Royal Rumble Greatest Matches: Mankind vs The Rock
While we have witnessed some incredible Royal Rumble matches over the years, we tend to forget the Royal Rumble is an actual PPV. It has featured some incredible matches over the years featuring some of the best in WWE. While the Rumble moments that get remembered are more from the Rumble match itself, some have been from other marquee matchups to take place.
During the closing of 1998, The Corporation led by the chairman himself Vince McMahon was the leading authority in WWE. "Don't cross the boss" was a popular saying around this time. One superstar who felt the Corporate wrath was Mankind. He fell victim to the devious ways and bought into McMahon's vision.
It started when McMahon created the Hardcore title and awarded the title to Mankind, making him the inaugural champion. The beloved Mr. Socko was created to help Vince recover while he was in the hospital. Mankind looked at Vince as a father figure rather than his boss, seeking advice and guidance.
This all changed at the 1998 Survivor Series. The Rock locked Mankind in a sharpshooter and before Mankind could submit or escape, the bell had rung. Mankind looking confused, had to endure the announcement of the new WWE and Corporate Champion, The Rock. Mankind was crushed because this was the spot reserved for him.
Over the next few months, Mankind and The Rock would battle over the WWE Championship. The Corporate once again screwed Mankind at the Rock Bottom PPV when The Rock passed out from a Mandible Claw, claiming The Rock was not pinned nor did he tap out. Mankind eventually won on Monday Night Raw in a No DQ match with help from a chair and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The rematch was set for the Royal Rumble in an I Quit Match. The Arrowhead Pond was ready to witness history as this was only the third I Quit Match in WWE history and the first for the WWE Championship. The bell rang, and both men started duking it out. They quickly made their way to the outside and started using the arena as weapons. From barricade shots to being tossed into the steel steps, to use the microphone, anything they can find. The Rock even joined the announcers on commentary.
The pure entertainment part of this was every time they asked the two men if they quit. They were both excellent on the mic already, now you are getting comments during a high profile match? Mankind telling The Rock you'd have to kill me and The Rock telling Mankind to go to hell are just some of the highlights.
After making their way down the aisle, they start climbing the main stage heading into the arena seats located behind the stage. The Rock unloaded a punch that sent Mankind flying down to the floor crashing threw speakers and control settings sending the arena to total darkness. Sparks were flying and the fans were cheering. Shane McMahon came out and ordered the match to stop to which The Rock refused to say he wanted to hear Mankind utter those words.
Making their way back to the ring, The Rock handcuffed Mankind making it impossible for him to get any offence in. The Rock proceeded to unload some of the most violent chair shots to the head you will ever see. Shot after shot bashing Mankinds brains in one after the other. The thuds shook the arena and can be heard in the nosebleeds. After one more chair shot in the middle of the entrance aisle, The Rock asked Mankind if he quit. What sounded like a pre-recorded Mankind voice sounded through the arena "I Quit, I Quit, I Quit!"
The Rock had once again regained his WWE Championship in typical Corporate fashion. The fans were still in shock at the beating Mankind just took. The match itself is an all-time classic and really propelled both men into bonafied main eventers. All taking place at the first stop on the Road to Wrestlemania.