The 12th Royal Rumble came at a time when WWE was thriving. They were now officially kicking WCW’s ass and the main reason was because of the red hot feud between top babyface Steve Austin and top heel/owner Vince McMahon, who just two years earlier was the announcer of this event.
It was a big deal to have Vince McMahon in this match along with Austin, because prior to this, Vince never wrestled.
The Rock, the heel corporate champion, was in a WWF Title feud with Mankind. It seemed obvious that Rock vs. Austin was the plan for WrestleMania 15, but there were still plenty of twists along the way.
From a business perspective, the WWF was on fire and this Royal Rumble event got more PPV buys than any other Royal Rumble in WWE history, except for 2002. This show did 650,000 buys on PPV, which was nearly 300,000 more than the previous year. It shows how hot the company was at the time.
Going into the Royal Rumble match, one of the big things was the $100,000 bounty that Vince placed on Austin. The announcers really drove that point home in the build to the show. It was part of “stacking the odds” against Stone Cold. I didn’t like this Rumble a lot when I saw it live in 1999. Do I still have those same opinions? Let’s find out.
This was written a few years ago. My additional thoughts are in blue font as well because there’s always more to say.
WWE Royal Rumble
January 24, 1999
From Anaheim Pond in Anaheim, California
There was an opening video package focusing on the Royal Rumble match with Steve Austin in the #1 spot and Vince McMahon was going to be #2 in the match. There was also a $100,000 bounty on Austin if somebody is able to eliminate him. They replayed Vince saying “no chance in hell” of Austin winning the match.
The theme song for the show was “No Chance in Hell” which ended up becoming Vince McMahon’s theme song. There was a nice pyro display by the entrance. The announcers were Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler with Cole replacing Jim Ross, who was out for a few months with Bell’s Pallsy. He would return by WrestleMania.
The Road Dogg made his entrance with the Hardcore Title. Road Dogg did his usual intro full of catchphrases. Big Boss Man was up next as the opponent and he barely got a reaction.
Road Dogg vs. Big Boss Man
Pre-match notes: This was not a Hardcore Title match even though Road Dogg was the Hardcore Champion. It was a regular match. Dogg was the face while Boss Man was the heel. Boss Man was also one half of the Tag Team Champions along with Ken Shamrock.
The crowd was into it chanting Boss Man sucks as Boss Man used his power early by punching Dogg into the turnbuckle. Boss Man hit a running splash against the turnbuckle, followed by some choking and then Boss Man missed a corner splash when Dogg moved. Dogg did the ten corner punches with the crowd chanting along, Boss Man with an atomic drop and Dogg hit a dropkick. Boss Man grabbed his nightstick, the referee took it away, so Dogg capitalized by pulling Boss Man groin first into the ring post. Boss Man hit a back elbow on Dogg to knock him out of the ring. Boss Man followed up the attack on the floor with a punch to the throat. Boss Man worked over Dogg with punches, then a whip into the ropes and a boot to the face. Boss Man whipped Dogg into the turnbuckle for a two count. Boss Man with a bearhug, Dogg bit him and Boss Man punched him to put him against the turnbuckle. Boss Man tried to take a turnbuckle pad off, he failed and hit a spinebuster for two. There were more punches from Boss Man. He threw a lot of punches and then hit a running splash on Dogg’s back. Dogg came back with a sleeper, Boss Man did an eye rake and a backbreaker. Boss Man went to the ropes for obviously nothing and Dogg slammed him off the top. Dogg with jabs, then a right handed punch and a jumping splash on Boss Man’s back. Dogg with a running forearm followed by the shaky knee drop for a two count. Dogg went into the ropes and Boss Man caught him in the Boss Man Slam for the pinfall win at 11:52.
Winner by pinfall: Big Boss Man
Analysis: *3/4 They got through it, but it was just decent at best. The finish felt flat. I think it’s better to book a more exciting match in the opening spot. This wasn’t that interesting at all. The best thing I can say about Boss Man matches is that he threw some of the best punches in wrestling from his straight right jabs to his uppercut punches. They always looked great. I guess they booked this non-title because they wanted Boss Man to win without getting the title because Dogg held the title for another month.
(It was decent, but nothing special. Road Dogg was better in a tag team. They would have had a better match if it was a Hardcore Title match.)
