September 25, 2008
King Of The Ring 1993, June 13, 1993, Nutter Center, Dayton, OH
Announcers: Jim Ross, Bobby Heenan, & Macho Man Randy Savage
Letís get one thing clear: I have never been, nor will I ever be a Hulkamaniac. The guy just never appealed to me. The fact that Iím Canadian while he was a flag waving American Hero may have had something to do with it, but thatís far from the only issue. Iím not going to attempt to explain how I came to not like the guy, because even Iím not 100% sure, but the feeling has just always been there. Once I got online and started learning the ďinsiderĒ knowledge, it just solidified my dislike. Reading about all his backstage politicking, refusal to do jobs, and all the favours given to his friends made me glad that I was never a fan of his. Thatís not to say that I canít recognize his good points. Business wise, I can acknowledge him as one of the top draws of all time, thereís no doubt about that. His impact on the history of wrestling is immeasurable, and if he had never gotten into it, the wrestling world would be a drastically different place. He is very charismatic, and can hold the crowd in the palm of his hands, perhaps like no one else before or since. But at the end of the day I still just donít like the guy.
I will admit that as a young fan in the late 80ís/early 90ís my favourite wrestler was the Ultimate Warrior. Iím not necessarily proud to admit that, but thatís the way it was, and I donít want to give the impression that Iím some elitist who never marked out for anything in his life. Once Bret Hart moved in to singles, and Warrior abruptly disappeared, it was Bret who took over the position of favourite, a spot he holds to this day. And that brings me to this show, one of my personal all time favourites. Not only do I get to see my favourite wrestler work three times in good to great matches, but I also get to see the most humiliating moment for my least favourite wrestler. Itís win-win all the way. And with that long winded intro behind us, letís get on with it.
Opening Match, KOTR Quarterfinals: Razor Ramon vs. Bret Hart
Bret was given an automatic berth in the tournament and declared the number one seed, while Razor defeated El Matador to qualify. The match where Razor lost to The Kid on Raw took place about a month ago, and they were still running the angle building the rematch, so the fans are on Razorís case about that. Couple of lockups go nowhere before Bret grabs a side headlock. Razor fires him off and nobody moves on a shoulderblock. Bret gets some punches and a wristlock takedown, moving to the armbar as he works over Razorís shoulder. Razor knees his way out and fires Bret off the ropes. Bret blocks a hiptoss and gets clotheslined. Razor misses an elbow and Bret is back to the armbar. Razor back to his feet and he runs Bret to the buckle to escape, but misses a charge and gets put right back in the armbar. Razor slams his way out, but Bret holds on until Razor gets the thumb to the eye to break. Irish whip and back elbow get 2 for Razor and he goes to a rear chinlock, which is quickly reversed to a hammerlock by Bret. Razor elbows out and tries to corner whip Bret, but itís reversed. Razor gets his knee up on the charge and throws Bret shoulder first to the post, then boots him outside. In the ring he keeps putting the boots to Bret and then stomps the fingers. Bret mentions in his book that the only instructions he got from the office on this night were to (spoiler alert) not win any matches with the Sharpshooter, so the idea was that Razor would break his fingers and render him unable to use the hold. The announcers kind of do play it up, but it really doesnít come across too well, and I likely wouldnít have even noticed had I not been looking for it. Back to the match where Razor gets the fallaway slam for 2. Powerslam also gets 2 and he follows up with a couple of elbowsmashes. Side slam hits, but now Razor misses some elbows and Bret fires back. Inverted atomic drop and clothesline get 2 for Bret followed by the Russian legsweep for another near fall and backbreaker for 2 as well. 2nd rope elbow gets 2.5 and a headbutt sets up a rollup for yet another 2. Bulldog is attempted, but Razor shoots him off to the buckle chest first. He goes for the Razorís Edge, but Bret slips out and gets a small package for 2. He argues with the ref over it, and Razor nails him with a clothesline. He sets up the back suplex off the top rope, but during the move Bret floats over on top and when they land he gets the 3 count at 10:28. This started a little slow, but once it got going it was pretty good. Not quite as good as Rumble 93 though as they had less time to work with, and the lack of an issue between them kept the crowd from getting too into it. **1/2
KOTR Quarterfinals: Mr. Hughes (w/Harvey Wippleman) vs. Mr. Perfect
