WWE Royal Rumble '98
January 18th, 1998

I think I've hit all my most-favorite Rumbles, so it's time to just start pulling some out of the pile. On top? We're going to 1998, when the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels were battling over the top title. Actually, similar to today, only they're fighting each other, since there's only one belt. A lot to cover, so let's get to it.

WWF Royal Rumble '98
Posted by the Accelerator, February 23rd, '07

- The cover of my box shows the back of Steve Austin's head with nails in his skull, and a note on the back. It says "Pain... Just A 4 Letter Word." Below that, Shawn Michaels is giving the Undertaker some Sweet Chin Music, with Hunter Hearst Helmsley watching. I've seen more impressive covers, although the nailshot does speak to the new attitude of the WWF.

- The opening promo actually seems a little plain to me, which is strange, since it's a similar format to the '01 promo I reviewed not that long ago. I guess it's just the voice, which doesn't have that mysterious tone to it to make the promo dramatic. Instead, it's just a showing off of your WWF superstars who are competing tonight for the chance at winning the Rumble.

- Your announcers are Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler. In other words, the usual suspects. The not-so-usual suspects are Carlos Cabrera & Tito Santana at the Spanish Announce Table, and Jean Brassard and Ray Rougeau at the French Announce Table. Yes, indeed, we have a French Announce Table.

- Mike Tyson is shown watching the show. The crowd boos.

The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust w/ Luna vs. Vader:

Goldust (I refuse to refer to him as TAFKAG) is wearing a green wig (with blue hair underneath) and some weird striped trunks. They talk about Goldust's strange phase recently, including wearing a New Year's Baby gimmick and a Sable outfit. Goldust has, at this point, broken up with Marlena and gotten with Luna, which has just made him stranger. He calls himself "Forever Unchained". I get it, FU, hah hah. Vader, meanwhile, has become a fan favorite, but still hasn't reached the heights that he reached in WCW. The two have been feuding for months now.

Vader takes control early on, throwing Goldust into Luna on the outside. The announcers talk about how 29 men are waiting for Stone Cold and the bounty placed on his head. That shows you the importance of this match. Vader thinks of using the stairs on Goldust, but realizes that this would get him DQ'ed. Back in the ring, Vader gets tripped up by Luna, allowing Goldust to get the advantage. Goldust dominates, including throwing Vader into the stairs on the outside. As Goldust distracts the ref, Luna goes after Vader with her shoe. Luna's wearing some weird items as well, but then, she always did. Goldust climbs up on Vader in the turnbuckle and tells the crowd he's going to kick Vader's ass. He pounds on Vader, then opts to get a kiss in. That's not going to make Vader happy. As Goldust walks away, happy with himself, Vader runs out and clotheslined Goldust, taking the advantage. Goldust comes back, but his bodyslam attempt doesn't come close, allowing Vader to get control and pound some more on Dusty Rhode's little boy. Vader asks the crowd what time is it, and they all cheer, as he starts to set up for another Vader Bomb. With Luna distracting the ref, though, Goldust gets another low blow in. But Vader's too strong, coming back and crushing Goldust with a sit-down on his chest. The Vader Bomb is set back up, with Luna running in and getting on Vader's back! But Vader ignores it, and as the crowd goes crazy, Vader gets the Vader Bomb on Goldust with Luna still on his back! Vader gets the win, and that finish almost saved the match.

Ace Thoughts: This really wasn't that impressive a match, as it didn't have a great flow to it. It's sad for me to watch what happened to Vader when he came to the WWF, as he was so dominant in WCW, as well as later overseas. The finish was cool, showcasing Vader's strength, but I just didn't get into the bout. I'm worried that's going to become a theme tonight. We'll see.

- Michael Cole greats Steve Austin, who appears at the Rumble and tells Cole to park his truck. As Cole talks about his arrival, the Godwinns show up, wanting to know where he went. Well, duh, guys, there's only one door there.

