WWF 1993 King of the Ring

June 13, 1993

From the Nutter Center in Dayton, OH

Your hosts are Jim Ross, Bobby Heenan, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage

 

King of the Ring Tournament First Round Match: Razor Ramon vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart

Heenan rants about it being a disgrace that Razor has to come to Dayton of all places and hear the “1-2-3-” chants. Bret is noticeably favoring his ankle on his way to the ring coming off an ankle injury in a match against Bob Backlund at MSG the day prior. Bret grabs a side headlock as Ross notes the winner of this match will face the winner of the Mr. Hughes/Mr. Perfect match. Bret now works the arm on the mat for a bit. Razor clotheslines Bret but misses an elbow drop as Bret goes back to the arm. Razor catches Bret with a back elbow smash then tries to apply a chinlock but Bret spins out then works a hammerlock on the mat. Heenan puts Savage on the spot to pick a winner of the tournament as Savage picks Mr. Perfect. Bret runs into a knee on a charge in the corner then Razor rams Bret shoulder first into the post. Razor heads out to kick Bret off of the apron then brings him back inside. We get some 1-2-3 chants as Razor stomps away with Heenan pointing out how Razor is stomping Bret’s hands as you cannot win if your hands are hurt. Razor gets a nearfall with a fallaway slam then another nearfall with a running powerslam. Razor continues to rough up Bret then keeps missing elbow drops. Bret fires away and hits an inverted atomic drop before using a clothesline for two. Bret gets a few more nearfalls with his signature moves but Razor counters a running bulldog by shoving Bret into the corner. Razor then taunts the crowd and sets up for the Razor’s Edge but Bret escapes as they battle over a backslide until Bret flips over and uses a small package for one of the closest nearfalls you’ll see. The crowd is really into this match as Razor now sets up for the super belly-to-back suplex but Bret counters and falls on top of Razor and gets the win (10:27) ***1/2.

Thoughts: Very good opening match here with Razor using his strength to his advantage and attacking Bret’s fingers, which will also come into play in his next match. The crowd bought the nearfalls at the end and this was like watching a really hot “Saturday Night’s Main Event” match with faster pacing than usual. It was also better than their match several months prior at the Royal Rumble with even Bret noting in his book how much Razor had improved.

 

We are now shown Mr. Hughes attacking Undertaker & Paul Bearer on yesterday’s edition of “Superstars.”

 

King of the Ring Tournament First Round Match: Mr. Perfect vs. Mr. Hughes w/ Harvey Whippleman

Heenan gets on the “Brain Scan” to draw some lame thing about Mr. Perfect’s gum slap landing in foul territory. Ross wastes no time before once again telling us that Hughes played football at Kansas State. Hughes shoves Perfect into the corner twice but is taken over with an arm drag after an Irish whip sequence that looked ugly. Perfect then staggers Hughes with a running dropkick but soon after that Hughes sends Perfect over the top rope with a right hand. Hughes beats on Perfect then cranks the neck for a bit. Hughes catches Perfect with a big boot then a clothesline as the match pace has really slowed. Hughes once again cranks the neck as Perfect tries to escape but Hughes grabs his hair and hits a knee smash. Perfect takes a crazy bump after an Irish whip into the corner then we hear Bret in an insert being giving analysis on these two in the ring and prefers the endurance of Perfect instead of Hughes’s power. Ross puts over Bret as a competitor as Heenan jokes that Bret is the 14th of 13th children. Perfect avoids a charge as Hughes crotches himself on the top rope then Perfect runs wild. Perfect lands some unusually weak punches in the corner then Hughes grabs the urn he stole from Undertaker and hits Perfect, getting disqualified in the process (6:02) *1/4.

Thoughts: Disappointing match with a dumb finish. They had to protect Hughes as he was going to be feuding with Undertaker after stealing the urn but having him use it to get DQ’ed in order to save himself from an attack in the corner does not make you look all that strong as someone portrayed as a menacing figure. Now we will get a second round match of Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect, who faced each other for the Intercontinental Title at 1991 SummerSlam.

