WWE’s Crown Jewel event is now just over a week away, featuring the World Cup tournament to determine the best Superstar in the world! Today, we’re going back to check out another WWE tournament from days past, the 1995 King Of The Ring! After having a Hart take the crown two years in a row, but now we’re guaranteed to have a new King! Who will step up to the throne for the third annual pay-per-view? Let’s find out!
Open: Stephanie Wiand is introduces us to our first King Of The Ring qualifying match, a Coliseum Video exclusive that took place on Sunday Night Slam before the pay-per-view broadcast.
Match #1 – King Of The Ring Qualifying Match: Irwin R. Schyster w/’The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase vs. Savio Vega w/Razor Ramon
Irwin avoids the opening lock-up and goes to the breadbasket with a kick, tries to pick Savio up for a body slam, Vega counters with a small package and gets a quick count of 2. Hit hits the ropes and swings wildly with a clothesline, Schyster goes under it, ducks down for a back body drop, Savio counters with a sunset flip and gains another 2 count. IRS quickly puts the boots to him to stop the momentum, shoots him into the corner and follows in, Vega side-steps it, utilizes a schoolboy and finds another count of 2.
He hooks on a side headlock and brings Irwin to the mat, Schyster works back to a vertical base, pushes him away to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder block. Savio hits the ropes, blocks a hip toss and delivers one of his own, follows with a dropkick, lateral press and he still only gets 2. He goes right back to the side headlock, IRS dumps him to the outside, Razor keeps DiBiase away from Vega, Irwin climbs outside and rolls Savio back into the squared circle. He plants Vega with a body slam and goes to the top turnbuckle, comes down for a double axe and Savio gets the boot up, scores with right hands and sends him to the ropes for a back elbow.
He hits a snap suplex for a near fall, whips IRS back to the ropes for a big boot, Schyster hangs on to avoid it and rolls out of the ring, then starts to walk off to the back. Savio goes out after him and throws Irwin back inside, gets caught sliding into the ring with boots, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Vega connects with the Caribbean Kick and makes the cover to qualify.
Winner: Savio Vega (Caribbean Kick)
- EA’s Take: There’s really nothing exciting about this one. Savio had debuted the month prior at the inaugural In Your House, aiding Ramon as he was being beaten down by Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie. He previously worked under a mask as Kwang, however the gimmick was very poorly received and ultimately dropped, allowing Vega to be more like himself. Originally, Razor was supposed to be in this spot, however was unable to compete due to injury. Interesting note: the two guys opening the doors of the entrance ramp for the Superstars to enter the arena are actually Matt and Jeff Hardy.
Match #2 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: WWF Tag Team Champion Yokozuna w/James E. Cornette & Mr. Fuji vs. Savio Vega w/Razor Ramon
Yokozuna gets some instruction from Fuji after the bell, they tie-up and Savio hooks in a side headlock, gets pushed away to the ropes and subsequently knocked down by a big shoulder block. They lock-up again and The Mighty One backs Vega to the ropes, scores with stinging chops, shoots him to the ropes for a clothesline, Savio ducks under it, but runs into a back elbow. He looks to follow with an elbow drop and nobody’s home, Vega quickly grabs a wristlock, Yoko forces him back into the corner, but Savio fires away with right hands and rams him head-first into the top turnbuckle multiple times.
The Mighty One staggers out, Vega hits the ropes for the Caribbean Kick, Yokozuna avoids it, then stomps away. He tosses Savio into the corner and unloads with a barrage of fists, climbs to the 2nd rope for the Banzai Drop, but Vega wisely rolls across the ring to escape. He tries to fire back with chops and gets rocked by a headbutt, Yoko chokes him on the top rope, snapmares Savio over and then grasps a nerve hold to the trap muscle. Vega starts to fade and the referee checks the arm, Savio is able to hold it up on the third attempt, works to his feet and breaks free with elbows to the breadbasket.
He hits the ropes for a head of steam, The Mighty One tosses him over the top to the outside, Razor helps Savio back into the ring, Yokozuna looks to strike with punches, but Vega blocks them and returns fire. The Mighty One comes right back with a shot to the throat, chokes him in the corner, delivers a body slam and hits the ropes for a leg drop. Savio rolls out of harm’s way, a “USA” chant breaks out, Vega scores with a flurry of fists, hits the ropes for multiple clotheslines, but can’t take the big man down. He hits the ropes again and connects with the Caribbean Kick, Cornette climbs on the apron to cause a distraction, Vega drops him with a right hand, Ramon comes around ringside to have some word with James E, but Owen Hart comes down to ringside and clobbers The Bad Guy from behind.