Battallion, El Torrito, & Tarantula vs. Max Mini, Mosaic, & Nova:

Sunny is the special referee for these mini wrestlers. I'm sorry, why is this match taking place again? The crowd is with me on this, as they are barely giving anything to the match. I've got to admit, the little guys are fast, but every other move is an arm drag, which drags down the bout. Not to mention the fact that I don't know who these guys are. The King gets to get in all his 'small' jokes, talking about seeing Max Mini reading "Little Women". At least Mike Tyson seems to be enjoying the minis. This is the second match tonight with little flow. Sunny gives an asset to Max Mini, which inspires a tiny reaction from the crowd. We get more reactions as the minis start pulling off Cruiserweight maneuvers to the outside. Not too surprisingly, Max Mini gets a roll-up after an armdrag on El Torrito and gets the win, as Sunny makes a really slow count. Ace Thoughts: Do I even need to talk about this one? Ok, let's see. First off, these minis are pretty fast, so I was mildly impressed. That being said, I was bored to tears for most of this. Surely these guys can do more than simply armdrags! So far, this PPV's got me tired more than anything.

- In the back, the Nation of Domination bursts into Steve Austin's locker room, naively thinking that Austin would be stupid enough to be there. They just find a foam middle finger instead.

- A promo narrated by the announcers talks about Ken Shamrock's feud with the Nation of Domination, including Mark Henry turning on Shamrock and joining the NOD. Michael Cole then interviews the Rock, talking about dissention between the NOD regaring the Rumble. The Rock first talks about President Clinton's affair... with Paula Jones. No blue dress around yet. The Rock then talks about going one-on-one with Shamrock for the IC Title. Not that inspiring an interview, as Maivia is still finding himself.

Sign In The Audience: "ShamRock / Shall Rock / The Rock". Catchy.

Rocky Maivia(c) vs. "The World's Most Dangerous Man" Ken Shamrock, WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Title Match:

I always liked the NOD theme music. Rocky gives another brief interview to get some more cheap heat from the crowd, calling himself the best IC Champ ever. The crowd goes nuts with Shamrock's entrance, showing how over this man was at the time. Huge "Rocky Sucks" chant right after the bell, distracting the champ. Cautious beginning here; cautious, as in "stalling". It takes a couple of minutes before these guys even lock up, followed by more lock-ups and stalling. Finally, the Rock gets a kick in and starts things up, with Shamrock dodging some shots and getting a kick, followed by throwing Maivia out of the ring. And we're back to stalling. Things start to pick up with clotheslines, and Shamrock opts to try for a Hurricanrana, which ends up with Shamrock getting dropped throat-first on the top rope. The crowd is loud again with those "Rocky Sucks" chants.

Rocky stomps away on Shamrock, then chokes him with his boot in the corner. Shamrock comes back with several punches, but gets stopped with the old-fashioned eyerake. Shamrock gets some momentum soon after, getting a bodypress and a Fisherman's Suplex, but the Rock again gets control, taking Shamrock to the outside and slamming Shamrock's head into the stairs. Shamrock tries a comeback in the ring, but the Rock lands a huge DDT for a 2 count. It was so huge that we go immediately into a resthold, in the form of a chin lock. Even the King points out that Shamrock's getting a chance to recover. True to form, the Rock tries another Floatover DDT, but Shamrock reverses into a Northern Lights Suplex, leading to a Double KO count up to 9 before both get up. Shamrock punches away on Maivia, and he starts to fire up, as Maivia asks for a break. Shamrock responds with a Powerslam for a 2 count. Shamrock lets out a scream, getting wired. A Hurricanrana lands for Shamrock, who's in control. But as Kama Mustafa (aka the Godfather) comes down and does the distraction, the Rock puts on some brass knuckles and punches Shamrock, then slips the knucks into Shamrock's shorts. Yikes. We get a 2 count.

