1996 was an interesting year for the WWE. After building up Diesel and Razor Ramon as two of the biggest stars in wrestling, they took their talents to WCW just a few months after this Rumble for more money because business still wasn’t good. The good news for Vince and company is, by the end of the year their fortunes were starting to turn around. Why? Because the ATTITUDE ERA is right around the corner! Until then, here’s the 1996 Royal Rumble!
LET’S DO THIS!
Royal Rumble 1996
Our first two entries are;
#1 – Hunter Hearst Helmsley
#2 – Henry O’ Godwin
Apparently HHH got the #1 spot because earlier in the night he was fighting Duke “The Dumpster” Droese and he cheated. The end result is HHH gets #1 and Droese gets #30. HHH is always getting screwed. Henry comes down and the fight is on! The two exchange blows and HHH gets the advantage. HHH irish whips HOG into the corner, but that bites him in the ass. HOG whips HHH into the ropes and a back drop sends HHH to the corner in pain. HOG now throws HHH into the other corner and HHH almost goes out! HOG press slams HHH now, but HHH finally reverses it. HHH is now choking HOG with the ropes. HHH hits HOG with some short punches now. HHH goes to eliminate Godwin, but Godwin isn’t having it yet. HOG is fighting back now and momentum is back in his corner. #3 is finally on his way……
#3 – Mr. Backlund
Mr. Backlund comes down and he gets a presidential theme song. Apparently his gimmick is that he’s running for President. Here we are in 2017 and that’s not such a far-fetched gimmick these days. Backlund enters the ring just in time to save HHH from elimination. Backlund is going off on Godwin now. Godwin is now on the brink of elimination. He manages to escape though. It’s a two-on-one on Godwin now. Backlund has had enough though and punches HHH in the face. Godwin just starts beating on both of them. He goes to throw Backlund out, but HHH makes the save. HHH then goes to throw Backlund out. What’s the logic behind that now? Here comes #4…….
#4 – Jerry “The King” Lawler
Lawler comes out and he gets a “Burger King” cheer right out of the gate. He enters the ring and talks HHH into beating down Godwin. Lawler manages to escape the ring while HHH and Backlund are going after HOG. Lawler grabs HOG’s slop bucket and this isn’t going to turn out well. HHH and Backlund are now holding HOG so Lawler can slop him. THAT’S NOT HAPPENING THOUGH! Godwin escapes and grabs the slop bucket himself! He goes to throw it on all the other participants, but they all run out of the ring like scared little girls! SLOP IS DISGUSTING GUYS! The three of them are now huddling on the outside, which of course gives HOG the perfect opportunity to throw the slop bucket on all of them! TAKE THAT SUCKERS! The crowd is eating this up of course. The heels get in the ring all pissed off, but Godwin holds his own. It’s time for #5 though…….
#5 – Bob Holly
Bob Holly is here and he gets no reaction. He immediately starts bashing on Lawler. HHH is now on the verge of elimination thanks to Backlund. No one has been eliminated yet. HHH goes flying right into the waiting arms of HOG. HHH goes to throw HOG out and that doesn’t happen. Man, Henry Godwin is resilient. Bob Holly is already in trouble courtesy of Lawler. Backlund is coming up behind Godwin and tries to eliminate him. HHH takes the opportunity and tries to eliminate Backlund. Here comes another entry……
#6 – King Mabel
You thought Mabel was dangerous when he was in Men on a Mission? Well, King Mabel is a different story! Someone’s getting tossed. Mabel gets in the ring and goes right after HOG. Lawler comes over for the assist because if you’re going to make friends with anyone in the Rumble, it should be King Mabel. HHH whips Holly into the ropes and hits him with a back drop. He then tries throwing him out, but that’s not happening. There’s a force field around the ring this year folks. No one’s going out. And here comes another entry…..
#7 – Jake “The Snake” Roberts
JAKE “THE SNAKE” ROBERTS IS BACK! AFTER YEARS OF BEING AWAY, JAKE IS BACK! The crowd goes nuts and Jake hits the ring and the snake is ALREADY OUT! Everyone leaves the ring! Jake grabs Jerry Lawler though and THROWS THE SNAKE ON LAWLER! THE CROWD IS GOING NUTS! Lawler is selling this like a champ. Jake then helps put the snake back in the bag and the Royal Rumble will proceed. Bob Holly goes right after Roberts because he really hates snakes apparently. Mabel is now tied up on the ropes and this doesn’t look good for him. It’s time for another entry…..