 

Gene Okerlund is in Yokozuna’s dressing room. Mr. Fuji tells us that Yokozuna wrestled a “20 minute” match against Bret at WrestleMania before Hulk Hogan cheated and stole the title from him as Yokozuna tells Hogan he is going down before yelling “Bonzai.” For the record, that match against Bret lasted 8:56. And Fuji is just awful in these interviews.

 

King of the Ring Tournament First Round Match: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Bigelow and Duggan fight over a lockup to start then try to knock each other down. Duggan drops Bigelow after three clotheslines then Bigelow bails as Duggan gets the crowd to chant USA. We now get a slugfest in the middle of the ring until Bigelow misses a charge but not before Duggan crashed his ribs into the turnbuckle. Bigelow blocks a slam attempt with a headbutt then goes on the attack. Bigelow now uses a bearhug until Duggan fights out but is able to poke the eye and go back on offense. Bigelow misses a falling headbutt then Duggan tries another slam but Bigelow falls on top for a two count. Bigelow goes for another bearhug as Heenan calls Duggan the wimp of Glens Falls then Duggan escapes by biting Bigelow’s forehead. Bigelow whiffs on a kick then Duggan finally slams him and sets up for the Three Point Stance but misses and rams his head into the turnbuckle then Bigelow heads up top for the diving headbutt and the win (4:59) *3/4.

Thoughts: Short, but a fine match for what it was as Bigelow now advances to the second round of the tournament. Not much to say other than that.

 

Ross plugs the King of the Ring Hotline. We then see The Steiners, Smoking Gunns, and Crush on the phones.

 

King of the Ring Tournament First Round Match: “The Narcissist” Lex Luger vs. Tatanka

We see the referee have a forearm pad then ring announcer Howard Finkel says if Luger does not wear the protective padding then he will be eliminated from the tournament. Luger begrudgingly puts on the pad as Heenan says they should make it fair and have Tatanka tie his shoes together so he cannot dance. Tatanka gets attacked as soon as he entered the ring then gets tossed outside. Luger poses in front of his mirror but Tatanka comes back in and pushes the mirror at Luger before firing away. Luger gets chopped over the top rope then Tatanka rolls him back inside as Ross notes the winner of this match will face Bigelow, who is currently feuding with Tatanka. We now see Tatanka work the arm and then Bigelow in an insert promo telling Tatanka if he happens to advance then its as far as he will go in the tournament. Luger cheap shots Tatanka after a break while Heenan gets in more ethnic jokes about Tatanka. Luger rams Tatanka in the corner before hitting a backbreaker. Luger gets a two count after an elbow drop then yells at the referee, allowing Tatanka to sneak up from behind with a rollup that gets two. Tatanka fights back but Luger cuts him off and applies a rear chinlock. Tatanka tries to fight back but Luger stays in control. Tatanka gets a two count with a sunset flip then starts hitting chops as Ross yells out how there are just three minutes left in the match. Tatanka now has all of the momentum and gets a few nearfalls until Luger hits a running clothesline for two. Luger catches Tatanka with a powerslam for two then hits a vertical suplex for two as Ross tells says just 30 seconds remain in the match. Luger then hits a backbreaker and takes his time before covering and Tatanka kicks out at two then the bell rings to signal the 15 minute time-limit (15:00) *3/4. Luger then grabs the mic and demands five more minutes because he came here to be the King of the Ring and starts to get the fans pumped up but instead takes the padding off of his arm and knocks out Tatanka with a running forearm smash.

Thoughts: This was the first time on TV that Luger had to wear the protective padding (we first saw it happen on my review of the 6/12 MSG show). The match had its moments but sort of fell apart down the stretch. There was some nice spots and all but the end fell flat and there was no reason for the time alerts not to happen over the arena loudspeaker because that and Luger’s lackadaisical pace killed the drama. The finish also protects Tatanka’s undefeated streak while putting over Luger’s forearm gimmick. The finish now has Bigelow get a bye into the finals.

