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  #1  
Old 02-21-2016, 06:20 PM
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Default Was 1997 Royal Rumble a shoot/botch?

So, I was thinking. It's widely known that the main event of Wrestlemania 13 was going to be Shawn vs Bret II, where Bret would defeat HBK for the WWF Championship.

HBK goes into the Rumble as the challenger against Sid and he wins. That means that Bret Hart was going to win the Royal Rumble right? Nope. Steve Austin wins, after he gets eliminated, but comes back in the ring and eliminates Bret. Given that we now have Austin vs HBK for Mania.

Was the original plan to have Bret challenge Austin at In Your House 13 for the Rumble spot then? Of course at that time I think a HBK vs Austin main event is unlikely, so from what I understand, Austin won only to get a push and would later lose to Hart at In Your House 13, a match that would send Hart at the main event of Wrestlemania. Am I right?

Then, HBK loses his smile. And the rest of the build-up becomes a train wreck. It's said that HBK got injured during the match with Sid so I won't ask why didn't Sid win that match if HBK was going to leave. However my real question here is: Why did Bret Hart became champion only to lose to Sid one night afterwards?

The entire build-up to this Wrestlemania seems like a worked shoot. Bret becomes the champion but then loses, which makes him deliver his "shoot" promo. Btw, was that an actual shoot?

Also, another thing is, that Austin never got to the main event of Wrestlemania, despite winning the Rumble. Was that because he was in the fatal-4-way at IYH13? Wouldn't normally Sid be in Austin's place, with the winner facing Austin at Wrestlemania?

I'm confused. Can someone explain what happened back then in detail?
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2016, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
I'm confused. Can someone explain what happened back then in detail?
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Off the top of my head....YES (according to Bret) the original plan (around Nov. of '96) was for Shawn v. Bret at 'Mania for the title where Shawn would "return the favor". Shawn balked at the plan when asked by Vince then came down with the "career ending" knee injury, which to this day he claims is legit. This was AFTER the Rumble so it was never going to be HBK v. Austin at 13. The plan all along was for Austin to win the Rumble. I've never heard otherwise.

Bret Hart became champion to set up the TWO 'Mania main events. 1) Stone Cold v. Bret (Austin costs Bret the title) and 2) Sid v. 'Taker (where 'Taker will defeat Sid)

The infamous Bret promo was indeed a "worked shoot" and was the beginning of the "Attitude Era" where wrestler's were encouraged to go "off script."

The way they got around Austin not getting a WWF title shot at 13 was because he "cheated" to win the Rumble. The WWF declared the title vacant after Shawn relinquished the title and the last four competitors at the Rumble (Vader, 'Taker, Bret, Austin) fought for the belt. Bret wins then drops it to Sid the next night to set the WM 13 main events.
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Old 02-22-2016, 02:18 AM
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What the guy said above me is 100% accurate. I'll only add that 1997 I believe "In your house - Final 4" was thr first February Ppv so they needed something in the main event that had Mania ramifications. Something that still struggle with some years (see last night's main event)
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Old 02-22-2016, 02:38 AM
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Its hard to say in that time period what went off as planned and what was "hijacked" Michaels ego had pretty much gotten big enough that he needed an 18 wheeler to carry it around after not getting punished for the kliq "curtain call" less than a year earlier and at some point around that time period (late '96 early '97) said he was done doing jobs. So I could see this being an example of hijacked booking after all, Michaels was one of if not their top guy at that moment in time, and with guys still jumping ship to WCW I could see where the booking could have gotten changed to keep Michaels happy. I could definitely see him pulling an injury to change the booking.
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Old 02-22-2016, 02:59 AM
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There was a rumour that Bret Hart was originally considered to win the 97 Rumble... but the booking was changed to Austin after Vince Russo let it slip beforehand that Bret would win.
Regardless... the WM13 main event booking did seem to chop and change.
Technically.... the winner of the Rumble gets the WM title shot.... that did not happen for Austin. Drew to the screwy finish of the Rumble the last 4 guys in it (Bret, Vader, Austin, Taker) had a 4 way match at the Feb PPV once Shawn vacated the title (lost his smile).
Bret won but lost the title to Sid the next day on RAW. if it wasn't going to be Bret-Shawn at WM... then Bret-Austin was the hottest thing going- and it gave them the chance to do their double turn- Bret becomes heel and Austin becomes babyface.
After Shawn removed himself from the scene- the title match for WM13 was going to be Taker vs Sid (glad it was... because then we got the awesome Bret-Austin brawl).
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Old 02-22-2016, 05:49 AM
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That's the beauty of 1997 WWE. Its tought to tell what was real and what was staged. You had so many great performances and so much real animosity between competitors that resulted in the best blurring of lines wrestling has ever seen.
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fabulous Rougeau's View Post
That's the beauty of 1997 WWE. Its tought to tell what was real and what was staged. You had so many great performances and so much real animosity between competitors that resulted in the best blurring of lines wrestling has ever seen.
It only seems that way because the internet wasn't as developed as it would be 10 years later. Had we had the same situation today, we'd know a lot more about it and have a clearer vision on what's happening. That not so clear vision is what made it interesting.

