Nickrj’s rant for King Of The Ring 1997
Live from the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island on June 8th 1997. By this time IMO, The WWF had exited from the New Generation period and had entered the WWF Attitude era in an attempt to try to get them past WCW. I say this because at this point the ring ropes were all red and everything else (Ringposts, mats and railings) was black instead of blue.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Ross. Vince is also kind to introduce the Spanish and French announcers.
There was only an 8 man King Of The Ring Tournament this year and the first round happened over Raw Is War. Here were the results.
Ahmed Johnson defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Sub for an injured Vader) defeated Crush
Mankind defeated Savio Vega
Jerry Lawler defeated Goldust
And here are the semifinal brackets
Ahmed Johnson VS Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Mankind VS Jerry Lawler
Ahmed Johnson VS Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Chyna)
Vince and JR are hyping Ahmed as the favorite of this tournament. I kinda disagree. Triple H was getting more over at this point thanks to his new bodyguard while Ahmed was getting less over thanks to that ruptured kidney that basically killed off his career. Some stalling to start it off. Shove off by Ahmed and a shoulderblock. Test of Strength upcoming and Ahmed no sells a chop. Press slam by the big man. Hunter is back in and gets an advantage with an eye poke but Ahmed no sells that as well. Ahmed misses an elbow and now he starts selling that. He’s thrown to the outside and then into the steps hard. Hunter’s drawing some heat now. A sloppy baseball slide by Hunter. He goes up to the top and hits a single axhandle for 2. Ahmed starts his no selling again. He counters a headdown with a scissors kick. Backdrop and a spinebuster. He signals the Pearl River Plunge but Chyna jumps up on the apron and insults Ahmed. And Hunter gets a high knee to the back and the pedigree finishes Ahmed at 7:42. What kind of an ending was that? 1/2*
Mankind is now a babyface thanks to the in depth interview he did with Jim Ross a month ago. Mankind grabs the mike and says there’s nothing worse than seeing Jerry Lawler stark naked and that would be himself stark naked. The King beat Goldust with the ol Flair pin but he goes rolling down the ramp and stepped over by Marlena afterwards. King then grabs Todd Pettingill’s mike and insults the audience on the way to the ring as well as Mankind. I don’t understand why Lawler is in this tournament this year when he’s already the King. Mick jumps on the King outside to start. He tries the Mandible claw but the experienced Lawler jumps out of the ring. Lawler grabs a foreign object in his tights and nails Mankind with it to take control. Bulldog by the King and he throws Mankind to the outside. Mankind is thrown into the post. “Burger King” chant by this crowd. King starts to work on the injured half ear of Mankind and bites it. Nice strategy there. Lawler goes to his foreign object once again and sticks the foot in the throat. They go to the outside and the King is thrown into the rail. Mick tries to headbutt the King on the steps but instead hits his own head. King rams Mick’s neck into the railing twice. No wonder they replaced that security railing over a year later with a wooden barricade. Lawler piledrives Mick on the floor and if this were Memphis Mick would be dead right now. Dropkick by the King sends Mick to the outside again. King goes for another piledriver and hits it but a terrible cover by the King prevents a three count. Lawler uses his foreign object again. Mankind starts fighting back and somehow they nailed each other there. Leg drop by Mankind. Knee in the corner. Backdrop by Mankind but he collapses. King drops Mankind by the throat and nails him in the half ear from the second ropes. He tries another piledriver but is backdropped and Mankind gets the mandible claw for the submission at 10:24. Not a bad match *3/4. Mankind will face Triple H in the final match now. Sounds familiar to me.
Todd Pettingill tries to interview Brian Pillman but Steve Austin comes up from behind and jumps his former teammate in WCW, sticks his head in a toilet and gives him a swirlee for good measure.