 

Okerlund is now backstage with both Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect. He reiterates that Bigelow will advance to the finals and the winner of their match will face him then brings up how Bret said earlier he’d rather wrestle Mr. Perfect. Bret says he said that due to having more respect for Perfect but Okerlund stirs shit up by hinting Bret thinks he believes Perfect was easier than facing Mr. Hughes. Perfect now takes offense then the two talk trash before Okerlund settles things down before amping it up again by mentioning their fathers wrestling as Perfect saying Bret’s dad never beat his dad then Perfect tells Bret he owes him after Summerslam (In 1991) then Perfect pulls back is hand on a handshake and says he will prevail. Great segment here with Okerlund as the shit stirrer to build drama for this match, even if the “your dad can’t beat up my dad” stuff was kinda ridiculous to see from two grown adult pro wrestlers.

 

King of the Ring Tournament Semfinal Match: Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Mr. Perfect

The announcers talk about Bret likely having a dislocated finger after his match against Razor in the 1st round. We start off with a fast-paced sequence ending with Perfect working a headscissors on the mat. Bret escapes and applies a side headlock as Ross & Savage accuse Heenan of trying to ruin Perfect’s career. Perfect then chops Bret after a break but Bret comes back with a slam and that triggers another great sequence ending with Bret using a side headlock on the mat. Bret gets a two count with a crucifix then goes back to the side headlock. Bret gets two with a crossbody as Perfect tosses him outside on the kickout then gets back in and goes back to the headlock. Perfect then cheap shots Bret after a break in the corner and now stomps away. Perfect then knocks Bret outside with a beautiful standing dropkick then opens the ropes for him only to kick Bret in the gut. Perfect lowers one strap of his singlet before beating the crap out of Bret in the corner. Bret is on the apron and Perfect roughs him before shoving him off into the guardrail as Bret takes a crazy bump, especially for a guy coming into this with a hurt ankle. Bret is back inside as Perfect is up top and hits a missile dropkick for two as Bret got his foot on the ropes so Perfect yanks his foot off and covers again for two. Perfect gets another nearfall after whipping Bret into the corner as Ross compares this match to warfare. Perfect heads back up top but Bret cuts him off and hits a superplex that gets two as the crowd bought that nearfall. Bret kicks out Perfect’s leg before applying the figure four leg lock. Bret maintains the hold until Perfect finally grabs the ropes. Bret then grapevines the leg but Perfect gets out and takes Bret down by the hair. Perfect catches Bret with a sleeper then keeps it on as Bret held the ropes and nearly gets disqualified. Perfect goes back to the sleeper until Bret runs him into the corner. Both men are down as Ross says Bigelow will be the King of the Ring if we do not have a winner of his match. Bret now takes control and tosses Perfect into the corner as Perfect crotches himself. Bret now runs wild and gets a few nearfalls before trying for the Sharpshooter but Perfect bends back his fingers. Perfect now stomps Bret’s fingers as Heenan brags about Perfect remembering what he taught him as his manager. Bret blocks a Perfect Plex attempt then suplexes Perfect over the top rope and spills out in the process. Heenan says that Perfect smashed his kidneys into the apron but Perfect rolls inside first. Bret is now in and Perfect uses a small package but Bret reverses and gets the win (18:55) ****1/2. We then see Perfect roll outside and yell at Bret, saying it was “bogus.” Perfect now returns to the ring and gets in Bret’s face but then extends his hand and they shake before Perfect leaves and Bret celebrates.

Thoughts: God damn was this a great match with some of the tightest in-ring psychology you’ll ever see. On his “Something to Wrestle With” podcast, Bruce Prichard talked about how Bret would go to the announcers to tell them about what he was going to do in the match and that would enhance the commentary. That helped here as the commentary, which had some downs on this show, shined for this match. In his book, Bret said that Perfect wanted to have a great match just to show Vince McMahon that he could still go in the ring.

 

We now see Terry Taylor interview fans in the crowd. He was bad and no wonder he did not last long in this role. No idea why they did not use Pettengill for this, its in his wheelhouse.

 

Back to the announcers as they all put over the last match as a classic.

 

Okerlund is now backstage with Hulk Hogan & Jimmy Hart. The camera zooms in on the back of Hart’s jacket, which sports a giant face of Hogan. The Hulkster now talks about saying prayers and taking vitamins then states he will remain champion. Hart talks about Hogan being born and raised in the USA and how Fuji & Yokozuna dissing America is like slapping Hogan in the face. There hasn’t been a single good promo to hype this match.

