The Perfect Father’s Day Card. Welcome to this King Of The Ring 1994 Review. This second annual KOTR took place on Fathers Day 1994 and features some big matches.
Tonight will focus around the annual King Of The Ring tournament. A tournament Bret Hart won in it’s first televised showing. This year he’s not in it but Razor Ramon, Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow who all featured in last years tournament are back for another crack of the whip. Razor and Bam Bam actually meet in the first round whilst Tatanka, who drew with Luger last year, takes on Owen Hart. Also in the tournament we have I.R.S taking on Men On A Missions Mabel and Jeff Jarrett against the 123 Kid.
Also tonight Bret Hart defends the WWF title that he won at Wrestlemania 10 against up and comer Diesel. Since Wrestlemania Diesel won the Intercontinental title from Razor Ramon and although his title won’t be on the line tonight, this is a big champion vs champion match, the first since Survivor Series 92 where Bret Hart took on Shawn Michaels. Also in action tonight are the new tag team champions, The Headshrinkers who have recently turned face with Captain Lou Albano as their handler. They defeated The Quebecers for the titles and tonight they defend against former WWF champion Yokozuna and Crush. The final match of the night features Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in a real old school matchup. So let’s get to it.
We get underway with some graphics accompanied by some regal music. We’re then treated to a montage of the King Of The Ring tournament. I.R.S and Mabel, Razor Ramon and Bam Bam, Jeff Jarrett and the 123 Kid and Owen Hart and Tatanka. There’s a very midcard feel to this years tournament. Interestingly, no PPV tournament in the WWE has ever happened without there being a draw up to this point. New Intercontinental champion Diesel takes on Bret Hart in a champion vs champion match. Then Jerry Lawler takes on Rowdy Roddy Piper. New tag team champions The Headshrinkers take on Yokozuna and Crush! Todd Pettingill gives us the rundown then we go to ringside where Ricky Medlock, lead guitarist and singer of Blackfoot (who?) sings us the national anthem. I preferred Little Richard. Then we go to the commentators Gorilla Monsoon, Randy Savage and Art Donnovan. I think Art was a Football player.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Razor Ramon – King Of The Ring Quaterfinal
Two men who get big wins at Wrestlemania 10 are up next. Ramon is actually undefeated on PPV in 1994 so far having beaten Shawn Michaels and I.R.S. Bam Bam has a good record at the King Of The Ring tournament having got to the final in last years competition. Both of these men were in the tournament last year and both men lost to Bret Hart. Ramon is no longer Intercontinental champion having lost the belt to Diesel. Razor defeated Kwang to get here and Bigelow beat Sparky Plugg. This is both of these guys sixth pay per view in a row, both men have been on every pay per view since last years King Of The Ring. Ramon flicks his toothpick at Luna allowing Bam Bam to attack him from behind. It’s all Bigelow in the early going, hitting a legdrop on the Bad Guy then going up top for his finisher but missing the headbutt! This gives Ramon the advantage. This is the first meeting between these two on pay per view. Ramon crotches Bam Bam around the ringpost. Ramons ringgear matches the colour scheme for KOTR, gold and purple. Razor is definitely a favourite for this tournament.
Luna screams at ringside as Razor leglocks his opponent. Bam Bam soon sends Razor sprawling over the top rope. Luna then distracts the referee from the other side of the ring which accomplishes nothing. The fans are right behind Razor in this one. Back in the ring and Bam Bam hits a nice enzeguri then locks on a rack submission. Razor eventually gets out of it and hits a belly to back suplex. It’s the Bad Guy now with a big powerslam. He then pops Bam Bam onto the second rope but Bigelow elbows him off. Bam Bam then goes up to the top rope for a moonsault but Razor schoolboys him off the top rope and pins him for the three! Razor Ramon wins the match and advances to the next round! Good match to start off the night.