As the ref continues to deal with the Nation, Shamrock comes back, getting the Belly-To-Belly Suplex and gets the 3 count, seemingly becoming the Intercontinental Champion! However, the Rock convinces the ref to check Shamrock's trunks, where the knucks are found. The ref reverses his decision, giving the win, and the title, back to Maivia. Shamrock goes insane, putting the ref into the Ankle Lock, with the King talking about Shamrock getting himself suspended.

Ace Thoughts: This match definitely could have been better, as the ending really throws it off. When has a referee ever checked a guy after a match, anyway? He deserved to be beaten up. The crowd, at least, helped make this match worth something. I just, for some reason, wasn't that enthused. Maybe it was just the other two matches so far that sucked some enthusiasm from me. I don't know.

- As a WWF Home Video exclusive, Shamrock assaults the Rock in the back, with officials pulling him out.

- Los Boriquas think they've found Austin, attacking the bald man. Unfortunately, the bald man was actually Skull, leading to a brawl between Los Boriquas and the Disciples of Apocalypse.

- A video shows us the history of the Legion of Doom in recent weeks, as they were taken down by the New Age Outlaws. Hawk gets his mohawk shaved, while Animal gets put through the announce table. This is their return after the beating. As the Outlaws come to the ring and get more cheap heat by wearing Brett Favre jerseys, Michael Cole interviews the LOD, wanting to know about Animal's back injury. Animal, of course, says that he's going to fight through it. Foreshadowing alert!

The New Age Outlaws ("Badass" Billy Gunn & "The Roaddogg" Jesse James)(c) vs. the Legion of Doom (Hawk(RIP) & Animal), WWF World Tag-Team Titles Match:

The LOD dominate early, with Animal landing a huge Powerbomb on the Roaddogg for a near 2 within a minute, causing the NAOs to consider leaving. The LOD obviously don't like that and chase them down. Hawk takes control of "Bob Armstrong's Baby Boy" (according to JR). For those who don't know, that means the Roaddogg. The Roaddogg's mouth is bloody, a little surprising this early in the bout. Hawk looks a little silly with half a mohawk. He should have shaved the other half. Gunn gets tagged in, but Hawk continues to dominate, then tags in Animal to have some fun. The beating goes to rest holds, as Hawk applies an STF hold on Gunn, causing some "LOD" chants from the crowd. Only a few, but at least that's something. The tide finally changes as Animal is sent into the stairs on the outside by the Roaddogg. Hawk, though not the legal man, comes in and takes over on both NAOs. But he misses a charge on the Roaddogg and bangs his shoulder into the post, so both LOD members are down.

The Roaddogg gets some handcuffs and hits Animal with them right in front of the ref, but hey, we don't need no stinking DQs. Hawk gets handcuffed to the post and is put out of action, making it Animal vs. the Outlaws. Surprisingly, Animal still dominates, catching Gunn off the top rope with a rough-looking Powerslam. But the Roaddogg comes in with a chair shot to Animal's back, causing the DQ. With Hawk still locked up, Animal's back gets beat on with the chair. Hawk finally loses it and breaks the handcuffs (where'd the NAOs get them, Toys R Us?) and saves his partner with his own chair shots. The ring announcer again announces the LOD as the winners, with Animal not even needing a stretcher after the beating he took.

Ace Thoughts: Not the most impressive match I've ever seen, as the LOD were given WAY too much against the New Age Outlaws. The fans weren't sympathetic to any beatings Hawk or Animal took, because they basically no-sold them all over the place. Animal's bad back should have probably kept him from doing Powerbombs, Powerslams, and other major maneuvers, but he barely slowed down. Plus, he took how many chairshots to the back, and yet, he gets up under his own power? Sure, he looks like it hurts, but anyone else would be stretchered out. Once again, I just couldn't get into it.

- The winner of Stone Cold's truck is Mildred Bowers from Nashville, Tennessee. Yes, the WWF was giving away merchandise for PPV buyrates. You had to love the Monday Night Wars. A promo talks about Austin's assault on dozens of wrestlers to prove he's the baddest man in the planet. A bounty gets put on his head by Vince McMahon, making him the target of 29 other guys.

