10 Times WWE Got The Royal Rumble Winner Wrong

9. Steve Austin (1997)

Batista Royal Rumble

There’s no denying that Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of the greatest Royal Rumble performers of all-time, and 1997 was clearly his best performance. The match saw Austin eliminate an astonishing 10 wrestlers en route to cheating his way to victory, and while this was unquestionably the biggest match of his WWE career up to that point, the finish (and aftermath) was a convoluted mess.

WWE tried to inject some creativity into the finish by having Hart toss Austin from the ring, only for the officials to completely miss it. Realising this, Austin snuck back into the ring and eliminated the celebrating Hart, who thought he had the match won. Hart was rightly fuming, and things only got more confusing from thereon.

Austin had his WrestleMania title shot taken away from him amidst the controversy, and Hart became WWE Champion at In Your House 13: Final Four, only to drop the belt to Sycho Sid one day later. Thus resulted in the famous submission match between Hart and Austin at WrestleMania 13, while Sid lost his title to The Undertaker.

If this was the endgame all along, then what was the point in Austin cheating his way to victory in the first place? Not only did this completely nullify the Royal Rumble’s outcome, but it stands as one of the most stupefying examples of overbooking in WWE history.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.