July 8, 2009
Matt Peddycord

WWF King of the Ring
June 23, 1996
Milwaukee, WI
The Mecca

The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Shawn Michaels (3/31/1996)
Intercontinental Champion: Goldust (4/22/1996)
World Tag Team Champions: The Smokiní Gunns (5/26/1996)

The New Rockers vs. The Body Donnas (w/Cloudy) Ė Free For All Match
This looked to be a decent match and I wish they had shown it in full here. From the back, Sunny watches on and makes some derogatory comments about Cloudy (Vince sure does seem to love men in drag) that would make a real woman develop an eating disorder. Itís a MAN, Sunny! Donít worry who it is, itís nobody important. The New Rockers are of course ďRock rock ítil he drops, rock rock never stopsĒ Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy better known as my friend and yours, Al Snow. The New Rockers take Skip to the floor with a double suplex from the apron! Just when that seems to be bad enough, Cassidy runs down the apron and connects with a dropkick on Skip. Back in, the New Rockers do an illegal switch on Skip during a chinlock while Vince and JR talk to Todd Pettingell on the phone. Oh, that man is such a comedian! Skip fights out and gets one torso rollup, but Cassidy blocks the second one into a Dragon Suplex! Northern Lights suplex from Skip gets two, but then he runs into a leg lariat. Jannetty tags and hits the Rocker Dropper, but gets crotched up top. Skip goes for a superplex, but Jannetty counters with a SUPER POWERBOMB! Zip and Cassidy tag. Zip cleans house on the New Rockers and backdrops Skip on top of Jannetty. In the ring, Zip delivers a Doctorbomb to Cassidy. Tag to Skip, they go for a Rocket Launcher on Cassidy, but he gets out of harmís way. Skip and Jannetty fight out to the floor while in the ring, Cassidy hits a sitout spinebuster. In comes Cloudy, the she-male grabs Cassidy for a big smooch. Now Cassidy is reeling, allowing Zip to roll him up for the 1-2-3. (6:03 shown) The usual cool spots mixed in with some ďcomedyĒ. I wonder how many times Vince has seen Tootsie? **Ĺ

Dok Hendrix catches up with Brian Pillman as he makes his way into the arena. Heís pissed nobody cares that he joined up with the WWF. In any event, the Human Time Bomb is here and he will make his presence known tonight!

JR tries to get a word with Ahmed Johnson who is still embarrassed/pissed off at receiving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from Goldust. He saved your life, Ahmed! Now you want to beat him up?

Now Dok Hendrix is standing by with Jerry Lawler. His hands are all taped up because some idiot at a drive-thru spilled hot coffee all over his hands. Clarence Mason is going to be all over that fast-food establishment. Oh yeah, and tonight will prove to be the ultimate end of the Ultimate Warrior.

After Vince reminds Owen Hart that he canít interfere in any of the matches tonight, Dok Hendrix brings out Mr. Perfect who will be the special referee in the main event. In regards to whether or not heís a little jealous of Shawn Michaels and his success, Perfect makes the classic line ďHey, hasnít everybody beaten up Shawn Michaels?Ē Haha exactly, what is there to be jealous of in that case? He vows to call the match right down the middle.

And now onto the PPV.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and the Slammy award-winning Owen Hart.

Steve Austin vs. Marc Mero (w/Sable) Ė KOTR Semifinals
Austin put Bob Holly to sleep with the Million Dollar Dream and debuted the Stone Cold Stunner to beat Savio Vega to reach this semifinals matchup. Mero put Skip away with the super Frankensteiner and rolled up Owen Hart to continue on to meet Austin here at the KOTR. By the way, Owen is wearing a cast on his left arm as he is suffering from Bob Orton syndrome. Feeling out process to start. Mero snaps off a tilt-a-whirl headscissors to put Austin on the floor. He wants a plancha, but Austin gets out of the way before anything can happen. Back in, Austin fights out of a headlock and tries a Thesz Press! Ahh, somebody overcompensated there and Austin makes Mero pay for that by stomping a mudhole in him. Mero kicks out of a knucklelock before Austin cheapshots him and gets dumped for it. On the floor, Austin peels back the ringside mats and guerrilla press slams Mero to the concrete! Back in, Austin hits a suplex and begins to work on the neck and back. Austin delivers the diving vertical elbow drop off the second rope right to the throat and then grabs a Boston crab. Mero manages to slip out and twist Austin off him. Back to the crab, Mero powers Austin off him and sits on top for 1-2-NO! Austin hooks the legs and Mero rolls through into another rollup of his own for two. Mero flips out of a back suplex and rolling clutch pin gets 1-2-NO! Austin has enough of that and cold cocks Mero! Austin gets caught in a sleeper, but escapes with a jawbreaker. I believe this is where Austin bit his tongue real bad. Mero gets whipped into the corner and leaps off the second rope back on Austin with a body attack. Mero unloads on Austin in the corner and then whips him into the ropes for a backdrop. Flying double sledge gets two. Austin catches Mero with a boot in the corner and tries to throw Mero out, but Mero puts on the brakes and sends Austin out instead. Here comes Mero with a somersault plancha on Austin! Boy is Austinís mouth bloody. Mero heads back in and catches Austin on the run with a suicide dive! In the ring, a missile dropkick gets 1-2-NO! Super Frankensteiner connects! Cover, 1-2-NO! Austin goes low and lifts Mero up for a powerbomb only to drop him backwards for a hotshot. Austin covers 1-2-NO! STONE COLD STUNNER! That gets the three-count. (16:50) These two always seemed to work well together once Mero got really good around 1994 and this was no different. Possibly the last great match of Meroís career. ***ĺ

