June 13, 2007
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero
King of the Ring
June 25, 1995
Buy Rate: .65
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix
Free For All Match
Savio Vega (Juan Rivera) defeats IRS (Mike Rotundo) in 3:58 in a Qualifying Match
1) Savio Vega (Juan Rivera) defeats Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) by countout at 7:35
Qualifying Matches: Savio Vega defeated IRS; Yokozuna defeated Lex Luger (Lawrence Pfohl)
Fun Fact: Savio Vega began his career as TNT in Puerto Rico, and came to the WWF as the masked Kwang. Vega actually has an impressive resume, winning numerous titles in WWC and IWA. After helping come to the aid of Razor Ramon at In Your House, and wrestling a couple of tag matches with Razor, his first solo match was on the 5/28 Action Zone, defeating Eli Blu.
Fun Fact II: The winner of IRS/Savio is taking Razor Ramon’s spot in the tournament. Ramon was injured a few weeks before this and acts as Savio’s manager throughout the night.
Fun Fact III: British Bulldog and Owen Hart had a qualifying match on Raw that went to a draw. So, on the 6/12 Raw, Lex Luger and Yokozuna got a chance to fill the last KOTR slot. Just before the finish, Yoko attacked Luger’s guest flag bearer on the floor. Lex came to his rescue and ended up getting counted out. Luger’s flag bearer that night was actually Scotty Anton, who would be better known as Scotty Riggs in WCW.
Scott: The third installment of the June spectacular starts with a newcomer to the ranks, the former Kwang, Savio Vega from Puerto Rico, friend of Razor Ramon, defeating the now mid-card Yokozuna. This tournament was kind of a crap shoot in terms of who would win, probably because it was loaded with mostly mid-carders and unknowns. Savio is pretty quick in the ring for a stocky guy, but anyone looks quick with Yoko in the ring. Seeing the more known Yoko lose was a shock, and a sign of things to come. The crowd was really excited for the start of this tournament, and knew the winner (Bret in 93, Owen in 94) went on to bigger and better things. As the tournament progressed that thought gets real scary. Grade: 2
Justin: An OK match here that is used to put Savio over an accomplished star. I know what Vince was trying with this show (pushing fresh faces over old ones to make some new stars) but he just chose the wrong talent. Savio was slightly over, but I think that was mainly due to his association with Razor, who was always over with the crowd, so it was probably a smart move having Razor in his corner for the whole tournament. Yoko bows out in under ten minutes and Vega continues his Cinderella run through the tournament. Grade: 1.5
2) The Roadie (Brian Armstrong) defeats Bob Holly (Robert Howard) with a boot to the face at 7:31
Qualifying Matches: Roadie defeated Doink (Ray Liachelli); Holly defeated Mantaur (Mike Hallick)
Scott: Let’s remember we’re in Philadelphia, one of the most ruthless crowds in the country. You give them a good show, and they will be loud and loyal. You give them shit, and well, they pretty much turn on you. The crowd was fairly restless watching two mid-carders they could give a crap about. In any case, the Roadie wins over Sparky Plug, and moves on to face Savio Vega in the semifinals. Jeff Jarrett, still Intercontinental Champ, is at ringside to second his charge, but probably would have been better off in the tourney as he was in 1994. The match is heatless and uninteresting, and starts to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Grade: 2
Justin: Jarrett seconds Roadie throughout the show, as he himself was eliminated in the Qualifying Round. If Vince would have stuck all these guys who lost in the Qualifiers in there (Jarrett, Luger, Bulldog, Owen, Bomb, and Ramon for all intents and purposes), the tournament would have been a tad bit better. Sadly, this is probably the one of the two best matches of the show. Roadie actually drew pretty good heat, and the heel tandem of him and Jarrett was pretty solid, so him winning wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t anything special. Grade: 2.5
3) Kama (Charles Wright) and Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) wrestle to a draw at 15:00
Qualifying Matches: Kama beat Duke Droese (Mike Droese); Michaels beat King Kong Bundy (Chris Pailles)
Fun Fact: This is Shawn Michaels’ only KOTR tournament match ever. Michaels made his return to the ring on the 5/22 Raw in his KOTR Qualifier against King Kong Bundy. Upon his return, he was clearly a big time fan favorite.
