April 20, 2008
Alexander Settee

King Of The Ring 1994, June 19, 1994, Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon, Randy Savage, & Art Donovan

With King Of The Ring coming back this Monday, hereís a look back at one of the previous shows. Thought about doing 1998, as itís the most famous show, but then decided to do one where the tournament is actually featured instead of being an afterthought. But before we get into that, letís talk about Art Donovan. Local legend or not, I canít believe anyone thought it was a good idea to put this guy on commentary. He seems to have never seen a wresting show in his life, and spends the whole night asking questions like ďWhoís that guy?Ē, and ďHow much does that fella weigh?Ē By match two, Monsoon is pretty much avoiding his questions, while Savage at least humors him by answering some of them. His ignorance is good for a laugh at first, but quickly just becomes distracting, then embarrassing, and finally you even feel sorry for the poor guy as Monsoon clearly just decides to ignore him. On with the matches now.

Opening Match, Quarterfinals: Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Luna Vachon) vs. Razor Ramon

Bigelow beat Sparky Plugg to qualify for the tournament while Razor defeated future friend Kwang. Luna taunts Razor which allows Bigelow to attack. He gets an Irish whip and a shoulderblock, and then does that again. Slam and Bigelow drops a headbutt. Legdrop and a stomp lead to Bigelow going up, but headbutt from there misses. Razor punches to come back. Corner whip is reversed, and Bigelowís whip is also reversed. Razor baseball slides outside and pulls Bigelow to the post. Back in, bulldog off the 2nd rope gets 2. Razor elbows the leg twice and grabs a leg lock, but Bigelow kicks off. Razor catches a kick, and avoids the enzuiguri. Clothesline, but Bigelow stands his ground. Bigelow avoids a second try and tosses Razor. Back in the ring, headbutt gets 2. Ghettoblaster gets 2 for Bigelow. Some shots to the back set up a torture rack. The arm drops twice before Razor gets out and comes back with a back suplex. Slugfest, won by Razor, as he backs Bigelow to the corner. Corner whip is reversed, but Bigelow misses the charge. Slam by Razor, and he tries to set up the top rope back suplex, but Bigelow elbows him off. Slam by Bigelow sets up a moonsault attempt, by Razor recovers to pull him down and roll him up for 3 at 8:24. Not a bad start as both guys were energetic. *1/2

Quarterfinals: IRS vs. Mabel (w/Oscar)

In the qualifiers, IRS beat Scott Steiner, while Mabel beat Pierre. Mabel avoids an attack and sends IRSís head to the buckle. Clothesline and he dances. Powerslam, 2 suplexes and an elbow as Mabel controls. Corner whip, but Mabel misses the charge, and a knee from behind by IRS sends him out. Back in, Irish whip, and IRS gets a clothesline. 2 elbowsmashes gets a 2 count. He tries a slam, which of course fails, and Mabel gets a small package for 2. IRS is up first and stomps him before going to a reverse chinlock. Mabel stands up and backs IRS to the corner. Irish whip leads to a backdrop, followed by a clothesline and a back elbow. Boss Man Slam by Mabel gets 2. Bodyslam, and he goes to the 2nd rope, but IRS shakes them until Mabel falls. He then puts his feet on the ropes and gets a 3 count at 5:34. IRS was a good cheap heat gimmick, and a good wrestler, but had nothing to work with. Mabel was useless here, and itís mind boggling to think heís in WWE today, 14 years later. DUD

Quarterfinals: Tatanka vs. Owen Hart

Owen qualified over Doink, while Tatanka beat Crush with an assist from Lex Lugerís forearm. Tatanka attacks and is all over Owen. Two corner whips and a backdrop get 2. A suplex also gets 2. Owen goes to the eyes and grabs a side headlock. Tatanka fires him off the ropes, but Owen gets a shoulderblock. He comes off the ropes again and gets armdragged. Now Tatanka gets the side headlock. Owen sends him off the ropes and gets shoulderblocked. Off the ropes again, Owen evades and tosses Tatanka, who lands on his feet and pulls Owen out. They slug away outside, and Owen posts him. Tatanka makes it back in where Owen chokes him on the ropes. Gutwrench suplex by Owen, who heads up. He gets a missile dropkick for 2. Reverse chinlock, but Tatanka elbows out. Owen gets sent off the ropes, but is able to grab a sleeper. Arm drops twice, but Tatanka comes back and powers out. Tatanka is the Native American House Afire hitting chop after chop, finally getting a 2 count. Corner whip is reversed, but Tatanka gets the boot up. DDT gets 2 for Tatanka. Slam and a chop off the top get another 2 count. Powerslam also gets 2, and he gets on the refís case about it. Irish whip is reversed, and Tatanka tries a sunset flip, but Owen hooks the legs and gets 3 at 8:18. Good match, as Owen survives everything Tatanka can throw at him until heís frustrated enough that Owen can grab a quick clever move for the pin. **1/4