 

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match: Yokozuna w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Hulk Hogan (c) w/ Jimmy Hart

Ross notes that the photographers are ringside have been documenting Yokozuna for weeks. Hogan got a strong reaction here. Hogan also signals to the crowd that he is going to slam Yokozuna. Savage talks about how Bret should have been the one to get a title shot and disputes President Tunney’s decision and also says there is substance to those saying Yokozuna got robbed at WrestleMania IX. Yokozuna tosses Hogan down then chops away. Heenan talks about Yokozuna losing face if he fails to take the championship back home to Japan as Yokozuna stays in control. Hogan avoids an avalanche then fires away. He lands ten mounted punches in the corner then bites Yokozuna until he is pulled away by the referee. Hogan now tries a slam but fails then clutches his back. Yokozuna targets the back of Hogan for a bit but Hogan rakes the eyes and tries for another slam that gets blocked. Hogan fights back and hits a pair of clotheslines but is dropped by a clothesline from Yokozuna. Hogan avoids a splash as both men are down then Yokozuna catches Hogan with a bearhug. Hogan tries to escape as we see Fuji wave the Japanese flag on the outside. The crowd chants USA to get behind Hogan and he gets out but not before running into a back elbow smash. Yokozuna then hits a belly-to-belly suplex but Hogan kicks out at two then hulks up as Yokozuna is in disbelief. Hogan paces around before firing away. He hits the big boot but that just staggers Yokozuna. He tries a second big boot after some punching but Yokozuna remains on his feet. A third big boot finally drops Yokozuna then Hogan hits a leg drop and covers but Yokozuna kicks out at two. Fuji is up on the apron and Hogan knocks him off. We then see a photographer up on the apron and Hart tries to take him off then the photographer shoots a fireball out of the camera into Hogan’s face then Yokozuna knocks down Hogan and hits a leg drop for the win (13:11) *. After the match, Yokozuna knocks Hogan back down then hits a Bonzai Drop then Hogan is helped outside and then backstage as the crowd boos Yokozuna & Fuji, who are still in the ring. Ross now wants to know if Yokozuna just killed Hulkamania as the photographers take all sorts of photos of the new champion.

Thoughts: Its odd to see Hogan sell for the majority of the match and not get the win. The fireball finish was something new on a WWF PPV (the photographer was Harvey Whippleman wearing a wig and beard) but the match was building for Hogan to finally be able to slam Yokozuna and it appears we would be getting a rematch for that to happen, possibly at SummerSlam, but that did not happen. The match itself was slow and lumbering (which makes the story of Hogan dropping weight to be quicker against Yokozuna even more ridiculous) and the drama was not there due to the poor match build.

 

We get an ad for SummerSlam, which will take place on August 30th in Detroit, MI.

 

Okerlund is now backstage with Shawn Michaels and his bodyguard. Shawn says what happened to Hogan does not effect him and that Hogan is a dinosaur that pales in comparison to himself. Okerlund now wants to know about the bodyguard and asks for his name as Shawn finally tells us his name is Diesel, like the diesel full that helps a Mack truck go and says Diesel will protect him every step of the way. And the bodyguard finally gets a name.

 

Steiner Brothers & Smoking Gunns vs. Money Inc. & The Headshrinkers w/ Afa

Scott and DiBiase start off as DiBiase hits a pair of arm drags. Scott fights back and dropkicks DiBiase before clotheslining him over the top rope. Rick tosses DiBiase back inside and we repeat that spot again. Fatu and Bart tag with Bart working the arm after a reversal sequence. Fatu then drills Bart with a thrust kick as Bart is in trouble. Bart is neutralized in the opposing corner for a few minutes then we see Afa yelling into the camera. Fatu hits a backbreaker for two then Bart comes back to take IRS over with a sunset flip for two. Both men collide then Billy tags in and beats on DiBiase. Billy runs wild on DiBiase until DiBiase hits a hotshot. DiBiase now applies the Million Dollar Dream then just drops Billy and starts walking around and wasting time. DiBiase now pulls Billy up but Billy turns that into a small package and gets the win as Savage says “that’s what you get for being stupid” (6:49) *1/2.