- Mike Tyson is again shown enjoying the Rumble, with Shane McMahon sitting next to him.

30-Man Royal Rumble Match:

#1 is Cactus Jack, one of Mick Foley's personalities. #2 is Chainsaw Charlie, otherwise known as Terry Funk. Y'know, a little while back, I said that I thought the Hardcore battle in '01 was the first one? I was wrong. Chairs immediately come into play here between the two 'friends', as they do some dueling chairs. Charlie gives Cactus a free shot to the head, and Cactus then hands over the chair, so Charlie can get in a few shots of his own! The ring is littered with chairs. The Demolition Rule is in effect, as both men stop fighting to wait for #3, Tom Brandi. Brandi doesn't stand a chance, as he's beaten down and quickly thrown out by both men. The hardcore battle continues, although I'm not sure if the crowd is really into it. They do stand up some when Charlie gets suplexed through two chairs by Cactus. I think he was around 54 at the time. 54 and taking hits like that? Whew. #4 is Rocky Maivia, who kicks on both hardcore members. But soon, the two guys work together, with Cactus smashing the Rock with a trash can shot. The can goes on top of the People's Champ, and he gets pummeled. Maivia falls out of the ring, but goes through the middle ropes, so he's still legal.

#5 is Headbanger Mosh (with no music), who almost gets hit by a thrown chair from Charlie. We break down to Cactus Jack vs. the Rock (a future main event) and Chainsaw Charlie & Headbanger Mosh (not quite main event). Chainsaw does a Moonsault, but misses most of it. #6 is Phineas Godwinn, who will go onto non-fame as Naked Mideon. The announcers mention the Godwinn's feud with the Headbangers. Charlie chops away at the Rock, getting the Ric Flair Whoooos. #7 is 8-Ball (one of the Harris Brothers), representing the Disciples of Apocalypse. Charlie eliminates Cactus Jack, as Cactus opted to do the old Rumble charge. Chainsaw then gets hung out by his feet by Maivia, but survives. #8 is Blackjack Bradshaw. This is before the APA, and way before John Bradshaw Layfield. We've got 6 men in the ring, with only Maivia a potential Rumble contender. The rest are pretty much tag-team wrestlers only. #9 is Owen Hart(RIP), who quickly gets attacked from behind by Jeff Jarrett w/ Jim Cornette, the NWA North American Champion. He takes a beating from Jarrett and doesn't make it down the aisle, instead heading backstage. Mike Tyson ain't happy.

#10 is "The Lethal Weapon" Steve Blackman. He kicks away on Chainsaw Charlie, and Charlie again does the near-elimination spot. The crowd's pretty quiet right now. The King starts talking about a 'source' in the back who believes that Steve Austin got taken out by Ken Shamrock. JR doesn't buy it. #11 is N-O-D member D-Lo Brown, who attacks several different guys to give Maivia a breather. But D-Lo shockingly turns on the Rock, and the two NOD members start slugging each other! Stupidity abounds, as they're more than enough guys to fight right now. #12 is Kurrgan, and I think we've got about 9 in there so far. Headbanger Mosh tries to attack Kurrgan with punches on the top turnbuckle. Well, you can guess how that ended, but just in case, Kurrgan throws Mosh out. #13 is "Marvelous" Marc Mero w/ Sable. I was reading Mick Foley's first book not long ago, and it talks about how upset Foley was that Mero got more money than him. Well, you can't deny whose career went better. Mero works with Kurrgan, getting Kurrgan to toss out Blackman. #14 is "The World's Most Dangerous Man" Ken Shamrock, who immediately attcks Kurrgan. When he knocks Kurrgan down, everyone sees their chance and grabs the big man, launching him out! Kurrgan lets out one of his throaty screams, but he's gone.

