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DrVenkman PhD

King of the Ring: The Early Years

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Since both shows, as of next week, will be overlapping and are only a year apart I thought it might be appropriate to give both shows a combined thread. Tournament lovers are in for a treat as 24/7 presents the first two KOTR PPVs, each featuring big title matches.

 

I'm watching KOTR 93 right now, which I've seen very few times but have some crazy love for, and look forward to recording to my VHS collection before it expires. Sometimes I tell people "I love that show!" and get told it's not very good... but screw them! It was a new PPV and I was EXCITED to be watching it live at home 15 years ago. It's also one of Bobby Heenan's last PPVs before his unfortunate departure to WCW and all three of Bret Hart's matches are good to great. Right now I'm watching Tatanka vs. Lex Luger and I'm actually extremely happy Cogeco came back with the PYBO's this month after a two month absence (which came after a 12 month absence), not paying close attention because I'm typing this, or these guys are actually working well together because I am digging this match. It's no Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon, but I like it.

 

So let's be like King and pose some questions for discussion. These will be KOTR 93 specific. When KOTR 94 is up next week I will pose some more questions specific to that PPV plus some overall questions about comparisons between the two.

 

1. Would you have booked the tournament (with it's current seeding) any differently? How so or why not?

2. Which tournament match is the best?

3. Which non-tournament match is the best?

4. Gene Okerlund being a shit disturber - is that awesome or what?

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There's something about the whole production/presentation of the KOTR 1993 ppv that I dug. I can't really put my finger on it. Maybe it's JR/Heenan/Savage doing commentary w/o togas being the focal point.

 

1. I think the tournament was booked just fine. To nitpick, maybe I'd have Doink and Hughes switch roles. Hughes loses via DQ in a qualifying match as Perfect defeats Doink in the 1st round.

 

2. Oh boy, it's been a while but I figure Hart/Perfect is a safe bet, though I remember Hart/Bigelow being pretty good too. Didn't mind the dusty finish since it created an eyebrow raising moment w/ the heavy underdog Bigelow seemingly winning the KOTR. Plus, the face didn't get hosed over.

 

3. Hogan/Yoko is such a classic spectacle. Much better than Taker beating Hogan for the title a year and a half prior. HBK/Crush and the 8-man didn't do much for me.

 

4. Yeah, that Perfect/Hart promo was awesome. I loved how Gene had Hart tongue-tied. IIRC, he pitches it back to the arena anticipating a heated match and it seems he can't fathom why.

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Hold the phone!

 

Terrific Terry Taylor worked as one of the suits interviewing people in the crowd and pimping the 900 line!? Wasn't he just wrestling a few months prior to this? And how quickly was he replaced by Sweet Stan Lane? I don't recall Taylor in this role at all.

 

Also, because mentioning things like this seems bother al, "WWF" slipped through the cracks during Hogan's pre-match promo.

 

I could be mistaken but I think this might be the first PPV to have a now-standard graphic alerting the viewing audience they are watching a title match.

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Taylor did a CV exclusive interview w/ the Steiners and the Gunns repeating such classic lines like "That's a good point". He also hosted Wrestling Spotlight (the poor man's version of PrimeTime Wrestling) during this time. And trading in his tights for a microphone magically turned him face too.

 

Good call on the title-match graphic, I think they also had graphics for the qualifying matches as well.

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1. Would you have booked the tournament (with it's current seeding) any differently? How so or why not?

Well, if I had my choice, I would have had Doink in Hughes' spot from the start as he and Perfect had a couple of great qualifying matches that were PPV worthy. That said, I would have had Luger end Tatanka's winning streak in round 1 but Perfect end Luger's winning streak in round 2. Bret beat Bigelow in round 2 and is banged up going on to face Mr. Perfect in the finals. Bret beats Perfect in the Finals and they have the rematch at Summerslam to determine the number 1 contender to the World title.

 

2. Which tournament match is the best?

Bret vs. Perfect, no doubt. Honorable mention to Bret/Bigelow

 

3. Which non-tournament match is the best?

Not much to choose from, but Hogan/Yoko just for the historical importance.

 

4. Gene Okerlund being a shit disturber - is that awesome or what?

Beyond awesome. That is one of my favorite backstage interviews of all time. Of course, Terry Taylor upped the ante later on when he interviewed that wonderful white trash family in the arena. "Hulk Hogan all da way!"

