Mike Re-Books WWF King of the Ring 1995

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

A few months back I wrote a feature where I took a look at WWF WrestleMania X-8 and tried to see what I would do differently if I had a chance to go back in time and re-book it. That seemed to go down rather well, so I thought I would take a look at a show that was historically one of the poorest received WWF events ever in the form of King of the Ring 1995 from Philly.

The WWF did have some slim excuse for the quality of the show, as both the planned babyface finalist (Razor Ramon) and the backup babyface finalist (1-2-3 Kid) were both too injured to put in three matches, so the WWF had to go with Savio Vega instead, who had only just shown up on screen with his babyface character a mere month before this event and thus wasn’t remotely over enough to justify the push he was about to get on the night.

It didn’t help that the Heel choice for finalist was to be Nelson “Mabel” Frazier, who the crowd had zero interest in treating as a top star, even with a recent push. The Main Event felt kind of weak as well, as Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow were due to face-off with Sid and Tatanka. There had at least been a good build for a match between Jerry Lawler and Bret Hart, but that was about it.

What I’m going to try and do here is not only put together what I hope will be a better overall King of the Ring 1995 event, but I will also attempt to set up some matches and storylines for the future as well, using the events on this show as a precursor.

Let’s see how we do anyway. Please feel free to add your own thoughts and re-booking ideas in the comments section.

So we’ll open up by addressing the tournament itself before actually running through the show line-up. I’ll start by listing the competitors in the 8 wrestler field.

Irwin R. Schyster

Bam Bam Bigelow

Tatanka

Adam Bomb

Owen Hart

The British Bulldog

Kama

The Undertaker

I’ve gone with that field for a few reasons. Firstly, I’m going to use the tournament as a way to heat Bigelow back up following his post-WrestleMania babyface turn. Bigelow was kind of left in the lurch by the Kliq once he went face in 1995, so the goal here is to have him win the tournament and get himself back on track, with the possible goal of having him move up into the Main Event scene of the course of the the summer depending on how the crowd responds. This is why I have added IRS and Tatanka to the field, as they are both members of the Million Dollar Corporation faction that cast Bammer aside following his defeat to LT at Mania, so going through them on route to the Final would make for a nice story and give Bigelow some revenge.

Adam Bomb is entered because he was getting decent crowd reactions around this time, so in this scenario we have him defeat Mabel at the first In Your House show in order to qualify for the tournament. He’s not going to win it, but it at least puts him in the tournament and he won’t be made to look bad in the tournament itself. I’ve got no interest in pushing Mabel, so I’ve removed him completely from the field here. I did toy with having Mabel still reach the Final only to then lose to Bigelow, but I decided I would instead go with a storyline of Owen Hart trying to repeat as King.

Owen and Bulldog are in there because it guarantees us at least one good wrestling match on the show. Both men were also over enough that it was believable that either could go all the way to win the tournament. Owen was the defending King, so him entering and possibly going all the way once more would give the tournament an interesting hook that 1994 didn’t have due to Bret Hart declining to enter again as he was WWF Champion at the time. Kama and Undertaker were feuding at the time, so having them face one another in the Quarter Finals gives an added storyline element to the match that doesn’t just make it a throwaway Quarter Final with no story build.

Right, that’s the tournament field confirmed, let’s put the show itself together!

Opening Match
King of the Ring Quarter Final
Irwin R. Schyster Vs Bam Bam Bigelow

This isn’t going to be a classic or anything like that, but IRS was a solid enough worker that he would be fine as the Quarter Final foil for Bammer, especially as the two had previously been aligned in the Million Dollar Corporation. I would have likely had Bigelow defeat King Kong Bundy in a qualifier to make it to the tournament proper and continue the theme that Bammer was going through his old stable on route to the crown. I would have also made a special point to keep Bigelow away from The Corporation members in matches on TV prior to this so that this would be the first time we’d really get to see Bigelow giving them their just desserts. Bigelow wins this one clean in about 6-8 minutes so as not to tire him too much, what with him needing to go out there two more times.