Jake Roberts vs. Vader (w/Jim Cornette) Ė KOTR Semifinals
This match is like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino when he went off to face that Korean gang at the end of the movie. Heís too old to possibly have a chance at defeating them all, but he shows up anyway. Owen helped Vader get past Ahmed Johnson with the Bob Orton Special. With the Warrior/Goldust KOTR tournament match ending in a double-countout thanks to Lawler, Vader shot right up to the semifinals. Jake unloaded DDTs on Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Bradshaw to meet Vader here tonight. Kind of interesting if you had known the future. Vader plays around with Jake to start. A body attack and a splash gets two. Jake brings up a boot to block a charge and hits a Knee Lift. Vader backs Jake into the corner to prevent the DDT, which is exactly where Roberts doesnít want to be. Jake ducks a short-arm clothesline and delivers one of his own. Vader still wonít go down though and catches Jake with a body attack as he comes off the ropes. Vader misses a corner charge and takes a DDT. On the way down, Vader tosses the ref away and gets DQíed for it. (3:29) They could have done this so many different ways for a better finish. Jake grabs after the snake in the corner and gets squashed by Vader. VADER BOMB to Jake! Every referee in the WWF storms the ring to get Vader to KNAUCK IT AUF as Earl Hebner might say. Can Jake make it to the finals?! *

WWF World Tag Team Champions The Smokiní Gunns (w/Sunny) vs. The Godwinns (w/Hillbilly Jim)
Well, Sunny goes where the titles go. Ever since the Gunns got with Sunny, theyíre some pretty bad dudes. Billy distracts Phineas by telling him heíll never be able to make Sunny feel the way Billy can. Maybe Phineas is a premature ejaculator? Bart attacks from behind, allowing the Gunns to have the upperhand to start. Phineas catches Billy ducking low off a whip and has one of them crazy spells as Billy runs for cover. In the back, Cloudy is standing by with a comment. Yeaaaaaah. Meanwhile, the Godwinns are working over Bartís arm. Billy catches Henry coming off the ropes with a kick from the apron. Now the Gunns work over Henryís back. Nothing really all that interesting happening. After Billy misses a Stinger Splash, Bart draws in Phineas to prevent the hot tag. Flying legdrop from Bart misses, and Phineas gets the tag. Off a Gunns double-whip out of the corner, the Godwinns do-si-do and blast the Gunns with clotheslines. While the ref tries to get Henry out of the ring, Bart pulls off his boot and nails Phineas for the 1-2-3. (10:11) Pretty uninspired formula tag. *Ĺ

During the Camp Cornette interview, we find Mr. Perfect hanging out in their dressing room.

Ultimate Warrior vs. Jerry Lawler
On Lawlerís way to the ring, he walks over to the KOTR throne and brings the scepter with him. Not to mention making fun of Milwaukee. ďItís girls like you that turn men into Goldust.Ē That would NEVER happen in 2009. After Warrior makes his entrance, Lawler pearl harbors him with the scepter. Lawler does every cheap heel trick in the book to set up the PILEDRIVER. Warrior NO-SELLS, WARRIORS UP, and hits a series of clotheslines. Jumping shoulderblock gets the 1-2-3. (3:51) Even though the next PPV had the Warrior in the main event, he would start no-showing events and was quickly released. Even though Warrior has his own DVD produced by the WWE, this would prove to be his last WWE PPV to date. Because I mean, you can never say never in wrestling until you have met your demise. CRAP

In the locker room, Jakeís ribs are getting taped up for the KOTR finals. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon decides to let him fight because heís an old man, and old men donít get too many more chances in life. Funny how Jake is younger here than Shawn Michaels is now, yet nobody calls him an old man. Wrestling is indeed a WACKY world!