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Just watching a little of this, mainly the Hogan/Yokozuna match. It's definitely a different one as Hogan is just dominated from start to finish. Seeing him get squashed at the end was great. HBK ripping Hogan afterwards was great. Bret/Hening is a classic and while not as historically important as the Summerslam 91 encounter, I like this one better because Henng is healthy here. Although even here, they both had already wrestled a match so you can argue they weren't 100% going into it and still put on an absolute classic. Though Hennig should have been booked stronger in the first round with a pinfall victory, not a lame DQ.

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Wow I can't believe how bad Savage is on commentary. Why do they keep talking about Yokozuna being a national hero in Japan when he was announced as being from the Polynesian Islands?

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1993 was a good show, you have a really solid tournament with a classic in it. The finals with Bam Bam was a lot better than what I remember, good match with Bam Bam being an absolute brute. The non-tournament matches were ok. It's still weird to me to see Hulk in 1993. His act really doen't fit in that time frame.

 

Bonus points for Jimmy Hart as his promo was basically the first verse of Hogan's WCW theme.

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Bonus points for Jimmy Hart as his promo was basically the first verse of Hogan's WCW theme.

 

Ha! I thought the exact same thing. "You know something Mean Gene, he's got the red, white and blue running through his veins!".

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I hadn't watched the King of the Ring '93 show in maybe 15 years. Bret Hart wrestles three good matches on the show. The other matches on the tournament are decent enough not to drag things down. The middle matches are ok, nothing spectacular but inoffensive. Hogan/Yokozuna is a piece of wrestling history. It's hard to believe now that Hogan would not wrestle in the promotion again for another nine years.

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If it were up to me, I'd have held off on the Lawler beatdown of Hart for the next night or maybe a week after. Let Hart deck Lawler during the coronation confrontation. Lawler can then run off and the fans can leave as a bunch of happy campers.

 

Maybe the night after or so, have a Hart/Doink match end in a DQ when Lawler runs in and they give Hart a good ol fashioned Memphis-style thrashing. That way Doink's SummerSlam appearance two months later has a seed of backstory.

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I was pretty surprised watching this show live. Even though I had just turned 12 and had only been watching wrestling for 2 years at this point, I knew the deal - Bret Hart was going to win (I forget why I thought this, but somehow the TV build made it pretty obvious) and good guys never wrestle good guys and vice versa, AND Lex Luger and Bret Hart had an issue building up since the WrestleMania IX brunch - which I guess was never blown-off - so OBVIOUSLY, Luger vs. Bret was going to be the finals. Yes, I really thought Luger vs. Duggan was on tap for round 2, though I might have had the brackets mixed up and thought it was going to be Bret vs. Bigelow and Luger vs. Perfect. Needless to say, when Luger didn't advance and Perfect and Bret had a match in the semis, I was surprised and happy with the result.

 

I also remember not being outraged or really caring when Yokozuna beat Hogan. I was surprised, but part of me just remembered how Mean Gene went on TV and said this was Hogan's first title defense since winning the belt, so what the hell, that's more than 30 days Hulk! By the end of June I forgot all about old Hulk and was totally up for Crush bodyslamming Yokozuna on the Intrepid.

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No. I was trying to say I really thought Crush was going to slam Yokozuna. I actually slammed Yoko many times with Crush in the Royal Rumble game before seeing Superstars and finding out Luger stopped looking at himself in a mirror and stood up for America.

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I actually expected Ahmed Johnson to slam him. Boy, was I right.

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So it's now 1994 and we're another year older, another year wiser, and knee deep into a steroid scandal that has Vince just a bit busy with the Feds.

 

1993's KOTR winner is now the world champion while his little brother tries to duplicate Bret's feat from the year prior. Speaking of Bret, he has his toughest challenge yet against Diesel, and if that wasn't bad enough Diesel has Shawn Michaels in his corner. What will the champ do to counteract that?

 

And of course, the show ends in grandiose style when Roddy Piper looks to extract revenge on Jerry Lawler for mocking sick children. A main event anywhere in the country in a prior decade, and a main event on this night in 1994.

 

Points for discussion!

 

KOTR 94:

1. Would you have booked the tournament (with it's current seeding) any differently? How so or why not?

2. Which tournament match is the best?

3. Which non-tournament match is the best?

4. Art Donovan on commentary - is that awesomely bad or what?

 

KOTR 93 vs. KOTR 94:

1. Which show do you enjoy more?

2. Which show had the better commentary team?

3. Which tournament bracketing do you feel was better booked?

 

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Guest

I suppose I'm answering a lot of questions, starting with King of the Ring '93.

 

1. Would you have booked the tournament (with it's current seeding) any differently? How so or why not?

With current seeding, I would've done a Luger/Bret final. Just have Bigelow/Duggan go to a double DQ.

 

2. Which tournament match is the best?

 

Bret/Perfect. Bigelow/Hart is ****, so there's definitely competition.

