Classic Wrestling Review: King of the Ring ’94

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

King of the Ring

June 19, 1994

Baltimore Arena

Baltimore, Maryland

News & Notes: The summer of ‘94 was not a great time for Vince McMahon. The steroid trial was about to begin and Hulk Hogan signed with the competition. Then, Vince also needed neck surgery to repair some herniated discs. Most speculate that Vince timed this surgery so he would appear in court wearing a neck brace. He felt it would garner sympathy from the jurors. Vince would not do commentary on this PPV because of the surgery. Randy Savage would return to the booth now his feud with Crush ended and he would join Gorilla Monsoon. However, they would have a special guest joining them for this broadcast, but I will get to him in a moment.

There are two main feuds for this show as well as the King of the Ring tournament. First, Diesel won the Intercontinental Title from Razor Ramon with Shawn Michaels’ help. Shawn was taking his usual summer break and wasn’t wrestling. He appeared on TV to host an interview segment called The Heartbreak Hotel, but it was Diesel’s turn for a singles push. The title win earned Diesel a shot at Bret Hart’s WWF Title. Diesel sent a message to Bret by giving him a Jackknife powerbomb on The King’s Court. Bret responded to the attack by saying he would have a family member in his corner to counter Shawn Michaels’ presence, but he wouldn’t reveal the identity until the PPV.

The second feud is between Jerry Lawler and Roddy Piper. Lawler’s comments about Piper at Mania came back to bite him. Piper took offense, so Lawler began mocking him even more. He brought out a skinny kid dressed as Piper, who did a decent imitation. The kid pretended to be afraid of Lawler and even kissed Jerry’s feet. Piper responded with pre-taped comments where he promised revenge and pledged all his earnings to a children’s hospital in Toronto. Lawler, in true slimy heel fashion, mocked the sick children.

There are a few more notes I want to discuss before I begin. First, Earthquake left the WWF again after disagreeing about losing a feud to Yokozuna. He would soon surface in WCW with a new name. Also, Jacques Rougeau left the WWF, which meant the end of the Quebecers. They lost the Tag Titles to the Headshrinkers first, but they are gone now. Their manager, Johnny Polo, would remain for a few more months before he would be released and head to ECW to become Raven. Finally, I have some good news and some sad news. The good news is Vince would be so frustrated by the commentary on this show that he rehired Jim Ross. The sad news is this is the last PPV for referee Joey Marella. Joey would fall asleep at the wheel and tragically die in a car wreck two weeks after this event. He was the son of Gorilla Monsoon, and many say that Gorilla was never the same afterward.

We begin with a shot of downtown Baltimore. Gorilla Monsoon talks about the King of the Ring in the past tense because this is the Coliseum Home Video release. I’m unsure why they uploaded this version instead of the PPV broadcast. Gorilla introduces a segment from earlier in the day. Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart, Bam Bam Bigelow, and IRS argue over who is going to win the tournament and they rearrange their names on the bracket board. IRS manages not to utter the words “Tax cheats” once. I am impressed.

Then, Todd Pettengill welcomes us to the show and talks about the Superstars trying to become King of the Ring. He runs down the brackets of the tournament while they show clips of the competitors. The clips include Razor Ramon performing the Razors Edge on a young Matt Hardy with a buzz cut hairstyle. Todd also talks about the rest of the card including the WWF Title Match, the Tag Team Title Match, and Piper vs. Lawler. The highlights involve Yokozuna & Crush nearly killing a jobber with a double chokeslam and Roddy Piper cutting a very shouty promo from his living room. Todd then finishes by calling it the most regal of nights in the WWF.

Next, Bill Dunn introduces the lead guitarist and singer from the band Blackfoot, Rickey Medlocke. He’s there to sing the national anthem. I’m not too familiar with Blackfoot, but Rickey was also a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd on more than one occasion. He must not have had an ear monitor because he was slightly off-key and possibly a bit drunk. This was not a good performance. It’s not the worst I’ve ever heard, but I was glad when he was done. The crowd seems to like it well enough. The fans popped during odd moments of the song, so I wonder if something was happening in the stands during the performance.

Then, we are introduced to the commentators for the event. Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage are with Baltimore football legend, Art Donovan. Monsoon mistakenly introduces him as Art O’Donnell, but he soon corrects himself. Donovan clearly has never watched wrestling and spends the night asking random questions and making odd observations. His go-to question is, “How much does this guy weigh?” You would think Art was running the weight guessing game at a carnival. Gorilla asks Art who he thinks will win the tournament and Donovan picks Razor Ramon. I’m sure he was told to say that because I doubt Art knows the difference between Razor Ramon and a Gillette razor. Gorilla then asks Macho for a prediction on the WWF Title Match, and Savage says Diesel will win.