Quarterfinals: Jeff Jarrett vs. The 1-2-3 Kid

Jarrett beat Lex Luger by countout when Crush interfered, while Kid beat Adam Bomb to qualify. Monsoon is outraged that Jarrett has predicted victory, as though he should be predicting defeat or something. Kid backs him off with kicks, but Jarrett outsmarts him and is able to ram his leg to the apron. Corner whip and the Kid goes down hard. Another whip, but Kid leaps over and gets a rollup for 2. Jarrett stomps him down. Elbow and clothesline hit before Kid avoids a dropkick. Victory roll gets 2 for Kid, but Jarrett is back up to stomp Kid down again. He nails a slingshot suplex and fistdrop off the 2nd rope. Irish whip, but Kid ducks and nails a clothesline. Roundhouse kick gets a 2 count for Kid. Slam, and he goes up, but a somersault senton misses. Jarrett chokes him on the ropes, but misses the rope straddle and crotches himself. Kid goes up, but Jarrett catches him. Kid shoves Jarrett off of the superplex attempt and hits a flying bodypress for 2. Some kicks in the corner set up a corner whip, but Jarrett avoids the charge. Jarrett goes after the leg and sets up the figure four, but Kid gets a small package for 3 at 4:39. Jarrett is not happy about this, and beats the Kid down including three piledrivers. The announcers speculate that the Kid may not make it back for the semifinal. **

WWF Title Match: Bret Hart (w/Jim Neidhart) vs. Diesel (w/Shawn Michaels)

Bret promised to bring a family member to counteract the presence of Shawn Michaels, which turned out to be Brother-In-Law and former tag team partner Jim Neidhart. This was also, I believe, the debut of Bretís new music, which he would use for the rest of his WWF career. Diesel, who is the IC Champ here, was already thought of by Vince McMahon as The Next Big Thing, and this is his first crack at a high profile match. Lockup and Diesel shoves Bret off. Bret goes behind with a waistlock, but Diesel backs him to the corner. Diesel pounds him down. Boot to the throat by Diesel, then again, but Bret avoids the third try and Diesel is crotched. Bret gets some shots and shakes him off the ropes. Single leg takedown sets up a headbutt to the groin. Irish whip is reversed, and Bret slips out of a slam attempt, getting a rollup for 2. Now Diesel gets the slam, but misses an elbow allowing Bret to send him to the buckle a few times. Diesel rakes the eyes to take over and chokes Bret. Corner whip, but Bret moves out of the way and kicks Diesel in the leg. Bret takes him down and keeps working on the leg. Figure four is hooked, which even gets a 2 count, with Monsoon complaining that youíre not supposed to count a pin from that hold. Diesel makes the ropes, but Bret keeps on the leg. Bret gets a spinning toe hold now, but Diesel kicks him out of the ring. Bret is able to grab the leg, and posts it, but Shawn Michaels comes in and nails a clothesline. Anvil gives chase, but is never quite able to catch Shawn. The ref tries to put Anvil back in the corner, which only allows Shawn another cheap shot. Back in the ring, Bret comes off the ropes and Diesel tries to catch him, but canít hold him up. Now he picks Bret up and rams him to the corner. Bearhug, which Bret eventually bites his way out of. Dropkick and Bret dumps him outside. A dive misses, and Diesel rams the back into the post. In the ring, Diesel works the back with a hard corner whip and a side slam for 2. Backbreaker, holding Bret on the knee for awhile, followed by an elbowdrop get 2. He chokes Bret on the ropes and Shawn gets another shot. Bret tries to fight back, but is whipped chest first into the buckle, as only he can take it. That gets 2 for Diesel. Diesel argues with the ref, which allows Bret to get a rollup for 2. Clothesline by Diesel gets 2, and he goes to a reverse chinlock. Diesel lets that go and nails another backbreaker for 2. Shawn is working on getting the turnbuckle pad off. Bret comes back and grabs a sleeper, but Diesel backs him to the corner. Corner whip, but Bret gets the boot up on the charge. Bret goes back to the sleeper, but is once again backed to the corner. Diesel goes to work on the turnbuckle pad now, and he gets it off. Bret blocks Dieselís attempt to ram him to the exposed buckle, and Diesel takes it instead. Bret mounts him for punches in the corner. It takes three clotheslines to take Diesel down and Bret gets a 2 count. Irish whip sets up a shot to the gut and Russian legsweep. 2nd rope elbow gets a 2 count. Bulldog from the 2nd rope sets up the Sharpshooter, but Shawn is on the apron. Bret knocks him down and comes back to Diesel with a clothesline off the 2nd rope for 2. Irish whip is reversed, but Dieselís hiptoss is blocked and Bret gets a small package for 2. Corner whip is attempted, but Diesel just kinda stops. Bret sets up another one, which Diesel reverses, indicating they blew the spot a moment ago. Diesel gets a big boot and celebrates by standing over Bret, but Bret grabs the legs and hooks a Texas cloverleaf, which was likely meant to be a Sharpshooter but he didnít get his own leg between Dieselís. Just as well since Diesel gets the ropes. Dropkick sends Diesel out where he confronts Anvil. This allows Shawn to sneak in and nail Bret with the belt. Diesel drops an elbow for 2, and sets up the Jackknife, but Anvil finally gets involved, nails Shawn, and attacks Diesel to draw the DQ for Bret at 22:51. Anvil immediately takes off leaving Bret to be double teamed. We later find out that Anvil was only here to make sure Bret kept the belt so that Owen could win it from him. Good match as Bret carries Diesel through his first time in the spotlight, and probably solidifies McMahonís decision to push him to the moon. ***

