Tuesday, February 1, 2011

WWF King of the Ring 1995

WWF King of the Ring 1995
June 25th, 1995
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 16,590

And now we come to this show, what many consider to be a serious candidate for the worst PPV in WWE history and what is generally considered one of the biggest bungles in WWF history with the crowning of King Mabel, who may be better known to younger fans as either Viscera or Big Daddy V. Yes, Vince was still trying to push this useless bastard even way back in 1995. I'll give you one guess as to how the fans reacted to this.

Before the show starts we get some aerial shots over Philadelphia from a random blimp, discussing how tonight we'll crown a new king of the WWF in the birthplace of the American government. Backstage somewhere Stephanie Wiand tells us we're in for a "treat" because this is the Coliseum Home Video version of the event, so we get a Coliseum exclusive match to start us off.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix (Michael Hayes)

King of the Ring Qualifying Match
Savio Vega vs. IRS

This match takes place before the PPV airs on the pre-show and is the final qualifying match for the King of the Ring tournament tonight. Vega had just debuted the month before, saving his buddy Razor Ramon from a beatdown on the hands of Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie. Razor accompanies Vega to the ring and the match starts with a few quick rollups for near falls for Vega. Vega slaps on a headlock and the crowd quickly begins chanting "Boring!". Gotta love those Philly crowds, especially at a time like this when just down the road ECW was making a name for themselves. Scoop slam from IRS but Vega gets the boot up when he tries an elbow off the top. Vega makes the comeback with a snap suplex and then hits a spinning wheel kick to get the quick victory at 3:59. Nothing dark match that was just thrown on the tape to kill a few minutes as a "bonus". ¼*

Now we're on to the actual live event.

King of the Ring Quarterfinals Match
Yokozuna vs. Savio Vega

Vega just qualified to face Yokozuna a few minutes ago by defeating IRS, so he's at even more of a disadvantage then he already was with Yoko's size. Yoko waves the Japanese flag for some cheap heat but Savio flys his own combination of the US and Puerto Rican flags to get the crowd firmly behind him as the crowd starts with a big "USA!" chant. Yoko dominates the start with big elbows, easily countering out of Vega's attempts to apply a wristlock. Hendrix mentions that Yoko has officially broken Haystacks Calhoun WWF record for weighing the most. There's a record to be proud of. Vega misses a spinning heel kick and gets beaten down in the corner. Backstage we see Owen Hart in his sharpest suit yelling into a telephone, advertising the WWF Hotline. Why would I want to pay money to have someone yell at me? Back in the ring Yoko continues to dominate, applying a nerve-hold for a bit and then tossing Savio out to the floor. Back in the ring Vega starts laying chops into Yoko, but he puts a stop to that with a forearm and follows it up with a scoop slam. He misses the legdrop though and Vega is getting pumped up as the crowd chants "USA!" loudly. He tries taking Yoko down with a few clotheslines but he can't take him down, so he hits the big spinning heel kick to finally take him down. Owen Hart makes his way down to the ring suddenly though and attacks Razor on the outside. Yoko and Savio brawl on the outside while Razor and Owen get into it. The ref starts applying the count and Vega slides back in just in time to win the match via countout and advance to the next round at 8:24. Another nothing match here that was just a way to advance Vega over an impressive opponent without having to actually have Yoko (a tag champion) lose cleanly. Well below average though. ½*

Backstage Jerry Lawler shows off his disgusting foot that he hopes to have Bret Hart kiss later tonight after their "Kiss My Foot" match. Might want to get that thing checked out King.

King of the Ring Quarterfinals Match
The Roadie vs. Bob Holly

Roadie beat Doink to get here while Holly beat Mantaur (yes, Mantaur) to get here. With victories like that these guys have got to be considered the favorites! Match starts off with a quick powerslam from Holly for a two count who tries to follow up with a series of rollups, but he can't keep Roadie down and the Roadie bails to the outside for a breather with Double J, who is wearing a ghastly shiny red vest. Lockup back inside and Roadie gets a few cheap shots in the corner. They trade shoulderblocks off the ropes and then armdrags as both men are really bouncing around at a fast pace. Hard to believe there was a time when Hardcore Holly and the Road Dogg were flying around the ring like cruiserweights. Holly tries a frankensteiner but eats a big powerbomb from Roadie instead. Jarrett cheers the Roadie on as he whips Holly hard into the turnbuckle and struts to celebrate. Roadie locks on a chinlock for a bit but gets rolled up again for another two count. Roadie shows off his hilarious mid-90s urban "dance moves" for a bit and only gets a two count because of it. Crowd, shockingly, starts a small "Holly" chant but it dies quickly. Roadie signals for a piledriver but gets backdropped instead. Big headscissors takedown from Bob Holly! Yes, Bob Holly was once known for his agility. He follows it up with a big dropkick and Holly is all fired up now. Another big powerslam gets Holly a two count. Holly fights off a superplex attempt but eats a boot from Roadie on a splash attempt and covers him for what appears to be a possibly botched 3 count at 7:11. Finish looked botched with the ref unsure of the 3 count and Holly technically kicking out. Before that though this was actually pretty good with two young guys bouncing around at high speeds. This would have been a MUCH better choice for an opener instead of Yoko-Vega. **½