They showed highlights from Raw over the last two weeks to show the issues between Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock and Billy Gunn. On the last Raw before the Rumble, Shamrock put the Ankle Lock on Gunn and made him tap out on the steel steps. The reason for Shamrock losing it because Gunn showed his ass to Shamrock’s “sister” Ryan on Raw.
Billy Gunn made his entrance to a decent pop and led the crowd in saying “suck it” to begin the match. Ken Shamrock ran to the ring. Shamrock was the Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion (with Big Boss Man).
Analysis: There were a lot of IC Title changes in 1999, so I looked it up to remind myself to see how many there were and it was 11 title changes.
Intercontinental Championship: Ken Shamrock vs. “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn
Pre-match notes: Shamrock was the heel champion while Gunn was the face challenger. This was about three months into Shamrock’s reign as champion. At this point in his career, Gunn had yet to win a singles title in WWE.
The match started with both guys punching eachother repeatedly. Shamrock with a hard whip into the corner, but then Gunn came back with a clothesline. Gunn was not selling the left ankle injury at all. Gunn hit a delayed suplex for two. Gunn with a running shoulder tackle, Shamrock moved and Gunn hit the turnbuckle with his shoulder. Shamrock with a knee lift, body slam and a knee drop. Shamrock jumped on Gunn’s back to continue working on the back followed by a spinning heel kick for a two count. Gunn hit a Fameasser (before it had that name as his finisher) for a two count. Gunn worked over Shamrock with punches, then Shamrock pulled the top rope down leading to Gunn bumping over the top to the floor. Shamrock whipped Gunn into the ring post with Gunn using his hands to take that bump. Shamrock got in the faces of some fans who were giving him the middle finger and they are lucky they were behind the barricade and that Shamrock didn’t kick their ass. Shamrock broke the referee’s ten count, then they went to the apron and Gunn slammed Shamrock face first into the announce table. Back in the ring, Gunn drove Shamrock’s face into the knee. Shamrock finally went after the left leg as he kicked it and jumped on it. Shamrock kicked the left leg of Gunn repeatedly. Shamrock slapped on a front facelock, Gunn broke free and got a rollup. Shamrock hit a Perfectplex for a two count followed by two more kicks to the back of the left leg. Shamrock went for a clothesline, Gunn ducked and Shamrock clotheslined the referee by accident. Shamrock and Gunn did a double clothesline spot, which led to Val Venis going down to the ring and hitting a DDT on Shamrock, which drew a pop from the crowd. Gunn crawled over to Shamrock for a one arm pin attempt for two. Gunn stopped selling the left leg injury as he hit a flying elbow drop, then a corner splash and a body slam. Gunn went up top, he jumped off with nothing, Shamrock moved and Gunn was grabbing his left ankle again. Shamrock slapped on the Ankle Lock on the left ankle leading to Gunn tapping out at 14:24.
Winner by submission: Ken Shamrock
Analysis: *1/2 This was boring and it went on for too long. If it was five minutes less it would have been better. They did the angle on Raw with Shamrock working on the left ankle of Gunn, then Gunn didn’t even sell it at the start of the match, then he sold it and then it was ignored before it played a part in the finish. The crowd wasn’t into it that much either even though the heel Shamrock dominated most of it leading to Gunn’s comeback. The finish played into the left leg injury at least, so that was a good way to end it.
(Another match that wasn’t that interesting. I’m surprised it went as long as it did. I like how relentless Shamrock was going for the ankle lock.)
Post match, Shamrock celebrated with the title.
Analysis: Shamrock did well as a heel, but I liked him more as a face earlier in his WWF career. Gunn’s babyface run failed, which is why they turned him heel later in the year and tried him in that role. That didn’t work that well either. Gunn was at his best as a tag team wrestler.
There was a shot of Vince McMahon in the locker room getting ready with Shane McMahon, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco joining him to hype Vince up for the Rumble match.
Gangrel entered as the challenger for the European Championship match. There wasn’t much of a reaction for him. X-Pac was the European Champion that got a mild pop from the crowd.
European Championship: X-Pac vs. Gangrel
Pre-match notes: X-Pac was the babyface champion that was part of Degeneration X. Gangrel was a heel that led the Brood group. I have no memory of a storyline here. It was just a match.