I.R.S and Mabel are backstage now next to the brackets. I.R.S stumbles over his words but makes the point he will beat Mabel, Razor Ramon and hopefully Tatanka tonight. Mabel and Oscar worry about one men at a time. But they’re confident.
Irwin R Shyster vs. Mabel – King Of The Ring Quater Final
I.R.S fighting tonight means that we continue to have somebody from the original Wrestlemania show wrestle on every pay per view since. I.R.S berates everyone for not paying their taxes whilst Oscar comes out rapping with Mabel. These two guys go straight into it with Mabel smashing I.R.S’ head off the top turnbuckle. Mabel beat Pierre to get here whilst Shyster beat Scott Steiner. I.R.S looking for his first PPV win since Summerslam last year when he beat The 123 Kid. Mabel of course was victorious at Wrestlemania 10. It’s all Mabel in the early going. This commentator doesn’t know anybody involved with this match. Irwin manages to knee Mabel to the outside. I can definitely see Shyster winning this match and going on to face Razor Ramon. He hits a big clothesline knocking Mabel right down. He follows it up with a couple of elbows and gets a near fall. He then goes for a powerslam but Mabel small packages him and clearly gets a 3 count but the referee just counts 2. Shyster is first up and locks on a sleeper. I wonder where Mo is tonight. He didn’t get a shot at this tournament. I.R.S still looking for his first singles title.
Mabel hits some big right hands then hits a big back body drop. He hits a clothesline and a back elbow then motions to end the match. He hits his sideslam that finished off Pierre but Shyster kicks out! Mabel then goes up to the middle rope but Irwin shakes him off! I.R.S quickly pins him, using the ropes for leverage and gets the three count! A big win for I.R.S who picks up his first victory since Summerslam 93. He goes on to fight Razor Ramon in the next round.
We go to Jim Cornette, Mr Fuji, Crush and Yokozuna backstage. Jim Cornette says they’ll be winning the titles tonight. Mr Fuji wants the belts too.
Owen Hart vs. Tatanka – King Of The Ring Quater Final
Tatanka defeated Crush to get here whilst Owen Hart beat Doink The Clown. This has a big fight feel to it. Owen has been on a roll recently. He beat Bret at Wrestlemania in a classic. Tatanka has been on a roll since his debut, the only pay per view matches he’s lost in the last twp years were Royal Rumbles. Tatanka gets straight into the match, attacking Owen before the bell! Tatanka looks really stacked compared to Owen. He hits some awesome arm drags then locks on a headlock. Owen sends Tatanka flying to the outside but he lands on his feet! The two men then go at it on the outside. Owen sends Tatanka flying into the ringpost. We then go backstage to see Razor Ramon and I.R.S going at it in the back. Back in the ring and Owen chokes Tatanka on the ropes. The Rocket hits a nice suplex then goes up to the top where he hits a beautiful dropkick which earns him a near fall. Owen then goes for the sleeper.
The crowd cheer Tatanka on allowing him to get out of the sleeper. Hart then makes the mistake of smashing Tatanks head off the turnbuckle as it riles him up. Tatanka then starts the war dance and hits Owen with chops. Tatanka then hits a DDT and gets a two count. It’s all Tatanka now as he slams Owen to the mat then goes up top and hits a chop for the two count. Tatanka then hits a running powerslam that The British Bulldog would be proud of for another near fall. Tatanka hits a sunset flip but Owen sits on top of him and hooks the legs which gets the three count! Owen Hart beats Tatanka! That’s Tatanka’s first singles loss of pay per view. Another good match there, some high risk action between two really good competitors.
The Toddster is backstage with Shawn Michaels and Diesel. We see some footage of Diesel hitting the Jackknife on Bret Hart. Michaels says he’s very upset. Diesel says when the night is over he’ll have both titles over his shoulders.