Quarterfinals:

Razor Ramon vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Luna Vachon)

Notes: During the entrances, Gorilla asks Art if he remembers Bam Bam going to the finals the previous year. I highly doubt he does, but we can’t hear Art’s response. Someone forgot to turn up his mic—or they did it on purpose. Gorilla mentions that Razor defeated Kwang and Bam Bam beat Thurman Sparky Plugg to qualify. Those sound like thrilling matches. Luna gets in Razor’s face and screams at him, so Razor throws his toothpick at her. Bam Bam takes offense to that and attacks.

Art Donovan Highlights: Some of the violence makes him squeamish, so Savage tells him to hold his hand. Also, he doesn’t understand why Luna keeps screaming. Gorilla explains she’s worried about her man. Then, Art realizes halfway through the match that Razor is the guy he picked to win. Savage says he hopes Art didn’t place any bets, but Art replies, “I don’t have any money.” That’s kind of depressing. He sounded like he was serious.

The Match: Bam Bam controls the match early with shoulder blocks and headbutts, but he misses the flying headbutt. Razor then evades some offense and crotches Bigelow on the post before hitting a diving bulldog. Bam Bam answers by sidestepping Razor and sending him over the ropes. Then, he attacks Ramon’s back and puts him in a torture rack. Razor doesn’t submit, so Bam Bam releases him only for Razor to hit a back suplex. However, Bigelow blocks another one from the top rope and attempts a moonsault, but Razor stops him and slams him into the ring for the win.

Thoughts: This was a decent opener. They kept it just the right length and told a nice little story with Bam Bam working Razor’s back. You knew Ramon wasn’t hitting the Razors Edge on someone Bigelow’s size, so the finish was a good alternative. Bam Bam controlled enough of the match to look strong in defeat and Razor took enough of a beating to have some adversity to overcome throughout the night. The match did everything it needed to do to set the tone going forward.

Winner: Razor Ramon (8:24)

Todd is backstage with Mabel and IRS. They’re in front of what Pettengill calls the KORB, which stands for King of the Ring Board. I have a feeling Vince came up with that knowing how lame it would sound coming from Todd. IRS interrupts Todd to say he’s going to beat Mabel. He also says he hopes Tatanka makes it to the finals. However, he stumbles over his words and says, “This is the last time—he’ll have to—face IRS.” I guess he’s lost when he’s not talking about tax cheats. He’s out of his element. He then tells Mabel he will see him in the ring and leaves in shame. Mabel responds IRS better not worry about Razor. He should worry about M to the A to the B-E-L. He starts to say more, but Oscar butts in to discuss IRS and Razor. Mabel continues where he left off and says he will beat IRS. Then, he calls himself the real Bad Guy before miming throwing a toothpick.

Quarterfinals:

Irwin R. Schyster vs. Mabel (w/ Oscar)

Notes: IRS finally cuts his tax cheat promo on the way to the ring. He yells at some kid about his social security number and tells the cameraman to get out of his face. Then, Oscar raps Mabel to the ring. He sounds out of breath and calls it King of the King before correcting himself. Gorilla even tries getting in on the rap, but he thankfully stops. On a side note, Gorilla made me chuckle during this match because he apparently thinks the phrase is, “Whoops, there it is.” I guess he thinks Mabel is a mistake. He’s not wrong.

Art Donovan Highlights: He asks if IRS is one of the wrestlers because he looks like a businessman. Then, he asks if he’s going to wrestle in all his clothes. He also asks how much Mabel weighs and says it’s unfair because IRS weighs half that. Then, he doesn’t recognize Oscar despite watching the entrances. He thinks he’s there to take them to the hospital because he’s wearing a white suit.

The Match: IRS misses a corner charge and Mabel rams him into the turnbuckles. Mabel then dances a lot while controlling the match with slams, a suplex, and an elbow drop. IRS answers by sending Mabel to the floor with a knee in the back and then hits the Write-Off (Jumping clothesline). He only gets a two-count, and Mabel surprises him with a slow roll-up, but it doesn’t work. Then, IRS slows the match down with a long chinlock until Mabel backs him into a corner. Mabel is clearly winded, but he hits a back drop and nearly botches a sidewalk slam. He does manage to climb the turnbuckles, but IRS shakes him loose and makes a sloppy cover for the win. He grabs hold of the ropes, but it doesn’t look like it would add much leverage.

