The Netcop Retro Rant for King of the Ring 1994.
– Well, it’s time for King of the Ring again. I’ve never personally been a big fan of this PPV, for various reasons. Furthermore, the copy of KOTR 93 that my roommate has is in pretty bad shape, so we’ll just skip over it for now and possibly cover it later.
– Live from Baltimore, Maryland.
– Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage. Art Donovan sits in, but contributes absolutely nothing coherant. Think Stu Hart here, folks.
– As a word to begin, this was during the period when Vince was taking the stand in the steroid trial, so basically no one in the head office gave a good goddamn about this show or what the buyrate was. Be warned: If the WWF goes on trial again, the suckitude of the early 90s will rear it’s head again, mark my words.
– The tournament:
– IRS (d. Scott Steiner) v. Mabel (d. Pierre)
– Razor Ramon (d. Kwang) v. Bam Bam Bigelow (d. Sparky Plugg)
– Jeff Jarrett (d. Lex Luger) v. 1-2-3 Kid (d. Adam Bomb)
– Owen Hart (d. Doink) v. Tatanka (d. Crush)
– Oh, yeah, speaking of Kwang, here’s an oldie from RSPW’s past: What’s the sound of 300 pounds of shit hitting the fan? KWANG!
– Opening match: Bam Bam Bigelow v. Razor Ramon. Bammer goes nuts on Ramon with some power stuff, but the diving headbutt misses. Ramon hits the top rope bulldog for two. He ducks BBB’s enzuigiri, but takes a nasty looking bump over the top rope. Pardon the sexism, but Luna has a great ass at this point. Back in the ring and NOW the enzuigiri hits. Er…a torture rack? What the hell was he thinking? Ramon flips out and drops Bigelow with a backdrop suplex. Big comeback, but Bigelow gives him a stiff elbow to the head to break a suplex attempt. Bigelow goes for the Lunasault, but Ramon pushes him off and pins him. I’ve seen worse. **
– Toad Pedophile interviews Mabel and IRS in the back. What a scintellating segment.
– IRS v. Mabel. My dream match! See now, if Oscar’s rapping talents couldn’t save the WWF, how could Master P’s have saved WCW? Mabel hammers IRS, but misses a blind charge and gets kneed out of the ring to allow IRS to take control. He goes for a bodyslam (!) but Mabel reverses to a small package (!!). Okay, small package is probably a misnomer with Mabel. The match completely falls apart as Mabel won’t sell any more of IRS’ stuff, and ends up making the comeback with the RIB-BREAKING FAT-ASSED SPLASH OF DOOM, but it misses and IRS pins him. Hmm, that was, uh, not the worst Mabel match I’ve ever seen… 1/2*
– Tatanka v. Owen Hart. As a guide, Owen’s run in this thing was largely considered a formality. It wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret or anything who would be winning this one. Dull but solid match as Owen manages to carry Tatanka fairly well, even pulling out a missile dropkick. This show would be the last appearances of the Rocket name, and the cool pink tights. Tatanka makes the Pissed Off Racial Stereotype comeback. Chop! Chop! WARDANCE OF DOOM! More slams! More chops! He goes for the sunset flip, but Owen steals Bret’s move and hooks his legs for the pin. Decent. *
– Toad interviews Shawn and Diesel, who run down Bret. What a stretch that is.
– 1-2-3 Kid v. Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett was a joke at this point, not gaining credibility until the addition of his lackey, Road Dog Jesse Jammes, a few months after this. Kid still bumps like a pinball for him, however. JJ poses a lot, but still pulls out some nice stuff, including a slingshot suplex. Kid comes back with a leg lariat and somersault senton off the top, but JJ moves. JJ misses *his* move, and they end up on the top rope. Kid blocks a superplex and hits a crossbody for two. Kick combo in the corner, but a blind charge misses and JJ goes for the figure-four. Kid cradles for three. Short but good. *** Jarrett destroys the Kid with three piledrivers, which is grounds for writing up a legally binding death certificate in Memphis.
– Bret offers words for Diesel. He notes that he’s suffered injustice before, and he won’t let it happen again. Famous last words, Bret.
