Stone Cold Steve Austin has spoken out about his dislike of the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match despite being a triple time winner.
During his long and illustrious career, ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ triumphed in three different Royal Rumble Matches. In 1997 he slithered his way to a win by re-entering after he’d been eliminated behind the referee’s back to eliminate Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Vader. Though he didn’t go to WrestleMania on that occasion thanks to shenanigan’s with Shawn Michaels and the WWF Championship, he did receive a career defining “I Quit” Match with Hart.
In 1998, one of the most popular wrestlers to ever lace-up a pair of boots copied the feat of Shawn Michaels with back-to-back victories by last eliminating The Rock. The victory garnered him the WWF Championship Match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 that would cement him as a true star.
Meanwhile, in 2001 he capped off a successful return with number three using a steel chair to eliminate Kane and send him on to WrestleMania X-7 where he turned heel on The Rock and sided with arch rival, Vince McMahon, in one of the greatest main events in the show’s history.
Now, Austin has sat down with Ryan Satin of FOX Sports to discuss the Royal Rumble and why he was never keen on the match to begin with:
“I’ll share this with you. I won three Royal Rumbles, but I didn’t really like Royal Rumbles, because there’s so much going on. So many things that can’t go wrong because everything’s gotta work out. You know what I’m speaking of, without just spelling it out.”
Moving on to his first Royal Rumble Match in 1996, Stone Cold Steve Austin, then The Ringmaster, talked about the memories he shared of the bout and how it was the match which initially put him off of the concept:
“I’ll never forget in San Diego at my first Royal Rumble. I was supposed to be the fourth guy left in the ring and Rikishi, or somebody, gave me a clothesline and the ropes were so baby oiled up from everybody wearing baby oil, I slipped. There was a bunch of guys in the ring and I went out way early. I hit the ground, and I’m still pretty new in the company at this time, Ryan, but they’re gonna try to keep me in the Rumble, so they’re giving me a little bit of a push and I blew it!
So, I hit the ground – and because Shawn Michaels was going to be pivotal as far as me getting out – I was sitting there, someone was beating the hell out of him, and I was kinda looking at him over the mat like this and was like, ‘Dude, I’m out.’ He’s laying there, getting his ass kicked and he goes like this—[eyes go wide]. I didn’t really care for Royal Rumbles. I won three and I’m glad that I won three.”
Stone Cold Steve Austin’s final Royal Rumble Match came in 2002, shortly before his much talked about exit from the company due to creative issues. During that bout, WWE’s toughest S.O.B made it to the final four alongside Triple H, Kurt Angle and a returning Mr. Perfect.
Credit for the interview: FOX Sports
h/t for the transcription: Fightful