Jeff Jarrett vs. The 123 Kid – King Of The Ring Quater Final
The 123 Kid defeated Adam Bomb to get here whilst Jarrett beat Lex Luger in a big upset. Both of these men were left off the Wrestlemania 10 card due to time constraints. Jarrett is looking for his first pay per view victory tonight. Jarrett takes control in the early going, hitting a hard irish whip on Kid. Jarrett claims that this is a warm up bash. Kid soon rolls up Jarrett but then gets kicked in the head. Jarrett knocks Kid down with a clothesline, Kid is so quick off the ropes. The crowd are right behind Kid in this one as he tries a victory roll and gets a two count. Kid hits a nice roundhouse kick and gets another 2. He then powerslams Jarrett and goes up top but misses with his flip. Jarrett goes for a suplerplex but Kid grabs the ropes sending Jeff flying then follows it up with a cross body for another near fall. This is Jarretts first major pay per view match. He tries for a figure four but 123 rolls him up and gets the three! 123 Kid wins! But Jarrett attacks him after the bell and hits three piledrivers! The referees break it up and send him to the back but the damage might be done. A good match between these two that could have done with a bit more time.
The New Generation are the buzzwords in the WWF at the moment as we’re shown a video package.
Now to Pettingill who is with Bret Hart. Hart tells us that the Jackknife from Diesel was one of the most painful things he’s ever experienced. Hart stumbles over a few words but no matter his size, he’ll bring him down to his height. Hart has a family member in his corner tonight to make sure Shawn Michaels doesn’t get involved.
Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) vs. Diesel – WWF Championship Match
Well this is a huge match for Diesel. He’s only had two pay per view matches before, he was quickly eliminated in a Survivor Series match and had a good showing in the 1994 Royal Rumble. But from nowhere he’s now Intercontinental champion in a pay per view match for the WWF title! Michaels, who has wrestled on the last 13 pay per views, is at ringside. Bret Hart comes out with former tag team partner Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. This is Harts first PPV defence since winning the title at Wrestlemania 10. Odd to have a World title match halfway through the night. Diesel looking for his first pay per view win tonight. Both men slug it out to start with which ends in Hart getting the advantage. He rolls Diesel up for the first near fall. Diesel pokes Hart in the eyes to get the advantage then chokes him in the corner. Neidhart hasn’t been on pay per view since Royal Rumble 1992, over two years ago, where he teamed up with Owen Hart in the New Foundation. Bret brings Diesel down to the mat and works away at the leg.
Hart locks on a figure four as Michaels goes nuts on the outside. Diesel soon gets out of it though and Bret wraps his knee into the steel post. Shawn Michaels then runs into Bret, knocking him down. This causes Neidhart to chase Michaels around the ring and even through it. With Michaels and Lex Luger not scheduled to fight tonight, Hart, Bigelow, Ramon and Yokozuna have fought on the most pay per views consistently with 6. Hart sends Diesel to the outside then missed with the cross body to the outside. It’s all Diesel now as he punches away at Harts back. Hart tends to sell the leg but tonight it’s all about the back. Michaels gets up on the apron and gives Diesel some advice. Big Daddy Cool then hits a backbreaker which gets him a 2 count. Hart won three matches at last years King Of The Ring pay per view. Diesel is looking good now as he knocks Hart down with a clothesline. He gets a near fall then locks on a chinlock. Diesel is starting to gas now as he hits another backbreaker. With the referee distracted by Jim Neidhart, Michaels tries to untie the turnbuckle but can’t seem to do it.