Semifinals: Razor Ramon vs. IRS

Razor jumps IRS outside and posts him, followed by some stomps and punches. Back in, he gets an Irish whip, but IRS catches him with a knee. Snapmare and elbow get 1. Backbreaker by IRS. He charges at Razor who moves and he goes outside over the top. IRS pulls Razor out, but Razor gains control. He sends IRS to the stairs. Back in, they slug away, but IRS takes control by going to the eyes. He elbows Razor down, and slaps on a reverse chinlock, putting his feet on the ropes, of course. Razor gets up, elbows out, and sends IRS to the buckle. He catches IRS with an elbow off an Irish whip. Razor tosses him around by the tie. Irish whip is reversed, and IRS gets a clothesline. Now he sends Razor off the ropes, but puts his head down and gets caught with the Razorís Edge for the pin at 5:13. Nothing to see here. Ĺ*

Semifinals: Owen Hart vs. The 1-2-3 Kid

Kid is selling the beating from earlier. Owen baseball slides him as he approaches the ring, then nails a dive though the ropes. Headbutt and he tosses the Kid in. Top rope splash gets 2. Corner whip is reversed, and now Owen runs chest first to the buckle. Kid goes up from where bodypress with a twist gets 2. Cradle gets another 2 count. Wristlock, but Owen nips out, and takes the Kid down, who nips out himself. Some kicks get a 2 count for the Kid. Gutwrench suplex and Owen barely gets the foot on the ropes at 2. Owen bails, but Kid is right on him with a cannonball dive. Kid gets in some shots outside and gets Owen back in. Spin kick is caught by Owen and leads to a German suplex for 2. He Irish whips the Kid and catches a belly to belly suplex for 2. Kid slips out of a suplex attempt and gets a victory roll for 2, which Owen then counters for a 2 count of his own. Irish whip and Kid tries a rana, but Owen powerbombs him hard. Sharpshooter gets the submission at 3:37. This was nonstop action, as they crammed all kinds of spectacular moves and 10 near falls into this short time period. If thereís a better sub-four minute match out there, I havenít seen it. ****

WWF Tag Team Title Match: The Headshrinkers (w/Lou Albano & Afa) vs. Yokozuna & Crush (w/Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji)

Nothing really happened to set this one up, they just kinda went with it for lack of anything better. Double Staredown to start and the Shrinkers are whipped into each other to no effect. They even beat on each other to emphasize that. Headbutts and the heels are knocked outside. Back in, Samu and Yoko start. Lockup and Samu is tossed back. He comes back with chops, and tries a slam, but no go. Yoko chops Samu now and whips him to the corner. Crescent kick hits as Yoko charges. Dropkick and clothesline send Yoko outside. Both guys tag and Crush gets the first shot on Fatu. Irish whip is reversed, Fatu puts the head down, Crush plants him, but of course that has no effect. Fatu gets a piledriver and goes to the 2nd rope for a headbutt which gets 2. Savage, on commentary, is talking about ďHeadshrinker ManiaĒ running wild. Irish whip by Fatu is reversed, and Fuji nails him with the flag. Crush then gets a clothesline, allowing Fatu to do his flip sell job. Piledriver by Crush gets only 1. Tag to Yoko, and Crush gets a drop toe hold allowing Yoko to come off the ropes with a legdrop. Samu has to make the save at 2. Tag to Crush who stomps Fatu down for 2, then grabs a nerve hold. Fatu elbows out, but gets slammed. Tag to Yoko who gets a corner whip. Fatu avoids the charge, and both guys tag. Samu gets a powerslam on Crush and goes after Yoko. All four guys are in now, and the heels are whipped into each other. Double crescent kick on Yoko knocks him out. Fatu goes after him while Samu climbs up top for a splash on Crush, but Fatu posts Yoko, which crotches Samu. Superplex by Crush and he drops a leg. Yoko comes in and drops a leg of his own. Lex Luger (whose stock has fallen so far heís not even on the show) walks out now, which distracts Crush, allowing him to fall victim to a rollup for 2. But seconds later, Fatu gets a crescent kick on Crush for 3 to retain the titles at 9:16. Crush goes after Luger, and we all brawl, with the babyfaces clearing the ring. Meaningless match, but not horrible or anything. *