Perfect qualified over Doink, which actually took a series of three matches to decide, while Hughes defeated Kamala. Also, earlier this weekend on Superstars, Hughes participated in an attack on the Undertaker and Paul Bearer with Giant Gonzales, and Hughes ended up stealing the urn, which he has with him here tonight. That issue was never blown off to the best of my knowledge as Hughes simply vanished by the end of the summer. Hughes shoves him off a lockup a couple of times, and then comes off the ropes but runs into Perfectís armdrag. Irish whip is reversed and Perfect leapfrogs him and then nails a dropkick, but Hughes doesnít go down. Hughes backs him to the corner on a lockup and punches Perfect right out of the ring. Back in, Hughes works him over with a headbutt (Thank you Bobo, for all youíve done.) and applies a rear chinlock. Perfect punches out and comes off the ropes, but Hughes gets the big boot up. Irish whip and clothesline by Hughes, followed by a snapmare as Hughes is working on the neck. Perfect tries to punch out again, but Hughes pulls the hair to keep control. Corner whip and Perfect does the flip sell on hitting the buckle. Another corner whip followed by a whip off the ropes but Hughes misses an elbow. They try something off the ropes that gets completely botched, so Hughes rakes the eyes and chokes him on the ropes. He misses a rope straddle and Perfect gets a chop. Irish whip and hiptoss, followed by another Irish whip and a backdrop for Perfect. Snapmare and jumping necksnap hit and Perfect starts working him over in the corner, but Hughes grabs the urn and nails him for the DQ at 6:02. Crap finish as they were obviously saving Hughes for the Undertaker feud that never happened. Match was not particularly good while it lasted either. ľ*
KOTR Quarterfinals: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Bigelow beat Typhoon to get in the tournament and Duggan beat Papa Shango. Bigelow grabs a side headlock but gets fired off. Nobody moves on the shoulderblock, so we try it again, and still get the same result. Third try sees Duggan duck and nail a clothesline. It takes two more to knock Bigelow off his feet. Bigelow bails to regroup and when he comes back a slugfest breaks out, won by Duggan. Corner whip is reversed with Duggan injuring his ribs on hitting the corner but Bigelow still misses a charge. Duggan canít get a slam due to the ribs and Bigelow uses a headbutt then starts working over the injury. Irish whip and he hooks a bearhug. Duggan punches his way out, but Bigelow keeps control. Snapmare, but he misses a headbutt. Duggan tries the slam again and gets him up, but Bigelow falls on top for 2. Back to the bearhug, but Duggan bites his way out. Irish whip by Bigelow, and Duggan avoids a kick. He finally gets that elusive slam and sets up the Three Point Stance, but Bigelow moves and Duggan crashes into the corner. Flying headbutt finishes at 5:00. A bit of psychology was thrown in, but it was short and not anything special. Ĺ*
KOTR Quarterfinals: Narcissist Lex Luger vs. Tatanka
Tatanka got a DQ win over Giant Gonzales to qualify, while Luger defeated Bob Backlund to get in. Both guys are working on undefeated streaks here, so the result should not be much of a secret. The ref insists that Luger wear a pad on the bionic arm in the interest of fairness. Luger reluctantly agrees after being threatened with disqualification. Tatanka makes his entrance only to get jumped by Luger who then poses in his mirror (which is still in the ring). Tatanka tips the mirror over on him and chops him to the outside. Slam on the floor gives the crew time to get the mirror out. Back in, Luger takes control with a kick. Corner whip is reversed and Tatanka gets a backdrop followed by a clothesline for 2. Tatanka grabs an armbar, which Luger tries to slam out of, but Tatanka holds on, and hits a legdrop on the arm. Luger eventually escapes and sends Tatanka off the ropes, but Tatanka ducks and comes off with a cross body for 2. Back to the armbar, which Luger reverses to a hammerlock. Tatanka reverses that reversal and Luger elbows out. Irish whip and Luger connects with a knee and then drops an elbow for 2. Backbreaker and another elbow also get 2, as does a big leaping elbow. Luger argues with the ref over that and gets rolled up for 2, but maintains control with some stomps. Tatanka fires back with chops, but Luger elbows him down. Snapmare sets up a reverse chinlock from which Tatanka tries to elbow out, but Luger pulls the hair to maintain the hold. Tatanka draws the crowd into it and elbows out successfully this time, but runs right into a clothesline. Luger drops an elbow for 2, and then Tatanka gets a small package, also for 2. Luger sends him off the ropes, but Tatanka gets a sunset flip