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King of the Ring is a professional wrestling single-elimination tournament held by World Wrestling Entertainment. The tournament was held annually from 1985 to 2002, with the exception of 1990 and 1992, and from 1993 to 2002 the tournament was produced as a pay-per-view event.

The tournament endured a four year hiatus, until it returned in 2006 and was exclusive to the SmackDown! brand. The tournament returned as an inter-brand event on Raw in both 2008 and 2010.

HistoryEdit

Although the King of the Ring tournament was first made into a pay-per-view event in 1993, the original King of the Ring tournament was actually held in 1985. Don Muraco was the first King of the Ring in 1985. The second King, Harley Race, is noted for parlaying his King of the Ring victory into his "King of Wrestling" gimmick. Other winners who did the same include Randy Savage ("Macho King") though Savage's "King" gimmick was the result of defeating Jim Duggan for the crown in 1989, who beat Haku ("King Haku" ). Owen Hart ("King of Harts"), Mabel ("King Mabel" ), Booker T ("King Booker"), and most recently William Regal and Sheamus are all wrestlers that took on "King" nicknames after winning King of the Ring tournaments.

Pay-per-viewEdit

The King of the Ring was an event in which typically sixteen wrestlers wrestled in a one-on-one single elimination bracket. When a wrestler wins a match in the bracket, they advance to take on another wrestler that has also won. The final few matches would then take place at that year's King of the Ring event. The winner of the final match is officially crowned the King of the Ring. There were also other matches that took place at the King of the Ring event since it was a traditional three hour pay-per-view.

While some believe that the new King of the Ring traditionally receives a WWF/WWE Championship shot at the SummerSlam pay-per-view, this only became an established rule in 2002, for what would become the final King of the Ring tournament for 4 years until SmackDown! General Manager Theodore Long brought it back in 2006. Only four kings went on to challenge for the championship at SummerSlam (Owen Hart, Mabel, Kurt Angle, and Brock Lesnar) and only in Lesnar's case was the challenger granted a title shot as a "right" after winning the King of the Ring. More important than an actual title shot was the prestige of winning the tournament itself; in general, the winner of the King of the Ring is a wrestler whom management has picked to advance in the storylines and be the next breakout star. In fact, Steve Austin's famous "Austin 3:16" saying started during a speech made after he became the King of the Ring. A number of wrestlers have had huge successes after winning the tournament (in particular Steve Austin, but also Bret Hart, Kurt Angle, Edge, Triple H, and others), while some wrestlers have admittedly been flops as king (such as Mabel) or received little to no push after winning (such as Billy Gunn), and continued to be treated as lower card wrestlers after winning the tournament, even though Mabel challenged for the World title and Gunn went on to win the Intercontinental Championship a year later.

From 1993 to 2002, the King of the Ring was considered the fifth major WWF PPV (alongside the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series).

RevivalEdit

It was announced in April 2006 that the King of the Ring tournament would be returning after its four year hiatus. The 2006 tournament was the first tournament since 1991 that had not been shown on pay-per-view. The 2006 tournament was won by Booker T, who faced Bobby Lashley in the finals at the Judgment Day pay-per-view event. After a brief hiatus in 2007, it was announced on the April 14, 2008 episode of Raw, that the tournament would be held the following week on a special three hour edition of Raw. The King of the Ring returned again on November 29, 2010.[1]

King of the Ring event dates and venuesEdit

Between 1993 and 2002 King of the Ring was produced as a pay-per-view event.

