March 3, 2007
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

King of the Ring
June 19, 1994
Baltimore Arena
Baltimore, Maryland
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon, Randy Savage, Art Donovan
Attendance: 12,000
Buy Rate: .85

Dark Match

Thurman “Sparky” Plugg (Robert Howard) pinned Kwang (Juan Rivera)

Actual Show

FIRST ROUND:

1) Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) defeats Bam Bam Bigelow (Scott Charles Bigelow) with a reverse slam off the top rope at 8:24

Qualifying Matches:

Razor Ramon defeated Kwang
Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Sparky Plugg

Fun Fact: This is second straight year Razor Ramon is in the opening KOTR match.

Scott: One month after winning the biggest match of his career, and one of the best in WWF history, the Bad Guy wins his first KOTR match of the night against a wrestler on the rise. One year after making the finals, Bigelow is bounced in the first round after missing his finisher, but he continues to be solid in the ring and in Vince’s sights as a heel of the future. Even though Owen Hart's star was on the rise also, many thought Razor would win this tournament, considering he had dropped the Intercontinental Title to Diesel two months prior. Well, it ALMOST happened, but more on that later. Grade: 2

Justin: A pretty solid match here between two big men. Art Donovan gets ripped for his commentary at this show, but I think he adds so much unintentional humor to it that it makes the show more enjoyable. A shining moment of his is when he asks if Razor is dead while Bigelow has him in the Jesse Ventura Back-Breaker. Anyway, a solid opener that gets the show off to a good start. The crowd is pretty hot and these two keep a good pace for eight solid minutes. The finish is pretty cool, as Razor basically powerbombs Bigelow off the top with one hand. Also, this is Bigelow’s last PPV match with Luna by his side, as he would move on to a new manager by our next PPV outing. Grade: 2

2) IRS (Mike Rotundo) defeats Mabel (Nelson Frazier) after a missed splash at 5:34

Qualifying Matches:

IRS defeated Scott Steiner (Scott Rechsteiner)
Mabel defeated Pierre (Carl Pierre Oulett)

Fun Fact: This is Mabel’s first PPV singles match.

Fun Fact II: Scott Steiner’s qualifying match against IRS would be the final appearance of both Steiner Brothers. They would putt around Japan and have a quick stint in ECW before returning to WCW where they would both remain until the company folded up shop. The Steiners’ run was much anticipated, but you can’t really consider their WWF stint as anything but disappointing.

Scott: This match was an unbelievable piece of shit. Mabel sucks, pure and simple, and oh yeah, it gets much worse than this. IRS, still on the roster as the reliable heel, wins (Thank God) when Mabel misses the typical fat man finisher. Vince should have known here that Mabel was not worth much of anything at this point. Of course he wasn’t at this show to see it, and the underlings running the show obviously didn’t let him in on one important fact. Mabel is a tag team sideshow, and nothing more. Not much more to say about this dud. Grade: 1

Justin: Ugh. To quote Vince McMahon from Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game: “What a Debacle!” This ridiculous match is capped off by IRS’ ridiculous pin, where he basically lies next to Mabel and holds his leg up because he can’t get on top of him quickly enough. Mabel is getting a minor singles push here because Mo was sidelined with an injury. You would have to think that after seeing how poorly Mabel did as a singles “star” that the people in charge would leave him in the tag ranks to protect his many weaknesses, but alas, we would be subjected to more Mabel exactly one year from now. IRS moves on to face his former rival in the second round. Grade: 1

3) Owen Hart defeats Tatanka (Chris Chavis) with a reverse sunset flip at 8:18

Qualifying Matches:

Owen Hart defeated Doink (Ray Liachelli)
Tatanka beat Crush (Brian Adams)

Fun Fact: This was Tatanka’s first pinfall loss on PPV. His first loss altogether happened on Superstars in October 1993 at the hands of Ludvig Borga.

Fun Fact II: Owen Hart was supposed to face Earthquake in his qualifying match, but it was reported Earthquake had been injured by Yokozuna at a house show. Quake would not appear on TV again for a long time, as he would pop in WCW as Avalanche in October.