for 2. Luger hammers him and gets a kneelift as Ross makes his first reference to the time limit nearing. Luger rams him to the buckle, but that just makes him angry and kicks off the war dance. Tatanka uses chops followed by a big chop off an Irish whip for 2.5. Powerslam gets another 2.5, as does a chop off the top rope. Tatanka goes up again, but this time Luger avoids it. Irish whip and clothesline by Luger get 2. Powerslam by Luger also gets 2, and he then goes with a backdrop and suplex for 2 and a backbreaker gets one final 2 count just before the 15:00 time limit expires at 14:54. At least they were close on that timer. Luger demands five more minutes, but thatís not happening, so he just pulls the pad off and KOís Tatanka with the bionic arm instead. I have to admit I was not expecting much from two guys not noted as workers doing a 15:00 draw, but this was actually a pleasant surprise. **
Before we get to the only semifinal match, we get a really good Gene Okerlund interview with Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect. During the Perfect/Hughes match, Bret cut an inset promo stating he would rather face Perfect, so Gene plays instigator and implies that Bret feels Perfect is the easier opponent. Perfect brings up Summerslam 1991 and reminds Bret that he owes him one, and then it segues into an argument over who had the tougher Dad. Great stuff.
KOTR Semifinals: Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect
Iím even more stoked for this thanks to that great interview. Bret has the fingers taped up to sell the injury from the Ramon match. Perfect grabs a wristlock but Bret makes the ropes and we get a break. Side headlock by Bret who gets fired off the ropes and nails a shoulderblock. Bret gets a hiplock takedown followed by a side headlock takedown, but Perfect counters that to a headscissors. Bret escapes that back to the side headlock. Perfect gets up and backs Bret to the corner where he hits a chop. Corner whip is reversed and Perfect hits. Bret gets a slam, but Perfect kicks him off, and then they reverse with Perfect getting the slam and Bret kicking him off, followed by Bret getting the side headlock takedown again. Perfect gets to his feet and fires Bret off, but Bret hooks a crucifix for 2, and goes back to the side headlock. Fired off once again, this time Bret comes off with a cross body for 1, and then gets a sunset flip for 2. Side headlock again frustrates Perfect who pulls the hair to try and escape. Back to his feet, Perfect gets a kneelift and kicks him. Dropkick sends Bret outside, and Perfect holds the ropes open for him, but then kicks him on the way in. He rams Bret to the buckle and gets a kneelift for 2, then sends Bret back to the outside. This time Perfect follows him and rams Bret to the apron. Bret recovers and gets back on the apron, but Perfect slingshots Bret off there into the barricade. Bret is now selling a knee injury as well from that fall, but he makes it back in the ring. Kneelift from Perfect gets 2, followed by Perfect going up and hitting a dropkick off the top for 2 as Bret gets the foot on the ropes. Now Perfect hooks the leg, but only gets 2 again as Bret kicks out. Corner whip with Bret hitting chest first gets another 2 count for Perfect. Perfect goes up again, but this time Bret knocks him down and crotches him. Superplex gets 2.5 for Bret, who then hooks a figure four. Perfect fights it for awhile and eventually makes the ropes. Bret stays on the leg, dropping an elbow and wrenching it, but Perfect escapes and rams Bret to the buckle. He sends Bret off the ropes and hooks a sleeper. Bret makes the ropes for the break, so Perfect simply brings him back and reapplies it, even briefly using the ropes for leverage. Now Bret runs Perfect to the buckle to escape and hits a beautiful looking uppercut forearm. He tosses Perfect by the hair and Perfect slides to the post crotch first. Inverted atomic drop and Russian legsweep get 2.5 for Bret, and he follows that with a legdrop, backbreaker, and 2nd rope elbow for another 2.5. He tries the Sharpshooter, but Perfect grabs the fingers and twists them. Perfectplex is tried, but Bret blocks, and reverses to a suplex of his own to send both of them tumbling over the top to the outside. Both guys struggle to make it back, but they do. Perfect tries a small package for a 2 count, and then Bret reverses it for 3 to advance to the finals at 18:57. Perfect looks dejected, but ends up shaking Bretís hand. Great match, best of the night for sure with so many little things going on. ****
WWF Championship Match: Hulk Hogan (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji)
YES, YES, YES, the Anti-Hulkamaniac inside me has been squirming in anticipation of this one. Iím just gonna go watch the finish right now, excuse me a moment.