Hart reverses a backbreaker into a sleeper but gets rammed into the ringpost. Disel then throws Bret into the referee! Michaels then gets up on the apron as Diesel pulls off the turnbuckle. But of course it’s Diesel that gets smashed into it. It’s all Hart with big right hands now. He knocks the challenger down with his Hart Attack. He then hits hits a Russian Leg Drop then his trademark elbow off the second rope which gets a two. He hits a bulldog off the second rope then goes for The Sharpshooter. Michaels gets up on the apron and Hart nails him right back off. He then hits a clothesline off the second rope for another two count. Diesel gets back into it with a running powerslam but as he celebrates over Bret Harts body Bret pulls him down and locks on a Sharpshooter but Diesel gets to the ropes. Hart dropkicks Diesel over the top rope to the outside. In a strange turn of events Diesel smashes Neidhart but in the ring Michaels hits Hart with the belt! Diesel drops an elbow and covers Hart but only for a two count. He then signals for the Jackknife and he hits it! But Neidhart gets up and clothesline Michaels outside then runs in the ring and nails Diesel! It’s a disqualification victory for Diesel! Anvil leaves the ring are and in the ring Diesel and Michaels attack Bret Hart. Diesel was screwed! A pretty good match between these two with some good spots. It’s definitely not over between these two though.
Rating: 6.5/10* Match Of The Night
Backstage now to Todd with Jerry Lawler. Lawler says that Piper retired once and tonight he’s going to knock him into oblivion. Lawler is the undisputed King.
Razor Ramon vs. Irwin R Shyster – King Of The Ring Semi Final
A rematch from Royal Rumble 94 tonight. Ramon attacks Shyster before the bell outside of the ring! He rams Shyster into the ringpost then sends him into the ring. I.R.S soon gets the advantage and both men end up outside the ring going at it. I.R.S gets his face smashed off the steps but back in the ring and Irwin has the advantage! He locks on a sleeper using the ropes for leverage. Lots of Irwin chants. Bit harsh if your name is Irwin. Razor comes back with some right hands then Irish whips him hard into the corner. Razor then drags him round by hs tie and takes him down with it. I.R.S then gets back into it with a clothesline. Out of nowhere though Razor hits the Razors Edge which gets a three count! Razor wins and marches into the final. That was quick!
Backstage now to Bret Hart looking for Jim Neidhart. Bret is not happy but he can’t find his brother in law.
Now to Todd who says that nobody has heard from the 123 Kid. He’s due to fight Owen Hart next.
Owen Hart vs. The 123 Kid – King Of The Ring Semi Final
First ever meeting between these two high flyers. That’s if Kid turns up! If he does it’ll be the first ever pay per view tournament to go without a hitch. The guards open the doors and there’s no sign of him. But wait, he makes it out! He doesn’t look great though. Owen meets him with a dropkick then a suicide dive through the ropes before throwing him back in. Owen comes off the top with a big splash but 123 kicks out! Kid then reverses an Irish whip and goes up top for the moonsault, hits it and gets a two! Owen and Kid then hit some nice chain wrestling as Gorilla and Savage big up the new generation. Kid hits a nice bridging suplex and the referee counts three! But Owens foot was on the ropes. Owen slips to the outside and Kid jumps out to him! It would make sense for either of these guys to meet Razor in the final. Hart reverses a roundhouse into a nice belly to back suplex. This has been a great wrestling match as both men reverse pinfalls. Kid then goes for a hurricanrana that Owen reverses into a a powerbomb. Owen then locks on a Sharpshooter and Kid taps out! Two big wins for Owen over Tatanka and the 123 Kid. That sets up a big finale between Owen Hart and Razor Ramon. Really good match between these two high flyers.
Backstage to Roddy Piper who finds it hilarious that Lawler found someone to imitate him. Piper says that Lawler is a smart fox who’s been around a long time. Piper then names some Kings, like Don King. He then says that tonight we find out that there’s no such thing as a King.
