tights, Metal is the one in black and white trunks, Estrada is the one in an almost Randy Savage black and white outfit meaning Guerrera is the one with the black, blue and red mask. Right, now that is out the way…the match is very quick and action paced, with lots of frequent tags in and out of the match with various aerial moves from different superstars. Garzam Aguayo and Canek pick up the win following an impressive match.
Match Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars
We go to the commentators, who talk about the forthcoming matches left on the card before we go to Howard Finkel, who announces the attendance for the event before then going over the Rumble rules, with a superstars entering every 90 seconds.