Scott: The Rocket, the man who set the world on fire at Wrestlemania, against the man who thinks he set the world on fire period. Tatanka's face run was coming to an end, but he still managed to hold his end of the bargain in a good, but uninteresting match. Owen's last PPV with the cool pink tights, he even gets a nice missile dropkick off in this one. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A decent match here as Owen was saving his juice for the next couple of rounds. Tatanka puts on a strong showing, but is just treading water as a babyface at this point (I guess that is what a 19 month undefeated streak will get you in the end). At the time this seemed like a pretty big upset, but in retrospect it was probably fairly obvious. I guess it was still sort of weird seeing Tatanka jobbing as he had been undefeated for so long. Action-wise, there is not much to see here, so let’s move along. Grade: 2.5

4) 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman) defeats Jeff Jarrett with a small package at 4:39

Qualifying Matches:

1-2-3 Kid defeated Adam Bomb (Bryan Clark)
Jeff Jarrett defeated Lex Luger (Lawrence Pfohl)

Scott: This isn't remembered for the match itself, but of the aftermath. Jarrett was relatively new still, and kind of a novelty. 1-2-3 Kid was growing as a wrestler, so this was entertaining even for the length. After Kid gets the roll-up and the win, Jarrett proceeds to go off, dropping 3 piledrivers, and cementing his heel status. I can honestly say I don’t have many favorite Jeff Jarrett moments, but this was one. For 1994 standards at least in the WWF, that was a pretty vicious post-match beatdown. Kid sells the injury big time for the semi-final match with the Rocket. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A pretty solid match here between two good workers who, if given more time, could have had the match of the night. As Scott said, the ending is more memorable, as Jarrett reverts to his Memphis days and destroys the Kid afterwards. The aftermath played a major role in the show because Kid has to fight his 2nd round match injured. As the first round wraps up, we had two interesting semi-final bouts lined up, which was nice to see. Grade: 3

5) Diesel (Kevin Nash) defeats Bret Hart by disqualification at 22:51; Bret Hart retains WWF World Title; Diesel’s Intercontinental Title was not on the line

Fun Fact: On the 5/30 Raw, Shawn Michaels, Diesel & Bret Hart all appeared on the King’s Court. Diesel & Michaels jumped the Hitman and laid him out with a Jackknife to set the stage for this match. To help thwart Shawn’s antics at ringside, Bret promised that he would have a family member in his corner at the PPV. Rumors swirled from Stu to Bruce to the British Bulldog. It ended up being quite the surprise, however, as Bret’s former Tag Team partner Jim Neidhart came out to second him during the match. This is Neidhart’s first PPV appearance since the 1992 Royal Rumble.

Fun Fact II: Diesel defeated Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship on April 13 in Rochester, NY. The match would air on the 4/30 Superstars.

Scott: This would be the first of four major battles Big Daddy Cool and the Excellence of Execution would have over the next 22 months. This would be the only one where both weren't on the same playing field. Hart was the World Champion, while Diesel was an upper mid-carder, although he was Intercontinental Champion. Diesel was very raw, not really paid attention to in WCW. Now he needed to step up his game, and although the match was a little choppy, it was pretty good. Shawn Michaels, getting the vacation for re-signing, was excellent as the cocky heel manager, which led to the great psychology for the match. This was a much better match than I remember as I just watched it recently, as Bret did a fantastic job of carrying the lumbering Big Sexy to a solid title match. Jim Neidhart made his return to second Bret to the ring, but then mysteriously gets him disqualified by interfering and hitting Diesel. He then just leaves the ring as HBK and Diesel pound on Bret in the ring. We understand later in the show why Neidhart did get Bret disqualified. The score to start is Diesel 1, Bret 0. Grade: 3.5

