Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query King of the ring 1994. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query King of the ring 1994. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, 24 July 2014

PPV Review: WWF King of the Ring 1994

WWF / WWE: King of the Ring 1994 - Event poster
June 19, 1994
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland

In the wake of the epic Wrestlemania X, the World Wrestling Federation rolled into Baltimore with its second annual King of the Ring pay per view, a show which accomplished the impressive task of simultaneously presenting some of the best and worst moments of wrestling in 1994.

In many ways an official launch of the company's New Generation brand, an attempt to sever the last ties to the Hogan era and focus on younger talent, the 1994 King of the Ring was headlined by Wrestlemania I star Rowdy Roddy Piper and Jerry 'The King' Lawler, who made his pro debut in 1970.

As if that wasn't enough to cause some serious head-scratching, the show also featured former football player Art Donovan and his now infamous job on commentary.

How much does this guy weigh? 

Let's find out.

King of the Ring pre-show
I've already posted a video of the 1994 King of the Ring PPV pre-show, but in case you've got better things to do with your life than watch all that (and let's face it, you do), here's a few highlights:

Vince McMahon and Randy Savage showed us how each of the eight tournament competitors made their way into the finals. Savage predicted that Bam Bam Bigelow would use osmosis of all things to defeat Razor Ramon, and that Jeff Jarrett would get the better of the 123 Kid.

I thought you had money on the 123 Kid,' McMahon reminded Savage.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Randy Savage and Vince McMahon predict the winners
'I did,' admitted the Macho Man. 'I lost.'

A fresh-faced Johnny Polo interviewed Mabel, who promised to win the tournament (maybe next year, big guy), and we got a look at the back-story between Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and his challenger, Diesel.

With little else of note going on, besides Art Donovan predicting a win for Razor Ramon, it was on with the show.

Welcome to King of the Ring 1994
As the camera took us on a brief tour of Baltimore, Gorilla Monsoon set the scene for tonight's show and introduced a scene in which all eight competitors in tonight's tournament argued against over who would be crowned King of the Ring 1994, each man moving his name around a board containing tonight's brackets.

Todd Peckenpaw (Johnny Polo's name for our favourite goofy mic-man) then gave us a run down of tonight's show before we had a 'very special rendition' of the Star Spangled Banner by Blackfoot frontman Rickey Medlocke which was actually pretty terrible right to the very end. I haven't listened to much Blackfoot, and if that's the kind of vocal performance I can expect, I don't think I want to.

With that out the way, our commentary trio of Savage, Monsoon and Donovan welcomed us properly, and it was on with the action.

King of the Ring Quarter Final - Match 1
Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Razor Ramon
Appearing in the opening match for the second year in a row, Razor Ramon clashed with King of the Ring 1993 finalist, Bam Bam Bigelow in first round action.

Repeating their efforts of the previous year, both men delivered a solid performance to create a good opening round match.

Having punished The Bad Guy in a torture rack, The Beast From the East scaled the top rope, only to be hauled off by his opponent and pinned for a three count.
Your winner: Razor Ramon (advances to the semi-finals)

Backstage, Mabel gave his second backstage interview of the evening, this time joined by Pettengill and his first-round opponent, I.R.S. Each man vowed to be the other in a standard pre-match spat.

King of the Ring Quarter Final - Match 2
'Randy, is this one of the wrestlers? He looks like a business man!' exclaimed Art Donovan as I.R.S made his way to the ring and berated the Baltimore tax cheats.

Presenting our first How much does this guy weight? of the evening, the actual in-ring action was far better than you might imagine, mostly thanks to the efforts of the always-impressive tax man.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, gimmick aside, Schyster normally gave us a good show when he stepped between the rings, and I'd be perfectly happy to watch any match he's involved in.

Speaking or Irwin, he went over much-hyped favourite Mabel by using a finish far too similiar to the one used in the previous match. Mabel climbed the turnbuckles, Irwin shook the ropes, Mabel fell, Irwin pinned him.
Your winner: I.R.S (advances to the semi-finals)

Up next, we saw a pre-taped Colliseum Home Video exclusive in which Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji told the camera men to hurry up in their locker room to hype the upcoming tag team title match pitting Crush & Yokozuna against reigning champions The Headshrinkers.

Cornette shooed then shooed the camera men away just as quickly, and that was that.

King of the Ring Quarter Final - Match 3
Tatanka vs. Owen Hart

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Owen Hart battled Tatanka in the first round
The problem with trying to cram a three-round tournament along with other key matches on to one card, is that many of the actual tournament matches go too short to actually stand out as being anything special.

Still, each competitor so far did the best they could with what they had, and both Tatanka and Owen Hart were no exception.

In a little over eight minutes, The Rocket took the fight to his Native American opponent in an exciting battle that had the crowds hooked.

Part way through this one, we got a cut-away to the backstage area, where Razor Ramon and I.R.S were eager to kick off their semi-final match early. It was, thankfully, only a momentary distraction from the contest in the ring.

Following a gripping burst of action, the younger Hart sibling reversed a sunset flip attempt to make it to the next round.
Your winner: Owen Hart (advances to the semi-finals)

Backstage, Todd Pettengill spoke with Intercontinental Champion Diesel and his buddy Shawn Michaels.

'I got two words to say to you Bret Hart,' Big Daddy Cool bellowed 'JACK KNIFE! It's happened before, and it'll happen again.'

Questioned over whether they were concerned about the hyped appeearance of a Hart family member in the champion's corner, HBK dismissed any anxiety by claiming that nobody in Bret's family liked him anyway.

King of the Ring Quarter Final - Match 4
123 Kid vs. Jeff Jarrett
WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Jeff Jarrett lost to the 123 Kid, then beat him up!Our fourth and final Quarter Final match saw plucky underdog 123 Kid taking on country singer Jeff Jarrett in another short-yet-enjoyable affair.

Lighting up the crowd with a few impassioned bursts of offence, the future X-Pac spent the majority of the contest absorbing punishment from the future TNA Wrestling founder.

Sensing victory, a cocky Double J went for the figure four leglock, only to be rolled up in a small package and pinned.
Your winner: 123 Kid (advances to the semi-final)

Irate at this loss, Jarrett yelled at the referee before taking out his frustrations on the Kid, drilling him with three piledrivers and several splashes from the top rope, despite the involvement of several referees and road agents.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: The results after the first round
With the crowd hot at the despicable Jarrett's actions, Double J stormed backstage, leaving the commentators to wonder whether 123 Kid would be able to compete in the semi-final against Owen Hart.

The New Generation
Touting their New Generation campaign, we were next shown a video comparing old cars to new cars, and old superstars such as Hulk Hogan and the Iron Shiek to newer talent like Ramon and Owen Hart.

I'll remind you again, not that you need reminding, that this show was headlined by Roddy Piper vs. Jerry Lawler. More of that later

Pettengill interviews Bret Hart
World Wrestling Federation Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart fluffed his way through another promo in which he claimed to have the perfect move to defeat any superstar, and refused to reveal which member of his family would be in his corner.