Crush (with The Nation) VS Goldust (with Marlena)
Hey it’s the same two guys that put Rocky Maivia over in his debut in Survivor Series! And what is this match doing on PPV anyways? Crush jumps Goldie to start. Goldie counters by throwing him into the steps. 10 punch count in the corner. Goldie stalls at nine and kisses him before nailing him some more. Flying clothesline gets two. Sloppy neckbreaker for 2. Goldie is rammed backfirst into the corner. Belly to Belly by Crush. Crush goes to work on the back now with the only thing he has at this point, clubbering. Goldie gets some shots in but falls over on a slam attempt. Backbreaker by Crush for 2. A terrible camel clutch slapped on by the Hawaiian man. Then some butt bombs into the lower back. Another camel clutch as this crowd is pretty silent right now. Crowd wakes up with a Goldust chant and I don’t blame them. Goldie sets a low kick on another butt bomb and JR mocks Dusty Rhodes. Goldie gets caught in a press slam and into a gut buster for 2. Elbow in the jaw by Crush and now he goes to a nerve pinch. Goldust fights back again with some shots not even connecting. Marlena is caught between Clarence Mason and D’Lo Brown. Bulldog by Goldie. Crowd warns Goldie behind him but he doesn’t listen. Back in Goldie gets a DDT for the pin at 9:57. Jeez what a terrible match. DUD
Six Man Tag: The Legion Of Doom and Sid VS The Hart Foundation (Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart)
Only two good workers in this one and they are both on the same side. Animal starts it off with Owen. Animal tosses Owen off. He misses an elbow though but gets control again with his power. Owen is catapulted into the wrong corner and he takes a powerslam for 2. Sid is in for the first time and he goes to work on the left arm. Owen goes down just by running into Sid which shows how terrible he was at this point. Sid wants a test of strength but instead Bulldog is tagged in. He gets a vertical suplex and Sid just no sells it. That’s making the Bulldog look stupid. Hawk and Jim the Anvil are in now. Hawk goes to the top and hits a flying clothesline for 2. Animal in now. The do nothing until Sid is tagged in and Jim is triple teamed. Standing dropkick by Hawk. Bulldog is tagged and he hits a piledriver and Hawk no sells it! This is not Bulldog’s night. Animal is in and takes a leg lariat by Owen and is thrown into the steps outside and hit with a chair by Neidhart. Snap suplex by Owen. Anvil comes in and gets a slingshot tackle. Sunset flip by Animal and Owen breaks it up. Owen is back in and hits a missle dropkick. Animal is dragged to the wrong corner and is triple teamed. Bulldog gets a slam but is caught from the top rope. Animal goes to the top himself but is caught and superplexed for 2. Anvil is back in. Snapmare into a chinlock. Animal takes a knee to the gut. Owen with a tackle in the corner. Neckbreaker by Owen for 2. He hooks the sleeper. Animal gets up and makes the tag to Hawk. Hawk goes to the top and misses something. Bulldog comes back in and he misses a legdrop. Owen back in again. Hawk no sells a double clothesline and makes the tag to Sid. Now all 6 men are in. Sid chokeslams the Bulldog and sets him up for the Powerbomb but Owen the legal man comes off the top rope with a botched sunset flip for the pin at 13:37. Another mediocre match at best. *1/4.
We get a look at King Steve Austin’s coronation from last year who launched his career by saying the words “Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!”