#8 – Dory Funk Jr.
Ummmm OK. Dory Funk’s old ass is in the Rumble for some reason. He comes out to no pop. That’s a shocker. Can we start getting some people out now? Mabel must have heard me as he’s trying to toss Bob Holly. He almost gets the job done, but Holly sneaks back in. Mabel turns his attention to HOG now. Dory Funk is over there beating on Backlund now. Their combined age scares me. Funk goes to throw Backlund out, but Backlund stays on the apron. Meanwhile, the camera shows Jerry Lawler still hiding under the ring. THERE’S SNAKES OUT THERE PEOPLE! DO YOU BLAME HIM? Here comes #9……
#9 – Yokozuna
OK. Now some bitches are getting tossed. HHH is on the verge of elimination thanks to HOG. Backlund has Dory Funk Jr. in the cross face chicken wing, but Yokozuna breaks that up. Yoko grabs Backlund and throws him out and FINALLY someone is eliminated (elimination #1). Yoko turns his attention to Mabel and that’s a lot of beef. Mabel throws Yoko into the corner and corner splashes Yoko and unfortunately HOG is hiding behind Yoko. Rest in Peace Mr. Godwin. Mabel goes to toss Yoko out, but that’s harder than it looks. Everyone is now taking turns beating on HOG, who I told you is dead now. It’s time for #10……
#10 – 1-2-3 Kid
The 1-2-3 Kid comes down to the ring BUT RAZOR RAMON IS RIGHT BEHIND HIM! Razor chases the Kid and the Kid is running around like a scaredy cat. The officials finally are able to contain Razor as the Kid enters the ring. Spoke too soon. Razor comes back into the ring and the beat down is on!!! Not for long though because the officials once again manage to contain Razor. Kid goes into the ring and starts beating on Dory Funk now. Here comes #11 though…..
#11 – Takao Omori
WHO????? I seriously don’t remember this guy at all. I don’t know exactly when, but somehow HOG was the victim of the ol’ phantom elimination (elimination #2). Mabel goes to throw Omori out, but we could only be so lucky. Dory Funk is now holding Mabel while Omori hits him. Meanwhile, Bob Holly is stomping on Jake Roberts’ head. Yoko and Mabel are now teaming up on Omori. Omori is fighting back though. That’s respectable. 1-2-3 Kid is beating on Dory Funk in the corner. Can someone check on him? Jake Roberts puts Yokozuna on his ass and the crowd goes ballistic for that! It’s time for #12 and it’s…….
#12 – Savio Vega
Savio hits the ring and goes right after Mabel. Mabel whips Savio into the ropes, but Savio ducks and nails him instead! Yokozuna has apparently had enough of Mabel and throws him out finally (elimination #3)! The crowd pops big for that one. Omori picks Jake “The Snake” up to throw him out, but Jake reverses it and Omori goes flying out instead with the help of HHH (elimination #4)! Bob Holly now turns his attention to Yokozuna. That’s a stupid decision. WHY IS DORY FUNK STILL IN THIS THING? It’s cute that you let him in, but he’s been in there for about five minutes too long. Here comes lucky #13……
#13 – Vader
OHHHHHHH SNAPPPP!!!!!! VADER IS HERE AND VADER IS PISSED! Vader looks around and is looking for his first victim. He picks Bob Holly. He starts beating on Holly. Holly fights back, but he can only do so much. Savio Vega meanwhile eliminates Dory Funk and goes up a few notches in my book (elimination #5). Vader must have been a big fan of Funk’s because he goes over and starts beating on Vega. Yokozuna is now tearing up the 1-2-3 Kid. That’s quite the mis-match if I may say so. Vader is still beating on Savio. How come Vader hasn’t eliminated anyone yet? Now we are getting another entry…..