Thoughts: This was bad. Mabel was quickly out of breath and botching moves. IRS was using chinlocks in a match that barely went five minutes. Also, the finish was sloppy. I don’t know who thought these two would have a decent bout. They kept it mercifully short, but even that wasn’t enough to save it.

Winner: IRS (5:34)

Next, they show a Coliseum exclusive of Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji talking strategy with Crush & Yokozuna. Cornette berates the cameraman for being late and says Fuji has his team prepared. Fuji tells them he wants the tag team belts on both of them. Then, Cornette thinks the cameraman has seen enough and tells him to leave. He doesn’t move, so Crush & Yokozuna threaten him while Cornette continues yelling. This was kind of pointless, and I was disappointed that Cornette’s promo was short. Fuji said more than he did.

Quarterfinals:

Owen Hart vs. Tatanka

Notes: Tatanka had to wrestle Crush twice to qualify. Their first bout ended in a double count-out, so they had a Lumberjack Match. However, Lex Luger cost Crush the match because the two of them were feuding. Savage talks about Tatanka beating Crush to get into the tournament. Then, he says Owen will need a psychiatrist if he doesn’t win King of the Ring. Also, during the match, they show Razor and IRS arguing backstage.

Art Donovan Highlights: Art asks how much Tatanka weighs despite Bill Dunn announcing it. Gorilla and Savage ignore him, so he asks again and Randy finally answers. Art also exclaims they’re killing each other after Owen hits a missile dropkick. Gorilla eventually pretends he can’t hear Art when he makes his odd comments. Finally, Art jokes there will be a lot of Indians mad if Tatanka loses.

The Match: Tatanka surprisingly jumps Owen early. You would almost think they were building to a Tatanka heel turn or something. He whips Owen around the ring until Owen rakes the eyes. However, Tatanka answers with a hip toss and an arm drag. The fight then spills to the floor and Owen sends Tatanka into the post. Next, Owen does a gut-wrench suplex and a missile dropkick. Tatanka eventually shakes off Owen’s attacks and does a war dance. He gives Owen a DDT and a running powerslam, but neither get the win. Then, Tatanka tries a sunset flip, but Owen sits on him for the win.

Thoughts: This was a fun well-paced match. The crowd was hot for it. I liked the finish because it was a call-back to the Mania match with Bret. It shows that Owen is crafty enough to pull out a win from anywhere. Plus, it doesn’t make Tatanka look weak because he controlled much of the contest. Both men looked good in this bout.

Winner: Owen Hart (8:18)

Todd is backstage with Diesel and Shawn Michaels. Shawn chews his gum in Todd’s face and Pettengill looks legitimately annoyed. He introduces a clip of Diesel giving Bret Hart the Jackknife on The King’s Court. Bret claims it was one of the most painful experiences of his life. Shawn shows mock concern over what happened and Diesel says he has two words for Bret, Jack Knife. I’m pretty sure that’s one word. Kevin Nash seems to have issues with grammar. This isn’t as bad as his adjective blunder, but it’s close. Diesel warns Bret it will happen again and then says he will have the other belt on his shoulder after the match. Todd then asks if they’re concerned about the family member in Bret’s corner. Shawn says they aren’t because no one gets along in the Hart family. He’s not wrong. Shawn then predicts a Diesel victory before Todd sends it back to ringside.

Quarterfinals:

The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Jeff Jarrett

Notes: Jeff Jarrett makes his entrance wearing sunglasses with blinking lights on them. Savage jokes it’s the closest to the bright lights he will ever get. Jarrett’s entrance has enough flashing to cause a seizure. It should come with a warning. Gorilla says that Jarrett predicted victory, which he calls stupid. During the Kid’s entrance, the WWF shows off their new light filters as they project the numbers 1-2-3 onto the floor. It’s a nice touch and shows that they’ve upgraded their production values a bit.

Art Donovan Highlights: He points out that neither the Kid nor Jarrett are very big. I’m guessing Vince told him to say that. He also admires Jarrett’s tan and says the Kid looks like a boxer. I’m unsure why he thinks boxer when he sees him. At one point, Art thinks the Kid is going to get murdered. Also, Art randomly calls Double J a cutie. I think he might be interested.