Match Two
King of the Ring Quarter Final
Tatanka Vs Adam Bomb

Tatanka was a solid enough worker and Bomb wasn’t terrible either, so this would hopefully be a “perfectly cromulent” match on Scott Keith’s rating scale. The point here is to give Bomb enough offence that he looks credible and gains something from his tournament participation whilst also having Tatanka advance onwards so that we can get him in a match with former enemy turned ally turned enemy again Bigelow. Tatanka wins it clean, but Bomb looks competitive in defeat.

Match Three
King of the Ring Quarter Final
Owen Hart w/ Yokozuna Vs The British Bulldog w/ Lex Luger

Owen and Yoko were the Tag Champs at the time, so let’s have Yoko and Luger at ringside for this one so that they can interact with one another to set up future Tag Title matches between the two teams. This should be an excellent in-ring contest due to Owen and Bulldog both having good chemistry together. I would let them have around 10-12 minutes to have a fun match and then I would have Yoko cost Bulldog the match to set up Bulldog and Luger as challengers either for the July In Your House event or SummerSlam.

Match Four
King of the Ring Quarter Final
Kama w/ Ted Dibiase Vs The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer

Kama had stolen the urn and melted it down, with the idea being that the two would face-off at SummerSlam in a casket match to blow the feud off. With that in mind, we’ll have them do a wild brawl here that ends in a Double DQ, thus eliminating both men from the tournament and setting up a reason for the No DQ casket follow-up in August. I’d even have Undertaker bust out the big WrestleMania plancha at the bouts end onto Kama and gaggle of road agents and other wrestlers who will have been sent out to pull the two men apart. If it’s kept around 6 minutes and all-action brawling then this should be entertaining and hopefully Taker’s big dive will elicit a pop from the crowd.

Match Five
WWF Women’s Title
Champ: Alundra Blayze Vs Rhonda Singh

I don’t watch a lot of Joshi wrestling, so I have no idea if Singh was any good over in Japan, but I always thought her Bertha Faye stuff was pretty lame. We’ll keep her as the Joshi Monster here and do the classic story of Alundra fighting from underneath against the bigger Heel. For a finish we’ll have Alundra manage to pull off a quick victory after being on the defensive for most of the match. We can re-match them at SummerSlam with Alundra winning more decisively and then we can cut a deal with a Joshi company over in Japan in order to get some good workers in for Alundra to feud with. Aja Kong might work well as the WrestleMania opponent so bring her in during the autumn months and build her up for Mania. If the male wrestlers whinge about it then they can do one, we’re going to treat the women’s division like it actually matters and get Alundra the best opposition we can find her from both America and Japan.

Match Six
King of the Ring Semi-Final
Tatanka Vs Bam Bam Bigelow

Owen Hart gets a BYE to the Final, so we instead pick up a long-running feud as Tatanka and Bigelow go at it. We’ll keep this competitive and maybe slow the pace down a little in the middle of the match so that Bammer isn’t completely bushed by the time he gets to Owen. This is another match where Bigelow once again goes over one of his former Corporation allies clean in order to advance. This would leave him with just Kama and Sid to get his revenge on, which could always be an option at SummerSlam.

Match Seven
Kiss My Foot
Jerry Lawler Vs Bret Hart

I actually enjoy this match and felt the execution of it was done well, so just keep it as the same. Bret wins and shows Lawler up. I would end the feud there though and wouldn’t bother with the Isaac Yankem nonsense over the summer. Glen Jacobs can either bide his time a bit longer or we’ll find something else for him to do.

Semi-Main
Three on Two Handicap Match
Sid, Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie Vs Diesel and Shawn Michaels

This match just makes far more sense to me than the other match, as not only will the addition of Jarrett and Shawn make the match quality overall better, but you can also have Shawn get some minor payback on Sid whilst also setting up his match with Jarrett for the IC Title at the next In Your House show. We’ll go with a similar finish to real-life here, as Sid walks out to deny the fans the satisfaction of Diesel getting to him so that we can deliver it next month at In Your House, leading to Jarrett taking a walk as well, leaving to poor Roadie getting killed for the finish, most likely by Diesel. We can use that as the beginning of the Jarrrett/Roadie split, as well as keeping the IC and WWF Title feuds cooking.