Gangrel with a shoulder tackle, X-Pac with a hip toss, followed by a belly to back suplex and a leg drop. X-Pac with a spinning kick, but then he missed a corner charge. Gangrel with a splash against the turnbuckle followed by an overhead double arm suplex for a two count. Gangrel sent X-Pac throat first across the top rope. Gangrel with a chinlock, X-Pac broke free by running the ropes and Gangrel launched X-Pac into the air leading to crash landing. Gangrel missed a dive off the middle rope when X-Pac moved, X-Pac with a spinning heel kick a and leaping clothesline. Gangrel went off the ropes again leading to X-Pac hitting another spinning heel kick. X-Pac with the Bronco Buster against the turnbuckle. X-Pac with another spinning heel kick. X-Pac up top, but Gangrel punched him down. X-Pac jumped off the top with a cross body block and I think Gangrel was supposed to counter into a pin, but he wasn’t really covering him that well. Neither guy was down to be pinned, yet referee Teddy Long still counted the three count. That was weird. Even though Long counted to three, the match kept going. There was a mild “you f**ked up” chant. Gangrel with a powerslam for a two, so there’s the nearfall that they were supposed to do. X-Pac with a kick to the chest, then he went off the ropes and hit the X-Factor face plant for the pinfall win at 5:53.
Winner by pinfall: X-Pac
Analysis: ** This is a match that should have got more time as opposed to the match before it. They worked hard with X-Pac hitting some good moves while Gangrel was able to keep up with the speed. With that said, they botched the finish when referee Teddy Long counted a three fall when it was just a nearfall, so that hurt the rating of the match.
(It was fine for a shorter match. Gangrel was never pushed that much while X-Pac did okay as a midcard face here.)
There was an interview with Triple H, Road Dogg and Chyna with X-Pac joining them. Hunter said that they’re as tight as anybody can get, but it’s for the WWF Title and $100,000 so it’s every man for himself with Chyna saying “and woman” because she was in the match too.
Shane McMahon was introduced as one of the owners of the World Wrestling Federation and he was booed. Shane did his big heel turn two months earlier at Survivor Series 1998. Shane entered to some generic music. Shane introduced us to the next WWF Women’s Champion Luna.
Luna joined Shane in the ring. Shane said that for some reason, Sable suffered a chronic back injury and will be unable to compete tonight. They showed highlights from Heat when Luna attacked Sable and focused on her back.
Sable walked out in her ring gear with the Women’s Title in her hands. It was going to be her first title defense according to Cole. Sable was grabbing her back and said ring the bell. It was a strap match.
Strap Match for the Women’s Championship: Sable vs. Luna
Pre-match notes: Sable was the babyface champion while Luna was the heel challenger. They had a leather strap attached to their wrists. To win the match, you had to touch four turnbuckles in a row.
Shane joined commentary for the match. Sable was aggressive early using the strap to the ribs and sent her into the ring post. Sable hit Luna with the strap again followed by some choking. Sable tossed Luna across the ring, Sable touched two turnbuckles and Luna stopped that. Luna worked on the lower back of Sable as she stepped on the back followed by some choking with the strap. Shane said that Sable was going to be put her in place and she’s not appreciative of what Vince McMahon has done with her. Luna hit two turnbuckles, but Sable stopped that and hit Luna with the strap multiple times. Luna came back with a backbreaker as Sable sold her back injury. Luna put the strap around Sable’s neck, then walked around the ring as Luna and Sable each hit the turnbuckles three times in a row. Shane went onto the apron, so the referee was distracted. A “fan” went onto the apron and punched Luna, so Sable touched the fourth turnbuckle to win the match. Lawler called her a “stalker from the audience.” The match went 4:43.
Analysis: 1/2* This was bad. The crowd was dead for it even though Sable was ridiculously popular at the time. Perhaps they were dead because they had to watch her try to have a match. I can’t say I blame them for that.
Sable celebrated the win while Shane quickly went to the back. Luna was angry about what happened.
Analysis: The woman that was the fan would be named Tori soon after this. The story was that Tori was a huge Sable fan, but then Sable turned heel on her, attacked her and that was the WrestleMania match with Sable defending against Tori. It was not a great feud and Sable was out of WWE by May of 1999 because she was unhappy. Sable would return post-WrestleMania in 2003.
