Hollywood actress Eliza Dushku made the widely-known phrase “go big, or go home” a well known household term when she quoted this on one of her many television starring roles. And even though this phrase has been around for quite some time, the World Wrestling Federation used this phrase to their advantage, vividly, at the 1997 Royal Rumble.
The 1997 Royal Rumble was live from San Antonio, Texas at the Alamo Dome. This PPV hosted the largest live Royal Rumble audience in the history of the show. 60,525 fans filled the Dome, giving it a Wrestlemania-like vibe. However, there was a three-fold reason why the stadium was close to being a sell-out.
1.) The immense popularity of the Royal Rumble match itself
2.) The fact that this show would have a healthy dose of Triple-A legends from Mexico involved in the pay-per-view – major favorite in San Antonio, Texas.
3.) This would be the homecoming of the hometown hero, The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, challenging for the World Wrestling Federation Championship against Psycho Sid.
This year’s Royal Rumble match followed up with the previous year’s initial setting of playing every wrestlers theme music when they would come down to the ring. In previous years, only the#1 and #2 entrants would have their entrance music played. Similar to 1994, the ’97 Rumble match ended with a chunk of controversy. When both Mankind and Terry Funk eliminated each other, the two men brawled non-stop with each other outside the ring, occupying every ref in the match. During their melee, Bret Hart eliminated Stone Cold Steve Austin on the other side of the ring. But Austin, being the ultimate opportunist, would take advantage of this rare loophole of no ref being available to declare his elimination, and came back into the match. Austin quickly eliminated both the Undertaker and Vader, and came right behind Hart’s back to throw him over the top rope, thus being the sole survivor and winner in the Rumble match. Bret Hart, realizing what happened, went on a tirade with the refs and their shortcomings of this injustice. But Austin would walk away with his (supposed) ticket stamped for a Wrestlemania title shot.
The main event showed Shawn Michaels challenging the WWF Champion Sid to a one-on-one match for the title. When you look back on the pay-per-view, the show really was tailor made for Michaels, in terms of location and placement of the match. Not only that, we also saw the return of Shawn’s manager Jose Lothario. Lothario was injured by Sid in the first match between the two men at the Survivor Series, but nothing would keep him from seeing his protege Michaels win the title for the 2nd time. And that he did, as Shawn would close out the show by walking out of the Alamo Dome with the World Wrestling Federation Championship.
Maurice D. Proffit is a Writer For Rant Sports