King of the Ring Qualifying Matches- 2000 (some Dream Matches!)

King of the Ring (2000) - Wikipedia

KING OF THE RING (Qualifying Matches) 2000:
* So I finally remembered to do another one of these, though we’re past the point where I can recall most of the angles. The name of the game this tournament is the same as last one- Make A New Star. Hopefully this “Kurt Angle” guy will prove more successful than Billy Gunn. This will be a MONSTER set, so I’ll split it up for today and tomorrow.

This tournament is unusual due to the MASSIVE roster of guys- the jam-packed company and no Russo at the time (therefore his attention span couldn’t wreck it) made for a 32-man tournament! We’ve got a huge assortment, though, as all four Radicalz (then newly-hired by the company), Chyna, Jericho & Rikishi provide serious competition, while the company’s vast tag ranks fill out slots left & right for “easy wins” or upsets- Too Cool, APA, T&A, the Hollies, Dudleys & Edge/Christian. This is a verrrrrrrrry interesting time for the company, as they put the final nail in WCW by hiring away four of their top workers, while Jericho & Rikishi had gotten over and Angle was now a completely miraculous rookie find. And what was a company based around having shitty 2-minute brawling matches now had a ton of great wrestlers all over the place, which was kind of shifting the basic style to longer matches with high spots.

Of course, having looked at all these matches… they’re still mostly super-short (as KOTR matches have been since 1994, to be fair), and OH GOD a ton of guys are still stuck in the “Punch & Kick” mode. Bad agenting was all around at this time, with only a handful of guys avoiding it. But it’d be a long, hard road to hit the point of improvement, and a lot of dudes who couldn’t make that transition saw their careers die. You’ll see a very high level of “the guy who loses the match does most of the offense”, probably in a way to look a bit strong or make him feel better about losing- this goes back a ways (you see mid ’90s joshi do this a bunch, too).

I’ll do the first round in one post, then see what I can find for the second round for next week.

RIKISHI vs. SHANE McMAHON:
(May 29th, RAW)
* Okay, I forget the story behind this. Shane is entered in the KOTR, but has to fight Rikishi, who is in the midst of his biggest year ever before everything went horribly wrong. Shane, in a WWF shirt & regular jogging pants, boasts about “beating the Big Show” and how Undertaker couldn’t beat him, marking him as a smart-mouthed wimpy heel.

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Smackdown – April 25, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 25, 2002
Location: Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois
Attendance: 8,350
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re in a new era now as HHH is a full time Smackdown wrestler, which I’m sure will last for at least a few weeks. After all you can’t expect the biggest star in the company to be on the B show for very long. Other than that we’re going to get more of the Hulk Hogan nostalgia tour, which wasn’t the most interesting thing in the world earlier this week. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 18, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 18, 2002
Location: Compaq Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Tazz, Michael Cole

It’s the go home show for Backlash and since this is Smackdown, we have a tag team main event which doesn’t have a lot to do with the pay per view. In this case it’s HHH/Hulk Hogan vs. Chris Jericho/Kurt Angle as Jericho doesn’t actually have a match on Sunday. Then again I’m not sure who he could fight save for Rock, who wasn’t around last week and probably won’t be again this week. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 11, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 11, 2002
Location: Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

This has to be better than Raw right? I’m almost convinced that it has to be just based on the law of nearly anything would be better than the mess that I sat through earlier this week. The big story continues to be the build towards Hulk Hogan vs. HHH for reasons of pure nostalgia. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 4, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 4, 2002
Location: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, New York
Attendance: 8,500
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

After Monday’s less than amazing debut for Raw, it’s time to see if Smackdown can save the opening week of the Brand Split. This show has its share of stars including The Rock, Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan and Kurt Angle. Those names alone should be enough to help carry this past Raw but this company has managed to disappoint me with less. Let’s get to it.

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