Let’s see. Now, the reason I am once more delving into the spectacular that is the old King of the Rings is that Baron Corbin just won the 2019 version. Now, he is boring as anything I’ve seen in the ring. The fact the tournament final against Gable was so entertaining was, I think, due to Gable being really up for it, and taking the opportunity he was given with both hands and just running with it. But other Corbin matches… meh. Look, he’s not actively bad, just dull, and with the personality of a carpet stain. I’ve read some people are getting excited about it, but… nope.
However, he is going to be serviceable in whatever role they put him in, I’m sure. Not spectacular, but serviceable. And dull. Can’t forget dull.
You see, in the past, the King of the Ring PPVs gave us some weird kings. Sure, we had the Hart brothers and Austin, but we also had… this one.
Like many a third movie (think Jaws 3 here), the final of the initial trilogy is bound to disappoint. And this one did. In spades…
So, what did number three get us?
How about this!
It’s King of the Ring 1995, and your hosts are Dok Hendrix and Vince McMahon, and we are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (in Australia, Philadelphia is known as a brand of nice cream cheese; just sayin’).
Going into it, everyone (and I mean that literally) thought this was to give Shawn Michaels that final push he needed to get over big. Foregone conclusion, right?
I have the old Coliseum Home Video version. Stephanie Wiand comes up and as a “special bonus”, the match of Savio Vega v IRS to see who replaces an injured Razor Ramon is shown, from the pre-show.
King of the Ring Qualifying Match: IRS (with Ted Dibiase) v Savio Vega (with Razor Ramon)
Surprisingly spirited little match-up, back and forth and really not bad for the time period. Not brilliant, but not a bad match, with Vega pulling out the win with a leg lariat in about 4 minutes or so.
The PPV proper!
Doc and Vince hype the PPV. On paper, it sounds like crap. No, really.
King of the Ring Quarterfinal: Yokozuna (with James E. Cornette and Mr Fuji) v Savio Vega (with Razor Ramon)
Yoko was half the tag team champs at this point in time with Owen Hart. We recount the dodgy way Yokozuna won against Luger, and then the match we just saw on the video. Now – question. Why the hell would you start a PPV with this? Yokozuna just beats the snot out of Vega with some vague comebacks. So… slow… And then the ending comes when Cornette tries to interfere, Razor goes after Cornette, Owen Hart appears and attacks Ramon, Vega and Yokozuna join the action outside the ring, and Vega beats the count-out back in and so wins after almost 9 minutes. Seriously, in the list of bad matches to start PPVs with, this has to be near the top of that list.
We have a backstage interview with Jerry “The King” Lawler with his stinky feet ready for his match. This was just painful.
King of the Ring Quarterfinal: The Roadie (with Jeff Jarrett) v Bob “Sparkplug” Holly
The Roadie beat Doink the Clown. Bob Holly (with mullet) defeated Mantaur (half man, half bull, all BS). This is early on in Roadie’s career, before he would discover that catchphrases make for fine tag-team champion material, when he was just JJ’s lackey (before that song thing as well… no, you don’t want to know). A few years later Road Dogg v Hardcore Holly would have been an awesome match. As it is, this is quite the good little match. Some good moves, good taking, decent selling. The ending was weird, though. Holly tried something from the top rope, but hit Roadie’s foot, and then seemed to get the shoulder up as the ref counted? But the Roadie got the 3-count anyway at about 8 minutes or so? Odd. But decent match.
Todd Pettingill is with Shawn Michaels. Not a bad little interview.
King of the Ring Quarterfinal: Kama (with Ted Dibiase) v Shawn Michaels
Kama defeated Duke “The Dumpster” Droese. Shawn Michaels defeated King Kong Bundy with sweet chin music. Look, at this point in time, it was pretty hard for Michaels to have a bad match, and this was not a bad match. Kama (Papa Shango, The Godfather, The Goodfather, Kama Mustafa, Charles Wright… what day of the week is it?) turns the tide with a hard kick, Shawn bumps for a bit, there’s a double KO, Shawn then makes the comeback and… the time limit expires at 15 minutes. Both are eliminated. At the time, we were all like WTF?!?! Still, now, with hindsight – WTF?!?! The crowd is pissed and rightfully so.
Toddles looks at the next match. Apparently, we were all looking forward to this one. “All” might be misused there. The match? You’ll see.
We look at Bob Backlund’s run for president in Philadelphia. He abuses the cheese steak. This happened. On a PPV. Really.
King of the Ring Quarterfinal: Mabel (with Mo) v Undertaker (with Paul Bearer)
Stephanie interviews Mabel on the way to the ring. Mabel beat Adam Bomb. Undertaker beat Jeff Jarrett. Everything I said complaining about the opening PPV match? I take it back. This is absolute crap. Truly an abomination of a match. I mean, really, just a steaming pile of dog turds, and it likes it. Mabel’s “selling” is appalling, everything is in slow motion, like an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man (without the cool sound effects), and I am giving this match too much time. Ending – ref is bumped, Taker “chokeslams” Mabel, Kama comes out and kicks UT in the head, Mabel drops the leg, Mo wakes up the ref, Mabel wins after more than 10 minutes. Crap.