Rare has been the time I've seen a Hitman promo that he didn't manage to mess up in some way.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart (w/ Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart) vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels)
I have to say, there's something surreal, and almost comical, about seeing Shawn Michaels going through his whole 'Sexy Boy' routine to the sound of roaring engines and shrieking horns that was Diesel's first WWF theme music.

Not that the announcers paid much attention to him, they were far too busy speculating on which member of the champion's family would be in his corner. Keith Hart? Nope? Bruce Hart? Nope.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Todd Pettengill interviews WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
Try Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart, The Hitman's brother-in-law and former tag team partner made his return to the WWF to level the playing field in our title contest.

With that out of the way, what we were left with was a thrilling main event match heavy on both impact and drama.

As you might expect, it was a story in which the wily champion put his skill and quickness against the brute force of the giant challenger. A simple story maybe, but one that worked, especially with the added delight of watching Shawn Michaels dash around the ringside area in his role of Diesel's second, and in seeing The Anvil exhaust himself by chasing the cocky Michaels around the ring.

With the crowd lapping up their every move, all four men worked together to produce a thoroughly entertaining bout that must surely count among Kevin Nash's finest moments.

Just when it looked like Big Daddy Cool might become our new champion following an impressive Jackknife Powerbomb, The Anvil stormed the ring and clobbered him with a clothesline, awarding the challenger the match by DQ.
Your winner by disqualification: Diesel (Bret Hart retains the title)

His deed done, Neidhart stormed to the back, leaving his erstwhile Hart Foundation partner to suffer a beating at the hands of Michaels and Diesel.

Pettengill interviews The King
Given that Roddy Piper failed to appear before a live crowd in the build-up to tonight's main event (a factor that many claim played a key part in the show's abysmal buyrate), most of the hype was left up to Jerry Lawler.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Jerry Lawler rants about his opponent Roddy Piper
Having taunted and mocked his rival for weeks on WWF programming, Lawler told Pettengill that Piper had retired once, and would be forced to do so again after The King had finished with him. Lawler also mocked Piper's vow to donate his winnings to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canda.

King of the Ring Semi Final - Match 1
Razor Ramon vs. I.R.S
In a rematch from their Intercontinental Championship clash earlier that year at the Royal Rumble, Razor and I.R.S started their semi-final contest on the outside, with The Bad guy getting the upperhand before his opponent turned things around with some dirty tactics.

With the crowd somewhat burned out from our previous encounter, this short bout felt completely flat, not that both men didn't do their best to turn things around.

After an uninspiring five minutes, Ramon advanced to the finals thanks to the Razor's Edge.
Your winner: Razor Ramon (advances to the final)

Backstage, a ticked-off Bret Hart stormed the corridors in search of Jim Neidhart. He was unable to find him, nor did anybody have much luck in finding the 123 Kid. The Toddster was supposed to have a pre-match interview with our semi-finalist, but having suffered at the hands of Jeff Jarrett earlier in the match, we were led to believe that the Kid might not make it to his upcoming clash with The Rocket.

Would he or wouldn't he?
King of the Ring Semi Final - Match 2
Owen Hart vs. 123 Kid
After stalling for what felt like forever, his music blaring over the PA with no sight of him, 123 Kid finally emerged, dragging his beaten up body down the ilse with a face that was a contorted mix of determination and pain.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: After a great, if short, match, Owen Hart defeated 123 Kid with a sharpshooter
The crowd were evidently happy to see the youngster, though not so much when Owen Hart dove over the top rope before the bell and splashed the crap out of his rival.

It took Hart less than four minutes to pick up the win, but damn what a four minutes they were. Relentless in their pace and holding nothing back, the two flipped, flopped and flew all over the ring in a brilliant little match well worth tracking down.

A Sharpshooter sent The Rocket through to the final.
Your winner: Owen Hart (advances to the final)

Cutting to the back, we finally got a live appearance from Rowdy Roddy Piper, in the process of pulling down his drawers.

'That's why I've got six kids,' scoffed Piper. 'First thing I do, take off my pants!' 

'there's no such thing as a king.'
WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Roddy Piper loves Hersheys chocolate
After a cheesy and bizarre plug for Hershey's chocolate, Piper finally addressed his upcoming opponent. Promising to first find the young fan who Lawler supposedly bullied into impersonating the Hot Rod on a recent show, Piper then promised to finish off Jerry, and claimed that

Let's hope Felipe VI of Spain doesn't hear about this.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu w/ Captain Lou Albano and Afa) vs. Yokozuna and Crush (w/ Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji)
Yokozuna never really recovered after losing the WWF title at Wrestlemania 10, did he?

Here, he teamed Crush (another man who this writer believes could have achieved bigger things) in a tag team title match which, whilst entertaining for what it was, was a obvious demotion for Yoko, who had spent most of the previous year at the top of the card.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Afa leads WWF Tag Team Champions The Headshrinkers down to the ring for a match against Yokozuna and Crush
As was par for the course with this show, everybody brought their A-game, and though the bout did seem to drag at parts, there were enough bright spots to make it a decent watch.

With the heels taking charge Lex Luger, yet another guy whose WWF career didn't quite pan out as expected, made his way to ringside, distracting the challengers and allowing The Headshrinkers to retain the belts.
Your winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Headshrinkers

Crush sought revenge by attacking Lex on the outside, only for the Headshrinkers to make the save and celebrate with Lex and his ghastly red, white and blue striped Lyrca outfit.

Back once more to our mate Todd, Pettengill interviewed Owen Hart, who promised to outdo his brother (1993's King of the Ring winner) by winning this year's competition.

King of the Ring Final
Owen Hart vs. Razor Ramon
WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Owen Hart vowed to become King
And so we made it to the final at last, as Owen Hart and Razor Ramon locked up to determine who would be crowned king.

Disappointingly, this was neither man's best outing on the show (that honour goes to Razor/Bam Bam and Owen/Kid), but was nonetheless a decent way to cap off the feud and put The Rocket over.

With Razor looking set for victory, Jim Neidhart returned to the ring, aligning himself with his former New Foundation partner by attacking Ramon on the outside.

A three count later, and Owen Hart was your new King of the Ring.
Your Winner and 1994 King of the Ring: Owen Hart

Owen and Jim celebrated by double-teaming The Bad Guy before heading for the coronation area (for lack of anything better to call it), where Todd Pettengill and WWF President Jack Tunney awaited.

As they made their way there, we cut to a reaction from Owen's brother Bret, standing by with fellow Canadian Ray Rougeau. 

'I can't believe what just happened, I don't have any comment,' was all The Hitman could say.

'I'm just thinking that the only motive [Neidhart] had for being in Bret's corner was to keep the title on Bret, hoping that Owen would get a shot in the future,' gushed Randy Savage, giving the whole point of the story away.