– WWF World title: Bret Hart v. Diesel. Big D was the Intercontinental champion at this point. Diesel has Shawn with him, and Bret has mystery family member Jim Neidhart, who again was not exactly a mystery. Kevi Nash was still learning not to suck at this point, so don’t expect much out of this one. Big Kev pounds away on Bret, who retaliates by going to work on the knee. Bret posts Diesel, allowing Shawn a well-placed cheapshot on Bret. Bret comes off the top, but Diesel blows a spot where he was supposed to catch Bret and bearhug him. Bret manages to barely save the spot regardless. Bret breaks, but misses a pescado and splats on the concrete. Diesel slowly works him over with his usual stuff (the same he’s using today). Man, this is a long match. Shawn gets a turnbuckle loose, but Diesel gets rammed into it. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! He goes for the Sharpshooter, but Shawn jumps on the apron to break it up. Bret with a clothesline for two, then a small package for two. Diesel catches him with a big boot coming off the ropes, but showboats and Bret catches him with a half-crab. Bret dropkicks Diesel over the top, and Diesel proceeds to beat the snot out of Neidhart, while Shawn waffles Bret with the IC title back in the ring. Diesel drops an elbow on Bret for two. He hits the powerdrop, but before we can find out if Bret could have kicked out, Neidhart runs in for the DQ. This would be Diesel’s first good match, ever. ***1/4 This is also the one that put Diesel into monster heel territory and launched Diesel-mania.
– Razor Ramon v. IRS. Standard Primetime Wrestling TV main event fare here. IRS cheats his way to the advantage, but puts his head down at the wrong time and falls prey the Razor’s Edge for the pin. Bleh. 1/4*
– Owen Hart v. 1-2-3 Kid. Kid is still selling a neck injury from the last match against Jarrett. Hart hits an absolutely vicious baseball slide as Kid enters, then nails a plancha. Big splash gets two. Kid whips Hart to the corner and gets a moonsault press for two. Majastral cradle gets two. Owen flips out of a wristlock and the Kid does the same, then hits a spinning kick for two. Owen’s enzuigiri gets two. Kid with a Northern Lights suplex for three…but Owen’s foot was on the ropes. Owen bails and Kid follows with an amazing somersault tope. Back in and Owen with a german suplex for two. Belly to belly for two. Kid with a victory roll for two, reversed by Owen for two. Kid with a rana, reversed to a powerbomb to knock him out, and the Sharpshooter finishes it. Amazing match for the time. ****1/4 Way too short, and I quiver to think what they could have done with 10 or 15 minutes.
– As a Coliseum exclusive, Roddy Piper gives a senile, rambling interview in the locker room.
– WWF World tag title match: The Headshrinkers v. Yokozuna & Crush. Three people in this match are related. Can you guess who? Hint: They’re all grotesquely overweight. Each team has two managers — Lou Albano and Afa on one side, Fuji and Cornette on the other. Everyone gets into a headbutting contest, which the heels lose. More kicking and punching to reinforce that the Headshrinkers have hard heads. Flag to the back from Fuji turns the tide. I never got the Headshrinker face turn. Or putting the WWF tag titles on them, for that matter. See, the Headshrinkers are from AMERICAN Samoa, so they’re good people. Yoko tosses Fatu around for a while before Samu gets the hot tag and superkicks abound. Samu goes for the big splash, but Yoko gets rammed into the ringpost outside, causing him to fall off the top. Crush gets an ugly superplex and a legdrop as a result. But here comes Lex Luger to yell at Crush. Samu gets a rollup for two. I’m reasonably sure that was supposed to be the finish and Adams f*cked up. So they kind of wander around for a bit, and Samu superkicks Crush for the real pin. DUD
– King of the Ring: Owen Hart v. Razor Ramon. Owen slaps Ramon around a lot, which pisses him off. Ramon gets a slingshot to the corner and a rollup for two. They trade a backslide, which gives Ramon a two-count. Owen gets an abdominal stretch for a while, but Ramon chokeslams out of it, and hits the blockbuster suplex for two. Owen takes him down and goes to the top, but gets knocked off and superplexed. Razor’s Edge, but Owen backdrops him out of the ring. Jim Neidhart comes down…and turns on Ramon, clotheslining him to the floor and tossing him back in. Owen comes off the top with an elbow for the pin and the King of the Ring. **
– Owen gets crowned the King, and adds a new gimmick by coining the nickname “King of Harts”.
– Sadly, we have one more to go…
– Jerry Lawler v. Roddy Piper. Gorilla has the balls to hype this as the “new WWF generation”. Remember THAT ad campaign? Roddy brings the kid who imitated him on RAW to ringside with him. This would be Piper’s one and only “return from retirement” match. Unless of course you count the ones he did in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. But 1995, was, I am happy to report, completely free of Piper’s “coming out of retirement” matches. This one is just drenched in two-bit stalling and cheap heat tactics. Crowd is dead throughout. Lawler keeps attacking the kid and Piper keeps protecting him. Sleeper and piledriver from Lawler. Slugfest, won by Piper. Two bulldogs lead into a ref bump. Because that’s JUST what this needed — a ref bump. Lawler uses a foreign object for a long two, broken by the kid. Lawler yells at him and Piper uses an alleged suplex from behind for the pin. Just awful. -**
The Bottom Line: Some surprisingly entertaining stuff here, actually, including a better-than-I-remembered Hart v. Diesel match. And it was easily Owen’s peak moment. Worth a look, definitely.