Event Date City Venue Winner
King of the Ring (1985) July 8, 1985 Foxborough, Massachusetts Sullivan Stadium Don Muraco
King of the Ring (1986) July 14, 1986 Foxborough, Massachusetts Sullivan Stadium Harley Race
King of the Ring (1987) September 4, 1987 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center Randy Savage
King of the Ring (1988) October 16, 1988 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center Ted DiBiase
King of the Ring (1989) October 14, 1989 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center Tito Santana
King of the Ring (1991) September 7, 1991 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center Bret Hart
King of the Ring (1993) June 13, 1993 Dayton, Ohio Nutter Center Bret Hart
King of the Ring (1994) June 19, 1994 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena Owen Hart
King of the Ring (1995) June 25, 1995 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Spectrum Mabel
King of the Ring (1996) June 23, 1996 Milwaukee, Wisconsin MECCA Arena Steve Austin
King of the Ring (1997) June 8, 1997 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center Hunter Hearst Helmsley
King of the Ring (1998) June 28, 1998 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Civic Arena Ken Shamrock
King of the Ring (1999) June 27, 1999 Greensboro, North Carolina Greensboro Coliseum Billy Gunn
King of the Ring (2000) June 25, 2000 Boston, Massachusetts Fleet Center Kurt Angle
King of the Ring (2001) June 24, 2001 East Rutherford, New Jersey Continental Airlines Arena Edge
King of the Ring (2002) June 23, 2002 Columbus, Ohio Nationwide Arena Brock Lesnar
King of the Ring (2006) April 21–May 21, 2006 See Cities See Venues Booker T
King of the Ring (2008) April 21, 2008 Greenville, South Carolina BI-LO Center William Regal
King of the Ring (2010) November 29, 2010 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center Sheamus

Pre pay-per-view event resultsEdit

1985Edit

The tournament was held on July 8, 1985 at the Sullivan Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The tournament brackets were:

  First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
                                     
 Don Muraco    
 Junkyard Dog    
   Don Muraco    
 
   Les Thornton    
 Les Thornton  
 Steve Lombardi    
   Don Muraco    
   Pedro Morales    
 Paul Orndorff DDQ  
 Bob Orton, Jr. DDQ  
   BYE  
 
   Pedro Morales    
 Pedro Morales  
 Johnny V    
   Don Muraco  
   Iron Sheik  
 Tito Santana DQ  
 Terry Funk    
   Tito Santana Draw1
 
   Jim Brunzell Coin Toss  
 Jim Brunzell  
 The Spoiler    
   Jim Brunzell  
   Iron Sheik    
 Ricky Steamboat    
 Greg Valentine    
   Ricky Steamboat  
 
   Iron Sheik    
 Iron Sheik  
 B. Brian Blair    

1. ^ Tito Santana fought Jim Brunzell to a draw; Brunzell then won a coin toss to determine who would continue in the tournament.

1986Edit

The tournament was held on July 14, 1986 at the Sullivan Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The tournament brackets were:

  First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
                                     
   
   Mr. X2    
     Billy Jack Haynes    
 Billy Jack Haynes  
 Iron Sheik    
   Billy Jack Haynes    
   Harley Race CO  
 Harley Race DQ  
 George Steele    
   Harley Race  
     BYE    
 Don Muraco Draw
 Roddy Piper 20:00  
   Harley Race  
   Pedro Morales  
 Nikolai Volkoff    
 Dan Spivey    
   Nikolai Volkoff Sub
     The Junkyard Dog    
 Junkyard Dog DQ
 Paul Orndorff    
   Nikolai Volkoff  
   Pedro Morales    
 Pedro Morales    
 Rudy Diamond1    
   Pedro Morales  
     Mike Rotundo    
 

1. ^ Rudy Diamond was a substitute for Bob Orton.
2. ^ Mr. X was a substitute for Hercules Hernandez.