The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Mankind
Mankind has been OWNING the Undertaker lately, which sets up their match. During Takerís entrance, the lights come on and Taker is shown perched up on the top rope ready to deliver a flying clothesline to Mankind! Following that, UT beats the crap out of Mankind. He hits Old School, but catches an elbow out of the corner. Taker sits up after a slam, but Mankind takes him down with a sliding clothesline. Mankind drives a knee into Taker down in the corner. We head out to the floor where Mankind hits the elbow drop off the apron. Mankind finds a chair and gets that kicked back in his face. After a whip into the apron, he walks right into a backdrop from Taker onto the chair! Sort of. Back in the ring while Paul Bearer talks with the ref, Taker nails Mankind across the back with the chair. Big boot sets up a possible Tombstone, but Mankind slips out and hits a swinging neckbreaker. Mankind checks to make sure Taker is KOíed and then starts squealing. Taker blocks the MANDIBLE CLAW, but gets kicked back down. Mankind grabs some sort of nerve hold until Taker escapes with rapid-fire punches. Back on the floor, Mankind elbows Taker down up against the steel steps and drives his knee into Takerís head! OH SNAP! He slams Taker on the concrete over by the chair and goes for another flying elbow off the apron, but Taker brings up the chair to block. Taker delivers an unprotected chairshot right to the head! In the ring, Mankind ties himself up in the ropes fearing defeat. Taker hits the Jumping Lariat, but telegraphs a backdrop and receives the Pull Up Piledriver. Cover, 1-2-NO! On the other side of the ring, Mankind throws a tantrum and yanks out his own hair. Mankind grabs the urn and goes to whack Taker, but Bearer grabs it away from him. Mankind turns around and applies the MANDIBLE CLAW on Taker. Now Bearer decides to whack Mankind with the urn, but Mankind pulls Taker in to take the shot instead. In the center of the ring, Mankind reapplies the MANDIBLE CLAW until Taker passes out. (18:18) Would that be a TKO or what? I donít know. He didnít give up or get pinned, so whatever. People who say these two didnít really have much chemistry in their 1996 meetings are incorrect in my view. Not a MOTYC or anything, but a good match with Taker really giving Mankind the rub. ***

WWF Intercontinental Champion Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. Ahmed Johnson
As expected, Ahmed beats the crap out of Goldust. Once heís on the floor, Ahmed no hands planchas out on top of Goldust and CONTINUES to beat on him. Ahmed even tries to throw the top part of the steps at Goldust, but he gets out of the way of that. Ahmed misses a Stinger Splash and falls out to the floor so that Goldust can gain a breather. Goldust follows him out and drops the top half of the steps on Ahmedís back! Back in, lariat gets two. Once Ahmed fights out of a chinlock, Goldust starts rubbing all over him. At one point, Goldie goes in for the cover and rubs himself all over Ahmed. Iím skipping ahead to the finish. Goldust puts Ahmed out with a sleeper, but doesnít go for the pin. He wants to give him CPR again, but NOBODY GIVES AHMED CPR! Ahmed wakes up, hits the Spinebuster, and then the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE for the victory. (15:33) Ahmed makes history by becoming the first African-American IC champ. **

Brian Pillman, crutches and all, makes his way to ringside to talk to JR. He cusses a little bit to stress what his attitude is all about and challenges any of these WWF superstars to stop him from being such a loose cannon.

Steve Austin vs. Jake Roberts Ė KOTR Finals
This is much like the first match except now Jakeís ribs are all banged up. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon steps in to see if Jake wants to stop, but that gives Roberts enough time to temporarily regroup and give Austin a little bit of a fight. He goes for the DDT, but Austin backs him up in the corner to further damage the ribs. STONE COLD STUNNER! Austin is *your* 1996 King of the Ring. (4:38) So much for Jakeís Cinderella story. Ĺ*

Now itís time for the King of the Ring coronation. Austin heads over to the throne area for a word with Dok Hendrix. And right before our eyes, we see the historic Austin 3:16 speech.

WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels (w/Jose Lothario) vs. Davey Boy Smith (w/Jim Cornette & Diana Smith) Ė Special Referee: Mr. Perfect
Owen standing up on top of the announce table and cheering for Davey Boy Smith during his entrance with his Slammy award in-hand is pro. Before the match begins, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon changes the rules and makes Earl Hebner the referee inside the ring leaving Mr. Perfect to be the ref outside of the ring. The whole point of Perfect being the ref was because Hebner got tossed aside last time these two met, but because Perfect was found in the Cornette dressing room, Monsoon had to change the rules to make the fight fair. Makes sense. Shawn controls with a headlock to start. Davey Boy fights out and tosses Shawn, but he skins-the-cat and brings DBS out to the floor with a headscissors. From there, HBK jumps off the apron and hurracanranas Davey Boy down. Cornette tries to attack him with his racket, but Shawn grabs it away from him and gives him a spanking. Back in, now Smith controls with a headlock. Shawn slips out of a press slam and grabs an armbar. Davey Boy Smith stands up out of the armbar and grabs the ropes to get the leverage needed to pin HBK for 1-2-NO! Perfect takes his time, but makes it over to Davey Boy to knock his hand off the ropes. Davey Boy steps on HBKís face to break the hold. Shawn tries to flip over DBS out of the corner, but he sees it coming. Shawn ducks a clothesline and goes right back to an armbar. Davey Boy reverses into a hammerlock. Shawn flips out of a back suplex and grabs a sleeper. Davey Boy whips HBK into the corner a few times and grabs a chinlock. Shawn fights out and nails DBS with an Armbreaker DDT. Davey Boy comes back and presses Shawn up only to back into the ropes and dump Shawn all the way to the floor. Incredible. Lothario complains to Perfect what just happen while Davey Boy delivers an hourglass suplex on the floor. Bulldog presses HBK over his head and tosses him back inside for 1-2-NO! DBS grabs a chinlock. HBK escapes, but Davey Boy reverses a corner whip to send him in for the Ray Stevens bump, causing Shawn to stagger back around into a clothesline. From there, Smith applies a surfboard! Shawn wonít give up, so Davey Boy drops his shoulders down to the mat for 1-2-NO! Bulldog reapplies the chinlock. Shawn fights out and hits a crossbody block for two. He jumps up right into another clothesline. More of the chinlock. Shawn gets two off a crucifix. They trade running powerslam attempts. When Shawn shoves off Daveyís powerslam, he goes for Sweet Chin Music. DBS grabs hold of the ropes to avoid the superkick and then blasts Shawn with another clothesline! Piledriver sets up a flying headbutt, but Shawn moves out of the way. Shawn gets crotched up top for a superplex, earning DBS another nearfall. HBK falls back on Davey Boy during a back superplex for 1-2-NO! Double-KO ensues from there. Shawn tries another rana, but Smith counters into a sitout powerbomb for 1-2-NO! Shawn reverses a corner whip to send Davey Boy flipping into the corner. He follows up with the Flying Forearm, kips up, and hits the Flying Elbow Drop. SWEET CHIN MUSIC connects! Perfect stops the ref before he counts and then counts with him for 1-2-3! Well, Owen jumps up from the announce table and pulls Perfect out at the count of two, but nobody cares because Hebner counted three. (26:23) Afterwards, a two-on-one attack occurs. Ahmed saves HBK, Vader runs down to help and destroy them both, then Warrior comes out and destroys the entire Camp Cornette to set up the next PPV main event. These two appeared to have all the necessary tools for a ****+ match, but could never pull it off for me. Maybe Iím just not as big of a fan of Davey Boy Smithís singles work as other people seem to be. ***Ĺ

Final Thoughts: Historically relevant PPV with Stone Cold Steve Austin making his presence felt throughout the whole show by breaking down the door of the WWF and letting everybody know he means business to catapult him into super stardom. Thatís a big deal if you ask me. Thumbs up for King of the Ring 1996 due to its level of importance and some really solid matches. Such a huge step up from last yearís debacle.

Well, the show is famous for the Big Interview, and watching it again here I can see why thatís the only thing itís famous for. With the exception of Lawler/Warrior, itís not a terrible show, but also thereís nothing great here either. Austin/Mero wins match of the night at ***1/2, but then we only have the main and Mankind/Taker hitting **1/2, and nothing else even cracks *. There is one other non-in ring highlight for me though, and thatís the commentary of Owen Hart. He didnít have spectacular delivery or anything, but he did crack me up several times. He may have gotten old if used in that role regularly, but as a one time thing, I enjoyed it. Overall, itís a thumbs in the middle show. Weíve all seen the Austin thing a million times anyways, so itís not really one thatís necessary to see again in full.

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