Steve Austin Talks Botched 1996 Royal Rumble Appearance, The Difficulties Of The Match
Photo by Bill Watters/Getty Images
Jonathan Snowden over at Bleacher Report did a great write-up on Steve Austin’s iconic 1997 Royal Rumble. Austin also touched on a number of topics such as when he first became a star, the difficulties of the match, and his botched appearance in 1996.
On how he connected with audience:
That’s when he took the restrictions off and I started really growing into that character, finding my confidence, flipping people off, flying the bird and for some reason, I just think people wanted a different brand of entertainment than they had been used to. And I broke from the mold of being a traditional babyface. I was a guy that was running in the gray area. You didn’t know what Stone Cold was going to do, but you knew he was going to be wildly entertaining.
On working the Royal Rumble:
I think they’re fun to work, but at the same time they’re a pain in the ass to work because there’s a lot going on—there’s a lot to remember. You’re always going to have a couple of guys—I’ve been there myself—just standing around in the corner ‘trying’ to throw the other guy over the top. Doggone it, they just can’t leverage him enough, you know?
Sometimes the ring is so crowded, you really can’t lock into anything because if someone tries to do something, it inevitably turns into a cluster because there’s too many guys in the ring. They are tedious.
His botched 1996 Royal Rumble:
I was supposed to be like the fourth-to-last guy left in the ring, a pretty damn good spot and a pretty good shove from the company for a guy coming in. I did a clothesline spot with Fatu and was going to hang onto the top rope and come back in. Well, the thing was, everybody was wearing baby oil in those days, so the ropes and everything were very, very slippery, and I couldn’t grab the top rope, and I ended up on my ass on the floor, eliminated early.
I had to get Shawn Michaels’ attention and let him know I was out. He had to figure out how to fix my mess. I go back to the back, and I’m thinking, ‘OK man, here’s this company taking a chance on me, and I blew it.’