Backstage Shawn Michaels, who everyone in the world basically just assumed was going to easily win the King of the Ring this year and get his main event babyface push, says a few words to Todd Pettingill, leading us into our next King of the Ring quarterfinals match-up.

King of the Ring Quarterfinals Match
Shawn Michaels vs. Kama

HBK qualified by defeating King Kong Bundy in a shockingly good match on Raw 5 weeks back while Kama defeated Duke "The Dumpster" Droese to qualify. Shawn is super over here, this being the start of his first singles babyface run after being the cowardly heel ever since the Rockers break-up. Quick lockup to start and Shawn gets a few right hooks in, seemingly taking a page from Kama "The Supreme Fighting Machine"'s playbook. Shawn skins the cat back into the ring and then sends Kama flying to the outside, igniting the crowd who are finally really into a match tonight. Everyone fully expects this match to just be a formality to advance HBK. Back in the ring Michaels works on Kama's arm for a bit but eats a vicious kick and is clotheslined to the outside himself. Kama distracts the ref a bit here while Ted DiBiase lays in some cheapshots on the outside. Kama rams Michaels into the ringpost and taunts the crowd while the ref starts the count. Former boxing Heavyweight champ Joe Frazier is shown watching on in the crowd, though he appears almost crosseyed and completely uninterested. In the front row you can visibly see some of the ECW regulars in their usual seats, hat-guy and sign-guy are in the building folks! Kama throws on a half Boston crab and lays in some shots on Michael's lower back, apparently trying to re-injure Shawn's back after he was taken out of action for a month by a few powerbombs from Sid. Kama lays some more shots into Shawn in the corner and HBK continues to play the babyface in peril. Kama holds Shawn up in a torture rack for a big but Shawn counters and backdrops Kama for a near fall. Shawn does his usual flip-over-the-apron spot as he's tossed into the corner, which gives DiBiase another chance to lay in some cheap shots. Shawn makes it back ineliminated with the draw at 15:00. Shawn mouthes "BULLSHIT", and the crowd could not agree more as this is the point in the show where the Philly crowd realizes Shawn, the favorite/only viable option for the King of the Ring push, is done and they immediately begin to turn on this show from this point on. Match wasn't bad as Shawn did his best to make it interesting, but there's only so much he can do with a guy who's offense consists entirely of punches, kicks, and restholds. The first big mistake of the night. **¼

Somewhere in Philly Backlund is out campaigning for his presidential campaign. This was some really out-there stuff as you legitimately had to wonder about Backlund's mental health at this point.

King of the Ring Quarterfinals Match
Undertaker vs. Mabel

Don't worry though! Undertaker is still in the tournament, so it's not a total write-off now that HBK has been eliminated. Surely Undertaker will win the tournament this year then, right? HUGE pop for 'Taker here, as he somehow managed to remain one of the WWF's most popular wrestlers despite being stuck in midcard hell for several years now at this point. Big staredown between both men to start and the Undertaker gets the first shots in. Undertaker walks the rope early and starts choking Mabel in the corner. Taker gets tied up in the ropes for a bit while Mabel gets some cheap shots in, but Paul Bearer eventually gets him out. At ringside you can clearly head some of the fans in the front (probably the ECW guys) yell at Mabel that he'll never be a king of the ring, NEVER! Damn you Hat Guy, you've jinxed us! Back in the ring Mabel puts on the laziest "camel clutch" I've ever seen, which is basically Mabel just sitting on Undertaker wit his arms weakly wrapped under his chin. Hendrix talks about another time limit draw and I shudder at the mere thought of this match going 15 minutes. They brawl outside briefly but Mabel breaks the count. Back inside a suplex on Taker gets a two count. Mabel hits a piledriver for another two count. That's probably the most difficult move I've ever seen Mabel perform correctly. They knock heads and both men are down for the count as the crowd is dead and this match is simply dragging at this point, having worn out it's welcome minutes ago. Taker starts his usual comeback, chokes in the corner, running clothesline, but he bumps the ref in the process. Taker sort of hits a chokeslam but Kama comes running down to make the save and Mabel drops the leg for the 3 count to advance at 10:44. The crowd is even more pissed now as the only two logical choices to win the tournament in Undertaker and Shawn Michaels have both now been eliminated, and with the Kama-HBK draw, this victory shoots Mabel all the way to the finals of the tournament. Awful, abysmal match that should have been cut in half and managed only to continue to piss the crowd off royally (no pun intended). ¼*

We get some clips of the 1995 WWF Hall of Fame ceremony. This was long before the WWF made this into a big deal and is basically just wrestlers signing autographs in a banquet hall with a bunch of kids. Among the inductees are Ernie Ladd, Pedro Morales, Antonino Rocco and Ivan Putski.