Justin: A good match that probably surprised some people, as not many expected much out of Diesel at this point. This bout also cemented Bret as an exceptional worker who could carry just about anyone to a good match. This match really solidified Big Daddy Cool’s standing in the company and pretty much jumpstarted the roller coaster of a run in the WWF he would have over the next two years. The story here is great and subtle as, unless you are really keen, you have no clue and think nothing of Neidhart costing Bret the match and storming off to leave him to be abused by Shawn and Diesel. Good work all around here and a fun World Title match. Grade: 3.5

SEMIFINALS:

6) Razor Ramon defeats IRS with the Razor’s Edge at 5:11

Scott: A pretty straight-forward semifinal match between two solid workers. Razor really impressed me most of this year with his in-ring work. It’s a shame the demons got to him in the long run, but that’s another story for another day. IRS always brings his A-game, and after that mess of a first round match with Mabel, he gets a much more workable opponent here. I have to say, the first few times I watched this show I couldn’t stand the announcing here. Gorilla is his usual solid self, but originally I thought both Savage and former Colts legend Art Donovan were annoying as all hell. Savage’s enthusiasm has captivated me listening a few more times, now remembering that this is last PPV announcing. Art Donovan really has no clue what’s going on, but his innocence of everything really adds some unintentional comedy to the show. Their work on this match in particular is comical and unique. Razor wins with his patented finisher and moves on to the final. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A pretty pedestrian, by-the-book match from these two: nothing special, but nothing bad. I feel bad for IRS; because he was one of those solid wrestlers who always put in a strong performance and never half-assed it, but often gets viewed as being boring and is often forgotten in the annals of WWF history. Savio Vega would eventually fall into the same boat: solid, but not memorable. I’m not blaming anyone; it’s just the way it is. Also, Art Donovan is a little lost here, but he is really enjoyable, as he provides more ridiculous comments that make this show more enjoyable to watch than any other guest commentator in WWF history. “This guy has a nice tan, Gorilla; he must have been in the islands.” That was tremendous insight by Arto Dono. Razor picks up the win with the Edge and moves on to the Finals. Grade: 2

7) Owen Hart defeats 123-Kid with the Sharpshooter in 3:34

Scott: This was a damn shame, because they put on some really nice moves in only 3 and a half minutes. Kid was selling Jarrett's 3 piledrivers pretty well, and in the end, Owen hits his brother's finisher, and moves on to the final to face the Bad Guy. Owen really is coming into his own, and is gaining what I consider “ring bravado” when he’s in action. What I mean is that even though both Kid and Owen are about at the same level career-wise, it just seems like Owen has a greater presence and dictates tempo and action. Sure he’s the heel and is supposed to pace the match, but for someone who’s only on his 2nd PPV as a consistent heel singles competitor, he acts like he’s been around for years. This is exactly how Bret was in 1992, By Summerslam of that year he had been only around for a year, and been a solo competitor for only 4 shows, but he was carrying Bulldog like a true veteran. A lot of credit must be given to father Stu for really teaching these kids. The commentary starts to sag a little here, and Savage is trying his hardest to keep Art Donovan in it as Monsoon is barely speaking to him. Can’t you tell Vince is involved in the Steroid trial? Anyway a great match that actually impressed me even more watching it again that I’m upping my grade from a 2 to what it deserves now. If it was 7 more minutes it could have been higher. Grade: 3

Justin: I feel like you have to look at this match in a different light than normal, as you have to take into consideration the amount of time it had. If you look at the show they put on in just 3:34, you will be amazed and have to give it a good rating. These two would give it a go on Raw in early August and get more than 3 minutes, and, as you would expect, proceed to tear the house down again. The Kid has put on quite the performance tonight, but he was slightly outdone by the budding “Rocket.” It is amazing in that you can almost see Owen maturing as the night progresses. His heat increases with each match, and his confidence is beginning to ooze over. He was now in the finals where he would face his toughest challenge of the night. Grade: 3.5

8) Headshrinkers defeat Crush & Yokozuna to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Samu (Samula Anoia) pins Crush (Brian Adams) with a Superkick at 9:30

Fun Fact: The Headshrinkers defeated the Quebecers for the titles on the May 2 episode of Raw. The Quebecers then disappeared, only to show back up for one last rematch with the Samoans on the KOTR “Countdown to the Coronation” show on June 12th. The Shrinkers had turned face right after Wrestlemania and took on Capt. Lou Albano as a co-manager in another nice bit of continuity, as Albano had managed the original Wild Samoans to the tag titles in the 80s.