The Headshrinkers (Fatu & Samu) (c) vs. Yokozuna & Crush – Tag Team Title Match
Big tag team title match up next. The big news is that The Headshrinkers defeated The Quebecers for the titles. They’ve also turned face and have Captain Lou Albano managing them as well as Afa. Crush and Yokozuna are a huge team looking to get back to winning ways following both their losses at Wrestlemania 10. Yokozuna is actually related to The Headshrinkers. Fatu and Samu haven’t actually won a match together since Survivor Series 92. The Tag Team titles actually haven’t changed hands on a pay per view since Summerslam 91, nearly three years ago. All four men go at it to start with but a couple of double headbutts from The Headshrinkers clears the ring. Yokozuna has never lost two pay per view matches back to back. Crush is looking for his first pay per view win in over a year. The match starts properly and Samu ambitiously tries a powerslam on Yokozuna. In comes Crush and Fatu. Fatu hits a big piledriver on Crush then goes to the second rope and hits a headbutt for a two count. Mr Fuji changes the direction of the match as he jabs the flagpole into Fatus back. Crush then hits a piledriver. Not the best. Crush tags in Yokozuna and takes Fatu down with a drop toe hold allowing Yoko to hit a legdrop.
Crush looks on a nervehold which wears down Fatu. The crowd get behind the newly turned Fatu who elbows his way out of it but gets slammed back down. Yokozuna gets tagged in and continues the assault. But he misses with an avalanche in the corner. This allows Fatu to tag Samu. Crush also come sin and Samu takes down everyone. All four men are in the ring now and The Headshrinkers throw their opponents into each other before double thrust kicking Yokozuna to the outside. Samu goes up top but with Yokozuna being rammed into the ringpost on the outside, Samu gets crotched. Crush then superplex’s Samu to the mat and follows it up with a legdrop. Yokozuna then gets in the ring and does the same. The crowd then go nuts as Lex Luger comes out from the back. He distracts Crush nearly long enough for Samu to roll him up. Crush clotheslines Samu out of the ring and Fatu then rolls him up for the three! The Headshrinkers successfully defend their titles as Luger then gets involved. Crush and Lex Luger are all over each other.
Backstage to Todd who is now with Owen Hart. Owen is confident he’ll win the King Of The Ring and sarcastically wishes his Dad a happy Fathers Day.
Owen Hart vs. Razor Ramon – King Of The Ring Final
Big final between the two biggest competitors in this tournament. Both of these guys have been on one hell of a roll recently. Razor slaps Owen to the canvas in the early going. Owen soon gets back into it with a slap of his own though. But he can’t maintain the advantage as Ramon slams him to the canvas. This commentator is the worst ever. All he talks about is peoples weight. Do one. Ramon slingshots Hart into the top turnbuckle then rolls him up for the 2. This is the first singles match between these two guys before. Owen hits a spinning heel kick on Razor taking him down. Owen then locks on an abdominal stretch on the bad guy. Ramon soon hiptosses his way out of it and hits a chokeslam to take Owen down. Owen hits a Russian leg sweep or a “leg trip and neck snap” as Gorilla Monsoon called it. Owen goes up top for a moonsault but Razor meets him up there and hits a super back suplex. He then motions for the Razors Edge but Owen back body drops him to the outside.
From out the back comes Jim Neidhart! He picks up Razor, then clothesline him and throws him into the ringpost. He tosses him back in the ring allowing Owen Hart to come off the top with a big elbow. That’s enough to get the three count! Owen Hart wins the King Of The Ring Tournament 1994! Fireworks go off! Owen and Neidhart then beat down Razor after the match and the two men hit the Hart Attack! Post match beatdowns seem to be the story of the night. A “we want Bret” chant breaks out as Neidhart celebrates with Owen.
Backstage Bret Hart can’t believe it.
We now go to the Coronation of Owen Hart. He says that Jim Neidhart is the only man he can trust and he wants it to be Neidhart that presents him with the crown. He demands that Todd Pettingill get down on one knee. Gorilla talks over Neidhart so we don’t hear what he has to say. Owen then says that his first proclamation is to be known as The King Of Harts going forward.
Now to a video package about Jerry Lawler and Roddy Piper. It looks like it started with Lawler slating Piper. Then Piper retorting from his piano. Lawler would bring out a skinny impersonator and treated him as if he was actually Piper.
Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Well this is a match between two huge stars of the 80’s. This is Lawlers first PPV match since Summerslam last year where the decision was reversed in his match with Bret Hart so he actually won. Funnily enough Pipers last PPV match was with Bret Hart too where he dropped the Intercontinental title at Wrestlemania 8 over two years ago. Lawler gets on the mic and riles up the crowd claiming that Piper is giving all his match winning to charity whilst the King plans on keeping all of his. Piper has an awesome entrance with the bagpipers leading him out. Piper gets a great reaction. He brings out the impersonator with him! Piper chucks his kilt at Lawler and the two veterans get into it. Piper is his old school animalistic self as he goes to work on The King. Lawler tries to make an escape but Piper brings him back. The impersonator Piper get an eye poke in too. Piper chases the referee around the ring too. It’s all Piper in the early going as he atomic drops The King to the outside. Lawler keeps going after the skinny Piper but the real Piper distracts him.
This eventually gives Lawler the advantage and he jabs away at the former Intercontinental champion. Jerry gets the first near fall of the match then goes back to jabbing Roddy. He then locks a sleeper on the man that uses it as a finisher. Royal Rumble 92 was the last pay per view that Piper won at, when he defeated The Mountie for the Intercontinental title. Lawler then drops Piper with the piledriver. That’s his finisher so he should be confident but he just gets a two count! The two men exchange blows as Piper begins a comeback and then he hits a couple of bulldogs! He can’t get a third though, Lawler shoves him into the referee. Jerry then goes digging into his tights for some knuckle dusters, he pulls them out and smashes Piper in the face with them! The referee slowly gets to his feet and counts two but with Lawlers feet on the ropes, the boy pushes them off! Roddy then hits a weak looking back suplex and bridges it for the three count! Rowdy Roddy Piper wins the match and the crowd are happy with that. This match was pretty good, it didn’t disappoint. Both men are definitely past it but the way their get their heat and pops is in a nice old school way.
And that was The King Of The Ring 1994. This show obviously centred around the King Of The Ring tournament. The tournament was made up of the solid workers in the midcard of the WWF. Owen Hart and Tatanka was definitely match of the tournament for me. Razor Ramon and Owen Hart were definitely the two hottest stars going into this tournament and were worthy of their places in the final. I.R.S is a solid enough heel to carry the tournament into the semi final. 123 Kid also put up a really good showing against Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart. The tournament didn’t feature an all time classic like Hart/Perfect at last years event but it gave some of the up and coming talent a platform to showcase their abilities. And it gives Owen Hart a great rub, he’s been really really good for quite a while now.
We also saw a World title match between Bret Hart and Diesel. Like I said earlier, it’s amazing to see how Diesel has flown up the card in a matter of months. He was nowhere at Wrestlemania and now he’s in the main event. He’s got a good aura about him, he has the superstar look. Bret Hart continues to be the posterchild for the WWF and he did himself no harm tonight. It’s interesting to see Hart and Shawn Michaels intertwine in different ways through their career.
Former WWF champion Yokozuna teamed with Crush to take on tag team champions The Headshrinkers. Obviously the Crush/Lex Luger feud took centre stage in this one and the Headshrinkers retained their belts. I like The Headshrinkers as champions, I’m a big fan of proper tag teams and they’ve earned their spot. It’ll be interesting to see where Yokozuna goes from here. The final match of the night was the contest between Roddy Piper and Jerry Lawler. Two legends on the microphone and in the ring. They put on a match that felt very old school but it wasn’t bad. I half expected a feud between Piper and Yokozuna following Wrestlemania 10 but we’ll see where it goes.
Overall a good pay per view. There wasn’t any turkeys on the card, most matches hovered above the average mark. Definitely worth a watch as the promotion transitions into the New Generation with a young, fresh roster.
Overall Rating: 55/100 (Ranked 7th out of 39)