(Bad match and storyline, but the fans loved everything Sable did even though Sable was gone from the WWE – for the first time – in a few months.)
There was a shot of Big Boss Man, Test and Shamrock talking about how they were going after Steve Austin for that $100,000 bounty.
A video package aired to set up Mankind defending the WWF Title against The Rock. They traded the title a few times during this period. Mankind won the WWF Title for the first time on January 4 (taped six days earlier) on Raw, so this was Rock’s rematch. Mankind said it would be an “I Quit” match and the idea was that it would be hard for Rock to make Mankind quit.
The Rock was interviewed by Dok Hendrix (Michael Hayes). Rock fired off his catchphrases while saying he guaran-damn-teed he would prove he is the great one and the most electrifying man in the world today. Rock said he’ll be the best WWF Champ there ever was.
The Rock made his entrance in a black vest and black track pants. That was his wrestling gear for a few months because he had something called “gyno surgery” to remove some fat from his chest. Rock wore that outfit for a few months.
Mankind made his entrance with the WWF Title to a good pop. They showed a clip from Heat when they had Mabel (later Viscera), Rock and Shane McMahon beat up Mankind.
Analysis: I remember this match well. I also cringe at the thought of writing about it because I remember how violent it was. It was also covered in depth in the “Beyond the Mat” movie. If you’ve seen it then you know what I mean.
I Quit Match for the WWF Championship: Mankind vs. The Rock
Pre-match notes: Mankind was the WWF Champion and we all knew his name was Mick Foley. The Rock was the heel that was the former champion. Rock was only 26 years old at the time. The way to win the match is by making your opponent say “I Quit” to lose the match.
Mankind with a running knee against the turnbuckle followed by a bulldog. The referee Earl Hebner had a microphone and Rock said Mankind can kiss his ass. Mankind hit Rock with the microphone followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. Rock whipped Mankind knee first into the steel steps. Rock did some trash talk on the announcer’s headset, Mankind came back with a chair to the back and he hit Rock in the head with the microphone two more times. Back in the ring, Mankind hit a double arm DDT. Mankind took out his Mr. Socko sock from his tights and applied the Mandible Claw to Rock to put him down on the mat. Rock sold it like he was knocked out, so Rock didn’t answer when asked if he quits. Mankind said he was going to split open that ridiculous eyebrow. Mankind sent Rock over the barricade and you could see an additional camera crew there from the Beyond the Mat movie. Rock gave Mankind a powerslam over the barricade and onto the ring. You could also see Foley’s wife and oldest kids Dewey and Noelle at ringside. Dewey works for WWE on their creative team while Noelle is well known to wrestling fans too. Rock hit the ring bell against Mankind’s head two times. They stood on top of the Spanish announce table, but then the table broke as Cole noted it was close to 600 pounds breaking the table. You could see Rock check on Mankind right there as Mankind refused to quit. Rock spit some water in Mankind’s face, then Mankind came back by whipping Rock into the ring post and then he beat up Rock while going up the aisle towards the entrance area. They went brawling over to a tech table, Rock worked over Mankind with punches, Mankind came back with punches and Rock hit him with a snap DDT on the floor. Mankind would not quit. Rock found a ladder, Mankind kicked the ladder into him and held Rock down under a ladder, but Rock would not quit. Mankind hit an elbow drop on a ladder because Rock moved. The fans chanted “Rocky Sucks” loudly, which pissed off Rock. Rock climbed a ladder to try to get away from Mankind, which was a bit silly to see, then Mankind followed him. Rock hit a low blow. Rock punched Mankind off a railing that was 12 feet off the crowd and Mankind took a bump on the electrical circuit board. That drew a huge reaction from the crowd as the announcers wondered if Mankind was electrocuted. Mankind was still moving around.
Analysis: I remember reading online before the match that Foley planned on doing some big bump during the match and that’s what it was.