Hail to the king, baby
WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Owen Hart  became King
The memorable King of the Ring coronation ceremony then began, with Owen refusing to be crowned by Jack Tunney, and instead asked for 'the only person in my family that I can trust, my main man Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart' to do the honours.

With the power quickly going to his head, Hart ordered Todd to get down on one knee whilst The Anvil handed Owen his crown, cape and scepter.

Adopting a monicker that would serve him for most of his run, Owen declared that his first proclamation as King was that from now on, we should refer to him as The King of Harts.

After what felt like the 10th recap of the Piper/Lawler feud, we finally got to our main event, where Roddy Piper hoped to win some money for the sick kids and shut Jerry Lawler up once and for all.

Rowdy Roddy Piper (w/ a 'fan' dressed up like him) vs. Jerry 'The King' Lawler
If this had been centered somewhere in the mid-card, or at least before the tournament final, it might have gone down a little better. Instead, with both your writer and the Baltimore crowd en route to burn out, it felt like a poor way to end a show.

Doing his best to build up the heat before the bell, Lawler took to the microphone to insult the crowd and the 'sick brats' in Canada.

'I'm not going to give any of my winnings to those brats, or any of you peons' Lawler boasted in the most disposable act ever committed in a wrestling ring. Ooh, Jerry, you evil bastard.

Of course, Piper had a nice reception for his first WWF PPV match since his Intercontinental classic against Bret Hart at Wrestlemania VIII. Not only did Piper bring a full bagpipe band with him, he also had the 'fan' who did such a spot on impression of impersonating him on Raw.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1994: Roddy Piper and the 'fan' who did a great impression of him
Entering the ring, Piper took to the mic himself to quote his famous line from They Live.

'Lawler, I came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum,' he began before turning to the mic to the fan.
'And I'm all outa bubblegum Lawler, you ugly son-of-a-god-damn-goat.' 

The 'kid' (as the commentary team referred to him), was often the most entertaining thing about this match, getting involved here and there and distracting Lawler from the action.

Ten minutes of whatever later, the fan helped Piper pin The King, and earn some money for those poor, sick kids.
Your winner: Rowdy Roddy Piper

Cutting backstage, HBK consoled a distraught Diesel by promising him that he would win the WWF title eventually. By the time the year was out, Michaels' prediction would come true.

Though the Diesel/Hart title clash stood out by a mile as the highlight of the show, followed by the short exchange between eventual King of the Ring winner Owen Hart and his opponent the 123 Kid, there was a lot of enjoyable stuff on this show to make it well worth watching. Heck, if you feel like it, switch off after Owen declares himself the 'King of Harts.' Unless of course, you're the kind of old-school fan you have to believe the WWF were attempting to lure back with their Piper/Lawler main event.
As for Art Donovan's contributions to the commentary team, truth be told I found it more funny than outright bad, and had to wonder if his blatant lack of knowledge about the product could have actually served some purpose on a free TV show. 
Think about it, what a better way to simply and clearly explain the characters and the structure of professional wrestling by having guys like Savage and Monsoon answer such riveting questions as 'Who's the guy with the American flag?'
Maybe I'm alone on that one, but that's another matter for another day. Right now, it's on to Summerslam 1994. 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1994

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Event poster
August 29, 1994
United Center in Chicago, Illinois

It was the summer of 1994. Chicago's new United Center had just opened less than two weeks previously, and the World Wrestling Federation were about to offer the venue its first major event in the form of that year's Summerslam, a show which, much like the 1994 King of the Ring pay per view, simultaneously managed to present both the best and worst of professional wrestling.

Co-headlined by a stellar cage match between rival siblings Bret and Owen Hart, and a less than enthralling Battle of the Undertakers, the WWF's seventh annual Summerslam was an interesting show to say the least.

Here's what went down.

Don't worry, Leslie Nielson's here
Need a quick way to ruin whatever mystique you may have been able to muster by presenting a resurrected Undertaker against his evil clone? Easy. Hire Naked Gun stars Lesley Nielson and George Kennedy to show up and make bad jokes.

Our show tonight began with Neilson narrating a clip in which he pushed Ray Rougeau into a swimming pool, perved on Macho Man Randy Savage getting felt up by two bikini-clad babes and spoke to his smart-ass son, all the while pondering the great question:

'How can there be two Undertakers?'

Summerslam Pre-show
The one and only Todd Pettengill then welcomed us to the United Center, talked about his train ride with Nielson, and gave us the big news that Shawn Michaels and Intercontinental Champion Diesel were now the tag team champions, having defeated The Headshrinkers over the weekend.

As part of the pre-show festivities, Pettengill gave us the background to tonight's key matches, including a look back at how The Undertaker died at that year's Royal Rumble, and the shenanigans surrounding Ted Dibiase's Underfaker.

Pettengill hyped the awesome new arena for a while before we were treated to a cheesy little video featuring Bret Hart, which went something like this.

That of course, led us nicely into the story of Bret and Owen's big rivalrly. For those not paying attention, it started at Survivor Series 1993, took a harsh direction when Owen turned on his brother at the 1994 Royal Rumble, and led to their awesome opening match at Wrestlemania 10. Owen then won the King of the Ring that year, and thus earned a title shot against his brother in tonight's main event.

The Toddster told us that tonight's cage match was designed to not only keep the action inside the ring, but to keep the rest of the hart Family, who would be seated at ringside, out.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Todd Pettengill shows us the steel cage that will be used in tonight's event
Lex Luger and Tatanka, which all revolved around Tatanka accusing Lex Luger of selling out to The Million Dollar Man. I'd go into more detail, but Wrestlecrap already did a great job of covering this one.

In the remaining 10 minutes of pre-show fun, we had an interview with the owner of the United Center, and a look at the feud between

Another Leslie Nielson promo was followed by Pettengil hyping the crowd, and then, finally, it was on to WWF Summerslam 1994.

Welcome to the show
Still no actual wrestling yet. Instead, Gorilla Monsoon told us about a charity baseball game between the WWF Superstars and members of the Chicago Media.

Heading back to the arena, Randy Savage made his way to the ring to act as host/MC, welcoming us to the show and introducing our commentary team for the evening, Vince McMahon and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

Lawler reminded us about the new tag team champions, HBK and Diesel, pointed out Davey Boy Smith in the crowd, and let Vinnie Mac try to get us excited about Undertaker vs. Undertaker.

With that out of the way, it was finally on to our opening match.

The Million Dollar Team (I.R.S & Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu w/ Afa and Captain Lou Albano)

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Captain Lou Albano led The Headshrinkers into battle against I.R.S and Bam Bam Bigelow
Originally scheduled as a tag team title match, there was little point in tonight's opening contest after former champions The Headshrinkers' loss to the Kliq.

Despite this, we had four talented competitors in the ring who worked hard to get the crowd excited with an enjoyable match.

Bigelow and I.R.S were the first members of Ted Dibiase's fledgling Million Dollar Corporation, a stable of heels who would spend most of the following year giving grief to top babyfaces like Diesel and The Undertaker.

