The idea that anyone but Stone Cold Steve Austin was going to win the 1998 Royal Rumble match was a laughable one. With Shawn Michaels physically deteriorating (a state that this show would only exacerbate) and Bret Hart forced out of the company, the gridlock cleared up, and money-making Austin had nothing but space in front of him. The path to the apex of WWE was only for his boots to walk.
WWE was coming out the other side of a major overhaul period, and the changes were everywhere you turned. "Attitude" was in full swing, as Austin wasn't the only one using coarse language and brawling lawlessly. WWE had combined ECW's degenerative anarchy with their own world-class production to put together a product that would redefine professional wrestling as we knew it.
The 1998 Royal Rumble was not only a decent show that did what it was supposed to do (position Austin toward the throne), but it was a breath of fresh air in a post-Montreal WWE. The focus was more on Austin than ever before, the anti-hero becoming the hero that the audience (and company) needed more than ever. His future exploits, especially with Rumble guest "Iron" Mike Tyson, would be what steered WWE back into first place, at long last.
Here are ten facts about the 1998 Royal Rumble you may not have known.
Justin has been a wrestling fan since 1989, and has been writing about it since 2009. Since 2014, Justin has been a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine. Justin also writes for History of Wrestling, and is a contributing author to James Dixon's Titan series.