Rock stood over Mankind, Shane McMahon showed up with his buddy Rock and told him that’s it. Rock said no to that because he was going to make him quit. Rock beat up Foley some more, he threw him into the railing repeatedly and punched Foley all the way back into the ring. Rock grabbed handcuffs from ringside and he handcuffed Mankind’s two hands behind his back. Rock sent Mankind into the turnbuckle repeatedly, but then Mankind kicked Rock in the groin. Mankind had a cut above his right eye and he was bleeding. Mankind hit a knee drop on the groin of Rock, but Rock managed to come back with a clothesline. That’s when things went level as Rock put a chair on Mankind’s head and hit the Corporate (People’s Elbow) onto the chair on Mankind’s head. Mankind would not quit after that: “Go to hell, Rock.” Rock said he’ll go to hell, but Mick’s candy ass first. This is where the carnage really began as Rock hit Mankind with a chairshot to the head (that’s #1), another chair to the head while Mankind was on his knees (#2), Mankind stumped around the ring leading to Rock hitting three more chairshots (#3, #4 and #5). Cole was screaming for Mankind to quit as Rock hit Mankind with chairshot #6 in the head when they were outside in the ring. They moved towards the aisle with Rock hitting another chairshot to the head (that’s #7) and Rock hit another stiff chairshot to the head (#8). Rock said Foley will say “I Quit” as Foley got back up and Rock hit him in the head with the chair again (#9) and Cole said please Mr. McMahon, come do something. Rock hit another stiff chairshot to the head, this time to the back of the head (#10). Rock put down the chair, then he went on top of Mankind and told him to say I Quit. There was silence, but then there was a tape of Mankind saying “I Quit, I Quit, I Quit.” The Rock won the match at 21:46.
Winner AND NEW WWF Champion: The Rock
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very entertaining match that told an incredible story, but it also makes me sad watching it because of how much punishment Foley took during the match. It was one of the most brutal matches in WWE history and I’m sure a lot of fans don’t even want to watch it. There’s a reason why I haven’t watched this too many times and it’s because of how brutal the injuries were for Foley. I think Foley deserves a lot of credit for busting his ass to put Rock over in a big way. From Foley’s bump onto the electrical equipment to taking ten chairshots, it was a brutal ass kicking that Foley took just to put over Rock as the new champion. If you don’t want to watch the match because of how violent it was, it’s certainly understandable. I wish it was booked differently and that Mick didn’t take as much of a beating as he did, but that’s what happened. I think it made fans appreciate Foley more because of the punishment he took, but it also definitely shortened Mick’s career.
The Rock went back into the ring and celebrated with the WWF Title to begin his second reign as the champion. Cole asked for somebody to help Foley. They showed Foley getting checked on by doctors. Rock put the WWF Title on his shoulder and walked to the back. Rock posed with the WWF Title over Foley’s body in the aisle. A stretcher was brought out for Foley, but Foley refused to leave on the stretcher. Foley was helped to the back.
Analysis: There’s been a lot written and said about this match over the last twenty years. The short version of the story is that Rock was supposed to hit Mankind with five or six chair shots to the head, which was a lot, but back in those days, we didn’t think of concussions the way we do now. Watching Rock hit Mankind with ten chairshots was brutal to see. I also remember watching Beyond the Mat where they showed Mick’s wife and two young kids (Dewey and Noelle) watching the match in horror because of how much punishment Mick too. I know Mick said he regretted having his kids there and I’m sure he wishes he could have done things differently.
(Absolutely brutal. It’s tough to watch all of those unprotected chair shots to the head. Rock went too far with them, but he was just doing what he thought he was supposed to do within the framework of the match. If you can get past the chair shots being so vicious, it’s a pretty good match featuring two all-time WWE greats in Foley and Rock. The finish was creative, but also really cheap.)
There was a long video package to show all of the drama between Steve Austin and Vince McMahon over the last few months. The big selling point was Austin as #1 in the Royal Rumble and Vince as #2 in the Royal Rumble match.
They showed a clip from earlier in the night on Heat when Vince slapped Austin and then he left the ring to get away.
30-Person (not just man) Royal Rumble Match
During The Fink’s intro of the Rumble match, Lawler yelled at him about going on too long. Pretty funny.