For now though, Corporation boss Dibiase had his sights set on the tag team division, and as a result we got a fun match that was a perfect way to start the show.

After seven minutes of solid action, the managers came into play. Afa attacked Bam Bam Bigelow and cost his team the match via DQ.
Your winners via disqualification: I.R.S and Bam Bam Bigelow

Afterwards, the babyfaces attacked, and all four wrestlers brawled right the way to the backstage area.

Another Nielson skit followed. This time, Big Les met up with his cohort George Kennedy. Both men agreed that they were 'on the case,' setting up a running gag from the rest of the show.

Razor Speaks

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Razor Ramon promised to reclaim his Intercontinental title
In a Colliseum Video exclusive, we went to Razor Ramon's dressing room, where The Bad Guy claimed that Diesel and Shawn Michaels had ripped him off by taking his Intercontinental Championship.

Razor told us that NFL hall of famer, Walter Payton would be in his corner in order to counter Shawn Michaels and help Razor reclaim his title.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship match
WWF Women's Champion Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano (w/ Luna Vachon)
Having sold the contract of her boyfriend Bam Bam Bigelow to The Million Dollar Man, Luna Vachon was left with little else to do but bring in Japanese star Bull Nakano to challenge Alundra Blaze for the girl's belt.

Vachon had failed in her own attempts to take the belt from the former Madusa, and had high hopes for her charge, Nakano.

For the bulk of the contest, it looked as though the villains would have plenty to celebrate. The dominate challenger mauled her opponent from pillar to post in what turned out to be a very enjoyable championship match.
WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Bull Nakano on her way to challenge Alundra Blayze for the WWF Women's title

The champion eventually made a comeback, but was again thwarted by her larger foe, and only narrowly took the victory thanks to a bridging German suplex.

Your writer has seen other fans declare this as an incredible match. Though I'm note quite as enthralled, it was certainly very good, and it probably goes without saying that, compared to today's current crop of Divas, Blayze/Nakano did at least look like a five-star classic.
Your Winner and Still WWF Women's Champion: Alundra Blayze

Backstage, Todd Pettengill caught up with tag team champions, Shawn Michaels and Diesel. HBK said that between them, he and Diesel had held the Intercontinental Championship for the best part of two years, and decided that they wanted a little more gold, thus capturing the tag belts.

For his part, Big Daddy Cool promised that he would retain his Intercontinental title in his upcoming match against Razor Ramon.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels) vs. Razor Ramon (w/ Walter Payton)
Though some fans and insiders alike have been quick to deride the infamous Kliq contingent for their monopoly over the WWF heriachy in the mid-90s, it's hard to deny that, when it came to marquee matches, they at least delivered in the ring.

Consider the new legendary ladder match between Michaels and Ramon at Wrestlemania 10 and Diesel's thrilling attempt to capture the WWF title from Bret Hart at that June's King of the Ring event. Both great matches in their own right, topped off with an equally as exciting Intercontinental title match between The Bad Guy and Big Daddy Cool.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Todd Pettengill talks to tag team champions Shawn Michaels & Diesel
In the second longest match on the card, both champ and challenger -along with outside shenanigan-producer Michaels- created a wonderful title match that was simply a joy to watch.

All three men (and Payton) worked supremely well together to capture the crowd in the palm of their collective hand, and pull them along for one hell of a ride.

Unfortunately for the tag team champions, tonight was not to be their lucky night. After controlling much of the action between them, Michaels accidently nailed his partner with the Sweet Chin Music, costing Diesel the title.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Razor Ramon

Funny, that's two pay per views in 1994 which featured Razor winning the second-tier strap.

As The Bad Guy celebrated, Michaels stormed off to the backstage area, with his understandably irate partner following close behind and demanding an explination that the Heartbreak Kid was unwilling to give.

Fun with Randy
Cameras next cut to our host of sorts, Macho Man Randy Savage. Clearly having fun, Randy claimed that HBK would be in trouble once Diesel caught up with him, then handed back to Vince. Not sure what the point of that was.

Backstage fall out

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Shawn Michaels promised to get his buddy Diesel another shot at the Intercontinental championship
In a Colliseum Home Video exclusive, we got individual reactions from both Diesel and Michaels. Big Daddy Cool threw his tag team championship belt on the floor and claimed it was a pittance compared to the IC title. He then blasted Shawn before changing his mind about the tag titles, picking his belt back up off the floor and saying 'at least I still have this.'

In response, Michaels blamed Payton and promised to get Diesel another title shot.

Did Lex sell out?
In another backstage promo with our buddy Pettengill, Lex Luger and Tatanka discussed the results of a WWF Hotline Opinion Poll, in which 54% of fans apparently believed that Luger had sold out to the Million Dollar Man.

In probably the best piece of mic work Tatanka ever did during his WWF run, The Native American reamed Luger a new one, told him to fess up, and then promised to kick his red, white and blue ass when they met in the ring.

Luger claimed that, despite all the evidence, he was not in cahoots with Dibiase, and would beat Tatanka by himself. Let's head to ringside to see what happened next, shall we?

Lex Luger vs. Tatanka

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Lex Luger vs. Tatanka
Whether it was due to the storyline, or simply due to the fact that the Lex Express had stalled, Luger received a lukewarm response as he made his way to ringside to battle Tatanka in a passable contest.

Though the match itself wasn't bad, the crowd hardly cared, probably because they were waiting for the inevitable arrival of The Million Dollar Man. When he arrived, Dibiase actually cost Lex the match by distracting him.
Your winner: Tatanka

In the post-match, Luger confronted Dibiase, but was attacked by Tatanka, who revealed that the whole thing had been one huge swerve. Tatanka was actually the one who had sold out, joining forces with The Million Dollar Corporation.

The two new allies went to make their way backstage, only for Dibiase to order Tatanka back in the ring to lay more damage into the prone Luger.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Todd Pettengill reveals the results of an opinion poll into whether Lex Luger sold out to the Million Dollar Man
Those bastards.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Mabel (w/ Oscar)
You know, it wasn't until this battle of rap vs. country that your writer realised how terrible Oscar was at busting rhymes.

Thankfully, the action this short filler match was better than Mabel's manager and his horrible mic work.

Not that the match itself was anything special, but then it probably wasn't supposed to be. Rather, the two men were tasked with getting the crowd suitably prepared for our upcoming double main event, and to that end, they did their jobs well.

Abe Knuckleball Schwartz was briefly shown in the crowd, though nothing came of that, and instead we got a victory for Jeff Jarrett over the man who would challenge Diesel for the WWF title in a year's time.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett

Afterwards, Mabel wobbled backstage in pursuit of Jarrett.

Back to the Super Sleuths
Vince McMahon then took to the microphone to tell us that our 'Super Sleuths' were in the crowd looking for The Undertaker. Cut to Nieseon and Kennedy in the entrance way, and an image of The Undertaker behind them.