1987Edit

The tournament was held on September 4, 1987 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The tournament brackets were:

  First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
                                     
 Haku    
 Brutus Beefcake    
   Haku Draw  
 
   Rick Martel Draw  
 Rick Martel  
 Dan Spivey    
   BYE    
   King Kong Bundy    
 King Kong Bundy CO  
 One Man Gang    
   King Kong Bundy  
 
   Special Delivery Jones    
 Special Delivery Jones  
 Sika    
   King Kong Bundy  
   Randy Savage  
 Danny Davis CO  
 Tito Santana    
   Danny Davis  
 
   The Junkyard Dog    
 Junkyard Dog  
 Tama    
   Danny Davis  
   Randy Savage    
 Jim Brunzell    
 Ron Bass    
   Jim Brunzell  
 
   Randy Savage    
 Randy Savage  
 Nikolai Volkoff    

1988Edit

The tournament was held on October 16, 1988 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The tournament brackets were:

  First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
                                     
 Ken Patera Pin  
 Nikolai Volkoff 10:20  
   Ken Patera Pin  
 
   Ted DiBiase 5:42  
 Brutus Beefcake Pin
 Ted DiBiase 7:32  
   Ted DiBiase Forfeit  
   Ron Bass 2  
 The Barbarian DQ  
 Ron Bass 7:02  
   Ron Bass Pin
 
   Shawn Michaels 7:39  
 Danny Davis Pin
 Shawn Michaels 3:37  
   Ted DiBiase CO
   Randy Savage 6:11
 Bad News Brown DCO  
 Hercules 6:05  
   BYE  
 
   Randy Savage    
 Randy Savage Pin
 Virgil 5:43  
   Randy Savage Pin
   The Red Rooster 7:21  
 Marty Jannetty Pin  
 The Red Rooster 11:00  
   The Red Rooster Sub
 
   Iron Mike Sharpe 3:27  
 Mike Sharpe1 Pin
 Boris Zhukov 6:27  

1. ^ Mike Sharpe substituted for The Warlord.
2. ^ DiBiase paid Bass off to fake an injury.[2]

1989Edit

The tournament was held on October 14, 1989 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The tournament brackets were:

  First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
                                     
 Akeem    
 Brutus Beefcake    
   Akeem    
 
   BYE    
 Hercules DDQ
 Jim Neidhart DDQ  
   Akeem    
   Tito Santana    
 The Warlord    
 Bushwhacker Butch    
   The Warlord  
 
   Tito Santana    
 Tito Santana  
 Bad News Brown    
   Tito Santana  
   Rick Martel  
 Rick Martel    
 Bill Woods1    
   Rick Martel  
 
   Bushwhacker Luke    
 Bushwhacker Luke  
 Nikolai Volkoff    
   Rick Martel  
   Jimmy Snuka    
 Jimmy Snuka    
 The Barbarian    
   Jimmy Snuka  
 
   Haku    
 Haku  
 The Red Rooster    

1. ^ Bill Woods substituted for Barry Windham.

1991Edit

The tournament was held on September 7, 1991 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The tournament brackets were:

  First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
                                     
 Hawk DQ  
 Jerry Sags 3:02  
   Jerry Sags    
 
   BYE    
 Ricky Steamboat Draw
 Ted DiBiase 15:00  
   Jerry Sags Pin  
   Irwin R. Schyster 1:22  
 Jim Duggan Pin  
 Brian Knobbs 5:04  
   Jim Duggan Pin
 
   Irwin R. Schyster 3:16  
 The Berzerker CO
 Irwin R. Schyster 2:51  
   Irwin R. Schyster Pin
   Bret Hart 10:00
 Pete Doherty1 Sub  
 Bret Hart 0:33  
   Bret Hart Sub
 
   Skinner 4:47  
 Skinner Pin
 Virgil 5:02  
   Bret Hart  
   BYE    
 Sid Justice Pin  
 The Warlord 3:23  
   The Undertaker DDQ
 
   Sid Justice 4:08  
 Animal Pin
 The Undertaker 3:40  

1. ^ Pete Doherty substituted for Kerry Von Erich.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Vermillion, James (2008-04-14). "Return of the King". World Wrestling Entertainment. http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/archive/04142008/articles/6859930. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  2. Ted DiBiase: The Million Dollar Man, p.162, Ted DiBiase with Tom Caiazzo, Pocket Books, New York, NY, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4165-5890-3

External linksEdit

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