Scott: Now, here's a case where NWA/WCW actually had something cooler than what WWF came up with. Which team name do you find cooler, Headshrinkers, or Samoan Swat Team? In any case, they faced out earlier in the year, defeat the departing Quebecers for the titles (sorry, Justin), and now face the thrown together team of Yokozuna, who is quickly kicked off the main event card, and Crush, fresh off his blow-off loss at WM to Savage. The match itself is alright, with Lex Luger, who lost the KOTR qualifier match thanks to Crush interfering, costing Crush's team the match. Crush was replacing the departing Mr. Perfect on the house show circuit with Luger. Another sign Luger’s being shunted: he doesn’t even get true revenge on the guy who screwed him at Wrestlemania. The Swat Team moves on with their win. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A pretty sloppy and uneventful match that helped continue the Luger/Crush feud that was born due to Mr. Perfect deciding against returning to the ring. The Headshrinkers had earned this reign with solid work and being good company men. The crowd was pretty into them, and they would be the tag team of the summer. Poor Yokozuna has really started to fade after his year at the top. He is out of the World Title picture and settles right into the mid-card, teaming up w/ fellow stable mate and mid-card act, Crush. All-around a solid title defense for a team that wouldn’t see another PPV as champs. Grade: 2

FINALS:

9) Owen Hart defeats Razor Ramon with a top rope elbowdrop at 6:34

Scott: The Rocket officially becomes the “King of Harts” with his controversial win over the Bad Guy. Now we understand why Jim Neidhart caused Bret's DQ earlier in the night. He comes out in the middle of the match, while Razor's outside the ring, and gives a vicious clothesline, rolls him back in the ring, and Owen drops an elbow for the win, and the King of the Ring title. Neidhart is revealed to be siding with Owen in the family feud, and it eventually comes to the surface (through Randy Savage at the commentary table) that Neidhart got Bret disqualified so the belt stays on him, and Owen can get a title shot. Even though it wasn’t really stated, I’m assuming the combination of Owen beating Bret at Wrestlemania and winning this tournament makes him the #1 contender. Owen is a funny but mean heel, and is maturing as a performer more and more. Razor is pretty bulletproof at this point, and the loss doesn’t really hurt him. He moves on to take back what was stolen from him in April, Diesel’s Intercontinental Title. Right now, to the KING OF HARTS!! Grade: 2.5

Justin: A decent match that means more from a story standpoint than from a wrestling one. I really dig the Neidhart angle, where he kept the belt on Bret so Owen could beat him at Summerslam. Also, Owen gets the gimmick he would proudly flaunt to everyone for the next year or so: the King of Harts, so the match definitely has a long lasting effect. Razor is just used to get extra heat on Owen and Neidhart, as he was a big fan favorite, and is seen as being screwed big time by the Harts. A fun final match to bring end to a pretty good tournament as we see the crowning moment for a great performer. Grade: 2.5

10) Roddy Piper (Roderick Toombs) defeats Jerry Lawler with a Roll Up at 12:14

Fun Fact: This match came about because Piper was given an interview segment (The Bottom Line) similar to Lawler’s King’s Court. Lawler took offense to that and started ridiculing Piper whenever on TV, going even as far as to have a scrawny kid come on the King’s Court dressed like Piper who did a dead-on impersonation of the Rowdy Scot.

Fun Fact II: This is Roddy Piper’s first PPV match since losing the Intercontinental Title to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania VIII. This is also the first time since the first Wrestlemania that Piper is led to the ring with a real band of bagpipe players.