The Match: The Kid scares Jarrett with some kicks, but Jeff attacks the leg. He whips the Kid hard into the corner and fends off a roll-up before continuing the attack. However, Jarrett misses a dropkick and the Kid attempts a Victory Roll. Jarrett responds with a slingshot suplex and a weak-looking flying fist drop. Jarrett was never good at that move. Then, the Kid fires back with a wheel kick, but he misses a swanton bomb. Jarrett tries to attack the Kid on the ropes, but he crotches himself much to Art’s amusement. He recovers and attempts a superplex, but the Kid blocks that and does a flying cross body. The Kid then attempts another wheel kick, but Jarrett sidesteps him and attacks the leg. Jarrett then goes for the Figure Four, but the Kid hooks him in a small package for the win.

Thoughts: This was an entertaining and fast-paced match. It did a good job of building the Kid as a plucky underdog. It was a simple story of Jarrett’s cockiness backfiring on him, but I like that. It’s better to keep it simple in a short match like this. Plus, the post-match antics help setup the story going forward.

Winner: The 1-2-3 Kid (4:39)

After the match, Jarrett attacks the Kid and gives him three piledrivers. Jarrett shoves the officials, but they finally stop his attack after a few fist drops. Art jokes they need to call in the Marines and wonders why the officials aren’t doing more to stop him. Don’t point out plot holes, Art. Then, Savage says, “Double J, you’re infamous and that doesn’t mean famous. It means infamous.” Well said, Randy.

Next, Gorilla and Savage talk about the remaining competitors while ignoring Art. Then, they show a commercial for The New Generation. It contrasts footage of old cars and planes with clips of race cars and fighter jets. It also calls guys like Hogan, Andre, and The Iron Sheik old while branding Razor, Tatanka, The 1-2-3 Kid, and others as new. This is clearly a shot at Hogan for joining WCW. Vince never passes an opportunity to be petty. However, I’m surprised they included Andre. They recently made him the first inductee in the Hall of Fame after he died.

Meanwhile, Todd is with Bret Hart. He talks about the Jackknife and says it must have been painful. He also decides to be a jerk and shows Bret the footage. It takes a moment to air the clip, so Todd nearly moves on from it. Bret says he doesn’t know if he can kick out after the move, but Diesel is a long way from doing it again. He also confuses the words underestimate and overestimate. Bret recovers well enough from the flub to talk about Diesel’s size. Then, Bret says he doesn’t duck anyone and can beat anybody, but he kind of botches that line too. Next, Todd asks Bret about the family member in his corner, but Bret won’t tell him. He talks about Shawn Michaels and says he’s been the victim of injustice before, but it won’t happen again. Oh, I’ve got bad news for you, Bret.

WWF Title Match: Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels) vs. Bret Hart (c) (w/ Jim Neidhart)

Notes: Gorilla and Savage speculate about Bret’s family member. Gorilla thinks it might be one of the brothers or even Stu. That would have been amusing. However, it ends up being Bret’s brother-in-law and former tag partner, Jim the Anvil Neidhart. Meanwhile, some fan in the background has a sign that reads, “Greaseball.” Was that aimed at Bret? I know his hair is usually wet, but that’s a bit mean. Bret kisses the belt before handing it to Earl Hebner, but Shawn grabs it and lets Diesel hold it while Bret gives his shades to a fan. Also, I should point out that Diesel wrestles this match with a torn groin, so he deserves some props.

Art Donovan Highlights: He asks if Shawn Michaels is one of the wrestlers. Also, he thinks the cornermen will fight each other. He’s not wrong. Then, Art is impressed by Neidhart, so Savage points out that Jim used to play in the NFL. Before the match starts, Shawn Michaels talks trash to Savage, so Art offers to get undressed and be Randy’s second. I’m starting to wonder about Art. First, he calls Jarrett a cutie and now he wants to get undressed and go after Michaels. Finally, Art compares this match to David and Goliath. Gorilla says we know what happened in that story and Art replies, “Yeah, he hit him with a rock!”