Main Event
King of the Ring Final
Owen Hart w/ Yokozuna Vs Bam Bam Bigelow

A well-rested Owen should have more than enough in the tank to have a good match with Bigelow here, even if Bammer is starting to show the strain from a long night’s wrestling. You can even make that the core part of the match’s story. I like how it inverts Bigelow’s situation from 1993 as well, as it was he who had the advantage in 1993 against Bret but now he’s seeing it from the other side. We’ll have Yoko once again try to get involved here, but this time Lex Luger will fend him off so that the closing stages are Owen Vs Bigelow one-on-one, which can then lead to Bigelow picking up the clean win in order to claim the crown and send the fans home happy.

Where do we go next?

For the In Your House event in July I’d go with this line-up;

WWF Title
Lumberjack Match
Champ: Diesel Vs Sid
Diesel over. Bigelow plays a big role in thwarting the Heels to set up a feud with Sid

WWF IC Title
Champ: Jeff Jarrett w/ The Roadie Vs Shawn Michaels
Michaels over

Owen Hart Vs British Bulldog
This one follows straight on from the previous one, with Bulldog running down to save and then getting his win back

Yokozuna Vs Lex Luger
Yoko over when Owen gets involved

Hakushi Vs Bret Hart
Bret over clean to win this feud and set him up as #1 contender

Men On A Mission Vs The Smoking Gunns
Gunns over clean

That then leads us into a SummerSlam card of

WWF Title
Champ: Diesel Vs Bret Hart

WWF IC Title
Ladder Match
Champ: Shawn Michaels Vs Razor Ramon

Sid Vs Bam Bam Bigelow

Casket Match
Kama Vs The Undertaker

WWF Tag Team Titles
Champs: Owen and Yoko Vs Bulldog and Luger

Chris Candido w/ Tammy Vs Barry Horrowitz

Hunter Hearst Helmsley Vs Bob Holly

WWF Women’s Title
Champ: Alundra Blayze Vs Rhonda Singh

Hakushi Vs The 1-2-3 Kid

So there you go!

We’ve got, I hope at least, a better King of the Ring 1995 event that lays the table for the next two pay per views quite nicely. Bigelow is heated up again and has ready-made feuds with Sid and Kama to move onto. Bret Hart is in a position where he can regain the WWF Title whilst Shawn Michaels continues on as IC Champion, making it clear that both men are the two top guys in the promotion and setting the table for WrestleMania XII. Hopefully I can make sure that Shawn isn’t an idiot in Syracuse either, but there’s no guarantee with that. Not booking him to drop the belt to Shane Douglas will probably help in that regard I think.

Kama and Undertaker keep their issue going, we have a proper feud for Owen and Yoko going into SummerSlam. If Luger decides he wants to re-sign then he and Bulldog can win the tag belts, and if he doesn’t then Owen and Yoko can retain and Luger can show up on the first episode of Nitro. Blayze is kind of stuck in a placeholder feud but at least we have ideas on the horizon for her.

The general match quality of the King of the Ring show has hopefully been strengthened and we’ve got a generally less silly set of characters upon which to build the rest of the year around, with some marketable big matches we can deliver and a clear plan of what the Mania XII Main Event is going to be.

Please let me know if you prefer the show I’ve come up with over the real version and add in your own suggestions in the comments section. Heck, if you think this is still an awful pay per view then let me know that as well. I was sorely tempted to just chuck all the best wrestlers in the tournament and do a show full of fun interesting matches such as Shawn taking on Hakushi and Bret wrestling Luger etc, but I decided to put slightly more focus on the storytelling elements, because ultimately this is the WWF we’re talking about and their audiences generally care more about storylines than good wrestling solely for good wrestling’s sake.

If there is continued interest in this type of feature then I might do more down the line at some point.