Naturally, the image went away before the goofy sleuths could spot him.

Pettengill then gave us another recap of the feud between Owen Hart and his brother, the WWF Champion. Remember when Owen kicked Bret's leg out of his leg? Good times.

Still waiting for the steel cage, meant to keep the wrestlers in and their family out, to be constructed, Vince interviewed Stu and Helen Hart about the match.

'I think it's a fever that's possessed Owen, and I just hope he overcomes it some day,' said Helen.
'I just hope that the best wrestler will walk out of that ring,' added Stu.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart defended his WWF Championship against younger brother Owen

Jerry Lawler then yelled at Stu and Helen before interviewing The British Bulldog, who said that the family feud started at Summerslam 1992 (when Bulldog defeated Bret for the Intercontinental title), and would hopefully end tonight.

The announcers then considered interviewing Bruce Hart, but instead ignored him to speak to Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart, who had been in Owen's corner since King of the Ring. Bruce finally did get a word in, and blamed The Anvil for breaking up the family.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Bret Hart gave a pre-match promo
Backing up his brother's claim, WWF Champion Bret gave an interview to Todd Pettengill, insisting that Jim sewed the seeds of jealousy in Owen. The Hitman said that he hated Neidhart, but didn't hate The King of Harts. Rather, he only wanted to prove he was better than his young brother.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. 'The King of Harts' Owen Hart
Just when you thought the Brothers Hart couldn't possibly top their Wrestlemania classic, they went at it in what turned out to be one of the greatest cage matches of all time.

That's no exaggeration, it really was that good.

In his Kayfabe Commentaries WWF Timeline 1994 shoot interview (a review of which I'll post in a month or so), Sean Waltman claimed that, prior to the show, Bret had insisted he and Owen would take as long as they needed t tell their story.

As a result, we got an half hour classic in which both champ and challenger traded offence and escape attempts in equal measure.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Owen vs. Bret Hart
Starting off slowly and gradually working the crowd into a frenzy, Bret and Owen each made several desperate lunges for the cage door, only to be stopped by their brother. Likewise, every dramatic climb to the top of the stage was thwarted by the other man in what was undoubtedly the highlight of the night.

Following thirty-plus minutes of incredible action, both men climbed over the cage to the outside and continued to brawl. The challenger got his foot caught in the bars of the steel cage, allowing the champion to drop to the outside and retain his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

But the drama did not end there.

Jim Neidhart leaped over the barricade and clobbered Davey Boy from behind, effectively knocking both the Bulldog, and his wife Dianna, over the guard rail. The Anvil attacked his former Hart Foundation partner, throwing him back into the cage where The Anvil and The King of Harts continued their assault, Owen laying a beat down on Bret as Jim saw off a bunch of rescue attempts by various members of The Hart Family.

Eventually, it took a returning Davey Boy Smith to put an end to things, fighting his way into the cage and coming to The Hitman's aid.

Backstage, Todd Pettengill chased after Owen and The Anvil. Both men were irate at the outcome. Owen was angry at The British Bulldog, and The Anvil at his former partner, The Hitman.

The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker (W/ The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase)
It would take a couple of very talented performers indeed to top that impressive WWF title match. Unfortunately, neither The Undertaker nor his evil clone were up to the task.

Having already introduced his own Undertaker, Dibiase awaited the arrival of the man he originally brought to the World Wrestling Federation at the 1990 Survivor Series.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Undertaker vs. Undertaker

He had a long time to wait, and so did everybody else.

First, Paul Bearer came out, leading a group of druids who wheeled a casket to the ring. The Undertaker was in the casket, right?


The only thing inside the casket was a big urn with a flashlight inside it. Bearer took it into the ring and waved the flashlight/urn around a bit as 'thunder and lightning' crashed around the arena.

Finally, darkness consumed the United Center, and The Undertaker, the real one, walked slowly to the ring.

Before the opening bell, we had a pose-down of sorts, as Bearer helped The Undertaker out of his hat and robe, and Dibiase mimicked his actions with his own 'Taker.

A lengthy stare-down followed, followed by several minutes of uninspired action with very little of note taking place.

Indeed, it seemed that the spectacle surrounding Undertaker vs. Undertaker was far greater than the actual in-ring conflict.

The crowd were effectively silent for most of the bout, which Vince McMahon on commentary claimed was due to them being 'stunned' at the appearance of two Undertakers. They barely  came to life when The Deadman put his clone away with three Tombstone Piledrivers and stuffed him into the casket.
Your Winner: The Undertaker (the real one)

Two druids came to the ring to take the Underfaker away as The Undertaker saluted Paul Bearer's urn. The casket went backstage, where it was discovered by Nielson and Kennedy. The duo lifted the lid, only to find that the Undertaker II was not inside it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all she wrote, apart from a closing promo in which Bearer and The Undertaker solemnly gloated about their victory.

The final match, and everything that surrounded it, aside, Summerslam 1994 was actually a pretty awesome show. Razor/Diesel, Hart/Hart and even Nakano/Blayze are all well worth tracking down, though the show as a whole ran smoothly and even the opening tag match and Luger/Tatanka bout had their moments. 
Onwards we go then to the final PPV of 1994, the Survivor Series.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF King of the Ring 1995

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Video cover
June 25, 1995
CoreStates Spectrum 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For this writer, going back to the 1995 WWF King of the Ring brings about mixed feelings. This was the year that my childhood markdom reached an all-time high, a time when I believed Big Daddy Cool Diesel was the coolest thing on Earth, second only to perhaps the White Power Ranger. Yet even then, I knew that Mabel in a prominent role on WWF was something I definitely did not want to see.

Now 30 years-old, I'm almost dreading what we're about to watch tonight. Still, we're here now, so let's take a look at what went down.

Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love
That old familiar sound of Vince McMahon's Growl of the Gods kicked things off, telling us all about what a wonderful place Philadelphia is over a birds-eye-view of the city courtesy of the WWF Blimp.

This might have been where the Declration of Independence was signed, but tonight, McMahon claimed Philadelpha was all about something called monARCHY, which we can only assume was his impassioned attempt at making monarchy and anarchy sound like the same thing.

Stephanie Wiand kills the mood
After such a dramatic, dynamic introduction from Vince, you'd probably expect the air of excitement to continue, perhaps with the familiar sweeping shot of the live crowd, or at the very least more McMahon growling.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Stephanie Wiand introduced our last qualifying match between Savio Vega and IRS
Instead, after the opening graphic, we went to a rather subdued Stephanie Wiand stood in front of a curtain for a Colliseum Home Video exclusive.

'As you know,' said Steph. 'The last King of the Ring Qualifying Match' took place right here at the CoreStates Spectrum before tonight's show, and as a special treat to you, here it is.'

I mean nothing against Ms. Wiand personally, but after leaping around like a bit of a loon at the first In Your House back in May, it was a tad disappointing to see Stephanie doing her best to make a match between IRS and Savio Vega sound about as appealing as contracting an incurable disease.

