After wrapping up a very wild and chaotic 1996, due largely to WCW’s rise, we kick off 1997 with a stadium show – the only Royal Rumble to be held in one ever (a mistake, because it’s the easiest show to book right and the hardest to book wrong, which WWE has done three years in a row to date). Shawn Michaels headlines the 1997 Royal Rumble, sponsored by Starburst Fruit Twists, which were awful. Tasted like wax.
Out of the gate, the announcers microphones are fucking up. I see a man whistle super loud with just his mouth, inspiring me to try and fail for 20 seconds and then notice I am out of breath. Little did I know that it would actually be whistling, perhaps from this very man, that would greatly affect the quality of this show (at least by 2 rating points, seriously).
Goldust will open our show, fresh off of a baby face turn! How did he turn? King asked if he was “queer” and Goldust slapped him. Yes, being a not-gay made you a fan-favorite in 1997. He faces another man who has been accused of being gay on-air, by The Rock, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. For the record, that’s a fucking bunch of cheap shit to insult or make insinuations about sexuality. It is as low as racism but far less funny.
HHH comes out with Mr. Hughes. Hunter has said he really disapproved of this and was stuck with him by Vince. Triple H would later get Chyna. King mentions that he’s been “partners” with Helmsley. I know people who know them personally and if you were thinking that sounds sexual, you really would had you heard the shit I have. Hogan wasn’t the only one sharing women. JR likes to watch. Triple H does a double-axe handle smash off the top rope onto the floor! That’s not a spot you see much from HHH. King is upset about the officiating and we get a high-pitched “Look at this!” Colin Raye is interviewed mid-match by Todd Pettingill. Raye is who sang “Little Rock,” which people remembered in 1997 if and only if they actually lived in Arkansas. Todd even says “I listen to ya.” emphasis on the “I” as if he is an exception to most who will have never heard of this man. Still, he’s a great interview. Mr Hughes about fucks up his one spot by being unable to pull Hunter out of the ring. Goldust stabs him with a cigar and screams “Fuck you.” If I asked you how this match would end, what would be your guess? Pedigree and victory for Hunter.
Up next, The Nation of Domination comes out with the meth trash rapping. I think Naomi is behind Farooq during the salute. He faces Ahmed Johnson, “The People’s Champion.” We see their history, beginning with Gladiator Farooq running straight up to the WWF, non-stop as I like to picture, from the WCW and kicked his spleen out. He almost killed him!! The flashback doesn’t show his helmet. They knew that was a fuck up.
So Ahmed makes his entrance and listen to Vince!! “Oh my goodness.” Vince says. Ahmed is as wet as a baby just born. He comes out and is quite over at this point. It also looks like he’s getting a few stiff-shots in. Ron Simmons doesn’t mind that. Ahmed throws the white trash grit out of the ring almost to his death and most certainly to a painkiller prescription. “One big bad Johnson” JR says. Ahmed wins by DQ, kills a guy by putting him through the French announce table. He falls on him. Ahmed leaves us with a sight of his ass cheeks because of the world’s largest wedgie.
Terry Funk is here tonight!!
The MAN they call Vader faces The Undertaker next! It’s been a rough few months for Vader, who has been like a botch machine. Undertaker is wearing his black armless leather trench coat for the first time, I believe. Todd shows up with the worst interview ever, about a kid who babysat to get there wow who cares. King says “Give me a break!” LOL. It occurs to me in this match that Vader is really just a fat guy. The heel Paul Bearer comes out. Taker nails him!! Then he simultaneously clotheslines Vader and goes over the top rope. Bearer hits Taker and falls down!! Vader hits the Vaderbomb and wins, quite unexpectedly I may add. Vader and Bearer leave as new boyfriends. Mean Mark Callaway chokeslams referee Jack Doane who sells it like a mannequin. He points at Vince and screams “Dead graveyard evil Satan lucifer”
We see two interviews for the Rumble. Stone Cold, who does quite well and The British Bulldog…who says he’s going to win because he’s “bizarre.” LOL.