Mabel gets a free ride to the final.
We look at the 1995 Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction. Ernie Ladd, Fabulous Moolah, Ivan Putski, Pedro Morales, The Grand Wizard, Antonino Rocca and George “The Animal” Steele (who was video inducted by Bill Murray!) were the ones inducted this year. Damn fine class, I must say. Putski was always a personal favourite, and I don’t care what you say.
King of the Ring Semi-final: Savio Vega (with Razor Ramon) v The Roadie (with Jeff Jarrett)
They already called him the Road Dogg? Pettingill interviews Dogg and JJ before they come out. Nothing vital is said. Match starts off fine, then things slow down, and it becomes boring. Not bad, boring. End comes when JJ gets on the ring apron, Vega runs Roadie into him and rolls Roadie up for the pin in about 7 minutes.
There is a Spanish language interview with Vega and a member of the Spanish announce team at ring-side that Dok “translates”. Apparently this is “humour”.
We have a rundown of the years-long feud between Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler. At least it was long-term booking. Just a shame it involved Jerry Lawler.
Bret Hart backstage and he really sells this as something personal. Really strong promo. Just a shame it involved Lawler.
Stephanie does a walkway interview with Lawler. He is crap.
Kiss My Foot Match: Jerry Lawler v Bret Hart
Proof that bad matches happen to good wrestlers. The good wrestler is Bret Hart, by the way. On a PPV filled with crap, one of the worst matches on the card features Bret Hart. Look, it was a match, okay? Lawler dominates to start, including 3 piledrivers, Hart makes the comeback, Hakushi (sp?) comes in but hits Lawler by accident, Hart makes Lawler submit to the sharpshooter, shoves his foot into Lawler’s mouth and then makes Lawler kiss his own foot after about 12 minutes. It was what it was and what is was was crap. At least the right man won to end the feud.
Special Olympics promo. Having had some dealing with local Special O athletes, this sort of thing by the WWF I always thought was pretty cool.
We look back at the previous two KotR tournaments. Briefly.
King of the Ring Final: Mabel (with Mo) v Savio Vega (with Razor Ramon)
Bleh. Vega was game, but Mabel just clearly did not give a f*ck. Was that an “EC-Dub” chant I heard coming from the bored-out-of-their-skulls crowd? What a crap end to the tournament. Blergh. Mabel hits a lazy leg drop (well, sit down with leg out move) after kicking out of a leg lariat. It lasts 9 minutes. Mabel wins. King Mabel. No, really. King Mabel. What a steaming pile of horse sh*t.
No screen cap. I mean, really, why would you want one?
Post match Mabel and Mo destroy Vega, Razor Ramon and the 1-2-3 Kid. Didn’t improve anything.
Mo does the coronation of King Mabel. The crowd pelts them with rubbish. Mabel looks legitimately p*ssed off at that. There is garbage flying everywhere. Well, that’s prescient of the way this booking decision was going to be judged for all wrestling eternity.
We go backstage to the bathroom where Lawler is vomiting and eating toothpaste and drinking Listerine. Awesome. Nothing else could describe this PPV better than that.
And that’s not even the end of the PPV.
And, no, it does not get any better.
Stephanie is with Psycho Sid, Tatanka and Ted Dibiase during their planning session. Surprisingly decent promo. Sid’s psychotic persona was well-done here.
Toddlingill is with Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow. Another surprisingly decent promo. Just a shame both promos were about this match.
Tatanka & (Psycho) Sid (with Ted Didiase) v Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam has fire gauntlets! Diesel has a bad elbow! Diesel is the WWF champion! Look, this match is not an actively bad one. It was strategic, focusing on Diesel’s elbow, but it was just too slow too often. Sid does a nice second rope chokeslam on the Bammer. A lot of kicks and rest-holds and a long heel beatdown of Bam Bam. Like I said, just slow and not that exciting. After King Mabel, this was actually quite the relief… Sorry. Ending comes after Diesel Jack-knifes Tatanka, pulls him up at 2, calls for Sid, Sid leaves (getting pelted by rubbish as he goes), Diesel drops the elbow on Tatanka and gets the pin after 17 minutes. It was what is was and what it was was meh.
So, yes, you might well complain about King Corbin, but some of us lived through this abomination of a tournament, and this retarded decision for the third King of the Ring. Bret Hart! Owen Hart! Mabel…? What a pile of crap this whole thing was. When your best match was Hardcore Holly v Road Dogg before either were cool, you know you’ve got sh*t, and you just have to live with it.