Regardless, let's go check it out, shall we?

King of the Ring Qualifying match:
IRS (w/ The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase) vs. Savio Vega (w/ Razor Ramon)
In the weeks leading up to the show, Razor Ramon was set to appear in the quarter finals until a legitimate injury suffered in a house show match against arch-rival Jeff Jarrett took him out of action. Instead, The Bad Guy lead his buddy to the ring for a short, snappy little match against veteran IRS, the winner filling the vacant spot left behind by Ramon.

With the crowd firmly on his side, the man once known as Kwang dominated most of the action, constantly keeping on top of his opponent with near falls and take downs galore before finally landing the three count.

OK, so it would have been nice to see a more balanced match, but that's just the opinion of one IRS fan, and all in all, tonight's opening contest was fine for what it was.
Your Winner (advances to the quarter finals): Savio Vega

Afterwards, Vega celebrated like he'd already won the entire tournament.

The King of the Ring begins
WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Doc Hendrix and Vince McMahon were commentators for the show
Finally, we got more McMahon growling and the usual 'WELCOME EVERY-WAN!' introduction, complete with the sweep through the crowd, and the 1995 King of the Ring was underway.

Along with his commentary partner Doc Hendrix, McMahon did a sterling job of making tonight's show sound like one of the most important event in the history of pro wrestling, and with that, it was on to the competition proper.

Pettengill interviews Savio
Backstage, our old buddy Todd Pettengill caught up with a lively Savio Vega. The question, how does one prepare for the King of the Ring having only qualified minutes earlier?

The answer: An over-excited, flag-waving, wide-eyed ramble about being the first Peurto Rican King of the Ring. All the while, Razor Ramon stood by, smiling and nodding like he either didn't know, or didn't care, what was going on.

Imagine the Ultimate Warrior cutting a promo whilst on happy pills, and you've got some idea of what this one was like.

King of the Ring Quarter Final
WWF Tag Team Champion Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. Savio Vega (w/ Razor Ramon) 
As the behemoth Yokozuna made his way to the ring, we reminded of how he made his way into the competition be beating off old rival Lex Luger, thanks to a well-placed leg-drop on the outside of the ring.

Following the aforementioned promo from Savio, we went back to the entrance, for our first glimpse of a really young Matt and Jeff Hardy opening up the doors for Mr. Vega and Razor to head to the ring.

The bell rang, and after a bunch of flag-waving and crowd baiting, our 1995 King of the Ring tourmament was properly underway.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Razor Ramon helps Savio Vega celebrate his win over Yokozuna
A forgettable, if not necessarily bad opening round match saw Savio triumph over a former two time WWF Champion who would never again enjoy the kind of prominence he had known just two short years ago.

Indeed, it's curious that Yokozuna was never again a serious fixture in the WWF main event scene, especially when he'd proved -in this writer's mind at least- to be an efficient monster heel.

Instead, the sumo star was currently enjoying a tag team run with 1994 King of the Ring winner Owen Hart, whose attempt to attack Savio backfired, ultimately resulting in a countout win for Vega.
Your winner (advances to the semi-final): Savio Vega

Backstage, Jerry 'The King' Lawler had some choice words for long-time enemy, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. In the build up to their upcoming Kiss My Foot match, Lawler had been doing everything he could to make his foot as nasty as possible, and was now promising to ram it down to the throat of The Hitman after they got done with their match.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Jerry Lawler made his foot as nasty as possible ready for his 'Kiss My Foot' match against Bret Hart
Even as an 11 year-old boy, I knew this was ridiculous, and trust me, it hasn't gotten any better with age.

King of the Ring Quarter Final
The Roadie (w/ WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett) vs. Bob 'Spark Plug' Holly
I'm going to say this now and stand by it forever: The Roadie versus Bob Holly was the most enjoyable match on this whole show.

Though neither man were perhaps in serious contention for the throne, they nonetheless made the most of what they had with an utterly entertaining outing.

Going all out from the beginning, this was a fast paced affair that really caught the attention -and received the approval- of the Philly faithful.

After a valiant effort, Holly's combination of speed and strength was no match for the cunning of The Road Dog, who countered Bob's dive from the ropes with a boot to the face to score a dodgy three count, dodgy in the sense that Holly actually kicked out on two, not that the referee seemed to care.
Your Winner (advances to the semi-final): The Roadie 

Backstage we went once again, this time with the man McMahon referred to as one of the 'odd's on favourites' for the competition: Shawn Michaels.

King Kong Bundy, and promised to go all the way by topping Supreme Fighting Machine Kama in our next content.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Bob Holly vs. The Roadie was match of the night
The Heartbreak Kid spoke to Todd Pettengill about qualifying for the competition with a win over

King of the Ring Quarter Final match
Kama (w/ The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase) vs. Shawn Michaels
If you were expecting your usual HBK classic here, your reviewer has some bad news: This wasn't such a match.

OK, so even at his worst, The Showstopper could deliver a match better than many others' best, but this just wasn't on a level you'd expect from the man who could have a decent match with just about anybody.

Nor was it all Kama's fault. The former Papa Shango laid on the offence thick, making the best use of his somewhat limited skills to play the role of the aggressor whilst Michaels -who had marked his recent babyface turn by growing the most unkempt of facial hair- did as little as he could possibly get away with.

Thus we had 15 minutes of one of the best workers in the business lying around on the floor doing nothing. Whilst this may have achieved the aim of making Kama look like something of a bad ass, it hardly made for the most exciting of matches.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Shawn Michaels w/ Todd Pettengil. HBK faced Kama in a time limit draw
Having spent most of the match killing time, Michaels almost scored the pinfall right at the last possible second, only for the time limit to elapse, resulting in what the ring announcer declared to be a double draw.

Even McMahon and Hendrix questioned that announcement, neither being quite sure how it was possible for one match to reach a draw twice.
Time limit draw - neither man advances to the semi finals

Afterwards, an irate HBK uttered a very clear BULL SHIT, before posing for the live crowd, which was about the only time he put any effort in throughout the entire thing.

Following the fiftieth camera shot of the Stridex Blimp, we went backstage once more to Todd Pettengill, who hyped up our last quarter final match of the evening, pitting The Undertaker against Mabel.

To remind you, Mabel made his way into the tournament by squashing Adam Bomb at In Your House 1, whilst The Undertaker earned his spot by toppling Jeff Jarrett.

The interval continued with Vince and Doc chatting about the show so far before throwing us to a pre-recorded video featuring Bob Backlund.

The Backlund Campaign Train goes to Philly
WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Bob Backlund on the campaign trail to become US President
Like many long-term fans, this reviewer is a big fan of Backlund's mid-90s heel run, but there was something about this video, in which the former WWF Champion went around Philadelphia as part of his presidential campaign, that was just awkward.