Finals: Razor Ramon vs. Owen Hart

Lockup, and Owen gets a side headlock, which he then switches to a hammerlock. Razor sends him off the ropes and knocks him down. Lockup again and Owen grabs a wristlock, but Razor reverses. Owen flips out, but is caught in a side headlock. He escapes this and slaps Razor. Owen comes off the ropes, but Razor catches him in a slam for 2. Irish whip, but Owen slides through the legs and gets some punches. He tries a dropkick, but Razor catches the legs and slingshots him to the buckle, which gets 2. Headlock takedown by Razor, countered by Owen with a headscissors. Razor rolls to a pinning position, but Owen bridges out, and now they fight for a backslide. Razor gets it for 2, and then takes him down with another headlock. Off the ropes, Razor gets a shoulderblock. He tries again, but Owen nails a dropkick. Abdominal stretch, which Owen hooks correctly, forcing Gorilla to find a different avenue for criticism. Gorilla decides that Owen is too small to make the move effective, but Owen then negates that by grabbing the ropes. Razor flips him over to escape. Hiptoss attempt by Owen is blocked, and Razor gets a Rock Bottom for 2. Fallaway slam gets another 2. Owen slips out of a suplex and gets a Russian legsweep. He goes up, but Razor crotches him. Back suplex off the top sets up the Razorís Edge, but Owen backdrops out. Jim Neidhart comes out now, clotheslines Razor and posts him, revealing which side of the family feud heís actually on. Anvil tosses Razor back in where Owen hits a top rope elbow for 3 and the King Of The Ring Title at 6:35. Beatdown on Razor ensues, including a Hart Attack. Not bad, but short considering it was the finals, and the screwy finish hurts it a bit as well. *1/2

Owen is crowned King and proclaims that from this day forward he will be known as the King Of Harts. Owen was one of my favorites, especially as a heel, so itís nice to see him get this great moment and I know I loved it back when it happened.

Main Event: Jerry ďThe KingĒ Lawler vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper (w/Scrawny Kid)

Yes, this is the New Generation of the World Wrestling Federation, why do you ask? In the buildup, Lawler did a skit with some Scrawny Kid (SK) dressed up as Piper (today they would use a midget for that spot) and treated Piper like a joke. Piper brings SK with him for some reason. Heís never even named. This is also Piperís first match since Wrestlemania VIII, although he actually looks to be in pretty good shape. Piper throws the kilt over Lawlerís head and attacks. Lawler tries to beg off, but Piper is all over him. Even as Lawler tries to take off, Piper chases him up the aisle. He even holds Lawler so SK can get in a shot. Piper is just punching the hell out of Lawler. Atomic drop is our first actual move of the match, and Lawler is sent out. Lawler stalks SK, but Piper saves. He sends Lawler to the barrier, then catches Lawlerís fist and posts it. Lawler has had literally no offence so far. Lawler is after SK again, and when Piper tries to cover him up, Lawler is able to take control. Fistdrop gets 2, and then Lawler gets a sleeper. The arm drops twice before Piper recovers, but heís still too dizzy, and Lawler keeps control. Piledriver gets a 2 count. Piper is back up and wins a slugfest, then gets the eyepoke. 2 bulldogs hit, but on a 3rd try Lawler shoves Piper into the ref. Lawler pulls the phantom foreign object out of his tights, and nails Piper. Feet on the ropes for a pin attempt, and after a very long 2 count by the dazed ref, SK knocks the feet off and Piper gets out. Lawler yells at SK, but that allows Piper to get a back suplex for 3 at 12:30. Piper was over with the crowd, but man was that an awful match, and not a good way to end the show at all. DUD

Overall, the show is just not that great. I was happy seeing Owenís big moment, and if youíre a fan of his, you should definitely check this one out. His match with 1-2-3 Kid is three and a half minutes of awesome, and Iíd love to know if thereís a full length match between them on video from 1994. The World Title match is the only other thing thatís really good on this show, but even then itís a disappointing ending. Match order sucks too, but I guess for storyline reasons Bret/Diesel had to go on earlier, and they didnít want to end with a heel winning the tournament, so that only left Piper/Lawler to close the show. And of course, if you like trainwrecks, you can always get the show just for the commentary. Thumbs in the middle for King Of The Ring 1994.

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