HA HA HA HA HA! Iím back, but Iím a little worked up here. Iíll try to remain objective on my commentary, but itís gonna be hard, and almost certainly a few things will slip through the cracks. This was set up by the impromptu match at Wrestlemania IX where Hogan won the Title from Yoko in a match lasting only a few seconds. JR is nice enough to note that this is Hoganís first Title defense since winning it 70 days ago. Whereís that rulebook? Oh here it is; ďExceptions to the 30 day rule shall be made for any champion filming a crappy direct to video movie.Ē Well, heís covered there, I suppose. More than a minute of stalling kicks off the match before they lockup. Hogan tries to shove him off and moves him about a foot. They lockup again, and this time Yoko shoves him right down. Hogan gets back up, but Yoko hammers him, rakes the back (Foreshadowing the use of Hoganís move later on?) and gets a headbutt. Yoko slams him and keeps hammering away. Corner whip knocks Hogan down, and a second one sees Yoko miss a charge. Hogan punches, and then mounts him in the corner for more punches. Corner whip and Hogan follows him in with a clothesline. He tries a slam, but no way, as Yoko hammers the back. Irish whip, but Hogan ducks and comes back with some punches. The slam fails again as Yoko nails him. Irish whip, and Hogan ducks again, this time hitting a clothesline that wonít knock Yoko down. Second try also canít take him down, and on the third try, Yoko catches him with a clothesline of his own. Splash misses and they both struggle to their feet. Hogan tries a shoulderblock, but heís the one that goes down from it. Corner whip and Yoko grabs a bearhug. Hogan fights it, but canít get out. The arm drops twice, so now Hogan makes the comeback and escapes, but the back is still hurt. He comes off the ropes, but runs into Yokoís elbow, and Yoko nails a belly to belly suplex for 2. That, of course, means that itís Hulk Up time! 3 punches, Irish whip, big bootÖÖdonít knock him down. 3 punches, Irish whip, big bootÖÖheís still on his feet. Hogan gives it a third try, and now Yoko is finally knocked down for the first time in the match. Legdrop hitsÖÖand Yoko kicks out at 2! Not the Sid at WMVIII improvised kickout, but a full fledged booked kickout. The crowd and announcers are in shock at that one. Fuji is on the apron, so Hogan knocks him down, which ties up the ref checking on him. One of the ringside photographers is up now on the apron with Hart trying to pull him off, but he kicks Hart away. This draws Hogan over and a big flash goes off in his face. Hogan goes down, and Yoko drops a big leg (how ironic is that?) to finish Hogan off, and win the WWF Championship at 13:11. The match itself is worth like Ĺ*, but thatís irrelevant here as it gets a total free pass from me for obvious reasons. Post match, Yoko hammers home that yes, this is really happening by squishing Hogan like a bug with a Banzai Drop. Hogan is helped out of the ring by Hart and the officials. The only posing here tonight will be done by the New Champion in front of the rest of those photographers.
Shawn Michaels, who looks to be in a great mood, cuts an anti-Hogan promo, declaring that Hogan isnít the caliber of wrestler that he is, and calls him a ďdinosaurĒ. Iím declaring this my favourite Shawn Michaels promo of all time.