Not necessarily bad, or wrong, or anything like that, just awkward, as though neither here, nor anybody involved with this segment, had any idea what they were supposed to be doing.

With that over, we went back to Doc and Vince for yet another look at the Spanish and French commentators. Vince especially seemed a tad obsessed with showing us the other commentary teams on this show, probably because it was more interesting than anything actually taking place in the ring.

Speaking of which.

King of the Ring Quarter Final
Mabel (w/ Mo) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
En route the ring, Mabel took the time to talk to Stephanie Wiand about how he planned to become this year's King of the Ring. After vowing to destroy The Undertaker, Mabel signed off by calling his interviewer 'Pretty Stephanie,' a sign, perhaps, that The World's Largest Love Machine was still gaining momentum after his attempts to charm Pamela Anderson back at the Royal Rumble.

True to his word, the big man dominated the early going of this slow, mediocre affair, thwarting the Dead Man's speed and agility with brute force.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Mabel beat Undertaker in the last quarter final match
Much to the delight of the Rest in Peace chanting crowd, The Phenom did mount a spirited comeback, but his every effort was constantly met with resistance from the former tag team champion. All the while, McMahon suggested that not having the Urn to hand had much to do with Undertaker's struggles.

The supposed source of the Dead Man's power had been stolen back at Wrestlemania 11 by Kama, who subsequently melted it down into a gold chain.

Speaking of Kama, following a ref bump towards the end of the match, it was the Million Dollar Corporation member who played a role in the finish. Undertaker planted Mabel with a chokeslam, only for the Supreme Fighting Machine to clock 'Taker round the back of the head.

Mo revived the referee, and one three count later, Mabel had advanced to the King of the Ring final.
Your Winner (advances straight to the final as a result of the draw between HBK and Kama): Mabel

Post-match, Kama's plans to further punish his rival were halted when The Undertaker rose to his feet and chased the Urn-destroyer to the back at a speed only marginally slower than the snails-pace set by the preceeding match.

WWF Hall of Fame Ceremony 1995
WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - WWF Hall of Fame Class of 1995
In a break from all that non-stop action, we next took a look back at the previous night's Hall of Fame ceremony. Unlike the grand ceremony, complete with lavish production values and overall sense of spectacle that we all know and love today, back in 1995, the Hall of Fame took place in the function suite of a nearby Mariot Hotel.

In a weird way, the low-budget affair seemed to somehow add a greater air of legitimacy  to the event, as though this really was all about the WWF honouring stars like The Big Cat, Ernie Ladd, The Fabulous Moolah, George 'The Animal' Steele and Pedro Morales, rather than just another WWE show designed to squeeze more money out of fans during Wrestlemania weekend.

Forget the big stage, bright lights and big-time event feel of today's ceremonies, here we had a simple table with seats for the full WWF Hall of Fame Class of 1995, along notable figures such as Alundra Blayze (who inducted Moolah), Gorilla Monsoon (inducted Pedro Morales) and Vince McMahon.

Among clips of the inductions (during which Ivan Putski decided to forgo the usual acceptance speech in favour of leading the audience in a sing-song), we also got shots of the pre-event activities.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - The Undertaker at the 1995 Hall of Fame
Among the more memorable moments, we had Razor Ramon wearing the world's worst bright blue slacks-and-blazer get-up whilst playing tug-of-war with a kid in a wheelchair over a toy IC title, and The Undertaker looking for all the world like Satan's Pimp in an admittedly cool (for the 90s) black-and-purple number.

The Road Dogg is ready for action
Back to tonight's proceedings, Todd Pettengill was backstage for an interview with Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie. Though it's hard to say if this is the first time the King of the Ring semi-finalist had referred to himself as the Road Dogg, it's certainly fair to say that Mr. Armstrong did his damndest to get it over as his new moniker.

'The Road Dogg is going to win the King of the Ring. Who's going the Win the King of the Ring? The Road D-O-Double-G, that's who. And you're doggity dog-gone right the Road Dogg is gonna win the King of the Ring.'

OK, so that's hardly a word-for-word dictation of this promo, but it isn't far off.

King of the Ring Semi-Final:
The Roadie (w/ Double J) vs. Savio Vega (w/ Razor Ramon)
Having told us countless times in the space of a few minutes that he (the Road D-O-Double-G) was going all the way, it was time for Roadie to finish talking the talk and start walking the walk in our one and only semi-final match of the evening.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - The Road Dogg and Jeff Jarrett with Todd Pettengill
As matches go, this one was yet another mediocre King of the Ring outing with very little working in its favour. Too short to really pick up momentum and with a practically dead crowd watching on, this one came and went in a fairly unspectacular fashion.

Not that Roadie and Savio didn't do their best. To give them their credit, they did at least put some effort in, though it wasn't enough to save this from being a passable, if immediately forgettable encounter.

After just a few minutes of back and forth action, Double J hopped up on the apron to distract the referee. One push-Roadie-into-Jarrett-and-send-the-latter-flying-off-the-apron move later, and Savio was able to roll up his opponent and score a date with Mabel in the process.
Your  Winner (advances to the final): Savio Vega

'I can't believe this is happening here tonight!' exclaimed Vince McMahon, who had the final say over everything that happened tonight.

Meanwhile, Carlos Cabera prepared to catch up with Savio for a ringside interview. Trying to be helpful, Doc Hendrix got in on the act, claiming to 'translate' the Spanish-language interview for English-speaking Audiences.

As Savio spoke jubilantly to Cabera, Hendrix mistranslated his obvious words of hope and enthusiasm as 'I don't know what I'm doing here..I can't beat Mabel...Mabel is going to wipe the floor with me.' before telling us that Cabera had urged Vega to give up now, and that that the Carribean sensation was seriously contemplating it.

Though it doesn't sound all that funny written down, thanks to Hendrix's perfect comic timing, and some awesome facial expressions from Razor Ramon, this one little moment had your writer laughing out loud and giggling long into the next match.

Bret Hart's pre-match promo
WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Bret Hart faced Jerry Lawler in a Kiss My Foot match
By the summer of 1995, the rivalry between Jerry Lawler and Bret Hart had  been going on for two years and counting. It began at the 1993 King of the Ring, continued at that year's Summerslam PPV and had featured infrequently on WWF programming ever since.

With seemingly no end in sight for this feud, the two had squared off the previous month, with Lawler upsetting Hart at In Your House 1 thanks to interference from Hakushi and Shinja, leading to Hart demanding one more match against the King.  Lawler agreed, but only with the provision that the loser of the match had to kiss the winner's feet.

With the stipulation set, The King had spent the last several weeks covering his feet in all kinds of dirt, and refusing to watch them afterwards.

Not that The Hitman was concerned.

Standing in the same glamorous backstage area used by Stephanie Wiand earlier (IE, in front of a curtain), Bret delivered a pre-taped promo in which he claimed tonight was all about redemption.