Scott: When we originally wrote this review, I really crapped all over this match. I thought the show should have ended with Owen celebrating with the Anvil on the throne, and this match should have gone in the middle. I still think that, and I still think this match was a disappointment considering the hype for it. However watching it again, I can honestly say it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. Sure, Lawler does his usual Memphis posturing, but it doesn’t stunt the match flow as much as I thought it did. Piper is in great shape, and really keeps the crowd into this match after the disappointment of the previous match. One thing that did annoy me was that Lawler kept going after the scrawny kid who seconded Piper to the ring. I know it was meant to draw heel heat, but there was so much of it already as Lawler was a heat magnet during this time that all it did was stall the pace. Finally after a lot of punches and some restholds Piper rolls Lawler up to finish the match. All in all it wasn’t was bad as I remember it the first few times I watched it, and I know that they wanted the fans to go home happy. I have to remember this isn’t the Attitude era, where it didn’t matter who won the last match. Anyway, Piper wins his last match for quite a while, and the “Burger King” heads back to the broadcast table. Grade: 2

Justin: A pretty boring match between two legends. This would have been better it was just a straight-up interview segments, as, at this point, these two were much more entertaining on the stick as opposed to on the mat. They definitely had the effort here, but they just had too much time and not enough action to fill it. The build up to this match was really good and the show was pretty much built on it, which could be viewed as a mistake, especially since we are smack dab at the start of the “New Generation.” Still, for a quick nostalgia pop, it was cool seeing Piper lace up the boots to battle the King on the big stage. This main event started the run of weak PPV main events that closed out good shows through the rest of the year. Grade: 1.5

FINAL ANALYSIS

Scott: This was nowhere near the preparation and execution that Wrestlemania was. It wasn't terrible, but with Vince on trial, the inmates were running the asylum, and even though the show wasn't awful (like next year's KOTR would be), it definitely was a noticeable drop-off from Wrestlemania. I originally couldn’t stand the broadcast situation with Art Donovan not knowing what was going on, but his honesty and innocence really added something funny to the show. Kudos to Randy Savage for actually taking the time to explain things to Art about wrestlers, the tournament and other aspects of the show, as Gorilla pretty much stopped paying attention to him by the Owen/Razor match. In fact after that match Art asks Gorilla and Savage if they acted like Anvil did in that match during their careers and Gorilla completely ignored him. I actually started feeling bad for the ol’ Colts lineman. As for the show, it was no shock to me that Owen won the tourney, and it didn't hurt Razor any, he gets his IC title shot at Summerslam. Bret and Diesel begin their saga with this match, as well as the growing rivalry with Shawn Michaels. Not a bad show overall, but definitely a drop-off without Vince there calling the shots. Final Grade: C+

Justin: A solid PPV affair. Not as memorable as last year’s but also not as utterly forgettable as twelve months from now. It was a just a basic, solid PPV that had its ups and downs. It is nice to see Owen get his moment in the spotlight and too see some new talent get the spotlight. The 1994 KOTR is also one of the two times the PPV featured a full 8 man tournament on the actual PPV that featured no byes during the tourney. As Scott mentioned, Vince was away from the product and in a Brooklyn, NY court room fighting for his freedom. He was up against some serious charges and was staring at some lengthy jail time. The wheels were spinning as to who would take over the reigns if Vince ended up in the clink. Most internet rumors have pegged Jerry Jarrett as the man who was tabbed to take over the creative end of the WWF. In fact, before the trial started, Vince transferred Titan Sports, Inc. into his wife Linda’s name. Fortunately, for the WWF anyway, Vince was acquitted and back in the saddle by the end of the summer. The storyline reason for Vince’s on screen absence was that he was out having neck surgery. It was during this time that Jim Ross was brought back to commentate after having been fired earlier in the year. Back to the actual show, though, it is definitely worth checking out just to see Owen being built up into a star as the show goes on. Plus, as Scott mentioned, Art Donovan brings a cool little view to this PPV and is fun to listen to as the show moves along. Final Grade: B-

MVP: Owen Hart
MVP Runner-Up: Bret Hart & Diesel
Non-MVP: Roddy Piper & Jerry Lawler
Non-MVP Runner-up: Vince McMahon & the U.S. Government

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