In the weeks leading up to the pay-per-view, Ken Shamrock had been facing various members of the Nation of Domination ahead of his booked match against Intercontinental champion Rocky Maivia (The Rock), defeating Kama Mustafa and Faarooq with his ankle lock despite interference from other Nation members. The Raw is War before the Rumble saw Shamrock team up with Mark Henry against Maivia and D'Lo Brown, but just as Shamrock looked set to lock his submission on The Rock, Henry turned on him, joining the Nation in giving him a post-match beat down.
After winning their first tag team title, the New Age Outlaws further humiliated the erstwhile champions, the Legion of Doom, by shaving one of Hawk's mohawks and, with the help of D-Generation X, powerbombed Animal through the announce table, damaging his back. Although he was advised not to compete by doctors, Animal rested through the first few weeks of the year while the Outlaws ran roughshod through the tag division before this pay-per-view.
The build up to the Royal Rumble match itself focused almost entirely on Stone Cold Steve Austin. He declared that before the match he would be living by the motto "Do unto others, before they do unto me" interfering in matches regularly on Raw is War, or appearing just as matches finished, delivering the stunner to anyone in sight as well leaving other wrestlers back stage buried under tables and chairs. In the final segment of the Raw preceding the event, all competitors of the Royal Rumble were in the ring, waiting to draw their number of entry when Austin ran in through the crowd and began throw punches all over the ring, sparking a brawl between the various wrestlers feuding in the ring, and kicking the number generator out of the ring.
The main event for the WWF Championship was a rematch between champion Shawn Michaels and challenger The Undertaker. The feud had begun after Summerslam the previous August after Michaels, who was the special referee in the match between then-champion Undertaker and Bret Hart, hit Undertaker with a chair meant for Hart and counted the pin to cost Undertaker the championship. The first match between the two came at Ground Zero: In Your House the following month, a match that ended in a no contest due to outside interference from Michaels' D-Generation X cohorts, Triple H and Chyna. Michaels and Undertaker resumed the feud at Badd Blood in October 1997 in the first Hell in a Cell match which ended with the debut of Undertaker's (kayfabe) brother, Kane, giving Michaels the unfair win by delivering a tombstone piledriver on Undertaker, allowing the almost beaten Michaels to steal the match. To mock his opponent, Triple H and Chyna brought a casket to the match only for Michaels to appear from inside and spray paint it in D-Generation X slogans. The following week, while Michaels was delivering a promo, the same casket appeared again but this time Undertaker appeared from inside, grabbing the champion by the throat and dragging him into the coffin. Undertaker made his full presence known the following week, interrupting an interview in which Michaels was claiming to introduce the newest DX member: Kane. Undertaker told his opponent to leave his family out of the feud, before attacking the stable and being outnumbered. Kane made a surprise appearance and helped Undertaker, fighting DX up to the ramp before turning and reaching his hand out in an Undertaker-like salute which his brother returned.
Read more about this topic: Royal Rumble (1998)
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Famous quotes containing the word background:
“Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable asylum, where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Pilate with his question What is truth? is gladly trotted out these days as an advocate of Christ, so as to arouse the suspicion that everything known and knowable is an illusion and to erect the cross upon that gruesome background of the impossibility of knowledge.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)
“I had many problems in my conduct of the office being contrasted with President Kennedys conduct in the office, with my manner of dealing with things and his manner, with my accent and his accent, with my background and his background. He was a great public hero, and anything I did that someone didnt approve of, they would always feel that President Kennedy wouldnt have done that.”
—Lyndon Baines Johnson (19081973)