The Excellence of Execution was loathe to admit that he'd been training hard for a match against Lawler, but admitted that he'd done so in order to avoid making any mistakes in his pursuit for revenge against his long-term tormentor.

Offering a retort, Jerry gave an interview to Stephanie Wiand on his way to the ring, claiming that Bret didn't stand a chance in their upcoming match, and that those nasty, foul-smelling feet of his would definitely be kissed.

Kiss My Foot Match
Jerry 'The King' Lawler vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
Having been so subdued in the previous match, the Philly crowd really came alive for Hart vs. Lawler, reacting to every big spot like they were witnessing a genuine five-star classic.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Jerry Lawler speaks to Stephanie Wiand before his match against Bret HartNot that anyone would actually class this match as such. Enjoyable, sure. Entertaining, certainly, though far from a must-see attraction.

After coming out all guns blazing, The Hitman took a spill into the ring steps in the early going and spent much of the remainder of the content absorbing the punishment -including three trademark piledrivers- from The King.

Just when it looked like a proper comeback was iminent, Lawler took off his boot -exposing that disgusting foot in the process- and used it to regain the upperhand.

Indeed, it was Jerry's cowardly heel schtick that really made this one such fun to watch, though despite dominating for the majority of the contest, he wouldn't be walking away with a win.

Towards the finale, the action once again spilled to the outside, providing an opportunity for Shinja and Hakushi to rush ringside in an attempted repeat of Hart and Lawler's In Your House outing. This time however, 'Kushi struck the wrong man and laid out his ally with a swift thrust to the throat.

Seizing the advantage, Bret took the fight back to the ring, where a side Russian legsweep, backbreaker and second-rope forearm smash ultimately led to the match-winning Sharpshooter.
Your Winner: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

'Now, Jerry 'The King' Lawler must kiss Bret Hart's foot!' declared the ring announcer as The Hitman sat on the ropes and took off both boot and sock. Hoping to make the save, Hakushi and Shinja returned, setting up The Excellence of Execution for another attack. Once again, their plans backfired, Hakushi lept off the ropes, Bret moved out of harms way and The King was drilled by his own back-up plan.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Bret Hart made Jerry Lawler kiss his own feet
After cleaning house, Bret shoved his barefoot into his opponent's mouth before making Jerry Lawler kiss his own feet.

Disgusting? Absolutely. If I wanted to see grown men put their bare feet in each other's mouths, I'd be watching a completely different kind of video right now.

The end of the Hitman/King rivalry? Absolutely not. This whole thing would lead us to something much worse: The introduction of Isaac Yankem DDS. 

Time for the final
After a short video promoting the World Wrestling Federation's involvement with the Special Olympics, we were reminded that, whilst talented performers Bret and Owen Hart had won the last two tournaments, this year, our King of the Ring would either be Mabel or Savio Vega.

King of the Ring Final
Mabel (w/ Mo) vs. Savio Vega (w/ Razor Ramon)
If you thought reading about four Savio Vega matches in three hours was bad, imagine how the crowd felt. Having come to life for the Kiss my Foot match, they -quite rightly- went back to sleep for what proved to be an utterly tedious King of the Ring Final.

At one point, this one became so boring that the crowds completely stopped caring on the action and amused themselves with arena-wide ECW! ECW! chants.

Taking the message to heart, the two men did pick it up in the final moments, with Vega scoring a succession of crowd-popping near-falls before being ultimately caught, squashed, and pinned by your 1995 King of the Ring winner.
Your Winner and King of the Ring: Mabel

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Mo declares Mabel the new king
Afterwards, Razor Ramon confronted Men on A Mission, only to recieve a serious beat down for his troubles. This brought out a returning 123 Kid, who likewise took a pasting from Mo and Mabel.

King Mabel is crowned
Reaching the winner's podium, Mabel took his cape and sword, plonked his ginourmous rump in the throne, then sat by as Mo delivered a promo almost as a slow as our final, telling us all to bow down to King Mabel.

As an irate crowd began hurling garbage at our devious duo, Razor, Savio and the Kid made a second attempt to seek redemption, only to be held away by the referees, never -as far as I'm aware- to fully get their revenge.

A word with the Million Dollar Corporation
In another pre-recorded interview with Miss. Wiand, Sid gloated about injuring the elbow of WWF Champion Diesel in their title match a month earlier. Promising to do yet more damage tonight, big Sid was backed up by his tag team partner and Million Dollar Corporation cohort Tatanka, who was all fired up about taking on former team mate Bam Bam Bigelow. 

In response, Diesel told Todd Pettengill that even a Big Daddy Cool at 50% was more than Sid could handle. Backing up his new ally, Bigelow promised that he and the WWF Champion would set the place on fire.

Sid & Tatanka (w/ The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase) vs. World Wrestling Federation Champion Diesel & Bam Bam Bigelow
It's likely that even the worst of main events would look pretty good when coming after the snooze-fest that was Mabel vs. Vega, but for the first few minutes of this tag team contest, it did look like we'd get a main event way beyond expectations.

WWF / WWE - King of the Ring 1995 - Million Dollar Corporation members Sid and Tatanka w/ Ted DibiaseBoth teams came out swinging in what looked set to be a pretty good main event, right up until the moment Bam Bam began to play the role of babyface in peril. From that moment on, things disintegrated into a slow, sluggish affair interspersed with the occasional rare flesh of excitement.
It's not that this was particularly bad, it's just that, after watching Bigelow take yet another beat down at the hands of Tatanka and Sid, things became so dull that you began begging for it to just be over.

Thankfully, things did eventually come to an end. After hitting Tatanka with the Jackknife powerbomb, Diesel refused to complete the three count, instead demanding that Sid tag in for another showdown.

Deciding against it, Sid dropped from the apron and made his way backstage, setting up our Lumberjack Match main event at In Your House two and leaving Tatanka to eat the match-deciding pinfall.
Your Winners: Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow

And that, my friends, is pretty much that. Following the bell, we got the usual pyro-and-smoke celebration which followed Big Daddy Cool around for much of 1995. Then the video cut out, and all we were left with is a sigh of relief that this one is finally over.

Though it may have looked bad on paper, King of the Ring 1995 did have the potential to prove everybody wrong and actually deliver something worthwhile. Unfortunately, it failed on pretty much all accounts. Not to take away from the talents of either man, but when the best match on a major Pay Per View event is between midcard acts Bob Holly and The Roadie, it's probably fair to say that something went wrong somewhere. 
Speaking of things going wrong, looking back, it's hard to fathom just what the long-term plan was supposed to be regarding Savio Vega. 
Pushed as The Underdog That Could in his four King of the Ring matches, and then squaring off against Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Championship on the following night's Monday Night Raw, the future looked bright for the former Kwang, yet beyond that title shot, can anyone really remember one significant thing he did until his eventual heel turn and siding with the Nation of Domination? 
All in all, a lackluster show that offered nothing any of us need ever witness again....apart from maybe the Undertaker's Hall of Fame suit.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.