That or they knew how to keep all of this on the down low.
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Zeven_Zion View Post
It only seems that way because the internet wasn't as developed as it would be 10 years later. Had we had the same situation today, we'd know a lot more about it and have a clearer vision on what's happening. That not so clear vision is what made it interesting.

That or they knew how to keep all of this on the down low.
Dirt Sheets still existed back then, and people were still picking apart the politics, they just werent 2 clicks away on google (more like 6 from Yahoo).

The acting and portrayal were more real then than they are now, as things like Total Divas or Breaking Ground just completely remove Kayfabe's veil, and those aren't even the big scary Cat loving Internet's direct fault.
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:00 AM
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The original plan was for Austin to win the '97 Rumble. Then at the Final Four PPV Bret would win the match to earn the number contendership and face Michaels at WM 13. Austin would go on to face the Bulldog and Sid/Taker would go on as a semi main event. Plans changed when Shawn got injured so the title got vacated and the Final Four match became a WWF Title match.
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:44 AM
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Austin was "the plan for the Rumble but not Mania" all along, everything was designed to get him up the card and Taker into a credible position as a main event champion, rather than his previous attraction role.

Remember this was very close after Bret had just signed his "20 year deal" and rebuffed WCW's advances... so it is very likely that Bret was promised the rematch or the title with Shawn as part of that deal... Vince was doing that a lot at the time, he'd promised Davey Boy a World title contractually but then created the Euro belt instead to appease him.

It was also around the time Shawn flat out told Bret he would never lay down for him again. Contractually, Vince had to be seen to do the "right thing for Bret" so they changed plans and offered him the heel turn and match with Austin at Mania, with the promise he'd get title from who Shawn dropped it to...

Of course Shawn "lost his smile" (that whole thing makes me sick to this day...) so Bret won the vacated title, but by then it was clear that he didn't need the belt to feud with Austin at Mania and with Shawn gone,they needed to reposition Undertaker.

Until 95 he'd been "monster of the PPV" guy but now they wanted to seriously give him a run at the title to fill that void Shawn was leaving and get him working with the top workers after seeing the improvements from working Vader and Foley...
Taker with the belt allowed that to happen.

Taker was a HORRIBLE worker until after his injury to Mabel, then once he got to work with, Bret, Austin and Shawn he became the legend we know today...best example of "quick learner" ever...

Tat was also a relatively easy pill for Bret to swallow, he lost the rematch with Shawn as a possibility but gained valuable feuds for the rest of the year and the company got 2 more main eventers. It was only when Shawn was back in the picture (as he was "done" when Bret agreed to all this) that it went south and Bret started to feel he'd been played.
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