#14 – Doug Gilbert
Doug Gilbert of the USWA comes out and no one knows who the fuck he is. That reminds me that Jerry Lawler is STILL hiding under the ring. Good lord that’s a smart man. HHH greets Doug Gilbert with some fists. Gilbert flips the script on him though. Vader and Yokozuna are now squaring off much to the dismay of Jim Cornette. Jake Roberts goes to “DDT” Doug Gilbert, but we all know how this story ends. Instead of hitting the “DDT”, Vader clotheslines Jake’s useless ass out (elimination #6). HHH is up on the ropes and is waiting for someone to come over to his side of the ring. Bob Holly sees him and just punches him off the ropes. Vader is now beating on both Kid and Gilbert. They probably don’t weight as much as he does even together. It’s time for another entry…..
#15 – Squat Teamer #1
One of the Squat Teamers comes out and apparently he’s making his WWE debut. I remember this guy as one half of “The Headhunters”, which is a much cooler name than “Squat Team”. Anyway, he’s big so it’s going to be tough to get him out. Maybe not that tough though because I don’t remember him ever doing shit in the WWE. He hits the ring and goes right after Yokozuna. Vince goes “Oh my goodness, what beef in there!” and makes me snicker a little. Vader is now beating on Doug Gilbert and hits him with a devastating chokeslam. He poses as the fans boo. He’s just doing his job guys. Vader picks Gilbert up and throws him out like yesterday’s trash (elimination #7). Vader then grabs the Squat Teamer and tosses him out (elimination #8) and now we are getting somewhere. Vader and Yokozuna are eye-balling each other and they start trading blows. Here comes #16……
#16 – Squat Teamer #2
The other Squat Teamer comes out and he looks exactly like his partner who he runs into on his way back to the locker room. They high-five each other and now they are BOTH heading down to the ring. Vince is now confused. They both enter the ring now and are targeting Vader. Vader just starts beating their asses. Now Yokozuna joins the fray and helps Vader. Vader sends one Squat Teamer out again while Yoko hits a clothesline that sends the other one out of the ring (elimination #9)! Well, something tells me those guys aren’t going to amount to much in the WWE. Vader walks over to get him some of Savio and Bob Holly kicks him in the mid-section. Vader just no-sells it though and looks at it him. Vader grabs Savio and hits him with a clothesline. 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly are brawling over in the corner. Did you know they are former WWE Tag Team champions? Hey, someone else is coming down now…..
#17 – Owen Hart
Owen Hart is on his way and he looks angry. Owen’s talking smack on the way down to the ring and starts beating on Bob Holly before he even gets in the ring. Owen thinks about going after Vader but changes his mind. He attacks the 1-2-3 Kid instead. Vader and Yokozuna are double-teaming Savio Vega now. Savio gets whipped into the corner and Yoko comes in for the splash! And then Vader comes in for the splash! Rest in Peace Savio Vega! Vader throws Savio to the mat and hits him with a big splash. Yoko follows up with one of his own. Here comes #18…..
#18 – Shawn Michaels
HBK! Michaels dances down to the ring and sings his entrance song while the crowd is jacked to see him. He runs in the ring and goes right after Savio. Now he’s beating on the 1-2-3 Kid. Meanwhile, Vader throws Savio out (elimination #10). Michaels is just going around and punching everyone. Now he’s focusing on Owen Hart. Yoko and Vader have had enough of each other and they start trading blows. Yoko is headbutting Vader and that knocks him down. Yoko has Vader against the ropes and SHAWN MICHAELS COMES OVER AND DUMPS THEM BOTH (eliminations #11 & #12)! The crowd pops for that. Jim Cornette is obviously not happy. Michaels goes ahead and throws the 1-2-3 Kid out as well (elimination #13) and IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG! HBK focuses on Owen Hart again as we get another entry…….
