King of the Ring
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King of the Ring was a professional wrestling single-elimination tournament held by WWE. The tournament was held annually from 1985 to 2002, with the exception of 1990 and 1992, and from 1993 to 2002, the tournament was produced as a pay-per-view event.
The tournament endured a four-year hiatus until its return in 2006 as an exclusive event of the SmackDown brand. The tournament returned as an inter-brand event for both WWE and Raw in 2008, 2010, and 2015. WWE released a best of King of the Ring DVD in late 2011.
Use of the King gimmick
Although the King of the Ring tournament was not made into a pay-per-view event until 1993, the original King of the Ring tournament was held in 1985. Don Muraco won the tournament last defeating The Iron Sheik
In 1986, the second King of the Ring winner, Harley Race, parlayed his victory into an arrogant King of Wrestling gimmick, featuring a regal cape and crown. This gimmick led to several notable feuds for Race with Junkyard Dog, Hulk Hogan, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, and others, even after new winners had been crowned in the annual tournament. In 1988, Race suffered an abdominal injury and during his absence his manager Bobby "the Brain" Heenan awarded the crown to Haku in July, rechristening him King Haku, even though Randy Savage had won the tournament by that point and Ted DiBiase would also win the tournament during this storyline. Race eventually returned from his injury and briefly feuded with King Haku, but was unable to regain the crown at the 1989 Royal Rumble. King Haku then lost the crown to "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan in May 1989. "King Hacksaw" then lost it in September 1989 to "Macho Man" Randy Savage, who rebranded himself "Macho King". Savage abandoned the "Macho King" gimmick upon his retirement in 1991, following which only wrestlers who had won the tournament and Jerry Lawler would use the gimmick.
Randy Savage ("Macho King"), Owen Hart ("King of Harts"), Mabel ("King Mabel" ), Kurt Angle ("King Kurt") Edge ("King Edge the Awesome"), Booker T ("King Booker"), Sheamus ("King Sheamus") and Bad News Barrett ("King Barrett") are all wrestlers that also took on "King" nicknames after winning King of the Ring tournaments, with varying amounts of indulgence in the regal gimmick. William Regal won the tournament while serving as General Manager of Raw and began displaying King Lear signs of tyranny and delusion. Triple H alluded to his King of the Ring victory as part of his integrated gimmick starting 2006 as the "King of Kings". In addition to the King's crown, various female wrestlers were portrayed as Queen while they were aligned with Kings, including "Queen of the Ring" Fabulous Moolah (aligned with King Harley Race at Wrestlemania III), Sensational Queen Sherri (manager of "Macho King" Randy Savage), and Queen Sharmell (manager of King Booker).
The King of the Ring was an event in which typically sixteen wrestlers wrestled in a one-on-one single elimination bracket. When a wrestler wins a match in the bracket, he advances to take on another wrestler who has also won. The final few matches would then take place at that year's King of the Ring event. The winner of the final match is officially crowned the King of the Ring. There were also other matches that took place at the King of the Ring event since it was a traditional three-hour pay-per-view. The King of the Ring pay-per-view was considered one of the WWE's "Big Five" events of the year, along with the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam and Survivor Series, up until its disestablishment after the 2002 event.
After a four-year hiatus, the tournament would return in 2006, the first since the 1991 edition that was not on pay-per-view, which was won by Booker T, who faced Bobby Lashley in the finals at Judgment Day. The tournament would return in 2008 on the April 23 episode of Raw, which was won by William Regal, who faced CM Punk in the finale, and in 2010 on the November 29 episode of Raw, which was won by Sheamus, who faced John Morrison in the finale. After a five-year hiatus, the tournament returned in 2015 on the April 27 episode of Raw, with the finals taking place the next night on the WWE Network. Bad News Barrett defeated Neville in the final round.