The Match: The match starts as a slug-fest that Diesel wins until Bret works the leg. He controls the match and locks Diesel in a Figure Four, but Diesel makes it to the ropes. Bret even uses a spinning toe hold, but Diesel shoves him to the floor. Then, Bret wraps Diesel’s legs around the post, but Shawn clotheslines Bret when the ref is distracted. Anvil chases him at high speed until the ref stops him, but the damage is done. Diesel takes over after Bret misses a slingshot cross body and he works on Bret’s back. He hits a side slam and a backbreaker and even uses a bear hug. Next, he uses a Canadian Backbreaker while Shawn has trouble removing a turnbuckle pad. Bret attempts to fight back with a sleeper, but it doesn’t work and Diesel sends Bret crashing into the ref. Diesel then uses the opening to finally remove the buckle pad, but Bret reverses him into it. Bret then goes into his finishing routine and makes a couple of attempts at the Sharpshooter, but Shawn distracts him. He eventually sends Diesel to the floor where Diesel attacks Anvil. Hebner is distracted by this, so Shawn nails Bret with the IC Title. However, Bret kicks out of the pin. Diesel then hits the Jackknife, but Anvil enters the ring and attacks Diesel for a disqualification.

Thoughts: This was a really good match. Diesel and Bret always had good chemistry together. They told a good story with Bret working the leg for the Sharpshooter and Diesel working the back for the Jackknife. Plus, Shawn and Anvil played their parts well. It also helped that there was a hot crowd. They did a good job of making Diesel look like a contender and leaving the ending open for interpretation. You don’t know if Diesel could have won if Anvil hadn’t interfered. That’s why I have no issue with the finish.

Winner: Diesel (by DQ) (22:51)

After the match, Anvil immediately leaves. Diesel and Shawn attack Bret and Neidhart is nowhere to be found. Savage doesn’t understand why Anvil left. The officials arrive to stop the attack, but Shawn still kicks Bret. Art wants to know the identity of the official in the gray suit. No one answers him, but it’s Rene Goulet, or Worzel, as OSW Review call him. Art also thinks the ref is stealing the WWF Title when he collects it.

Meanwhile, Todd is backstage with Jerry Lawler. Todd tells Jerry, with pseudo-respect, that he finally met someone with a bigger mouth than him. Lawler lets him slide on the insult and then claims the King of the Ring was named after him. He also mocks Art Donovan for mumbling. He says Art’s first job was parking covered wagons. Then, Lawler says Piper has risen from obscurity and says he’s going to knock him into oblivion. He calls Piper the pits and calls himself the undisputed King, which he says is the bottom line. A young Steve Austin takes notes. Todd then talks about how Piper is dedicating his earnings to sick children in Toronto. Lawler mocks the idea and says he’s going to make sure no money goes to sick brats in Canada. Lawler then laughs while Pettengill ends the interview.

Semifinals:

Razor Ramon vs. Irwin R. Schyster

Notes: Razor walks gingerly to the ring while Savage talks about the longer time-limit in the second round. He also asks Gorilla if there’s an update on the 1-2-3 Kid, but Gorilla is interrupted by IRS. He accuses Razor of trying to jump him backstage. He also calls Razor a fools gold wearing, tax fool, tax cheat idiot. IRS can’t catch a break with promos. He’s been off all night.

Art Donovan Highlights: He has to be reminded that this is Razor Ramon. He proved my earlier theory that they told him to pick Razor. He also doesn’t get the logic of IRS using the ropes for leverage. Randy tries to explain it, but you can tell Art isn’t convinced.

The Match: They brawl on the floor, but IRS catches Razor with a knee. Then, IRS flies out of the ring on a missed clothesline and they brawl again. Razor rams IRS into the steps, but IRS counters with an eye-rake. He starts working the leg, but he changes to a chinlock to no one’s surprise. Even Gorilla doesn’t understand. Razor eventually breaks free and whips IRS around the ring before yanking on his tie. Savage calls it the famous tie-hold. Then, IRS answers with the Write-Off, but he doesn’t cover. He makes the mistake of ducking for a back drop, so Razor catches him in a Razors Edge for the win.

Thoughts: This wasn’t good, but they kept it short. I’m unsure why IRS goes for long chinlocks when he knows it’s a short match. He can’t possibly be out of ideas in such a small amount of time. The only good part of the match was the finish. It was impressive to see Razor get a man IRS’s size up for the Razors Edge. At least the correct man won.

Winner: Razor Ramon (5:13)

Next, they go backstage where Bret is looking for Neidhart. He checks in multiple rooms, but he can’t find him. He starts screaming, “Where is he!?” Then, they go to Todd who is adjusting the KORB. He says no one has heard from the 1-2-3 Kid. Is everyone going missing? Why are they having so much trouble finding people?