Savio steps outside to help chase Owen off, Yoko rolls out behind him, Vega catches The Mighty One attempting a sneak attack, but gets clocked by a punch and stumbles to the ring post. Yoko lines him up and charges in for a splash, Savio side-steps it, the big man runs himself into the steel and Vega rolls back in the ring just in time to beat the 10 count.
Winner: Savio Vega (Count-Out)
- EA’s Take: Another pretty uneventful bout that ended via count-out in order for Savio to advance, while still protecting Yokozuna in the process. Savio was in the midst of a push by the WWF and was fairly over due to his association with the supremely popular Razor, meanwhile Yoko was pretty well confined to the Tag Team Division at this time and was already established, so a King Of The Ring crown wouldn’t have done much for him. However, you could argue that since the company is still enamored with big men, a Yoko/Diesel match could have been a “big time” confrontation.
Backstage: Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler speaks with Vince McMahon from his locker room, sporting a disgusting sock and trying to mask the smell with a spray. Lawler says his feet are ripe and ready, claims he will get a grip on Bret Hart’s nasty, stringy hair and will force him to kiss is stinking feet.
Match #3 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: The Roadie w/WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Bob ‘Spark Plug’ Holly
Roadie charges in at the bell and immediately gets tossed by a belly-to-belly suplex for a 1 count, Holly quickly hits the ropes, scores with a shoulder knockdown and covers again for 1. He hits the ropes for another shoulder block and this time gets 2, goes back to the ropes, The Roadie ducks down for a back body drop, Spark Plug counters with a sunset flip, but again only gets a count of 2. He grasps Roadie in a small package for 2 and The Roadie quickly rolls outside, gets some words of wisdom from Jarrett, steps back inside and they lock-up. Holly backs him to the corner, the referee looks for a break, Roadie shoves Spark Plug away, then clobbers him from behind.
He takes control with kicks and clubbing blows, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Holly drops down, leapfrogs over and drops him with a shoulder block. He goes back to the ropes, The Roadie attempts a hip toss, Spark Plug tries one of his own that’s blocked, but uses an arm drag to take him down instead. He shoots Roadie to the ropes for a hip toss, delivers a body slam for a 2 count, whips him back to the ropes, The Roadie reverses, Holly leapfrogs over, tries a hurricanrana, but gets planted by a powerbomb. The Roadie celebrates with a dance and then puts the boots to Spark Plug, sends him hard into the turnbuckles, then grinds Holly’s face into the canvas. He whips him hard into the buckles again, does a Double J strut, then drops elbows to the lower back.
Roadie snapmares Spark Plug over, posts his knee into the spine and hooks on a chinlock, Holly works back to a vertical base, hits the ropes and counters a knee with a schoolboy for a near fall. He can’t capitalize and gets flattened by a clothesline, Roadie does some more dancing, delivers an elbow drop, but Spark Plug gets a foot on the bottom rope at 2. The Roadie snapmares him back over to apply the chinlock, Holly battles his way back up and hits the ropes, Roadie goes to the breadbasket with a kick, sets for a piledriver, but takes too much time and gets tosses by a back body drop. Roadie recovers quickly and shoots him to the ropes, Holly scores with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, ducks a clothesline and connects with a dropkick.
He starts to fire up with right hands, hooks the leg for a 2 count, shoots Roadie to the ropes and executes a powerslam, but still can’t finish it. He shoves The Roadie to the corner and tells him to bring it on, walks into a kick to the midsection, Roadie props him on the top turnbuckle for a superplex, Spark Plug knocks him to the mat with right hands, stands on the top and comes down, but meets a boot to the jaw and Roadie covers for the 3 count.
Winner: The Roadie (Boot To The Chin)
- EA’s Take: Very fast-paced action here as The Roadie was starting to just show the WWF faithful what he could do in the squared circle after only being a sidepiece for Jarrett since his arrival. Nobody ever could question Holly’s skills in the ring, but this was a time when over-the-top gimmicks were not so well received as the business was changing. Certainly the most enjoyable contest of the evening thus far.