Backstage Roadie and Jarrett give a few words to Todd Pettingill before Roadie's next King of the Ring tournament match. During the interview he even refers to himself as the Road Dog.

King of the Ring Semi-Finals Match
Savio Vega vs. The Roadie

Vega is already in the ring, which doesn't make him look like much of a threat here. Roadie gets some nice heat here as he was basically the only reason Jarrett was able to get over finally in 1995. They trade blows to start and Vega launches Roadie to the outside quickly. Vega has his own initials shaved into the back of his head, dating this shown even more for future generations to laugh at. Back in the ring Vega slaps on a wristlock for a bit. Dok Hendrix wonders if Vega stole his hubcaps off of his car before the show, which is just downright funny when you think about Hayes long-rumoured racism behind-the-scenes. Roadie takes the upper hand with a few cheap shots and starts choking Vega in the corner. Snapmare and a fistdrop gets Roadie two, but Vega kicks out which the crowd loves. Vega was actually somewhat-over during his early days, entirely because of his association with Razor Ramon who again is at ringside for Savio. Roadie misses a diving headbutt and Vega follows up with a scoop slam and a big boot for another near fall. Jarrett trips Savio up and climbs to the apron, but Vega knees Roadie into Jarrett and rolls him up for the 3 count at 6:36. Let me get this straight, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker didn't make it to the semi-finals, but these two guys did? Match wasn't bad as Roadie was really motivated around this time and bumped his tail off, but it was nothing special.

After the match Savio gives Carlos Cabrera a post-match interview in Spanish, which Hendrix racistly interprets as something about Vega stealing his hubcaps.

Quick recap of the Bret Hart-Jerry Lawler feud which had been going on-and-off since the King's WWF arrival in 1993.

Kiss My Foot Match
Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler

Lockup to start and Bret starts laying in shots to the King, sending him outside quickly and following him in order to slam him into the steel guardrail. Back in the ring the King counters with not one, not two, but THREE piledrivers on Bret! I believe in Memphis that legally means you're deceased. Instead of covering though King celebrates and taunts the crowd, working them into a frenzy. You've got to give King credit for being able to get this much heat from a crowd that has been screwed over and pissed off all night long. Bret kicks out at two after King finally goes for the cocky cover. Lawler takes off his boot now and displays his disgusting foot which looks like it has mold on it. He nails Bret with the boot behind the ref's back but only gets another two count. Bret starts to make the comeback now with a headbutt to Lawler's midsection and a series of right hands. Lawler smacks Hart in the face with his boot again in the corner, in plain view of the ref, who does nothing. O-kay then. Kneedrop gets another two for King and he's starting to get frustrated now. He tries to rack Bret around the steel post but instead is flung into it. Hakushi and Shinja suddenly run to the ringside and Shinja distracts the ref while Hakushi attempts to nail Bret, but Bret moves and he hits Lawler instead! Back in the ring Bret initiates the Five (or rather four in this case) Moves of Doom sequence; Russian leg sweep, backbreaker, elbow from the second rope and finally the sharpshooter which the King quickly submits to at 9:20 to a big pop. Another subpar match between these two as this was a hot feud that never seemed to quite deliver when the time came for the actual matches (aside from their very good Summerslam '93 match). Pretty average stuff really.

After the match Hakushi accidentally nails the King again and Bret takes off his boot and sticks his toes right down in the King's mouth. That's legitimately disgusting considering they just wrestled a match. This would set up Lawler bringing in his "evil" dentist Isaac Yankem DDS over the summer to try and exact revenge on the Hitman.

We get a saccharine little video package about the WWF helping out with the Special Olympics.