Surprisingly, Shamrock doesn't focus on the Rock, instead pounding on Godwinn. Some of the logic in this match throws me. Was this Pat Patterson's off-night or something? Finally, Shamrock and Maivia start going at it right at the count, as #15 Headbanger Thrasher comes down. A lot of bodies in the ring right now. D-Lo's choking out Maivia in the corner. Mero dances around the ring boxing-wise, but gets nailed by 8-Ball. #16 is Mankind, the 2nd of Mick Foley's alter-egos. Mankind immediately goes after Chainsaw Charlie, eliminating his 'friend'. I believe this makes Foley the only guy in history to appear more than once in a Rumble. #17 is the Artist Formerly Known As Goldust w/ Luna, now with red face paint to go with his blue hair. Goldust and Mankind go at it on one side, while Shamrock and the Rock fight on the other. Goldust surprisingly eliminates Mankind, yanking him with one arm. We've got a Foley Down, we've got a Foley Down. #18 is Jeff Jarrett w/ Jim Cornette, and the fans haven't forgotten his assault on Owen. Owen hasn't forgotten, either, as he comes running back in and beats away on Jarrett! Jarrett throws out Hart, but Owen skins the cat, then comes back and sends Jarrett out instead. Revenge=ratings!

#19 is the Honky Tonk Man, but the bigger story is that Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna come down behind him, with Helmsley still on crutches due to his injury. Meanwhile, the Rock eliminates Shamrock, winning two over the guy in one night. Owen tries to avoid the attack by Chyna, grabbing her crutch, but that just allows Helmsley to hit Owen with the other one, causing Hart to fall out and be eliminated. Hart chases to the back with the crutches, even as #20, Ahmed Johnson, comes out. I remember seeing Johnson when he was Big T in WCW. I wish I didn't remember. He looks a lot better here, as he goes against Phineas with a headbutt. A review shows that a low blow allowed the Rock to throw out Shamrock. The crowd continues to grow in the ring with #21, NOD member "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry. You just get the feeling that guys are hanging around just for Austin here. Henry assaults Johnson, as JR opts to go with his old standards, with humorous results.

Jim Ross: "Mark Henry is handling the big Johnson..." (Whoops. Well, it IS the Attitude era.)

The announcers talk about this being only the 2nd Rumble match for the Honky Tonk Man, which is surprising. Henry throws some powder into Johnson's eyes, blinding him. #22 is an empty void, as no one comes out. The King immediately believes that it was Austin's number, and that he was taken out in the back. Johnson got thrown out by the NOD, followed by Phineas, who takes out a referee on the way out. Rather than care about who eliminated them, Johnson and Phineas fight to the back. D-Lo attacks Henry, so once again, the NOD have decided not to team up. #23 is yet another member of the NOD, Kama (once again, you probably know him as the Godfather. Or, for you old-schoolers, Papa Shango). Kama and D-Lo go at it, which again, makes little sense. The Honky Tonk Man tries to toss out the Rock, but D-Lo makes the save. Huh? Oh well. I believe we've got 10 men in there right now, with barely any favorites.

At #24, business is about to pick up, as Stone Cold's music starts up. The entire ring turns and looks to the rampway, but Austin comes in from behind. Austin goes crazy, throwing out Mero & 8 Ball. Immediately, everyone stops ganging up on Austin for some reason. Isn't he the main threat? #25 is Henry Godwinn, who at least goes after Austin with kicks and punches. Good to know someone hasn't forgotten about the bounty. The announcers mention that Bradshaw's been in the Rumble for 38 minutes. I had almost forgotten he was there. We've got every member of the NOD going at it. #26 is Savio Vega, who comes out with the rest of Los Boriquas. The entire group goes after Austin, but Austin basically takes them all out, sending the non-competitors out of the ring. Vega escapes the Stunner, so Austin gives Goldust a huge clothesline out of spite. Way too many people have been in the ring for way too long. We've got 11 in there now.