Fun Fact II: Kama was portrayed by Charles Wright, the former Papa Shango. For most of 1993, Wright spent time in the USWA as Shango, even picking up the USWA Heavyweight Championship. Towards the end of 1994, vignettes began airing touting the debut of a “Supreme Fighting Machine.” Kama made his in ring debut on the 1/28 Superstars when he defeated Matt Hardy.
Scott: Here’s another sign you know where this night’s going. HBK, his first show as a full-fledged face, is a big favorite to win this tournament, and why not? Who else, besides Undertaker, is a legitimate choice? Well, after some decent action, the time limit expired, mainly to continue Kama’s legitimacy, since he needs to wrestle Undertaker what seems like 8 times this year. The match itself isn’t too bad, and Shawn (sporting a very thick 5 o’clock shadow for this match) bumps for all of Kama’s limited offense to carry him to a decent showing. The commentating sucks during this show, as every time Dok Hendrix mentions a moment from the first two KOTRs (Yoko winning the World Title, Shawn defending the IC Title, both in 93) Vince blows him off. A very sloppy edit on the Coliseum Video as they cut out HBK’s walking up to the throne scene Justin mentions (due to Barry Dadinski shilling merchandise), and HBK’s music just starts in mid-lyric. Needless to say it sounds like shit. It’s very evident the Philly crowd is not happy with this development, and gets quite rowdy. Unfortunately, it gets worse and they get rowdier. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Huge negative warning sign! Michaels stops by the throne to try on the crown, but it doesn’t fit because it is too big. That should be setting off a mental alarm in most people’s minds. Michaels seemed like a given to win this whole thing, and I remember thinking something weird was up watching it live, but I just assumed that maybe Undertaker was winning instead. Man, was I ever wrong. This match is ok, but all matches that are forced to draws usually suck, because they drag on and on until the last 2 minutes, but by that point it is deadly obvious that the time is running out. It was made especially evident here when they start putting the clock in the corner counting down. The crowd is not happy that Shawn was out of the match one bit, and things were about to get much, much worse. Grade: 2
4) Mabel (Nelson Frazier) defeats the Undertaker (Mark Callaway) with a leg drop after Kama interferes at 10:44
Qualifying Matches: Mabel beat Adam Bomb (Bryan Clark); Undertaker beat Jeff Jarrett
Fun Fact: As with Shawn Michaels, this was the only time Undertaker participated in the actual KOTR Tournament. It is also his first KOTR appearance. In 1993 he was out selling the injuries he received from Mr. Hughes, and in 1994 he was on vacation (or dead, if you go by storylines).