The Steiner Brothers & The Smoking Gunns vs. Money Inc. & The Headshrinkers (w/Afa)
The crowd is still shocked at the finish of the previous match so this is pretty much a death slot. Money Inc. holds the Tag Team Titles and they are in the midst of a feud with The Steiners. The teams would swap the belts a couple times in the next six days starting the next night at a Challenge taping before The Steiners took them for good. Scott and Dibiase start with Dibiase getting a couple of armdrags. Scott gets a single leg takedown and moves to a hammerlock, from which Dibiase escapes and gets a headlock. Off the ropes Dibiase gets a shoulderblock, but a second try sees him run into a dropkick by Scott. Scott clotheslines Dibiase outside where Rick tosses him back in, only to have Scott clothesline him out once more, and be tossed right back in by Rick a second time. Now Dibiase bails on his side of the ring. Tags are made to Fatu and Bart and Bart grabs a wristlock. Off the ropes, Bart gets a dropkick and hooks an armbar. He rams Fatuís head to the mat which, of course has no effect. Fatu hits a crescent kick and tags Samu. Double whip and clothesline by the Shrinkers. A headbutt by Samu and he tags IRS who sends Bart off the ropes and hits an elbow. Legdrop, followed by a tag to Dibiase leads to a brief double team. Dibiase hits a back elbow and suplex before tagging Samu, who immediately tags Fatu so they can hit a double team backdrop. Headbutt gets 2, followed by a backbreaker, also for 2. Tag to IRS who nails a shot from the top rope and drops a leg for 2. Irish whip, and Bart gets a sunset flip for 2, but IRS maintains control with a clothesline. Tag to Dibiase, but Bart also manages to tag Billy. Billy slugs away and whips Dibiase to the corner followed by a backdrop and clothesline. Second try at a clothesline sees Dibiase duck and then catch him with a stungun. He hooks the Million $ Dream, but when the arm drops twice, he just lets it go for some reason, and Billy gets a small package for 3 at 7:03. Big brawl breaks out afterwards, and the heel team is cleared out. This was exactly what it needed to be; a quick babyface win to alleviate some of the shock the crowd experienced in the previous match. But the result is a bit of a head scratcher. Why is Billy Gunn getting the pin here when The Steiners are the ones feuding with Money Inc.? Also, Rick Steiner wasnít even tagged in at all. My best guess is that they may have been booked to go longer and gotten a sudden ďgo homeĒ signal from the back. Oh well, doesnít really matter. *1/2
Just to put the final layer of icing on this wonderful cake, WWF President Jack Tunney congratulates the Conqueror of Hulkamania on his glorious victory without even hinting that it was disputed in any way. That was the surest sign that Hogan was finished right there. Watching live, my buddies and I groaned at the sight of Tunney, figuring he was going to either hand the belt back to Hogan right there and then, or at least hold it up pending a rematch, but we were never happier to be wrong in our lives.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) vs. Crush
These guys went to a double countout in a KOTR qualifier, so a regular match was signed between them for the event. When Shawn regained the IC belt, it was made into a title match, and so here we are. Diesel made his debut in the match where Shawn beat Marty Jannetty for the title, and is here tonight as well making his first PPV appearance. Side headlock by Crush, who gets fired off the ropes, but comes off with a shoulderblock. Shawn regroups outside and tries again, this time with a series of ducks leading to Shawn getting in some punches and a wristlock. Crush sends him off the ropes and leapfrogs him. Superkick (not yet his finisher) misses and Crush nails a couple of dropkicks to send Shawn outside. In the ring, Shawn gets a single leg take down, but Crush is back up and catches Shawn with a press slam. Irish whip and Crush gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Diesel pulls Shawn outside to save him and Shawn hides behind him. While Crush is focused on Diesel, Shawn sneaks around and runs Crush to the post, and then ties up the ref so Diesel can send him to the post as well. Shawn rams Crush to the post a few more times, and back in the ring that gets 2. Up top, Shawn come off with a double axhandle and hits a boot to the head for 2. Front facelock by Shawn, but Crush makes it to his feet and casually throws Shawn off. Shawn is back to the hold, only to get thrown off again. One more try and this time Crush throws him right outside. Shawn gets to the top, but Crush avoids