Mankind give a quote from the Lion King before the match. He’s holding his neck from the last matchup. Hunter with a headlock and an eye rake. Elbow by Mick. He starts rearraging Hunter’s face. Hunter slides out of the ring on a mandible claw attempt. Eye rake by Hunter and he kicks Mankind out of the ring. They go to the outside and Hunter is thrown into the rail. Hunter drops Mankind into the corner. He hits a swinging neckbreaker. He continue to go on the injured neck of Mick. Clothesline by Hunter. He hammers Mankind in the corner and the crowd is pretty dead but they wake up a bit from a right hand by Chyna. Mankind counters with a low kick on Hunter. Mankind gets his neck caught in the ropes and he doesn’t lose his other ear thank goodness. Baseball slide sends Mankind’s head into the railing. He’s thrown into the steps again. They go back inside and Hunter gets a kneedrop into the neck. Another kneedrop. Boring chant starts by the crowd. Mankind drops Hunter’s stomach into the ropes for 2. He drops Hunter on the top rope again. Inverted atomic drop countered by Hunter. Mankind continues to pummel on Hunter in the corner though. Hunter is locked in the tree of woe but Mankind hurts himself by attacking him. They go to the outside and Hunter is backdropped onto the concrete in the aisleway. Mankind from the apron nails Hunter with a flying elbow. Double arm DDT but Chyna jumps on the apron preventing the 3 count. Hunter goes for the Pedigree but is backdropped and Mankind hooks the claw but Chyna pulls him right out of the ring. Hunter gets a neckbreaker on the ropes. Hunter throws Mankind’s mask away and he goes to the top but Mankind hooks the claw but takes an eye poke. Inverted atomic drop by Mankind. They both go over the top rope to the outside. Mankind misses a backwards elbow and hits the railing. He then goes neckfirst into the steps once again. Hunter takes the monitors and stuff off the English announce table and he pedigree’s Mankind right on the table. This was back when they had those regular tables (Not the collaspable ones) which I think were more dangerous. Chyna grabs the scepter and breaks it over Mankind’s back. Hunter knees him from the apron to the floor almost knocking a photographer. Hunter brings Mick into the ring and gets a 2 count! I thought Mankind was done for there the first time I saw this. Hunter then hits the Pedigree for the pin at 19:25. First half of this match was boring but the 2nd half was pretty good **. They’d go onto to some better matches over the summer. Hunter wins the King Of The Ring title that was originally supposed to go to him a year ago before the Clique incident at MSG. Todd Pettingill is brought into the ring by Chyna. Todd gives Hunter the crown and his robe over Mankind’s body. Hunter uses the crown to hurt Mankind some more.
We get a look at the feud between Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. Michaels returned to the ring after 4 months off due to a “Knee injury.” But in his first match coming back, he decided to team with Steve Austin even though he and Austin hate each other. They won the tag team titles from Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. After the match the Hart Foundation jumped Shawn while Austin jumped a crippled Bret Hart. This led to backstage arguments and a brawl the following week and now these two are going to fight each other and this match may have been a plan by the Hart Foundation.
Bret Hart and the Hart Foundation come into the ring to cut a promo. Bret challenges any 5 Americans to face the 5 of them at the next PPV. Canadian Stampede on July 6th. He’s going to do color commentary but since Vince and JR’s table is destroyed they don’t have another headset. Apparently all 5 Hart Foundation members want to sit with Vince and JR so officials come out and throw Bret and the Hart Foundation out of here.