Scott: What the fuck?? As mentioned above, Undertaker would be the logical choice next to Shawn Michaels to win the tournament. Mabel was just another heel to throw in there, right? Well as 1995 as a whole showed, nothing made sense. Taker’s shitty year continues with Kama interfering and costing Deadman the match. This feud would last another couple of months, including another Coliseum Video exclusive that doesn’t make the main card for In Your House #2. The crowd has taken its last step toward throwing in the towel for this one. Vince, this is Philly, and like MSG, don’t insult their intelligence. I mean the crowd was so excited when this show started, and now you can see the anger and disdain in their silence, well mostly silence as the “ECW….ECW…..ECW” chants started up by the time it ended. Oh boy, Vince must have been pissing in his tuxedo at the sight of this. Mabel now heads right to the final due to the Michaels/Kama time limit draw. Yes, I know, I was scared as well. Grade: 1
Justin: Man, what were they thinking? They already kept Luger and Bulldog out of the tournament, they had already jobbed out Michaels and now they make Undertaker lose? This was a huge mistake, and Vince had to have been realizing this while sitting at ringside, as the Philly crowd quickly began turning on him and his retarded show. Once those ECW chants started, it as all over for Vinnie Mac. I’m thinking they should have had Kama in this spot, had him beat Taker and win the whole thing, because he is at least somewhat legit, where as Mabel is a big fat joke and really only been a mid card comedy tag team act before the spring. For a tournament that could have been quite loaded an interesting, we have boiled down to probably the three worst choices to make it to the semi-finals. Grade: .5
5) Savio Vega defeats the Roadie with a roll-up at 6:22
Scott: Now that the favorites are totally out, the fans spent the rest of the show chanting “ECW…ECW” and throwing things. I would, considering the finals would be Savio Vega, and Mabel. Heh? I don’t know what else to say except good for Savio, because if this was the tourney from the last two years, he’d be selling souvenirs. Roadie takes a loss, and heads right back to Jeff Jarrett’s side. The highlight of this show is Dok Hendrix faking the translation of Carlos Cabrera interviewing Savio after the match (“he says he should quit now before Mabel kills him and go back to stealing hubcaps”). Kind of sad when the highlight of an entire 3-hour PPV is a 2-minute interview segment. Grade: 1.5
Justin: Man, after that Taker match you just knew nothing good was going to come of this, as the last three guys left were Roadie, Savio and Mabel. At this point watching live, you just start begging for anything. Maybe an injury angle where Savio gets hurt and Razor takes his place and wins? Something! The crowd is gone as they realize one of these glorified jobbers is going to win this thing. Lord, what a mess. I really have no problem with either of these guys, but at this point they had been booked as nothing special and just seemed to hurt the credibility of the tournament. Savio picks up the win, his 3rd of the night, and his dream run rolls on into the finals against a now rested Mabel. Grade: 2
6) Bret Hart defeats Jerry Lawler in a “Kiss My Foot” match when Lawler submits to the Sharpshooter at 9:15
Fun Fact: This feud was still boiling after Lawler picked up the cheap win at In Your House. On the 5/22 Raw, Bret came to ringside and got in Lawler’s face. Bret slapped his headset off and requested a rematch. Lawler granted the Hitman his rematch but with the weird stipulation that the loser must kiss the winner’s feet. To prepare, Lawler did not wash his feet for about a month heading into this match. Every week on TV he was shown walking through mud and horse shit and all sorts of fun stuff. On the 6/10 Superstars, Lawler beat Aldo Montoya and then stuffed his disgusting foot in poor Aldo’s mouth.
Scott: Well after the debacle that this tournament turned into, once again the savior of the WWF shows for this year makes his appearance in a gimmick match against a guy he hadn’t had heat with since late 1993. After their match at Summerslam that year, Lawler was in some legal trouble and went off camera. Bret moved on to win the WWF title and feud with Owen while Lawler went back to the broadcast booth. Well now that the title and the main events have been handed to the workrate-challenged, Bret needs something to do. So since their feud really never ended, Lawler comes back into the fold to do his usual heel tactics (rip Bret’s family, etc.) and they battle at the first In Your House. Hakushi costs Bret that match, and makes his appearance again after the match. The match itself is fine, certainly better than most of the crap we’ve watched so far. Bret clearly is carrying the quality of these shows. At least here Shawn Michaels wrestled, but the crowd was left with a bad taste in their mouth, so they at least can cheer after this one. Hakushi tries to interfere but hits Lawler for the second time in a few minutes. Bret then has Lawler hiss his foot, and then Bret makes him kiss his own manure-stenched foot. Great comedy, a decent match and it wakes the crowd up (if only for a moment) as the only guy left they care about on the show gets his hand raised. You’d think the feud is over here, but it keeps going a little bit longer. