Happy New Year! 2012 is a relaunching year of sorts for Kick-Out!!, I know 2011 slowed down considerably, I had a really busy back half of the year and, well, WWE kinda killed my interest in wrestling for a while. But hey, we're heading into Rumble time, my favorite PPV of the year, and that means WrestleMania is on the way! So to get in the Rumble spirit and help get Kick-Out!! back to normal, I'm introducing the Royal Rumble Top 30!
I thought about ranking the Royal Rumble matches, then I thought about ranking non-Rumble matches that happened at Rumble PPVs, but then I thought screw it, let's make it fun and make it a big mix of Rumble-related stuff. That's my grand idea for Kick-Out's third year, let's just have some fun talking about wrasslin. Here we go!
30. Steve Austin vs. Vader, The Undertaker, Bret Hart, referees and Gorilla Monsoon
The 1997 Royal Rumble wasn't exactly star-studded and WWE had to pad the Rumble with competitors like Mil Mascaras, Cibernetico and The Latin Lover. It was a big rebuilding year for WWE and that weird limbo period between the New Generation and the Attitude Era, but change was definitely in the air.
Steve Austin was really beginning to emerge as something special, he won King of the Ring, took Bret Hart to the limit at Survivor Series and then became the ultimate badass in the 97 Royal Rumble. He eliminated ten guys and as far as I know, it was the first time in Rumble history that a guy cleared the ring and had to wait for the timer to tick down so he could get another opponent. Austin waiting on the top rope checking his imaginary watch was a nice touch, but the real brilliance came at the end of the match when he was eliminated, but the referees were too distracted, so he just got back in the ring and threw everyone out to win it.
Cheating was nothing new in wrestling, but rarely was someone ever so brazen about it. Austin flaunted the fact that he cheated, he didn't care about the rules, and regardless of the most controversial finish in the history of the match, he was the Royal Rumble winner, 'cause Stone Cold said so. It was the start of the anti-authority, fuck rules (or "ruck fules") mentality that still permeates WWE today.