The #1 participant is Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was embroiled in the very hot feud with #2…Vince McMahon. Lawler was heavily on Vince’s side, which makes this great. He points out that Vince has never lost a match in his life while Cole says Vince has never had a match. Vince comes out with no theme music and looks really ripped. He’s also oiled up quite a bit. Did I just offer a description of a shirtless Vince McMahon? Shoot me. Austin opens up by stomping on Vince in the corner. Bodyslam by Austin and a stomp to the nuts. There’s Golga (aka John Tenta aka Earthquake) of the Oddities at #3. Austin hits a Thesz Press on Vince. Austin throws Golga out quickly. Vince rolls out of the ring under the bottom rope. Austin chases him into the crowd where they start brawling. Vince runs up the steps to get away from him. The camera shows Austin beating up Vince in the lobby. Vince runs into the ladies room and the Corporation is in there. They beat up Austin as the camera fades out. Meanwhile, the #4 entry is Droz of Legion of Doom. He waits in the ring by himself and it’s Edge at #5 making his Royal Rumble debut. He gets a pretty good pop. He shows a lot of fire, but not much happens.
Here’s a threat to win at #6, the man called Gillberg! The crowd does the Gillberg chant (a parody of Goldberg in WCW), which is also a part of his theme song. This was classic. Edge dumps him out in about seven seconds. The camera shows the ladies room where all the guys in the Corporation stand over Austin, who is laid out on the floor. Back in the ring, Droz nearly eliminates Edge, but he is able to hang on. The “Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman is #7 and he gets a good pop. This crowd was hot for Blackman. Of course, every crowd the WWF had in the era from 1998 to 2001 was usually really good because it was the hottest time in the history of the company. They show Austin getting looked at by the EMT’s and getting placed on the board. It’s “The Beast” Dan Severn at #8, who wrestles wearing a shirt because I doubt Vince was impressed with his physique. They show Austin getting wheeled away while fans chant for him. There’s Teddy Long as a ref too. They’re outside the arena now. It’s Tiger Ali Singh at #9, whose gimmick was “the elitist that doesn’t like America” as Michael Cole tells us. They show Austin leaving in an ambulance as Cole wonders where Vince is. It’s The Blue Meanie from the JOB Squad at #10. The talent in the ring isn’t very good aside from Edge. It should be pointed out that McMahon and Austin are still in the match despite not being in the ring. I think Edge just slapped Meanie in the belly.
The #11 man is supposed to be Mosh, but they show Mabel beating him up backstage. Of course, due to his size the announcers wonder how he can be eliminated. Mabel eliminates Severn, Blackman and Singh in succession. Mabel eliminates Droz and Meanie as #12 comes out, The Road Dogg, who was a babyface as part of DX. He eliminates Edge, who takes a bump into the announce table. Mabel and Road Dogg start fighting as the lights go out and Undertaker’s music begins. The Acolytes (Bradshaw & Faarooq) and Mideon get Mabel out of the ring and beat on him. The Undertaker comes out where he talks to Mabel in the aisle. This led to Mabel being turned into Viscera, who was a part of the Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness. There’s Gangrel of The Brood at #13. He doesn’t last too long as Road Dogg tosses him over the top to the floor. Cole claims that Lawler picked Blackman and Gangrel to win, among others. There’s Kurrgan of the Oddities at #14. He’s a threat to win of course because he’s 7 foot, 300 pounds. A year earlier he was a serious heel and now he’s a goofy babyface. He hits a sidewalk slam on Road Dogg. “What does everybody want?” HEAD! It’s Al Snow without the Head at #15. The Head was stolen by Goldust a couple of weeks earlier. There’s a “Head” chant as they try to get Kurrgan out, but they can’t seem to do it. Road Dogg shoves Snow out of there rather easily.
There’s Goldust at #16, who was a babyface here. He hits a clothesline on Kurrgan and gets a DDT. Road Dogg tells Goldust to Suck It and sets him up for his Shattered Dreams, but Kurrgan blocks it. Goldust punches Dogg in the nuts just for fun. Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy at #17 as The Godfather enters the Rumble with ho’s. He has entered the Rumble as a few different characters over the years such as Papa Shango and Kama. Godfather hits the Ho Train splash in the corner onto Goldust. Here’s Kane making his Rumble debut as Kane at #18. In the 1996 Rumble he was Isaac Yankem and in 1997 he was fake Diesel. He quickly eliminates Road Dogg, Kurrgan, Godfather and Goldust in impressive fashion. The dudes with white coats come in and Kane beats them up. He was in the process of turning babyface at this point. He threw the coat over the rope and then he walked out of the ring, eliminating himself. He was chasing after the dudes with white coats. Vince McMahon shows up again, walking into the ring. There’s Ken Shamrock, a part of Vince’s Corporation, at #19. Vince steps through the ropes to avoid fighting Shamrock. He sits in at the announce table. He says Austin’s not coming back. We’ve got Billy Gunn at #20, who is out there without a shoe on his left foot because Shamrock injured him earlier in the show in their IC title match. Gunn fights back with a back suplex, but Shamrock cuts him down by going after the ankle again.