Semifinals:

Owen Hart vs. The 1-2-3 Kid

Notes: Gorilla and Savage speculate whether or not the Kid will make it to the match. It takes a while for the Kid to emerge when his music plays. They tease that he might not arrive, but he finally emerges. Savage says he’s standing out of respect. The Kid reaches the ring, but Owen nails him with a baseball slide. On a side note, I have to point out a line of Savage’s commentary. It’s one of my favorite Savage-isms. He gives Owen Hart a little credit, but he corrects himself to say, “Not a little bit of credit. A lot of little bit of credit!” Oh, Savage!

Art Donovan Highlights: He asks how much Owen weighs despite hearing it earlier. I don’t think he recognized Owen from the previous match. Savage answers him, but you can tell Gorilla has given up paying attention to Art.

The Match: Owen follows up the baseball slide with a suicide dive and rolls the Kid back into the ring. He then hits a flying splash, but the Kid is still alive. He reverses Owen into the corner for a chest-first bump and does a flying cross body. He also gets another couple of near-falls before both men trade athletic reversals. The Kid hits a spin kick, but Owen answers with an enziguri. Then, the Kid hits more kicks and a Northern Lights Suplex for what appears to be a three-count. However, Owen grabbed the rope and the ref saw it. Owen regroups, so the Kid hits a slingshot somersault senton and they head back inside the ring. Owen catches him in a German Suplex and an overhead belly-to-belly, but the Kid responds with a Victory Roll. Next, they trade more near-falls until Owen catches the Kid on a hurricanrana and hits a powerbomb. Owen then locks him in the Sharpshooter for the win.

Thoughts: This is the perfect example of how you do a short match. It was only three and a half minutes, but they packed a lot into it. It started hot and kept the pace going. You almost wouldn’t know it was so short because they managed to build enough drama in that short time. It didn’t need to be long because of the beating the Kid took earlier. They did a good job of showing he had some fight in him, but he was too hurt. This is how you build sympathy for a character.

Winner: Owen Hart (3:37)

Next, they go to another Coliseum exclusive with Roddy Piper in his locker room. He’s fiddling around with a briefcase that must be full of cocaine because he is out there in this promo! He rambles about taking off his pants first and then forgets the name of Baltimore. Then, he gives Hershey’s some product placement. He also talks about the Piper imitator that Lawler used and mocks Lawler for mentioning Hell Comes to Frogtown to make fun of him. He wishes Lawler would have referenced one of his better movies because he denies doing that film. Next, Piper mutters something about eating flies and pretends to be a frog. I wish I was joking. I have no idea what is happening. Also, he mocks Lawler for being chunky and having no neck. He says to never trust a man with no neck. He calls Lawler King Toady and says it’s time to fight. He says there’s been plenty of kings in the world, like Rodney King, Don King, and King the Dog. However, he says Lawler is going have to pay the Piper, and there’s no such thing as a King. Then, he tells Coliseum to get lost. What was this? It was absurd! I wish we could have heard Art’s reaction.

Tag Team Title Match: The Headshrinkers (c) (w/ Afa & Lou Albano) vs. Crush & Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette)

Notes: The Quebecers were leaving, so they switched the Tag Titles to someone else. Lou Albano appeared on TV and said he was going to lead a new team to the belts. That team was the Headshrinkers. He joined Afa, and the Shrinkers defeated the Quebecers, which turned the Shrinkers into babyfaces. Now, they will face the team of Crush & Yokozuna, who has slipped down the card since losing the WWF title.

Art Donovan Highlights: Art loses his mind when he sees Yokozuna. He asks how much he weighs. Gorilla tells him over 600 pounds, so Art says, “WAH-OH!!” Art is also confused about how many people will wrestle because of all the managers. Art asks if these guys are from the Pacific islands. He doesn’t realize how correct he is because all the competitors are from the Pacific. The Headshrinkers and Yoko are Samoan, and Crush is Hawaiian.

The Match: All four men get in each other’s faces and start brawling. Crush & Yoko whip the Shrinkers into each other, but it doesn’t work. They manage to knock both Crush & Yoko out of the ring and they regroup. Then, Yoko faces Samu, who makes the mistake of trying to slam Yoko. However, he knocks Yoko out of the ring with a thrust kick. Next, Fatu and Crush face-off and Fatu shakes off a facebuster before hitting a piledriver. He also does a diving headbutt, but Fuji hits Fatu with the flag. Crush capitalizes with a piledriver. It’s the night for that move. Yoko also hits a leg drop, which astounds Art Donovan. Crush controls the match with a nerve hold and a slam, but Yoko misses a corner charge. Samu returns and cleans house before the Shrinkers whip Crush & Yoko into each other. Fatu and Yoko end up brawling on the floor and Fatu sends Yoko into the post, but this crotches Samu on the top rope. Crush responds with a superplex that almost turns into a brainbuster and then both Crush & Yoko hit leg drops. However, Lex Luger arrives to confront Crush. He tries ignoring Luger, but Fatu surprises him with a thrust kick for the win.

