The “Texas Rattlesnake” says he does not like Royal Rumbles.
The Royal Rumble is one of the most important events in the WWE calendar. Every year, the Royal Rumble event determines who will be involved in the main matches at WrestleMania. With a history that spans over three decades, the Royal Rumble has seen Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers cement their legacy in the unique “reverse Battle Royale” that was invented by Pat Patterson.
The list of Royal Rumble victors reads like a "Who's Who" of sports entertainment. Bret Hart, Vince McMahon, The Undertaker, Ric Flair, The Rock, and Rey Mysterio can all say they have won Royal Rumble matches. Randy Orton, Triple H John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Batista, and Hulk Hogan can all say that they have won two Royal Rumble matches. However, only one man can say that he has won three Royal Rumbles.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin is the only wrestler in history who can say that he won the Royal Rumble on three separate occasions and each win is unique in that they all came at a different point in "Stone Cold's" career.
In 1997, Austin was looking to break out after a critically-acclaimed match against Bret Hart at the 1996 Survivor Series and a post-match promo at the 1996 King of the Ring that made the phrase “Austin 3:16” a staple of 90s culture. Austin, still a defiant villain, was able to win the match by nefarious means but ultimately would not get the title opportunity at WrestleMania 13. Instead, Austin wrestled Bret Hart in a No Holds Barred Submission Match that would go on to define his career.
In 1998, “Stone Cold” became only the third person in history to win consecutive Royal Rumble matches when he last eliminated The Rock to punch his ticket to WrestleMania 14. At that year's show-of-shows, Austin defeated Shawn Michaels to capture his first WWE Championship and jumpstart the era that would see WWE once again become the top wrestling promotion and one of the top viable pop culture properties in the world for that period of time.
In 2001, Austin picked up his last Royal Rumble win. He last eliminated Kane -- who had a dominant Rumble performance that year, setting the record for most eliminations that would stand for 13 years before Roman Reigns came along -- and punched his ticket to WrestleMania X-Seven in the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. At WrestleMania in 2001, Steve Austin would defeat The Rock and align himself with Vince McMahon, all-but-officially ending the era that he started just three years earlier.
Despite his historic legacy tied to Royal Rumble matches, Steve Austin recently spoke to Ryan Satin of FOX Sports and revealed that he doesn't very much like the match concept because of how busy it is.
“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.”
One Royal Rumble that Steve Austin did not win was the 1996 Royal Rumble, his debut in the match. Then, he was known as “The Ringmaster” and he says that Royal Rumble, which was won by Shawn Michaels, will always be an unforgettable experience for him but would use it to illustrate his point regarding the hectic nature of the match.
“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!”
He continued, “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.”
This year, 30 men (and 30 women in their own Royal Rumble) will once again look to punch their ticket to WrestleMania. Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Bobby Lashley, and Randy Orton have all been announced for this year's matchup thus far. Should Randy Orton win this year, he will tie Steve Austin's Royal Rumble record at three victories.
Fighful will have live Royal Rumble coverage on Sunday, January 31, 2021.