King of the Ring Finals Match
Mabel vs. Savio Vega

Quite the finals match up, eh? We go from guys like Bret and Owen Hart winning this tournament to a finals match between a 500 pound waste of space and a curtain jerker who had only officially debuted a month ago. Apparently we're supposed to care because this is some kind of Cinderella story for Vega, as he wasn't even supposed to be in the tournament in the first place but now he's in the finals. Crowd is dead, rightfully so. Savio gets in a few punches and clotheslines Mabel out to the floor. Back in the ring Mabel decides to piss us off even more by immediately putting Vega into one of the weakest bearhugs I've ever seen. Mabel isn't even lifting Vega up either, he's just bending over meekly with his arms dangled around Vega's waist half-heartedly. My god that is just embarrassing to watch. The World's Worst bearhug goes on for an excruciatingly long time until finally after what seems like ages Mabel breaks it. But what does Mabel do here? Why slap on a chinlock of course! Because this match clearly needed another resthold, obviously. You could hear a pin drop in this arena it's so dead. Not even Razor Ramon can get the crowd into it on the outside. This crowd is officially pissed and a HUGE "ECW!" chant breaks out as the Philly fans are officially in a stage of revolt at this point they're so pissed with this show. It's things like this match that led to ECW's popularity, so Vince only had himself to blame for their abysmal buyrates that summer. Mabel finishes with a splash a few moments later at 8:32, finally mercifully ending this sham of a match. There are no words to describe how stupid of a decision this was and how bad of a match it resulted in. The only interesting thing about the entire match was the 20 seconds the Spectrum was chanting for ECW. There is only one suitable rating for this match and entire angle, and that is simply a DUD.

After the match Mabel beats down Razor Ramon for a bit until the 1-2-3 Kid comes out, only to be quickly taken out by Mabel. Normally beating down two of your best babyfaces would get you over as a heel, but this crowd just wants Mabel to leave the fucking ring and I don't blame them. He and Mo do their shitty little crowning ceremony while fans begin pelting Mabel with trash on the throne, not because he's over as a heel, but because they can't believe this talentless fat hunk of shit has won the King of the Ring and undoubtedly will only be pushed down their throats even more over the summer.

Unfortunately however, we aren't done yet. Backstage Ted DiBiase, Sycho Sid, and Tatanka cut a promo on Diesel. Let's just get this show over with as I'm not sure how much more I can take.

Diesel/Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Sid/Tatanka

Sid and Diesel had been feuding for a few months now and Bam Bam had recently left DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation to turn face, so that sets up this match which apparently Vince thought was good enough to main event a major PPV. Diesel and Bam Bam immediately take it to Sid and Tatanka, sending them outside before the match even officially begins. Back in the ring Diesel and Tatanka officially start us off, and what follows can only be described as a painfully boring and excruciatingly long wrestling match. The first five minutes of this match is basically just the heels working on Diesel's arm and trading frequent tags, isolating him in their corner. This goes on for a quite awhile until Bam Bam gets the hot tag and starts kicking all kinds of ass. Sid eats a DDT and Bigelow is over big time here. If it weren't for the backstage politics of the Kliq at the time, Bigelow could have been a big babyface draw for this company after all of his post-Wrestlemania 11 momentum. Bigelow climbs to the second rope but Sid chokeslams him back down to the mat. Bigelow plays the babyface-in-peril for awhile here now until eventually he gets the hot tag to Diesel who starts tossing elbows around. Scoop slam on Sid and an elbow drop, but it's Diesel's injured elbow so he can't capitalize and has to tag Bigelow back in. Tatanka lays in a few shots and then slaps a chinlock on Bam Bam. Yay, more restholds. Bigelow starts to make the comeback though and tags in a rejuvenated Big Daddy Cool. Diesel completely demolishes Tatanka with a huge boot and a Jackknife powerbomb, but he doesn't go for the cover because he wants Sid. Sid wants none of Diesel though and he simply walks off, abandoning Tatanka in the ring who gets pinned seconds later by Diesel after an elbow to mercifully finish this match and this show at 17:35. Yet another painfully dull match. They did your basic babyfaces-in-peril formula tag but there were too many restholds and the crowd was too far gone at this point to give a shit anymore. A bad main event for a bad PPV. ½*

Bottom Line: This is unquestionably one of the worst PPVs, ever. Phrases like that get thrown out alot, but this is truly deserving of the (dis)honor. The WWF was already hurting financially at this time and instead of pushing Shawn who was clearly their next big main event babyface or the Undertaker who had remained over throughout countless awful feuds Vince instead decided to give the big push to Mabel, who couldn't wrestle a quality match or get over in any way if his life depended on it. The fans were PISSED and you can't blame them as Vince was just flat-out ignoring what they wanted. The Mabel push would continue throughout the summer, giving us the terrible Diesel-Mabel feud before Vince would finally realize Mabel was NEVER going to work and he pulled the plug. This show has it all really---terrible wrestling AND booking! Strongest recommendation to avoid, an emphatic Thumbs Down for King of the Ring 1995. Avoid at all costs.

Score: 2/10


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