It’s Test of the Corporation at #21. Meanwhile, they cut backstage and show the Acolytes & Mideon putting Mabel into the hearse. Vince says he doesn’t think Mabel will ever be the same. It’s like he scripted this or something. Meanwhile, the ambulance comes back as Vince’s face is one of shock. Austin’s driving the ambulance. They show him walking through the backstage area as Vince has a sad face. He had the same face when his wife told him he had to pay the $50 million tab when she lost the election in 2010 (and 2012!). Gunn hits a double clothesline as Austin walks out. Vince drops the headset and runs. Shamrock stomps on Austin as Vince goes out the other side. The #22 entrant was The Big Boss Man also of The Corporation. Austin throws out Shamrock. Vince is back at the announce table. Break It Down for #23, Triple H, who hits the high knee on Test. Austin drills Gunn with a hard clothesline. Hello Ladies for #24, Val Venis. He quickly receives a clothesline from Triple H. Vince is yelling at the table about how somebody will get $100,000 if they get rid of Austin. He can’t believe Austin is back in there. Austin throws out Gunn. More of DX at #25 with X-Pac, who was always a good worker. Val hits a double axe off the top on Austin. X-Pac hits a spinning heel kick onto Austin as the announcers put over how everybody’s going after Steve so that they can get the money.
It’s Mark Henry as Sexual Chocolate at #26. There’s the typical comment about how it’s hard to get rid of Mark Henry due to his 400 pounds. He goes after Boss Man. There’s Jeff Jarrett at #27 with Debra. She was one of my favorite women in wrestling ever. Debra started dating Austin a few months after this and were married in late 2000 for about two years. It did not end well. Jarrett was a heel of course. X-Pac went after his DX buddy HHH and then hit the Bronco Buster on Boss Man. You better recognize #28, D-Lo Brown, who walks out with Pretty Mean Sisters (Terri and Jackie). Test is eliminated by Austin and Boss Man throws out X-Pac. Austin hits the Thesz Press on Jarrett. Triple H throws out Jarrett. There’s Owen Hart at #29 and this is his last Rumble. Cue sad face by me. He goes right after Austin. Triple H saves a double team on Austin. Austin rolls out of the ring, takes a sip of water at the announce table and throws the pitcher of water in Vince’s face. The last person in the match is the first woman ever in the Rumble, Chyna is #30. She earned the spot in the Corporate Royal Rumble. She was a babyface. She went after Mark Henry and quickly eliminated him. Austin clotheslines Chyna over the top because he just doesn’t give a shit. Triple H goes after him.
We have 7 people left now. Triple H throws out Venis. Austin hits a Stunner on HHH and clotheslines him out, leaving us with five although only four are in the ring since Vince is still at the announce table. It’s Owen, Boss Man, D-Lo Brown, Austin and Vince. Brown hits Austin with a side kick. He misses a dropkick and Austin chokes him out. Brown gets the advantage on him, which leads to a huge “Austin” chant. Owen hits an enziguri on Austin. He charges in, but Austin ducks it and dumps him out.
The final four are Big Boss Man, D-Lo Brown, Vince McMahon and Steve Austin. Boss Man knocks Austin down with a punch. Brown hits a Frog Splash on Austin. Boss Man eliminates Brown and then Austin hits a Stunner on Boss Man, which leads to a clothesline that eliminates Boss Man too. We’re down to just Austin and Vince now. The crowd is going nuts. Austin attacks Vince at the announce table. He hurls him over the barricade, beating on him some more. Austin grabs a steel chair and drills Vince in the head with it. You wouldn’t see a chair shot to the head like that in today’s WWE, which is a good thing. Austin rolls him back in the ring. Vince gets a low blow. Austin ducks a clothesline, hits the boot to the gut and hits a Stunner. He hits him with the FU elbow off the middle ropes. That’s the cue for The Rock to come out with the WWF Title. Cole said: “Rock is the man Stone Cold will face at WrestleMania.” Oops. He forgot to say “if he wins.” Rock taunts him while Austin tells him to come in. Rock jumps on the apron, Austin punches him and Vince springs to his feet to eliminate Austin! Vince wins!