Thoughts: This was better than I expected given the participants, but it wasn’t great. It was serviceable, but the focus was more on building the Crush/Luger feud. The crowd was up for it, but they’ve been loud all night. In the end, it felt more like time-filler than an important Tag Title defense.

Winners: The Headshrinkers (9:16)

After the match, Crush and Luger brawl on the floor. It spills into the ring and everyone brawls until Crush is knocked outside again. Crush returns, but the numbers are against him. Yoko pulls him to safety, and they leave. It’s a bit odd they would have Crush fight valiantly when he’s outnumbered. That seems more like something they’d do for a babyface. I’m not too keen on a Luger/Crush rivalry. They put Luger into this because the Mr. Perfect feud fell through due to Perfect’s back problems.

Next, Todd is in front of the KORB with Owen Hart. He says Owen has the opportunity to do what Bret did last year. Owen says Bret may have won last year, but he was a loser tonight. Then, Owen sarcastically wishes his dad a happy Father’s Day. Owen leaves, so Todd says the finals will be absolutely awesome. He then throws it back to Gorilla and Savage, but he doesn’t mention poor Art.

Finals:

Owen Hart vs. Razor Ramon

Notes: Everyone talks about their predictions. They show the throne and Savage says it’s all about getting the crown, the throne, and the scepter. Savage also says the words King of the Ring are chilling. I’m not sure why.

Art Donovan Highlights: They have to explain to Art how the tournament works for the third time. You would think he would understand tournaments coming from a sports background. Art seems happy that his pick might win, but he wishes Razor would get rid of his toothpick. Something tells me he will get his wish. Art also changes his pick halfway through the match.

The Match: Razor frustrates Owen with punches while Owen keeps trying to work his arm. Ramon then attempts to catch Owen for a fallaway slam, but he has to settle for a regular one. Then, Owen keeps slapping Razor, but Razor blocks a dropkick and does a catapult. Next, they trade mat holds until Owen surprises Ramon with a wheel kick and locks him in an abdominal stretch. He uses the ropes for leverage, but Razor eventually hits a hip toss and a chokeslam. Razor also does the fallaway slam, but Owen answers with a Russian leg sweep. Owen then goes to the top rope, but Razor catches him and nails a super back suplex. Razor tries to follow up with a Razors Edge, but Owen back drops him out of the ring. Then, Jim Neidhart appears. It looks like he’s going to help Razor—but it’s a swerve! Anvil clotheslines Razor and puts him into the ring where Owen hits a flying elbow for the win.

Thoughts: You could tell both men were pretty tired. They did about as well as can be expected for wrestling three times. It wasn’t a great match, but it was more about the story. This did its job exactly as it should. It built Owen’s character without making Ramon look bad. It’s kind of weak for a tournament final, but the story made up for that fact.

Winner: Owen Hart (6:35)

Gorilla, Savage, and Art are in shock as Owen and Neidhart attack Razor. Bill Dunn announces Owen as the King, but he’s more focused on beating up Ramon. Owen and Anvil hit the Hart Attack and continue kicking him until the officials stop them. The fans chant, “We want Bret.” Meanwhile, Ray Rougeau tries getting a word with Bret. Bret says he can’t believe what just happened, and he has no comment. Savage then presents a theory. He thinks Neidhart made sure Bret retained his title, so Owen could take it from him. Art asks Savage if he and Gorilla acted that way when they wrestled, but they ignore him.

Owen and Neidhart proceed to the platform for the coronation. Todd reads a proclamation about Owen’s grueling tournament rounds and proclaims Owen the 1994 King of the Ring. Owen says he did what he said he would do and tells everyone to give him the respect of a King. Then, Todd says Jack Tunney will do the honors, but Owen says he doesn’t want Tunney. He wants Neidhart to crown him because he’s the only person in his family he can trust. Owen makes Todd get on his knees to salute him while Anvil hands him the scepter, cape, and crown. Owen then takes the mic and says he will now be known as the King of Harts and everyone will remember it with respect.

