Was 1997 Royal Rumble a shoot/botch?

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D., Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

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    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. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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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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  3. tvcolosi

    tvcolosi Getting Noticed By Management

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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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  4. dsotm5150

    dsotm5150 Pre-Show Stalwart

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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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  5. Goldie

    Goldie Getting Noticed By Management

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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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  6. The Fabulous Rougeau's

    The Fabulous Rougeau's Championship Contender

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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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  7. Zeven_Zion

    Zeven_Zion King Of The Ring

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    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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  8. Azane

    Azane Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    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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  9. Mac

    Mac Pre-Show Stalwart

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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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  10. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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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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  11. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    Well it depends who you believe lol. If you believe Bret, the booking was hijacked by Shawn Michaels. If you believe Shawn, nothing was done without Vince signing off on it.

    I personally believe it was both. The booking was hijacked by Shawn AND Vince signed off on it. I believe Vince was RELIEVED when Shawn came up with his bogus "injury" ( an "injury he had been wrestling with since 1990). Shawn was causing nothing but problems backstage. He was an insecure, neurotic, functioning drug addict (as described by Bret and confirmed by Shawn) Shawn CLEARLY was threatened by Bret and his new contract (Vince HAD to make Bret his top guy because he paying him over a million dollars a year!) So Shawn went about trying to sabotage Bret (even though both had agreed to "work" each other in the media and on TV).

    It was a collision course for disaster which ultimately led to the "Montreal Screwjob"
     
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  12. harrythem

    harrythem Championship Contender

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    It all comes down to Shawn Michaels being a dick (and I'd say he still is as, in a fair few interviews, he still smiles when he says "Vince didn't know what to do at WM13" mainly because Shawn fucked everyone about).

    Bret vs Austin was a good back-up match (and turned into one of the biggest matches in wrestling history in retrospect of where Austin ended up afterwards) but making it a submission match and adding Shamrock just reeked of Vince having to throw shit at the wall due to his planned main event going out the window.

    I always heard the plan was for HBK to lose the belt back to Sid at Thursday Raw Thursday (the smile losing Raw) and then put over Bret in a no.1 contenders match at WM13....by "losing his smile" (and deciding to dress like a teacher) HBK managed to sidestep 2 jobs to 2 guys that'd done the job for him on big stages and completely throw the companies top event into chaos.

    Mind you, like his mate Triple H being a dick with the curtain call resulted in KOTR 96 getting a new winner, it seemed that when HBK and his mates fucked about it actually ended up being the best thing for WWF business (and him fucking his back up at Rumble 98 was a Godsend as it meant there wasn't no drugged up twat causing Vince and co issues so they could completely focus on the new direction the company was heading
     
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  13. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    True. BUT I have to look at it from Shawn's view as well. Shawn just finished a YEAR run on top (wrestling 300 plus days) with NO help. Nash was gone, Hall was gone, Bret was gone, Kid was gone, HHH was getting buried. It was ALL on HBK's shoulders....and he did a HORRIBLE job of handling it. But he brought it EVERY single night. He sees his buddies getting millions at WCW for 1/2 the work....then he sees Bret, who he felt walked out on him when he needed him the most just to see if he could handle being the top guy, get a record contract after sitting out a WHOLE year.

    So from THAT perspective....can't really blame Shawn for not wanting to put Bret over. But yeah Shawn was EVERYTHING that he was accused of being in the '90's.
     
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  14. harrythem

    harrythem Championship Contender

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    I kinda get what you're saying but, by October 96 Triple H was the IC champion and was back on the rise. More importantly a lot of the reason that Shawn was doing it on his own was because he was a dick. Who was it that made a superman come-back at the end of "International Incident" in July 96 and sent the PPV off the air with him having destroyed Vader, thus killing interest in people seeing him somehow overcome a monster"? There was a good chance that HBK vs Vader could have done some serious (by the standards of the time) business and would've been a really good feud to go to while they set up others like Sid etc to edge towards the main event scene.
    The best bit was seeing and hearing HBK getting pissed at the fans rejecting him at Survivor Series 96 and then when they clearly were calling "bullshit" on his "injury"
     
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  15. The Warlord

    The Warlord Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Backflip off the top rope, people!! Remember! Hahaha...Bret still sounds pissed about it saying Michaels' knee was never hurt. Shawn says he really was hurt but when he recovered he did that flip just to piss off Bret.


    It'll forever be a "Bret said this, Shawn said that" pissing match for eternity. They may have patched things up but some wounds never heal.

    That is all for today.
     
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  16. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

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    That's true. No HBK = No Attitue Era. As much as a dick HBK was, everything that he did from 1996 onwards led to Ausin becoming the top guy.
    1996: Curtain call happens. HHH is suspended and does not win the KOTR as it was planned, but instead Austin wins it and drops the "Austin 3:16" line.
    1997: HBK loses his smile. No HBK vs Bret II at Wrestlemania. Austin takes his place and delivers a 5-star match that boosts him to superstandom.
    1998: HBK puts over Austin, leaves and returns after Austin has left.
    It's like a sign from the heavens, really.
     
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  17. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

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    Both guys had huge egos back then. And to tell you the truth, Bret sitting out only to come back after so many months only to beat Shawn at Wrestlemania and bocome Vince's #1 guy again was just bad bussiness. Bret was in his 40s then. How could that guy carry the company and not HBK who was much younger?
     
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  18. comrade_mario

    comrade_mario Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Well the idea that Bret and Shawn had pitched or talked about back before WM12 was for a sequence of matches whereby Shawn beat Bret at 12, Bret beat Shawn at 13 and then they would have three more title matches throughout the next two years (ironically Survivor Series 97 was meant to be one and I think Shawn was meant to go over there) with HBK eventually coming out ahead 3-2. That would allow Bret to move in to a part-time role away from the title and would solidify Shawn as the number one in the company.

    Obviously the big problem in all of that (even aside from the hatred that would grow between them) is that it doesn't take in to account the rise of other superstars, Steve Austin being the one that shot ahead of both, and was essentially Bret and Shawn booking themselves in money positions.
     
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