Monday Night Wars – WWF Royal Rumble 1996

Royal Rumble 96 Poster

WWF Royal Rumble January 21, 1996
Sunny is oh so gracious enough to inform us tonight contains graphic material and that viewer discretion is advised. Thank you Sunny. (clears throat)

Welcome to the 1996 Royall Rumble from the Selland Arena in Fresno, California! Vince McMahon and Mr. Perfect welcomes us into the show as we get set for an action-packed night as they play on the excitement and emotion of the crowd and gear up for the first match of the evening as we see Double J Jeff Jarrett make his way to the ring. We are shown a video package of how the match between himself and Ahmed Johnson.

Match 1: Double J Jeff Jarrett vs. Ahmed Johnson

Ahmed vs JJ Rumble

Ahmed wasted no time making his way to the ring. Double J tried to go on the early attack, but Ahmed stopped him in his tracks as he starts hammering him in the corner. Double J able to make the escape to the outside with Ahmed hot on his tracks, and the two men enter the ring once again with Double J successfully going on the attack this time. Knees to the mid-section in the corner as Jarrett tries to take down Johnson with a single arm take-down, but it is reversed. Jarrett wastes no time taking control of the match once again as he gets Ahmed in a headlock, but Johnson makes his way out of it. Punches to Ahmed puts him in a corner, but he is soon out and takes over the match completely as he hits with a clothesline and a scoop power slam. This is Ahmed’s first Royal Rumble, but the momentum of the match goes back forth as both men end up on the outside. The action makes its way back into the ring quickly as Jarrett holds down Johnson on the second rope. He avoids getting disqualified, but we see Ahmed soon get up and start to regain the energy to take over control. A missed sunset flip off the top rope set up Johnson to be placed in the figure four leg lock by Jarrett, but he was able to reverse it. Jarrett realized, after being kicked out the ring by Johnson going for the leg lock once again, he was not going to win, the greatest entertainer of all time decided to hit Johnson with his guitar from the top rope, causing the referee to call for the disqualification.
Winner via DQ: Ahmed Johnson

We are sent backstage for an interview with former WWF Champion Big Daddy Cool Diesel, and he lets everybody know that he doesn’t know what he is going to do but is going to have the time of his life tonight as he enters the Royal Rumble matchup later in the evening. He also looking forward to what is going to happen with him and his best friend, the returning Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, but he is not at all worried about his first showdown with Vader. About the WWF Championship match, he states that he has no problem with the Undertaker, but he does have a problem with not being #1 contender. He hopes that it is one hell of a match, but they will not measure up to Big Daddy D. We are sent back to the ringside area with Vince and Mr. Perfect as we see the Bodydonnas make their way out to the ring being accompanied by Sunny for the second match of the night.

Match 2: WWF Tag Team Championship – The Smoking Guns (c) vs. The Bodydonnas w/ Sunny

Smoking Guns vs Bodydonnas

Skip and Billy Gunn start us off here as Skip places Billy in a side headlock, but Billy whips him into the ropes and follows it with a clothesline and goes for the cover, but he only gets a two count as he quickly hops back up, and the match starts to move a lot faster with both men countering each other until Billy hits Skip with a back body drop. Billy goes to clothesline Skip over the top rope but misses and ends up going over the top rope himself as Bart immediately goes after Skip but is quickly double teamed by both challengers for the title belts. Bart is tossed out the ring, and the Bodydonnas turn their attention to Billy Gunn as he slowly makes his way back into the ring. The double team does not last long as Bart brings Skip and Zip back to the outside and joins his brother in the ring. A cross body to the outside by Bart Gunn, and the Bodydonnas are down again. The action equals out in the ring as Bart and Skip get back in the ring, and their partners return to their respective corners. The Smokin’ Gunns take turns hammering Skip, but Zip shortly comes in to break it up. Billy Gunn in full control as Sunny tries to distract the Gunn brothers on the outside. Bart gets the tag, and Bart Gunn now has control until Skip illegally enters the ring, forcing the referee to make Zip get back in the ring. Sunny gets hurt trying be a distraction and knocked off the ring apron, and there is a double team on Billy Gunn that gets stopped by Bart. The Bodydonnas eventually get the action back in the ring and got for a pin but only gets a two count. Billy is kept down and isolated from Bart in the ring, but there are only two counts being made. Billy is finally able to get over to Bart and make the tag, and Bart takes over the match. Eventually, the Smokin’ Gunns take control of the match, but it goes back and forth. Bart and Billy Gunn put both members of the Bodydonnas in a roll up for the three count.
Winners by pin fall and still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Smokin’ Gunns

Vince now sends us to look inside Billionaire Ted’s “Wrasslin’ Warroom.”