This is the first time that the current Tag Team champions have faced each other. Although it was another year before the Austin/McMahon wars would commence, you can hear the seeds of it being planted as Vince says “I don’t know why he has become such a favorite but he has.” Tie up and Steve gets a shoulderblock and the double bird. Shawn goes over into the crowd where an overzealous Special Olympian had stepped over the rail and Austin jumps Shawn from behind and they go thru a nice wrestling sequence that sees Shawn flip the double bird. Shawn goes over to the Special Olympian where he is escorted to the back by his mother. Austin opens the ropes for Shawn to come back in but Shawn doesn’t buy it. Austin goes to work on the left arm of Shawn. Headlock takedown by Shawn. Another nice takeover by Shawn. Elbow in the jaw by Steve. Snapmare but Shawn gets in a chinlock. Shawn tries a Lou Thesz press but Shawn counters with an inverted atomic drop and he clotheslines Shawn over the top rope. Shawn comes out of a suplex and gets a roll up for 2. Drop toe hold into an armbar. Steve takes a timeout outside the ring and wants a test of strength. Shawn falls for it after an intimidation. Shawn gets a backdrop for 2 but he misses an elbow. Austin knocks a cameraman off the apron and misses an elbow as well. Armbar by Shawn. Lou Thesz press by Austin. They trade some two counts and Shawn is thrown over the top rope. Shawn is snapped off the top rope a couple of times. He is knocked off into the railing. Steve pulls off the mat outside the ring. He drops Shawn on the rail. They fight over the exposed floor and Shawn is thrown into the steps and he is dropped right on the exposed floor. They go back in and Shawn misses a bodypress and goes outside again. Small package by Shawn for 2. Clothesline by Steve for 2. Snapmare and Steve goes to the 2nd rope and drives the elbow for 2. Chinlock by Steve who uses the ropes for leverage. The official sees it and breaks it. Shawn is fighting back now. He throws Steve over the top rope. Shawn gets a baseball slide. Steve comes out of a suplex and Shawn gets a flying forearm and a nip up. Backdrop by Shawn. Inverted atomic drop but Shawn runs right into the ringpost on a corner charge. Steve with some mudhole stomping in the corner. Shawn gets a 2nd rope bodypress but Steve rolls through for 2. Steve with another clothesline for 2. Shawn goes upside down and over. They do the double reversal spot into the ref who is down. Steve blocks the superkick and hits the stunner but there’s no ref. Steve wakes up the ref and gives him the stunner. Shawn superkicks Steve and another ref comes in and checks the first ref. Shawn doesn’t like that so he superkicks the 2nd ref. The first ref counts 2. Finally a third ref runs into the ring and he DQ’s both men at 22:25. What a stupid ending to a terrific matchup. **** Both Steve and Shawn want to beat each other with their own belts but instead they leave the ring together.
WWF Title Match: The Undertaker (With Paul Bearer) VS Faarooq (with The Nation)
Faarooq has the chance of becoming the first black WWF champion. I don’t know why they would say the same thing with Mabel when he faced Diesel two years ago at Summerslam. In fact I think this is just like Diesel/Mabel. Faarooq was in the midcard and now he’s getting a title shot. In addition. UT decided to reunite with Paul Bearer because Paul has a dark secret above UT’s head so UT decides to reunite with Bearer to keep the secret hidden. Faarooq jumps UT from behind while UT was staring at Bearer. UT comes right back though. Clothesline by UT but he misses an elbow. Big boot by UT. Powerslam by Faarooq for 2. Crush and Savio jump UT on the outside. Faarooq runs into a boot. UT starts ramming the shoulder. He climbs to the top and he does the top rope walk but he jumps on the nation instead. Faarooq is clotheslined on the top rope. UT goes for the top rope walk again but the Nation pulls them down this time. Snap suplex by Faarooq for 2. Clothesline by UT. Low blow by Faarooq for 2. Nation goes to work on UT once again. UT is thrown to the outside. Faarooq grabs the steps but UT kicks them in Faarooq’s face. Faarooq gets a piledriver back inside for 2. Faarooq goes to the chinlock now. UT gets out of it with a jawjacker. Faarooq brings the knees up on a big splash. Faarooq goes for a piledriver and is backdropped as a result. UT misses a legdrop. He runs into a knee but he catches Faarooq from the 2nd rope and powerslams him. UT misses a flying clothesline. Crush and Savio start fighting on the outside and that distracts Faarooq. UT gets up and hits the Tombstone for the pin at 13:43. Chokeslam for Savio and one for Crush as well. Match pretty much blew 3/4*. Paul Bearer wants UT to continue to beat up Faarooq and UT has no choice but to listen to him. UT gives Faarooq 3 more chokeslams and Ahmed Johnson comes out and tells UT to snap out of it by giving him a Pearl River Plunge. In the end the secret Paul Bearer has remains hidden.
Summary: Well aside from one match this show pretty much blew. The WWF was pretty much in a slump at this point and wouldn’t break out of it until the Canadian Stampede one month later. Don’t bother with this show though RECOMMENDATION TO AVOID