#19 – Hakushi
Vader and Yokozuna continue their battle outside. Vader hits Yoko from behind and why can’t we all just get along people? Vader goes back in the ring though and lifts Shawn Michaels above his head and throws him out of the ring. What a tease though because Vince informs us that Michaels is still in because Vader is not a legal man. Once again, when did THAT rule start? Vader is now beating on HHH and throws him out. He then throws Bob Holly out. He grabs Owen Hart and tosses him out. Hakushi is smart and doesn’t get in the ring yet. Gorilla Monsoon is out here now and he goes face-to-face with Vader. The WWE officials are trying to get him out of here, but he’s not complying. He starts posing for the audience and we are getting another entry……
#20 – Tatanka
Shawn Michaels has Jim Cornette and throws him out of the ring. That gets a nice pop. HHH and HBK are going at it and HHH has HBK on the brink of elimination. Bob Holly comes over and tries eliminating HBK as well. WHY IS BOB HOLLY STILL HERE? We get a replay of the Vader/Yokozuna incident because Vince is trying to push Vader hard. Why not make him win the Royal Rumble then? Hakushi goes to throw Michaels out, but he survives. HHH comes over and tries getting Michaels out again, but he survives once more. Owen Hart has decided he’s had enough of Hakushi and throws him out (elimination #14). And here comes #21……
#21 – “Man O’ War” Aldo Montoya
Oh, this guy is still around? Montoya hits the ring and starts hitting everybody. Dumbass. Holly gets HBK out of the ring, but unfortunately it was through the middle rope and not the top rope. That’s kind of an important rule Bob. Tatanka is beating on Aldo Montoya in the corner and he’s already been in the ring too long. Owen scoops Holly up as we pan back outside to the ring and look at that! Michaels has found Jerry Lawler who has been hiding under the ring the entire time! Michaels pulls Lawler out and throws him back into the ring. Just in time for #22 to come out……
#22 – Diesel
Before Diesel is even shown, Tatanka throws Aldo Montoya out (elimination #15) and HBK disposes of Jerry Lawler (elimination #16). That was a good plan in theory, King. Anyway, Diesel is coming down and business is about to pick up. Diesel goes right after HHH and then grabs Tatanka and tosses him out (elimination #17). He turns his attention to Owen and puts a beating on him. Michaels and Diesel run into each other in the middle of the ring and the two best friends start squaring off! Owen comes over to end that and that doesn’t please Diesel at all. Owen is now hitting Diesel with the vicious corner punches. Michaels is once again on the verge of elimination, but he manages to survive once again. And here comes #23……
#23 – Kama
Kama comes out to no reaction. Can we just turn him into “The Godfather” already? HBK is now hitting Bob Holly with the vicious “10 corner punches from hell”. Diesel has already had enough of Kama’s stupid face and starts punching it. HHH is on the verge of elimination thanks to Owen Hart. Diesel hits HBK with a right hand that sends him to the mat. Holly takes advantage of that and is choking HBK with his boot now. Here comes another entry……
#24 – “The Ringmaster” Steve Austin
I loved “The Ringmaster” when he first arrived in the WWE. Mainly because I was a huge fan of Steve Austin and was glad to see him in the WWE once and for all. Austin hits the ring and goes right after Holly. Johnny Polo is on commentary and he’s picking “The Ringmaster” to win the Rumble. That man can spot talent if I may say so myself. Michaels is ONCE AGAIN on the verge of elimination. Austin almost goes out as well, but he survives. He also does the world a favor and manages to get Bob Holly out of the ring (elimination #18). Hmm, maybe Polo is right? Maybe Austin is going to win this thing? HHH and Austin are now facing off. And yep, you guessed it. Michaels is once again on the verge of elimination thanks to Owen Hart. It’s time for another entry though……
#25 – Barry Horowitz
If Barry Horowitz even eliminates anyone in this match, I’ll eat my laptop and YouTube it for the world to see. Horowitz gets in the ring and is greeted right away by Diesel. Yikes. Austin goes for the suplex off the top rope to HHH, but HHH reverses it. HBK starts beating on Horowitz now. Kama and HHH are double-teaming Diesel. Diesel just says “fuck it” and throws HHH out finally (elimination #19)! That’s now how you’re supposed to treat you’re friends. And here comes #26……
#26 – Fatu
It’s Fatu, although he’s no longer a Headshrinker. He’s a guy trying to send a positive message to his community. He gets in the ring and blasts Owen Hart with a right. He then focuses his attention on Kama. Diesel is trying to eliminate Austin and for the love of god DON’T LET IT HAPPEN! Austin is sneaky though and manages to survive. Owen Hart picks up HBK and goes to eliminate him (SHOCKER). Michaels reverses it though and gets Owen on the brink of elimination. Just in time for another entry to hit the ring…..
#27 – Isaac Yankem D.D.S.