A video package of Goldust and the WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon takes into and shows viewers how we got to our third match of the night. This is where we see the debut of Marlena.

Match 3: WWF Intercontinental Championship – Razor Ramon (c) vs. Goldust (w/Marlena)

Razor vs Goldust

The match starts with an arm twist by Ramon, and an arm bar is placed on the Gold one, but it is not long before Goldust makes it to his feet. A standing side headlock is placed on Goldust, but it is quickly released. Ramon puts a waist lock on Goldust, but it is reversed and fought off quickly. Getting approval and direction from Marlena, Goldust and Ramon lock back up until the two men are broken up from a corner of the ring, and Ramon shoves Goldust down. Ramon works on the left arm of Goldust, but it is reversed, and Goldust hits Razor with a thunderous slap. Ramon hits Goldust with a takedown and proceeds to slap him in the head, face, and butt. He knocks Goldust on the outside, but Goldust hides behind Marlena after Razor follows him. The referee starts a ten count, but both men make it back into the ring before seven. The two men lock up but it quickly turns into a leg scissors attempt by razor but is reversed and turns into two more attempts before Razor delivers a shot to the face. Goldust heads to the outside and hides behind Marlena before she gives him some direction and sends him back in with Ramon. Ramon with a kick to the midsection followed by a whip into the ropes, but Goldust holds onto the ropes so that he won’t be sent back towards Razor, only to be clotheslined to the outside once again.

Razor vs Goldust 2

The third attempt to hide behind Marlena backfired, but Goldust takes control of the match by running Ramon into the steel steps. Goldust sends him back into the ring and maintains control of the match as we see a two count, the first pin of the match. He performs a slingshot suplex and goes for a second pin with only another two count. Ramon’s head is held on the rope for Marlena to blow gold dust into Ramon’s eyes, helping Goldust to maintain control. The champion place into a sleeper hold, but Razor fights his way back to his feet. Ramon hits Goldust with a low blow out of sight of the referee, but both men end up laid out on the mat. Goldust goes for the pin but only gets a two count. Ramon quickly takes control of the bout, but he is only successful of two counts. Goldust tries going up top, but Razor knocks him down and performs a suplex off the top rope. Ramon motions for the Razor’s Edge, but Marlena has the referee distracted, giving the 1-2-3 Kid the chance to come in the ring and hit Ramon with a kick the face off the top rope. Goldust goes for the cover and gets the three count.
Winner by pin fall and new WWF Intercontinental Champion: Goldust

Vince send us to videos of the participants for the Royal Rumble to hear their thoughts before the enter into the big 30-man match and literally the biggest match of the night. We then got to Vince and Mr. Perfect as we are reminded of the rules of the Royal Rumble, the #1 entrant being Hunter Hearst Helmsley after losing the match at the Free for All during the special 30-minute show before the PPV began, followed by footage of what happened and the entrance of the #2 entrant, Henry O. Godwin.

Match 4: The 1996 Royal Rumble
Hunter Hearst Hemsely and Henry Godwinn starts the match off. Crazy enough Hunter is eliminated 1st by Diesel. One of the last times you will HHH get knocked out the box that early. Here is the entire match for your enjoyment.

WWF Royal Rumble 1996 – The Royal Rumble Match by WWFNetwork

In the end, it was Shawn Michaels that eliminated Diesel to win his second Royal Rumble match, winning it two years in a row.
Winner of the 1996 Royal Rumble: The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels

As we watch Shawn Michaels celebrate his win, we are led back into the ring to ring announcer Howard Finkel as we are ready to start the final match of the night for the WWF Championship. As The Undertaker is walking to the ring, he is met down the aisle by Diesel, who was returning to the locker room from the Royal Rumble match, and a fight breaks out between the two men. Officials gets a chance to break it up and allow The Undertaker the room to proceed to the ring.

Match 5: WWF Championship – Bret The Hitman Hart (c) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)

Undertaker vs Bret Hart

The match starts off with Undertaker swinging at Hart, but he misses two right hands. After the third attempt, Hart gets Undertaker in the corner and hits him with right hands, but Undertaker quickly reverses, and it is now Bret that is receiving the right hands followed by a choke. Bret tries to get a breath but ends up into the adjacent corner being hit with the right hands again. Undertaker with the whip into another corner, and Bret in trouble again as Undertaker picks him up by the throat and drops him to the mat. Bret is picked up and thrown into the last corner of the ring, where he is grabbed by the mouth. The champion tries to escape, but the challenger keeps him cornered and keeps him down with hits the midsection and grabs to the face.

