Royal Rumble 1996

Commentary Vince McMahon and Mr Perfect
Prior to the PPV, Sunny appears in the bath with an adult content warning, the first of its kind for WWE, which shows that the company had already planned to target an adult audience in 1996.
The show kicks off with Ahmed Johnson squaring off against Double J, aka Jeff Jarrett following their feud which sparked off at the previous PPV of In Your House 5 1995. Despite being a little of a dull bout, with Jeff Jarrett being dominated by the power of Ahmed Johnson. The finishing of this match is great when Jeff Jarrett realising he possibly cannot beat Ahmed Johnson, climbs to the top rope and smashes his guitar with a precise shot to Ahmed’s head. Ahmed collapses with his head inside the instrument, with Jeff Jarrett walking off not to concerned about losing via disqualification. A great moment in the career of Jeff Jarrett.
The second match is for the tag team titles, with the champions Smoking Gunns defending against The Body Donnas, consisting of Skip and Zip with their manager Sunny. Again not an exciting match, and the key moment is when Sunny is knocked off the ring apron by Billy Gunn, who then is attacked by the Body Donnas whilst he tries to help her. Unfortunately though for the Body Donnas, the Smoking Gunns take the win and retain their tag titles with Sunny being very furious with her team’s loss at the end.
The third match on the card is between the bad guy Razor Ramon against Goldust. This match includes the debut of Marlena who at the time is unknown by her name. Marlena sits on a directors chair by ringside smoking her cigar. The match is a little annoying as Goldust continually keeps doing more of his character gestures and far less wrestling to make this an interesting match. There is literally very little action until the 123 Kid appears and does a flying reverse kick to Razor from the top rope, allowing Goldust to pick up the victory.
The next match is the Royal Rumble match itself, whereas in previous years the Rumble match was always last on the card. The 1996 Rumble also returns to the 2 minute time slow between entrants, whereas in 1995 it was only 1 minute in between. Key moments in the Royal Rumble 1996 include the PPV debut of Stone Cold Steve Austin as the Ringmaster and the debut of Vader. Jake the Snake Roberts gets the biggest pop during the Rumble match and throws his snake into the ring before putting it on top of Jerry Lawler who then runs and hides under the ring for a long time. Hunter Hearst Helmsley remains in the Royal Rumble 1996 match the longest for 48 minutes and 1 second. There are a few unknown stars in this rumble which makes it a little boring. Razor Ramon attempts to interfere and throw out the 123 Kid but is unsuccessful. Shawn Michaels has the most eliminations with 8 wrestlers thrown out including the two giants, Yokozuna and Mabel who he throws simultaneously. Speaking of giants, Shawn Michaels also eliminates Vader and Isaac Yankem aka Kane – two physically big superstars. Vader after his elimination returns to throw out Shawn, Triple H, Bob Holly, over the top rope, but according to Vince McMahon, the eliminations are all void as Vader is already eliminated. Whereas in the Royal Rumble 1993 The Undertaker was eliminated by Giant Gonzalez who was not even an entrant. Hence, the rules had changed in the Royal Rumble 1996. Shawn also pulls out Jerry Lawler from under the ring to eliminate him and at the end eliminates the remaining giant Diesel with a superkick. Now that is a very impressive list of eliminations for a Royal Rumble. Hence the victory is definitely deserved for the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels who also had his back to back Rumble match victory with 1995 and 1995 Royal Rumbles.
The main event is between Bret Hart defending his title against the number 1 competitor the Undertaker. The Undertaker is confronted by Diesel during his entrance and the two have a brief fight before the match. During the actual title match, Bret does attempt to target the Undertakers leg, but despite efforts, the Undertaker manages to catch Bret in the tombstone piledriver. However, before the referee can make the count he is pulled out of the ring by Diesel thus causing a disqualification for Bret Hart who still retains his title. After the match, it is decided that Diesel is the number 1 contender at the next PPV against Bret Hart, and in order to prevent any interference from the Undertaker it is also decided to be set in a steel cage match. The show closes off with another glimpse of the upcoming adult content, as Diesel flips the finger at the Undertaker.

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