the attack. Irish whip by Crush and he gets a backdrop. Corner whip and backbreaker get 2.5 for Crush. Irish whip, big boot and legdrop get 2. I donít know if itís coincidence or not, and it could be because itís such a basic move, but a lot of guys have been using a legdrop tonight. I wonder is some of them got together and decided to work it in to their matches as a way of mocking Hogan or something. I hope thatís the case anyways. Shawn slips out of a slam attempt, but when he tries a rollup Crush avoids it and clotheslines him outside. At this point, 2 Doinks make their way to ringside and distract Crush long enough for Shawn to hit a Superkick to the back of the head which gets the 3 count to retain at 11:15. Shawn was not yet the ring general that he would become, and Crush is a difficult type of opponent for him to work with at this point so the result is not as good a match as you would expect from him. Also, the cheap finish hurts it too. *1/2
Main Event, KOTR Finals: Bam Bam Bigelow v. Bret Hart
Bigelow misses a charge to start although he wins the slugfest that ensues and hammers Bret down. Irish whip, which Bret ducks, but Bigelow then catches him in a press slam for 2. Bret grabs the arm to work it over, but Bigelow pounds his way out, sends Bret off the ropes and nails a clothesline. Another press slam sends Bret outside. Bigelow follows and gets him back in where he drops a couple of headbutts to the back. Bret goes down off a corner whip and Bigelow drops another headbutt for 2 as Bret gets his foot on the ropes. Second try at the cover sees Bret kick out. Bret did the same spot earlier in the Perfect match, which makes it annoying to see again. Bigelow keeps on the back and hits a back suplex for 2. Bret fires back, but Bigelow retains control, sending Bret to the corner and headbutting him down for another 2. Bearhug by Bigelow, which Bret escapes, but Bigelow still hits another back suplex for 2. Bigelow tosses him outside and tries to whip him to the barrier, but Bret reverses Bret rams Bigelow to the rail, but when he tries to come off the apron he gets caught and rammed to the post. Bigelow slams him on the floor and gets back in the ring. While he as the ref tied up, Luna Vachon comes out and nails Bret with a chair. Bigelow gets him back in the ring, hits a slam and drops the flying headbutt for the 3 count at 9:05. But wait! Another ref is here to point out the injustice and the match gets restarted. I would love to think that this was another way of mocking Hogan, by showing that the officials have Bretís back but not his, but again it might be coincidental. Bigelow keeps on the back with more headbutts. Corner whip takes Bret down and then Bigelow hooks a bearhug. Bret escapes that, only to get hooked in a backbreaker submission. Arm drops twice before Bret recovers, flips out and gets a back suplex. Bigelow is still up first, but he misses a senton. Corner whip and he reapplies the backbreaker, but Bret twists out into a sleeper. He snaps Bret over to break that, but Bret gets a dropkick and dumps Bigelow outside. Dive to the outside hits followed up with some punches before he gets Bigelow back in. Clothesline off the 2nd rope gets 2.5. He gets a Russian legsweep and bulldog from the 2nd rope before trying the Sharpshooter, but Bigelow kicks him off. Back to their feet, Bret walks into a bearhug, from which Bret escapes again. He tries a back suplex, but Bigelow floats on top for 2. Corner whip, but Bret climbs Bigelowís shoulders on the charge and hooks a victory roll for 3 to become the first (televised) King of the Ring at 17:56. Incidentally, Bret was also the defending champion from the last non-televised tournament. I like that they went almost 9 more minutes after the false finish, because they would usually end it pretty quickly after that. Match would get a higher rating on its own, but Iím forced to deduct a bit for the repetition of some spots from earlier matches. **1/2
The coronation goes on next, but is interrupted by Jerry Lawler. Bret gets a ďBurger KingĒ chant going, so Lawler attacks. Bret was really pissed off that Lawler dropped the big throne right on him without making any attempt to protect him. This kicks off a feud that would last off and on for the next two years.
Well, I already mentioned that this was one of my personal favourite PPVís, so my final word here should be no surprise. Even if youíre completely neutral on the Hogan issue this is a good show to watch, mainly thanks to Bret's performance. Thumbs all the way up for King of the Ring 1993, and donít dare call yourself an anti-Hulkamaniac without owning a copy of this show.