#27 is the leader of the NOD, Faarooq. Maybe he'll stop the violence. Nope, Faarooq pounds on the Rock, then Kama. Meanwhile, the Rock and Austin fight to the outside, but neither is eliminated. The Rock throws Austin into the stairs, getting some injuries in. A dozen men in the ring. Ok, 11 in the ring, Austin down on the outside. #28 is Dude Love, the 3rd and final Mick Foley alter-ego. Dude Love immediately hits and eliminates Bradshaw, after 40 minutes of Blackjack action. Goldust gets yanked under the ropes by Austin, who clotheslined Goldust again. In the ring, the Rock hits the People's Elbow on D-Lo. Seconds later, the Rattlesnake comes back in and pounds on the Rock, getting some revenge. #29 is Chainz of the DOA, aka Brian Lee. Faarooq tosses out his own partner, D-Lo. The announcers completely miss it. #30 is Vader, getting the best draw of the wrestlers. This means that Skull was #22, but the beating he took from Los Boriquas earlier kept him out.

Vader immediately goes after Goldust, but takes a second to eliminate the Honky Tonk Man. I think we've got 11 left. All night, there's been around a dozen in the ring. That's just too many for too long. Anyhow, Austin eventually fires up, sending out Headbanger Thrasher, followed by Kama Mustafa. JR mentions that D-Lo's been in there for a while. Uh, JR, he got tossed. It's cleaning time, as Austin launches out Vega, Goldust gets rid of Vader, and Henry Godwinn misses a charge on Dude Love and heads out as well. Goldust gets tossed by Chainz, bringing us down to 6 guys: Austin, Dude Love, Chainz, and the NOD (Faarooq, Henry, & the Rock). Chainz gets sent out off-camera by Austin, while Faarooq, for some reason, throws out Henry. Henry almost comes back in, as if he had forgotten it was his time. We've got the final four: Austin & Dude Love vs. Faaoorq & the Rock. Dude Love gets the Sweet Shin Music on the Rock, followed by a Double-Arm DDT. Austin opts to attack Dude Love, with Dude Love coming back with the Mandible Claw. But Faarooq catches Dude Love and throws him out, making it two-on-one. You would think.

Of course, the Rock turns on Faarooq, throwing out the leader of the NOD. It's now down to the Rock vs. Austin, the only two who really had a chance of winning. The Rock nearly goes, but manages to come back in. This leads to a Stone Cold Stunner, and unlike most of Austin's matches, in the Rumble, that means that the wrestler stands straight up and is easy to eliminate. The Rock goes out, and Austin, the only real possible winner in this one, not surprisingly is the winner. Mike Tyson looks happy, as Austin throws middle fingers towards the crowd.

Ace Thoughts: I've seen worse Rumbles, but I've also seen much better Rumbles. This one, as I mentioned throughout the review, just had too many bodies in the ring throughout. The only thing worth waiting for was the breaking glass of Austin's entrance, as no one was fooled into thinking anyone else had a shot at going to Wrestlemania to challenge the champ. - Michael Cole interviews Mike Tyson, who is, as I said, happy about the Rattlesnake winning. Cole asks for Tyson's pick in the World Title match, and Tyson just avoids the issue, praising both men.

- A promo talks about the feud between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. The last time they met was in the Hell in a Cell Match, which set the tone for the Undertaker's HIAC match with Mankind later on. We see a lot of clips of their last match, with Kane causing the Dead Man to lose. The two have interactions all over the place with caskets. D-X announces that Kane has joined them, but Kane comes out instead to help his brother, seemingly bringing them back together. In other words, we have no idea who's going to win, right?

"The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels(c) w/ Hunter Hearst Helmsley & Chyna vs. the Undertaker, WWF World Heavyweight Title Casket Match:

The announcers quickly tout Michaels as the Grand Slam champion, as he has won the World, IC, Euro, and Tag-Team Titles. Of course, JR takes the opportunity to say that Hogan and Savage (main-eventers in WCW at the time) never did it. HBK tries to use speed early on, punching away at the Undertaker, with little effect. The Dead Man catches Michaels in mid-air with a Choke, then sends Michaels with a backdrop out of the ring. HBK hits his back on the edge of the casket, which would lead to a long-running back issue. Back in the ring for a minute, with the Dead Man sending Michaels over again, this time into the casket. Michaels jumps out a half second later, before the lid can be shut. It seems that the Undertaker is going to continue to dominate, as he pounds on Michaels. The Undertaker catches Michaels coming off the top rope, then goes for the casket, rolling Michaels in. But Michaels comes to in time to keep the lid from completely closing. Michaels then comes out of the casket with a powder blast to the Dead Man, blinding him. It's an old tactic, seen back in Halloween 2. If you can't stop the monster, blind him.

