|Royal Rumble (1996)|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||January 21, 1996|
|Tagline(s)||You've Been Warned, Welcome to the Dark Side Live on Pay Per View|
|Royal Rumble chronology|
Royal Rumble (1996) was the ninth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). It took place on January 21, 1996, at the Selland Arena in Fresno, California.
The Royal Rumble is an annual gimmick pay-per-view, produced every January by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) since 1988. It is one of the promotion's original four pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, later dubbed the "Big Four". It is named after the Royal Rumble match, a modified battle royal in which the participants enter at timed intervals instead of all beginning in the ring at the same time. The match generally features 30 wrestlers. Traditionally, the winner of the match earns a world championship match at that year's WrestleMania. For 1996, the winner earned a match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XII. 1996 was the ninth event in the Royal Rumble chronology.
The card consisted of five matches. The matches resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters to build tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results were predetermined by WWF's writers, with storylines produced on their weekly television show, Raw.
In a match occurring on the Free For All preshow, Duke "The Dumpster" Droese defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley. WWF president Gorilla Monsoon stepped in after Droese was pinned and reversed the referee's decision, disqualifying Helmsley for using brass knuckles to knock Droese out. As a result, Droese won the right to be entry number 30 in the Royal Rumble match, while Helmsley had to enter first.
Featured matches on the undercard were the 1996 Royal Rumble match which was won by Shawn Michaels, who last eliminated Diesel to win the match, making it his second straight Royal Rumble win; Goldust defeating Razor Ramon for the WWF Intercontinental Championship; and The Smoking Gunns (Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn) defeating The Bodydonnas (Skip and Zip) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
The 1996 Royal Rumble marked the first pay-per-view appearance of Steve Austin, here using the name "The Ringmaster," a blond-haired master ring technician and the featured wrestler in the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase's stable. His elimination was accidental as he was supposed to be in the final four, but he slipped on the ropes and fell out when he was doing a spot with Fatu. In the weeks following the Royal Rumble, "The Ringmaster" gimmick was met with lukewarm reaction from fans, prompting Austin to create a new look and gimmick for himself: the "Stone Cold" gimmick, that of a foul-mouthed individual who drank beer and freely spoke his mind, uncaring of who he angered or whether he had friends (he often attacked heel and face alike), openly disregarded the rules and fought until his last breath. As "Stone Cold," Austin--who began his first major feud, with Savio Vega, under "The Ringmaster" moniker and continued it after changing his gimmick--went on to become one of the WWF's biggest stars and helped usher in the promotion's Attitude Era.
|1F||Duke Droese defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley by disqualification||Singles match for entry #30 in the Royal Rumble match||06:25|
|2||Ahmed Johnson defeated Jeff Jarrett by disqualification||Singles match||06:40|
|3||The Smoking Gunns (Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn) (c) defeated The Bodydonnas (Skip and Zip) (with Sunny)||Tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship||11:14|
|4||Goldust (with Marlena) defeated Razor Ramon (c)||Singles match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship||14:17|
|5||Shawn Michaels won by last eliminating Diesel||30-man Royal Rumble match for a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XII||58:49|
|6||The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated Bret Hart (c) by disqualification||Singles match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship||28:31|
A new entrant came out approximately every 2 minutes.
|1||Hunter Hearst Helmsley||19||Diesel||48:04||1|
|2||Henry O. Godwinn||2||Jake Roberts||16:24||0|
|4||Jerry Lawler||16||Shawn Michaels||36:02||0|
|5||Bob Holly||18||The Ringmaster||39:35||0|
|8||Dory Funk Jr.||5||Savio Vega||10:53||0|
|11||Takao Omori||4||Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Jake Roberts||02:48||0|
|15||Squat Teamer #1||8||01:11||0|
|16||Squat Teamer #2||9||Yokozuna||00:24||0|
|17||Owen Hart||21||Diesel and Shawn Michaels||20:43||2|
|25||Barry Horowitz||20||Owen Hart||04:15||0|
|26||Fatu||24||Isaac Yankem, DDS||07:07||1|
|27||Isaac Yankem, DDS||25||Shawn Michaels||07:05||1|
|28||Marty Jannetty||22||The British Bulldog||02:35||0|
|29||The British Bulldog||27||Shawn Michaels||03:39||1|
|30||Duke Droese||26||Diesel and Kama||01:10||0|