Taker vs Bret

Undertaker has Bret in the center of the ring with his hand gripping his whole face, and the referee following the two men around the ring, watching for Bret’s shoulders on the mat or for Hart to grab the ropes but not seeing Paul Bearer outside making sure that Bret does not place his foot on the rope. There is a two count, and Hart is able to make his way to the ropes with his hands to break the grip. Undertaker with a twist of the arm, and the Phenom walks the ropes and comes down with an arm across the neck and back of the Hitman. Undertaker maintaining control of the match as he places the grip around Bret’s face again and backs him into the corner followed by a hit to the midsection. The challenger whips the champion into another corner, but the reigning champion begins to fight back with a kick and a clothesline for the second rope to the Dead Man. Another clothesline to the Phenom knocks him out the ring, but he lands on his feet. Hitman jumps over the top to knock Undertaker down, but the Undertaker doesn’t stay down for long. Hart tries to knock Undertaker down from the apron, but Undertaker catches him and runs him into the ring post. Undertaker picks up Hart and tries it again, but Bret quickly jumps down and rams Undertaker into the post instead. Bret walks right into a boot to the face and has his face driven into the barricade. Right hand to the face of the champion as the referee starts the count, but he quickly tosses the challenger into the steel steps and goes to work on his leg. The two men get back into the ring, and Hart is continuing to go to work on the left leg of his opponent. Undertaker struggles to get up and keeps his shoulders off the mat as Bret continues to go to work on the left leg. Hart successfully places Undertaker in the figure four trying to get him to submit, and Undertaker keeps his shoulders off the mat as he reverses the hold, only for Bret to reach the ropes and have the hold broken altogether. Hart goes back to work on the left leg with the Undertaker trying his best to fight the champion off. This is how Bret maintains control of the match, but he eventually is brought down to the Undertaker’s defense as he is thrown out of the ring and tossed into the steel steps. Undertaker choking Hart with a cable as Paul Bearer keeps the referee distracted, and Hart is thrown into the timekeeper’s table and hit in the midsection with a couple of chair shots. The two men get back into the ring where Bret takes control and prepares the Undertaker for the sharpshooter. Hitman drags the Phenom to the corner and smashes his left leg into the ring post. Back in the ring, it does not take long for Undertaker to take the match back over. Undertaker goes for the Tombstone, but Bret fights out of it and receives a right hand. Undertaker tries to bring Hart back into the ring but is hung up on the top rope. Hart is able to counter a back body drop and goes for a pin, only to get a two count. Bret gains control of the match and hits Undertaker with a bulldog followed by a backbreaker and leg drop from the second rope. Hitman goes for the Sharpshooter, but Undertaker counters with a grip to the throat. A double knock down takes both men down and starts a count, but Bret is first to his feet as he removes the padding from one of the turnbuckles. Undertaker is left chasing Hart around the ring, and Bret is eventually able to hit Undertaker’s head into that exposed turnbuckle a couple of times, but it does not phase Undertaker as he regains control and is able to get Bret up and hit the Tombstone pile driver. Undertaker goes for the pin, but Diesel interrupts the count by dragging the referee out of the ring, getting Bret Hart disqualified.
Winner via DQ: The Undertaker

Post-Match: Diesel walks off, but the Undertaker is hot on Diesel’s heels as he and Paul Bearer chase Big Daddy D to the back.

Royal Rumble Plus: We are sent to the back with Todd, and he is interviewing Gorilla Monsoon. Monsoon announces that, at In Your House in February, Bret the Hitman Hart will defend his WWF Title against Big Daddy Cool Diesel, who is now the #1 contender. We are then sent to Dok Hendrix, who is standing by with Shawn Michaels, and Michaels states that phase 1 of the Heartbreak Kid’s plan is complete. He also states that it does not matter who wins the title match at In Your House because he will prevail at WrestleMania. We are sent back to Todd and Monsoon, who are interrupted by the Undertaker, and the Phenom makes it known that it will be a cold day in hell before Diesel wins the WWF Championship. This drives Monsoon to make the title match in February a steel cage match, which takes us to Dok standing by with Diesel. Diesel is not worried about Bret or the steel cage as well as let it be known that is not scared of Undertaker or anything that he has to say. After a few seconds of watching Vader show off his power, we are given a glimpse back at the 1996 Royal Rumble.
From Fresno, California, goodnight everybody!

Written By
Keshia Holt
Follow on Twitter @ReallyNoKesh

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