Shit has officially hit the fan. Isaac Yankem is on his way down and he’s here to pull some fucking cavities people! Did I mention how shitty the WWE was in 1996? Yankem gets to the ring just in time to see Owen Hart toss Horowitz (elimination #20) and I’m celebrating because now I don’t have to eat my laptop. Yankem is going after Diesel while Owen Hart has knocked out HBK. Never mind, he’s OK. HBK & Diesel team up and throw Owen out and he’s not happy about that at all (elimination #21). HBK is still hurting though. Austin takes advantage of that because he rules. Diesel goes over and gets him some of Austin though. Kama and Yankem are fighting over who sucks more. It’s time for #28 though…..
#28 – Marty Jannetty
Jannetty comes down and I’m sure this is his sixth run in the WWE by now after being fired the previous five times. Shockingly he doesn’t go after HBK. That’s probably because they are both faces at this point.Talking about HBK, he’s once again on the brink of elimination. Jannetty tries to headbutt Fatu, but that’s a stupid move. Austin is beating on Diesel in the corner. GET HIM AUSTIN! JANNETTY AND HBK ARE NOW THROWING PUNCHES!!!! They knock each other down and that was short-lived. Another entry is on his way……
#29 – British Bulldog
Bulldog goes right after HBK. This is the heel version of the Bulldog and he didn’t mess around. Diana Hart looks on of course. Jannetty starts hitting Bulldog with some punches, but Bulldog back drops him out of the ring (elimination #22). Fatu and Austin are exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Bulldog has Michaels almost out for the millionth time, but of course HBK survives once again. Unfortunately Steve Austin was the victim of the phantom elimination (elimination #23). SON OF A BITCH! Apparently it was Fatu that eliminated him. Isaac Yankem gets revenge for me by clotheslining Fatu out of the ring (elimination #24). OK, I change my mind. That gimmick ruled. Here comes #30 and we all know it’s…….
#30 – Duke “The Dumpster” Droese
Worst #30 ever. Droese comes down and starts beating on Yankem right away. Michaels and Bulldog are now brawling on the outside. Owen Hart is back though and he helps Bulldog beat on HBK! The refs are here to pull Owen away though. Bulldog throws Michaels back in the ring and the beating commences. Bulldog goes to press slam him, but Diesel makes the save. Just in time for HBK to drop kick Isaac Yankem out (elimination #25)! Kama and Diesel team up and throw out Duke Droese (elimination #26)! See, I told you he was the worst #30 ever. AND WE ARE DOWN TO THE FINAL FOUR!!!!
The Final Four:
Who wants it???????
Diesel and Kama are going at it while Bulldog and HBK exchange blows. Bulldog almost gets HBK out, but HBK sneaks back in. Bulldog is confused long enough for Michaels to CLOTHESLINE HIM RIGHT OUT OF THE RING (elimination #27)!!! Kama comes up from behind Michaels and THROWS HIM OUT, BUT MICHAELS IS HANGING ON FOR HIS LIFE!!! Diesel grabs Kama and tosses him out with one hand (elimination #28)! Michaels is back in the ring AND SWEET CHIN MUSIC TO DIESEL SENDS DIESEL FLYING OUT (elimination #29)!!!!! SHAWN MICHAELS WINS HIS SECOND STRAIGHT ROYAL RUMBLE!!!!!! Diesel can’t believe it and he’s pissed. He starts beating on the British Bulldog some more. They go to interview Diesel but he’s not having it. Diesel just stares at HBK and heads back into the ring. Michaels is doing a strip tease for some reason and now he realizes Diesel is back. They are friends though, so nothing is going to happen. Diesel puts his hand up for the high-five and Shawn smacks it. Anyway, Shawn Michaels is going to WrestleMania and gets to fight for the WWE title. That’s OK because Diesel will be getting a fat pay check from Turner Sports in about four months.
This was a pretty good Royal Rumble for one reason and one reason only, the performance of Shawn Michaels. The WWE lacked some serious star power around this time, but HBK was putting on some killer performances in the mid-90’s and the 1996 Royal Rumble was one of them. Unfortunately we had guys like Isaac Yankem, Duke Droese, and Aldo Montoya around to drive this grade down some. Still, I would re-watch this sucker again. It’s enjoyable enough.
Royal Rumble Review Grade: **1/2