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A solid match that even manages to get the crowd back into the show. Maybe Vince should take the hint…Bret gets the crowd going with a throw-a-way match, but the World Champ and future King make them throw shit in the ring. After the match, we see Lawler ferociously brushing his teeth and rinsing his mouth and eventually throwing up. It was nice to see this feud have a blowoff, or so we thought. Just when it seems like Bret may move on from this feud and into more high profile matches, Lawler keeps things going. This is the last time tonight that the crowd had anything to cheer about. Grade: 2.5
7) Mabel defeats Savio Vega to win the 1995 King of the Ring with a big splash at 8:09
Scott: Well, there you have it. Your new King of the Ring is Mabel, a tag team mid-card joke. The Philly crowd at this point is throwing garbage at them as Mabel and Mo head to the throne to accept Mabel’s coronation. Philadelphia is pretty much feeling the same way as when Clubber Lang knocked out Rocky in their first fight in Rocky III. I would rather have accepted Savio Vega as King of the Ring, at least he can wrestle. Savio did what he could but this match was garbage. This was just brutal. Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Kama…any of these guys could have easily won this thing. I’m sure Vince couldn’t have been happy the way this turned out, and the crowd is loudly chanting “ECW….ECW” and hurling trash at the throne as Mo is failing miserably at trying to read the scroll. Most people are thinking that Mabel will just walk around with the title and sing bad rap. There would be nothing substantive coming from this, like a title shot or something. Just wait…oh just wait. Grade: .5
Justin: What a stupid, stupid move. Vince was still on his kick of trying to make Diesel the next Hogan by feeding him monster heel after monster heel. The problem? No one cared about Mabel, and the fact that he could barely move did not help things one bit. I was praying that Savio would win here, and trying to convince myself he would, because it seemed like they wanted to go the Savage-WM4 route with him, where he would win 4 matches in one night, but alas, my dreams were crushed by Mabel’s gut. In an effort to add even more heat, MOM destroys Razor after the match. This draws the returning 1-2-3 Kid out, but he also gets murdered as soon as he gets in the ring. This was a really bad move, and the crowd lets them know as they start pelting MOM with trash as Mabel is coronated. Even better is listening to the illiterate Mo trying to read the scroll. What a mess and what an embarrassment for Vince to have the crowds chanting for ECW during a live PPV broadcast. Grade: 1
8) Diesel (Kevin Nash) & Bam Bam Bigelow (Scott Charles Bigelow) defeat Tatanka (Chris Chavis) & Psycho Sid (Sid Eudy) when Diesel pins Tatanka with an elbow drop at 17:33
Fun Fact: On the 4/24 Raw, Bigelow lost a World Title match to Diesel after Tatanka accidentally tripped him. After the match, DiBiase fired Bigelow from the Corporation. However, Bigelow said it was too late to fire him, as he had already quit. The Corporation jumped Bigelow and Sid came out and dropped him with a Powerbomb. Diesel came back and made the save, solidifying Bigelow’s face turn. On the 5/8 Raw, Bigelow spoke candidly about the Rumble incident, Lawrence Taylor, Diesel and DiBiase. He claimed he was going to take apart the Corporation one by one. On the 5/7 Action Zone, Bigelow debuted his new music, pyro and flame shooting costume. The main event here was announced on the 5/15 Raw, with DiBiase laying down the challenge. Later on the show, Bigelow continued his mission of destroying the Corporation by beating IRS. Bigelow continued on his warpath, destroying jobbers on his run up to the PPV. Finally, in a memorable moment and show of unity, after Shawn Michaels beat King Kong Bundy in his return match, Diesel and Bigelow came out to congratulate Shawn and pose in the ring.