The next match is between six nobodies. A six-man tag between some Mexican wrestlers. “Look at this guy, he’s happy!” King brilliantly adds. “I wish you were from Mexico,” The Memphis Teflon King states to Jim Ross, recently suffering from Bell’s Palsy. “Why is ‘ssat, Kang?” JR utters. “So you could wear a mask!” Lawler concludes!!! I am having a hard time not laughing endlessly at the commentary. The guy botches his finisher, missing it totally. It’s ok, because he drops a standard elbow and wins. I bet Vince was glaring at JR. “Ah don’t thank he got aw of it.” JR says.
60,477 people attended this event, Howard Finkel tells us. Of those, 3 seem to care about this figure while Howard Finkel was announcing it.
The Royal Rumble is next, meaning Shawn is going to win the title in the main event! Crush and Ahmed Johnson begin it. I’m drinking coffee that tastes like it was regurgitated. Millstone Caramel. “Ahmed with those new Speedo briefs.” Ahmed eliminates himself like s dipshit to chase Farooq. The clock isn’t working for the first few entries. Bart Gunn botches about everything he does when he runs in. No talent. Austin eliminates him and begins showboating. Jake Roberts enters and Austin starts praying! Next, I witness something I had never noticed before now!! Austin eliminated Jake The Snake and throws the snake out on him!!!! “Look at this!” King says, to it! Mil Mascaras comes out to a tremendous reaction!
The roster is noticeably shallow. Having to reuse wrestlers from earlier matches AND bring in outside talent. Did they help sell tickets, locally? Austin’s big run is interrupted by Bret Hart. The Rock, in his rookie year, comes out as Rocky Maivia and immediately begins fighting…Steve Austin! The Hitman eliminates Austin but the referees don’t see it. Stone Cold gets back in and eliminates Vader and Undertaker. Then, Bret Hart eliminates the fake Diesel. (They’ll ignore this when booking In Your House: Final Four).
For some reason, WWF uses Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat’s theme music behind the pre-match video for the main event.
Shawn Michaels looks like he rolled around on broken mirrors before coming out. WWE is using this weird flying saucer fixture, as King called it, over the ring. It’s got six lights on it. All of that for six lights? Some fan KEEPS whistling while HBK comes out. Someone needs to go Solid Snake on their ass. Proving that they’re just doing it to be annoying, they continue whistling for Sid. The whole fucking time of the entrance. This would have been a fight if I were sitting there. Some Ted Nugent-looking motherfucker just took his boots and socks off in front of my house and drove off. A team of researchers concluded that it was a totally random moment.
The match begins and the whistling continue. GODDAMN this prick keeps doing it. I know it’s a Republican. You don’t think your actions can have important ramifications? This guy whistled and gave me a headache 20 years later. We learn that this will be Jose Lothario’s final appearance with HBK. Thankfully.
Michaels takes a backdrop identical to the one he will take next year at this very event from The Undertaker. One difference: the jumbo casket (made for Yokozuna) wasn’t there this year. Next year, it’ll end his career until 2003, when Jesus cured him.
In what seems like a relatively simple match that doesn’t last as long as I would have thought, Shawn wins the belt back. He nails Sid with a camera and then tunes up the band for a little …Sweet…Chin…Music. And as he celebrates afterward, we hear ol Whistle Bags. He keeps it up for the rest of the show and just as you think he stops, he does it again. Its a wonder that every dog in the county didn’t show up in the parking lot and be like “What the fuck dude?” I only know it’s a guy because I’ve never seen a woman whistle like this. This kind of obnoxiousness comes from really idiotic dudes who need beat. Had I been an ocean dwelling species while listening to this fucking awful shit, I would have evolved into land-dwelling as hard as I could.
If you can tune out whistling-fuck, it’s a nice main event. I couldn’t and really got a headache. 4/10 show and I’ll never watch the main event again. We go off the air with a replay and I fucking swear on a stack of cookbooks that the last thing you hear is WHISTLING.
Whistle, because no one wants to hear it.