Thoughts: The action was fine but the ending was a mess. DiBiase just lets go of the Million Dollar Dream to talk trash then he finally tries to pick up Billy and is caught with a small package. Just a match to fill time on the show and Rick never tagged into the match.

 

Another plug for the WWF Hotline. We see Bam Bam Bigelow, Razor Ramon, Owen Hart, and Mr. Perfect on the phones. Some kids calls and asks Razor if the 1-2-3 Kid will ever be man enough to take his offer of a rematch. Perfect then teases Razor, who teases him back.

 

The announcers run down the show and the remaining matches on the card.

 

Okerlund is backstage with Yokozuna, Mr. Fuji, and President Tunney. We see Tunney congratulate Yokozuna then Fuji declares that Hulkamania is dead and once again mentions how Yokozuna is up to weighing 550 lbs before saying they are going to celebrate in America and make it a big celebration. And this was pretty much the last mention of Hogan on TV until his return in 2002.

 

WWF Intercontinental Title Match: Crush vs. Shawn Michaels w/ Diesel

Crush runs over Shawn and sends him to the floor. Shawn returns and ducks a clothesline then jabs Crush and starts to work the arm. Crush surprises Shawn with a dropkick then hits another one that sends Shawn through the ropes. Shawn returns and Crush presses him over his head and walks around before the slam as Savage says Crush can slam Yokozuna. Crush then hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as Ross says Shawn went for a “tour of the islands” then Shawn bails and hides behind Diesel. Crush heads outside and gets in Diesel’s face but that allows Shawn to attack from behind and send Crush into the post. Diesel then rams Crush’s head into the post while Shawn distracted the ref and Shawn heads out to ram the back of Crush’s head into the post several times. Back inside, Shawn continues to target Crush’s head before applying a front facelock. Crush powers out and tosses Shawn then does it again a few more times with the final toss sending Shawn to the floor. Shawn then heads up top but Crush swats him down. Crush skies Shawn with a back drop then hammers away before hitting a backbreaker for a two count. Leg drop gets two. Shawn floats over on a slam attempt but Crush sends him over the top rope with a clothesline. We now see both of the Doinks coming down the aisle as Crush is distracted. Crush then yells at the cigar smoking Doinks but that allow Shawn to attack from behind and hit a super kick to the back of the head for the win (11:14) **. After the match, Crush immediately chases after the Doinks while Shawn & Diesel celebrate in the ring.

Thoughts: This was more or less the same matches they were having on the European tour shortly after WrestleMania except for the addition of Diesel. The finish was dumb though as the Doink/Crush feud had lost a lot of steam after WrestleMania and we’ve seen Crush lose matches like this for months now. Shawn did an admirable job here with his limited opponent. And speaking of Crush, there were some boring chants in the middle of the match and it was a telling sign of how his usefulness as a babyface was about finished. The Doink feud killed him in that regard. Crush was also talked about maybe having the strength to slam Yokozuna.

 

Okerlund is backstage with Bigelow. He brings up Bret having two tough matches while Bigelow is well rested. Bigelow then says he is getting the job done and will be the 1st King of the Ring.

 