Micheals takes control for a little bit, focusing on the Dead Man's eyesight. Both men flip to the outside, with HBK skinning the cat. Fancy, but it doesn't work, as the Undertaker simply pulls Michaels under the ropes and tosses him into the guardrail. Michaels gets tossed on the announce table, but comes back by launching the Undertaker into the stairs at a high rate of speed. Michaels with the advantage, uses the stairs to hammer the Undertaker repeatedly, trying to put him away. Michaels follows that one with a piledriver on the stairs, and the Dead Man is taking a beating. As Michaels goes back into the ring, Triple H uses his crutch to smack down on the challenger, choking the Undertaker with it. Michaels adds a chair shot, brings the Undertaker back in, then, after a few more shots, rolls the Dead Man into the casket. The Undertaker fights back out, throwing Michaels back into the ring.

HBK resorts to a sleeper hold, trying to knock out the Undertaker. Even dead men need to breathe. No, wait, no they don't. At least, not any vampire I've ever seen. Oh well, moving on. The Undertaker inevitably fights back and gets a suplex to escape. But Michaels still has a few tricks, getting his Flying Forearm/Kip Up, followed by his Flying Elbow from the top rope and the Sweet Chin Music. It looks like it's over, as the Undertaker is rolled towards the casket. Michaels opts to pose over the Undertaker, but the Dead Man reaches out and grabs some, uh, lower extrementies, causing a lot of pain for the Heart Break Kid. The Undertaker gets fired up, destroying the champion. But the Undertaker misses a dive and ends up in the casket, and Michaels, rather than going for the lid, opts for an Elbow into the casket, putting both in there! The lid closes, but of course, only one can be in there for a win.

After a few seconds, Michaels tries to escape, but the Undertaker drags him back into the casket. All is quiet for a few more seconds. Both rise up and get out of the casket, heading back into the ring. The Dead Man lands a huge Chokeslam, and Michaels is down. The Undertaker does the throat slash, preparing for the Tombstone into the casket! He does it, crushing Michaels with the Tombstone, but Chyna takes out the ref before the casket can be closed. The New Age Outlaws and Los Boriquas attack the Undertaker, as shades of the Undertaker/Yokozuna casket match come to mind. Kane comes to apparently help his brother, clearing the ring of the stooges. In the meantime, Chyna & Triple H rescue Michaels. In the ring, Kane suddenly turns on the Dead Man, shocking the crowd. The Undertaker gets Chokeslammed into the casket, with the lid being shut, giving Shawn Michaels the victory. Paul Bearer then comes down and, with Kane, locks the casket and carts it off to the entryway. Kane takes an axe to the lid and pours in some gasoline, setting the casket on fire!! Of course, in a Coliseum video exclusive, the burning casket is put out, and the Undertaker isn't inside. He does the voice over the speakers, saying that he won't Rest In Peace.

Ace Thoughts: Passable main event, as you really weren't sure what was going to go down. I'm sure many people expected the turning of Kane, but it still stunned the crowd, as they saw the Undertaker becoming the champion. This would lead to Kane and the Undertaker feuding to Wrestlemania, while Shawn Michaels had his classic battle with Stone Cold Steve Austin (along with the enforcer, Mike Tyson) for the WWF World Title. It all worked out well in the end, with an explosion of success for the company that would eventually lead to the collapse of WCW. This PPV, though? I don't think I can even recommend the Rumble, unless you're, like me, a Rumble fanatic.

The Accelerator