Then, they show a recap of the Piper/Lawler feud. They show clips of The King’s Court. Lawler compares Piper’s Pit to Jurassic Park, but Piper takes that as a compliment. They keep cutting to pre-taped comments from Piper. He never appeared live. All of his promotion happened in vignettes he filmed at home. Piper takes exception to Lawler mocking the sick children that Piper represents. They also show Lawler introducing a skinny kid who did a Piper imitation. The kid pretended to back out of the match and kissed Lawler’s feet. Piper says he had enough. He also says that when he’s good, he’s dog-gone good and when he’s bad, he’s better.

Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Jerry the King Lawler

Notes: Lawler slowly walks to the ring, and some fans throw trash. Lawler laughs at a few fans including one with a cheap crown. He finally gets a mic when he enters the ring and tells everyone to kiss his feet. He also mocks the Maryland governor. There was an interview with the governor during the live broadcast, but they edited it out because he said he was a Hulk Hogan fan. Then, Lawler mocks Piper again for giving his money to charity. He promises the kids won’t get a dime. Next, Piper enters with a live bagpipe band. He brings out the Piper imitator that Lawler used and gives him one of the fan’s crowns. Next, Piper gets a mic and says his famous line about kicking ass and chewing bubble gum. The Piper imitator then mocks Lawler as well.

Art Donovan Highlights: He talks about how he can’t believe the shape of the wrestlers. He says this during Lawler’s entrance, so I can’t tell if he’s joking about Lawler’s body. He also says Jerry should have been a preacher. That’s a scary thought.

The Match: Piper takes off his kilt and throws it in Lawler’s face before they start brawling. This goes on for a while with comical punches and biting, which Art loves. Lawler tries to regroup, but Piper chases him and holds Jerry so the kid can slap him. Piper keeps sending Lawler to the floor, so Jerry eventually attacks the kid. Piper does his best to protect him, but this gives Lawler the opening to take control. Jerry throws many punches and locks Piper in a sleeper hold, but Piper recovers. He reaches the ropes, but he’s woozy. However, he dares Lawler to keep throwing punches and spits at him. Finally, Piper pokes the eyes and hits a couple of bulldogs. He attempts another one, but Lawler shoves him into the ref. He then digs into his tights for a foreign object and hits Roddy. Then, Lawler covers with his feet on the ropes, but the kid stops him. Lawler tries to retaliate, but Piper awkwardly rolls him up for the win.

Thoughts: This wasn’t good. It stuck out like a sore thumb among the more athletic bouts on this show. It was an anachronism. They spent all night talking about the New Generation and then had a main event between two 40+ year old men. The match was mostly silly brawling. There was some good storytelling, but I couldn’t bring myself to care. I’m don’t like this went on last. The WWF Title Match should have closed the show. I guess the Neidhart swerve was the only reason that match had to go in the middle. It’s a shame.

Winner: Roddy Piper (12:30)

Piper then throws Lawler out of the ring and celebrates with the kid. He lifts him onto his shoulder and poses for the crowd while fireworks explode. Gorilla tells everyone happy Father’s Day and says goodnight.

However, it’s not over. There’s one last Coliseum exclusive. Shawn Michaels is backstage with Diesel, who says he had Bret Hart. Shawn reassures him. He says he got him the Intercontinental Title and will help him get the WWF Title too. Shawn says Diesel proved he’s a one-man wrecking machine and there’s a future for him as long as he’s with the Heartbreak Kid.

The Good:

– Bret/Diesel was good.

– The storytelling was strong on this show.

– Owen Hart put in some great performances.

– The pacing for the show was great.

– Art Donovan was highly amusing.

The Bad:

– The Tag Title Match felt like filler.

– Two dull IRS matches.

– The main event was bad.

Performer of the Night: I have to give it to Owen Hart. This was his night and he put on some good matches. Plus, his storylines were good.

Final Thoughts: If you take away the main event, this is a very solid show. It’s a shame it ended on a bad note, but I don’t think it ruined it. I know I’m in the minority as far as Art Donovan, but I thought he was hilarious. He genuinely seemed impressed by what he saw. He simply didn’t know how to express it in a coherent manner.

Thank you for reading. You can like and follow the Facebook page for this blog here and the Twitter page here. You can also buy t-shirts here.

My next review will be ECW’s Hostile City Showdown ‘94. Look for it next Saturday.

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I am chronologically reviewing all the pre-network era WWF/WCW/ECW PPVs from Starrcade '83 to WrestleMania 30. Join me on this journey every Saturday!
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