King of the Ring event dates and venues
From 1993 through 2002, King of the Ring was produced as a pay-per-view event. In 2006, the tournament finals were featured as part of the Judgment Day pay-per-view. In 2008 and 2010, the tournament was featured as a one-night tournament that aired on Monday Night RAW. In 2015, the tournament was started on Monday Night RAW and then concluded the next night as a WWE Network exclusive.
The King of the Ring was the only one of the WWE's "Big Five" pay-per-view events (The others being the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam and Survivor Series) to never be hosted at least once at Madison Square Garden.
As of 2017, the King of the Ring will return as a WWE Network pay-per-view event, marking the return of the "Big Five".
- The finals of the 2006 King of the Ring were held as part of the Judgment Day pay-per-view, which emanated from Phoenix. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches were conducted at various other venues.
- The 2015 King of the Ring was held over two nights. The quarterfinal matches were broadcast on Raw, held in Green Bay, Wisconsin, while the semifinal and final matches were broadcast live on the WWE Network from Moline, Illinois (prior to a SmackDown taping).
Pre pay-per-view event results
|Bob Orton, Jr.||9:54|
|Jim Brunzell||Coin Toss|
|The Iron Sheik||pin|
|B. Brian Blair||5:18|
- Hulk Hogan defeated Nikolai Volkoff to retain the WWF World Heavyweight Championship
- Hogan pinned Volkoff
|Billy Jack Haynes||Sub|
|Billy Jack Haynes||pin|
|The Iron Sheik||8:30|
|Billy Jack Haynes||9:30|
|The Junkyard Dog||8:46|
- Bruno Sammartino defeated The Designated Hitman (a substitute for Eddie Andelmann, a local TV/radio personality who refused to wrestle)
- The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid) defeated The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) (with Johnny V.) in a steel cage match to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship
- Dynamite and Beefcake escaped from the cage first. Smith then escaped the cage to win the match after Valentine had accidentally knocked him out the door.
- Billy Jack Haynes was counted out when Haynes applied the Full Nelson on Race while on the outside of the ring on the apron.
- Paul Orndorff was Disqualified for attacking the Referee.
- Harley Race defeated George Steele by Dq after Steele rammed Race into one of the Golf cart at ringside
- Pedro Morales pinned Mike Rotunda after Rotunda performed a Back Suplex Morales but rotunda's shoulders were on the mat
- Nikolai Volkoff fought the Junkyard Dog to submit to a Bearhug
|King Kong Bundy|
|King Kong Bundy||CO|
|One Man Gang|
|King Kong Bundy||PIN|
|Special Delivery Jones|
|Special Delivery Jones||pin|
|King Kong Bundy|
|Dangerous Danny Davis||CO|
|The Junkyard Dog|
- Jake Roberts defeated the Intercontinental champion The Honky Tonk Man with Jimmy Hart via disqualification, after Hart accidentally hit Honky Tonk Man with the megaphone
- Randy Savage pinned King Kong Bundy with A Flying Elbow Drop off the top rope
|Dangerous Danny Davis||Pin|
|Bad News Brown||DCO|
|The Red Rooster||7:21|
|The Red Rooster||11:00|
|The Red Rooster||Sub|
|Iron Mike Sharpe||3:27|
- Jim Duggan defeated Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) in a flag match. 8:43
- Duggan pinned Bravo when frenchy Martin accidentally hit Bravo with the Flag
- Randy Savage was counted out when he chased Virgil around the ring
|Bad News Brown|
|The Red Rooster|
|Irwin R. Schyster||1:22|
|Irwin R. Schyster||3:16|
|Irwin R. Schyster||2:51|
|Irwin R. Schyster||Pin|
|Pete Doherty 1||Sub|
- The Undertaker and Sid Justice Were disqualified for attacking the Referee after the bout Jake Roberts helped The Undertaker put Sid into The Casket.
- The Beverly Brothers defeated The Bushwhackers.
- Ted DiBiase: The Million Dollar Man, p.162, Ted DiBiase with Tom Caiazzo, Pocket Books, New York, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4165-5890-3