 

3. Which non-tournament match is the best?

 

Shawn vs. Crush.

 

4. Gene Okerlund being a shit disturber - is that awesome or what?

 

I'm rewatching it tomorrow...honestly, I didn't pay too much attention.

 

For KotR '94.

 

1. Would you have booked the tournament (with it's current seeding) any differently? How so or why not?

Definitely not. The tournament was not teeming with depth, so I can't say I would've changed a thing with seeding as it stood.

2. Which tournament match is the best?

 

Owen/Kid by default.

 

3. Which non-tournament match is the best?

Bret/Diesel also by default. Shockingly good.

 

4. Art Donovan on commentary - is that awesomely bad or what?

 

I hate him. Worst commentator ever.

 

KOTR 93 vs. KOTR 94:

 

1. Which show do you enjoy more?

KotR '93. Show had better flow, better matches, a Bret victory...can't go wrong. Plus, I like the Narcissist character a great deal.

 

2. Which show had the better commentary team?

Ross with Savage and Heenan is a personal favorite. So yeah, that.

 

3. Which tournament bracketing do you feel was better booked?

King of the Ring 1993. Perfect and Doink's fight to get in is probably the best non-PPV part of the KotR they've done to this day. Plus, Perfect/Bret. I would've liked to see Perfect face Razor at the start of the tournament, though. Rematch factor with Bret/Razor be damned. '94 should've had Luger on the PPV, losing to Owen at some point. Not a whole lot they could've done, as the matches were so short. No reason to blow their load.

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KORT 93

1. Would you have booked the tournament (with it's current seeding) any differently? How so or why not?

No. The booking here was quite good.

 

2. Which tournament match is the best?

Hart vs. Hennig. Hands down.

 

3. Which non-tournament match is the best?

I guess Hogan-Yoko, from a historical standpoint.

 

4. Gene Okerlund being a shit disturber - is that awesome or what?

What a dick.

 

KOTR 94:

1. Would you have booked the tournament (with it's current seeding) any differently? How so or why not?

I would never, in conscience, make people watch a Mabel match on a show that they paid for. Luger should have been used. Maybe put Luger where Mabel was.

 

2. Which tournament match is the best?

Both matches with the 1-2-3 Kid were pretty good. I'll go with Kid's selljob vs. Owen.

 

3. Which non-tournament match is the best?

This Hart vs. Diesel match is still my favorite of the three, in spite of the non-finish.

 

4. Art Donovan on commentary - is that awesomely bad or what?

I just saw this for the first time in many years. Funny story- I actually taped this PPV live, and then lent the cassette to a friend of mine, who moved to Africa shortly thereafter. Never got it back. But, yeah, awesomely bad, worse than I remember, and hilarious as fuck. Not "Mongo annoying" by any means, but its still mindboggling, since the only people who might care about him were in the arena, not at home listening to him on pay per view.

 

KOTR 93 vs. KOTR 94:

1. Which show do you enjoy more?

This will put me in the minority, but I still enjoy 94 a lot more. Maybe its because I saw it live with a bunch of friend at the beginning of the summer, whereas I rented 93 months later during the school year and I knew everything that was going to happen and don't have a real memory of it. I'm funny that way.

 

2. Which show had the better commentary team?

Do I even have to answer this?

 

3. Which tournament bracketing do you feel was better booked?

93 told a better story.

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I remember I really wanted to see The Headshrinkers squash Crush with a big top rope splash (because he was a jerk to Randy Savage) yet at the same time thought it would be neat if Crush and Yokozuna were tag champs. It was also kind of a weird symmetry that the two men who challenged for singles gold in 1993 were a tag team challenging for the tag belts one year later.

 

I really do want to watch this show so I'll resort to busting out my degrading in quality VHS casette that recorded the PPV (and pre-show!) in 1994 if Cogeco doesn't get it together (they did put all the Shorties up today so that was good). I was hoping to make a new combined 93/94 tape off of 24/7 though.

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1993 KOR - IIRC Hogan has a kinda funny promo - while looking obviously deflated from cutting the roids (the commentators even mention Hogan dropped weight to be faster vs Yoko) Hogan cuts a promo proclaiming his arms are bigger than ever before "We measured this morning and their 24 3/4 inches dude!" or somesuch

 

I watched this show about 100 times in the mid 90's

 

It was on the same tape as a cinemax porno and random 1993 WCW Saturday night matches

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It was on the same tape as a cinemax porno and random 1993 WCW Saturday night matches

 

Who* the hell would have softcore porn and pro wrestling matches on the same VHS cassette?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*me

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