Scott: To cap off an otherwise atrocious evening of wrestling, we have our main event. After that abomination of a title match at In Your House, we have a tag match that really is no better. Only Bigelow looks like he actually cares, as when he’s in the ring it seems the energy level rises. Any of the other three buffoons take control and it seems the life is sucked out of the whole arena. This is the first time that you see the crowd starting to lose interest in Diesel as champion. When he was facing guys fans like (Bret and Shawn) and can actually wrestle the crowds are into it. For some reason Sid, who is usually a fan favorite, isn’t really clicking right now with the fans, even in Philly, who love a good heel. The problem here is that Sid isn’t a good heel. He’s a chicken shit WWF heel, and that’s not what Sid is. He’s a badass killer heel like in NWA and in the Indies. In fact towards the end of the match he just walks out and lets Tatanka get murdered for the pin. Speaking of Tatanka, he has gotten porkier and his workrate has suffered in the 10 months since turning heel. As for our WWF Champion, well Big Daddy Cool is doing his best to carry absolutely nothing in this match. The reason is because, rumor has it, the Clique wanted Bigelow out of the way due to his growing fan interest, so he hits the skids soon and by the end of the year is gone. Poor Bigelow goes with the plan of jobbing to LT at Wrestlemania to get a big push and now he’s about to be shunted. Diesel wins the match with a silly elbow drop, and not a slick Dusty Rhodes bionic elbow, but a nothing “Fall on my Ass” elbow. The pyro goes off and the faces celebrate, but the crowd could really care less. This show had promise in the beginning, but is one big mess when all is said and done. Grade: 1
Justin: Man, to cap off this show with a retarded tag match and not even a title match just adds to the nonsense. Poor Philly, I mean they may have rep as being vile town with some asshole fans…but deep down they are a passionate city that loves wrestling and they did not deserve this treatment at all. Especially when they had their own product within the city that put this one to shame. No one, except the Bammer, even looks motivated here. Poor Bigelow, he tried so hard during his little Main Event run here but he got no where with it. You would think this would be hands down winner for worst main event ever, but lord knows, with this year it probably isn’t even the worst main event of 1995. Sadly, the Federation did not even bottom out yet, as things would get worse as we trudge along. Grade: 1
Scott: There is no question in my mind, and I’m sure Justin and everyone else will agree with me that this is the worst PPV in WWF history. You job your two biggest faces out of the tournament, have an unproven fat ass win the damn thing, and prepare him for a big push. Bret Hart is hopelessly lost in the mid-card and a main event where Bam Bam Bigelow might as well have wrestled himself, since the other 3 brought nothing to the table. The storylines are weak, the talent is thin, but that’s still no excuse for what Vince threw together here. He tried to push new guys, but the problem was these new guys are not good wrestlers. Luger, Bulldog, Owen and many other solid workers would have made this a much better tournament than what was presented. Shawn Michaels and Undertaker, two of the biggest stars in the world at the time, are here yet neither wins their matches. It just boggles the mind. Fans are starting to realize their champion is a no-talent loser, but Vince doesn’t notice that for a few more months. I’m so disgusted I have no more to write. I never thought I’d give this grade for any of the shows, but I have no guilt for doing it. Final Grade: F
Justin: What a terrible clusterfuck of a Pay-Per View. Vince had his heart in the right place here (push some new faces) but he just didn’t have the ammo to do it, so for once he should have stuck with his established stars. This tournament could have featured Yoko, Luger, Bulldog, Owen, Jarrett, Michaels, Undertaker, and Ramon instead of the retreads Vince used. Immediately the tournament picks up steam and is a lot better. Hell, if you want a big fat monster to face Diesel at Summerslam, why not use Yoko? At least he was a legitimate Main Eventer that had some respect from the crowd. You know what just struck me? This may be the only PPV in history to have no title matches. What a bunch of horseshit. What a waste of time. You have Jarrett sitting right there in Roadie’s corner. Vince was an idiot here and was just so far behind the times it was getting embarrassing. Nobody wanted to see Mabel win this thing or contend for the WWF Title. No one thought he was a threat and no one would back Diesel just because he was facing him. PPV crowds had booed before, but we have never seen an outpouring of hate and trash and pure backlash like we see here. This is flat out the worst PPV Vince would ever put on, as it has no redeeming qualities what so ever. Grade: F
MVP: Bret Hart (for being a company man)
Runner Up: Savio Vega/Bam Bam Bigelow (for trying so hard in such a pitiful time)
Runner Up: Diesel, Tatanka and Sid