King of the Ring Finals: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart

Savage says the winner will become the #1 contender for the World Heavyweight Title. The announcers talk about Bret’s injured fingers and leg. Bret avoids a corner splash then slugs it out with Bigelow but finds himself on the losing end. Bigelow continues to hammer away then tries to press slam Bret but Bret falls on top for a two count. Bret now targets the arm until Bigelow rakes his eyes. Bigelow runs over Bret as Ross tells us to stay tuned for the coronation ceremony following this match. Bigelow then press slams Bret to the floor and brings him back inside for more punishment. Ross now wonders if Bigelow can slam Yokozuna as Bigelow hits a few falling headbutts. Bigelow hits a suplex for two before whipping Bret into the corner. He catches Bret with a bearhug then turns that into a back suplex for a nearfall. Bigelow sends Bret outside and follows him out but Bret reverses an Irish whip and sends Bigelow into the guardrail. Bret continues to hammer away until he is caught in midair and rammed into the post. Bigelow then slams Bret on the floor before rolling back inside then we see Luna Vachon come out and hit Bret in the back with a chair before running backstage as the ref was distracted. Bigelow rolls Bret back inside as Ross does not want Bret’s run to end this way. Bigelow hits a slam then heads up top for the flying headbutt and connects for the win. However, referee Earl Hebner runs out to wave off the ref’s decision then they huddle with Finkel as the decision has been reversed due to Luna’s interference then Finkel corrects himself to say the match will continue. Bigelow beats down Bret in the corner as Bret is almost out on his feet. Bigelow toys with Bret then catches Bret with another bearhug as Savage cheers for Bret on commentary. Bigelow now turns it into a backbreaker submission but Bret keeps his arm raised on the third attempt then flips out and hits a back suplex as both men are down. Bret avoids a senton but soon after that Bigelow sends him into the corner. Bret then gets himself on Bigelow’s back for a sleeper. Bigelow tosses him off but Bret dropkicks Bigelow in the fact before tossing Bigelow outside. Bret then flies out with a pescado and hammers away. Back inside, Bret gets a two count with a flying clothesline then tries for the Sharpshooter soon after that but Bigelow counters. Bigelow catches Bret with another bearhug and Bret escapes but this time Bigelow falls on top during a back suplex attempt and gets two. Bigelow now charges in the corner but eats boot then Bret gets on Bigelow’s shoulders and uses a victory roll for the win (18:11) ****. Ross goes off about Bret’s display of courage as Savage ran into the ring to congratlate Bret before going back to commentary.

Thoughts: Despite being pretty much the same match they had several weeks prior in Milan the added drama in being the tournament final and factoring in the what happened to Bret in the first two  matches make this the better match. Bret also said in his book that this was his best match against Bigelow. This caps of an incredible night for Bret, who managed to pull this all of while coming in with a legitimate injury. In his book, Bret mentioned how he told off Hogan before coming out to the ring for this match to which Vince chewed him out for afterwards.

 

Bret is now escorted to the rope by the Goof Squad (Tony Garea & Rene Goulet). Okerlund puts the robe on Bret and gives him a scepter. Bret then has the crown placed on his head and the crowd and robe are just way too big. Okerlund proclaims Bret as the King of the Ring then we see Jerry Lawler appear. Lawler calls Bret an imposter and calls himself the only real king. Lawler then orders Bret to kiss his feet but Bret calls him out for not having the guts or integrity to enter the tournament before starting a “Burger King” chant. Lawler then blindsides Bret with his scepter and starts beating down Bret, even tossing the throne on his back. Lawler chokes out Bret with the scepter and tosses everything around as the crowd chants Burger King. Lawler then tells Bret he gave him a chance before but now will let him kiss his feet as he then kicks Bret in the face as Bret slides down the stairs of the platform. And now we have a Bret/Lawler feud. Lawler attacking Bret made sense as since the qualifying matches took place the other announcers teased Lawler for not wanting part of the tournament as Lawler was pissed they were going to have a tournament to crown a king since he was the only king of wrestling. Lawler did a fantastic job with the attack too. In his book, Bret said Lawler hurt him by tossing the throne on his back.

 

Final Thoughts: This was the Bret Hart show. His matches were by far and away the best thing on the show. Besides that we saw Hogan lose the title and the real telling thing was how little they talked about Hogan after the match. The Hogan/Vince relationship was strained and according to Prichard everyone felt that Hogan was gone. The other matches were unmemorable but the show had a good flow more the most part with a few clunky finishes aside.

With regards to Bret, he ending up being a pawn in the game between Hogan and Vince. Bret thought Hogan would drop the belt to him at SummerSlam, even claiming Vince said Bret would beat him with the Sharpshooter, but Hogan apparently wanted to drop the belt to Yokozuna instead and received a consolation prize of feuding with Lawler.

Overall, a solid PPV and definitely check out Bret’s matches.

 

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Friday: WWF Monday Night RAW 6/14/93, WWF Mania 6/19/93

Monday: WWF Superstars 6/19/93, WWF Challenge 6/20/93

Tuesday: WWF Monday Night RAW 6/21/93

Wednesday: WWF Superstars 6/26/93, WWF Wrestling Challenge 6/27/93

Thursday: WWF Monday Night RAW 6/28/93