Royal Rumble ’96
Arnold Furious: This show has a special spot in my heart. It was the first WWF PPV that I saw live. Living in England meant having to pay for almost everything wrestling related. Before obtaining Sky TV I used to watch PPVs that my friends had taped and I used to watch WCW Worldwide for my wrestling fix. But in 1995 I bit the bullet and bought Sky for myself. It was too late to watch Survivor Series, although I caught a repeat, but the Rumble was there to be watched, which is why the Rumble has always been a special match for me. It also explains why I was a big Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels fan. I loved them both anyway but when I started into the PPV world I could see just what made them so special… live, and that added an aura of unpredictability. Given my inexperience with big wrestling events, I went into the 1996 Royal Rumble not knowing what to expect. Looking back, it’s pretty obvious Shawn is going to win. All the hype surrounds him. All the long-term planning is blatantly aimed at getting Shawn over. Hell, he comes out for an in-ring interview before the event, where he renamed his fanbase “The Kliq”. Hindsight is 20-20.
We’re in Fresno, California. Sadly the tape contains the Free For All in full. Only two good things about that: 1. Jim Cornette hyping Vader in the Rumble. 2. A Jake friggin’ Roberts promo! Unfortunately Jake’s 1996 comeback tour was lame. Mainly because he was clean, but also because he was in horrible shape. At least it stopped jobbers using the DDT as a transitional move for a while. Every cloud has a silver lining. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Mr. Perfect.