Winner: Vince McMahon
The match ended at 56:38.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS about the Royal Rumble match
– You know how I said at the start that I didn’t like this Rumble? My feelings remain the same. This was the most overbooked Rumble ever. It’s no surprise that Vince Russo had a lot of booking power by this point because it had all the run-ins that we’re used to with him. Due to that the match never had a flow to it. Having Vince outside the ring for the majority of the match made sense for his character, but doesn’t mean it’s good for the match. All of the angles they ran with the likes of Mabel and Kane only hurt the match. Thankfully they learned their lesson from this Rumble because every one that follows is much better than this. How many camera shots were there away from the ring? The Rumble is about the in-ring action. Show the damn match!
– There’s no question that the star of the match was Stone Cold. Much like the year before, none of the babyfaces were close to him in terms of star power. That’s a good thing in the sense that he was making a lot of money for the WWF, but it was bad in terms of trying to convince the fans that some other babyface could win.
– The crowd was fantastic, popping so well for everything they were supposed to. They even gave ovations to the midcarders that would barely get a reaction today. That’s a sign of a company that was on fire. It doesn’t mean this was a good match, though.
– Jerry Lawler was amazing here as he supported McMahon. When listening to how good Lawler was here and you realize why a lot of fans, including me, miss his heel act.
– I’ll never claim to be a Chyna fan, but watching her eliminate Mark Henry was a cool moment especially in its original viewing in 1999. By the end of the year, I got sick of her in the ring. It was a fresh idea at this time, though.
FACTS & OPINIONS on the Royal Rumble match
Person that lasted the longest: Vince McMahon and Steve Austin at 56:38
Most Eliminations: Steve Austin with 8.
Best Performers (3): Steve Austin – Obvious number one.
Vince McMahon – He drew some amazing heel heat. Even though he wasn’t in the ring much he was by far the most over heel in the match. Not even close.
Triple H – Nobody else really stood out, but he had a good showing.
Best Elimination: McMahon dumping Austin because none of the other eliminations really mattered.
Match Rating: ** I think it was one of the worst Royal Rumble matches ever because they completely ignored the concept of the match by having two guys (Austin and McMahon) out of the ring for most of it, so that made most of the match feel pointless.
(I don’t like this match at all, but it was an example of WWE relying heavily on story and not really caring about the match quality that much. It was about Austin and McMahon from start to finish even when they were out of the ring. That’s what bugs me too because guys shouldn’t be out of the ring for the majority of the match. That hurts the performance a lot, I think.)
After the match, Austin went brawling with Rock to the backstage area. Jerry Lawler put this over as the greatest night in WWF history. Shane McMahon, Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson went into the ring to celebrate with Vince, who was selling like he could barely stand. They made Howard Finkel announce Mr. McMahon as the winner of the 1999 Royal Rumble. They threw beers to Vince, so Vince had beers with Shane, Gerald and Pat as their way of mocking Steve Austin’s beer celebrations. The fans were booing.
A video package aired showing highlights of the show. That was the end of the broadcast.
This event had a runtime of 2:43:20 on WWE Network.
Show rating (out of 10): 5
This was similar to the year before where they had a poor undercard, and just a decent (or some might say poor) Royal Rumble match, but at least the WWF Title match was very memorable. The first hour of this show is awful. I think the story of the Rumble match makes it tolerable to watch, but I hated the structure of the match with the two main guys McMahon and Austin out of the ring for most of it. The big selling point was Austin being able to get his hands on Vince and we got plenty of that. I’ll never forget this Rock/Mankind match. I just wish it was unforgettable for better reasons. I know the next two years of Rumble PPVs were a lot better, so that’s something to look forward to.
Best Match: The Rock vs. Mankind (***1/2 out of 5)
Worst Match: Sable vs. Luna (1/2*)
Five Stars Of The Show
- Mankind – I respect him so much for the beating that he took.
- Steve Austin
- Vince McMahon
- The Rock
- Triple H
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.