TJR Retro: WWF King of the Ring 1994 Review (Owen Hart wins King of the Ring)

TJR Retro: WWF King of the Ring 1994 Review (Owen Hart wins King of the Ring)

The 1994 King of the Ring pay-per-view event was the second time that the WWF used the King of the Ring name for a PPV. While WWE did use the “King of the Ring” name for previous events, it was a June pay-per-view event from 1993 to 2002. By 1995 there were PPVs every month, but at least for two years, there were only five PPVs and this event was used as a bridge from WrestleMania X (review here) to SummerSlam 1994 (review here).

There were a few big names missing from this show and one of them was Vince McMahon. The WWE Chairman was absent because he had neck surgery prior to this show, so he stayed home and wasn’t there. Another name missing was The Undertaker, who sat out much of 1994 until making his comeback for SummerSlam that year. Shawn Michaels was an active wrestler, but he did not wrestle on the card. Who wants a neckbrace Vince pic? Here ya go.

This show also came at a time when Hulk Hogan signed with WCW, which was a huge blow against the WWF, who was trying to push the “New Generation” phrase down our throats. It was the WWF’s way of telling us they had newer, younger stars. What’s funny about that in 2020 is that they have way more wrestlers over 40 years old than ever before, so that youth movement way of thinking doesn’t apply anymore.

I definitely watched this show live, but I can’t recall the last time I watched it. This isn’t one of those better shows from the 1990s that I re-watched over and over. What I remember most is being so happy for Owen Hart and also the ridiculous commentary by former NFL player Art Donovan. Trust me, I’ll get into it during the review.

This show did poorly in terms of buyrate with 185,000 PPV buys. That’s down 60,000 from the year before. Royal Rumble 1994 only beat it by about 15,000, so the Rumble that year was disappointing too.

Here’s the synopsis on WWE Network:

“Tournament to crown King of the Ring includes Bam Bam Bigelow, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon, Tatanka, 1-2-3 Kid and more. WWE Champion Bret “Hit Man” Hart defends against Intercontinental Champion Diesel. The Headshrinkers battle Yokozuna & Crush for WWE Tag Team Championship. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper takes on Jerry “The King” Lawler. // TV-PG (V) ”

The VHS looks like this:

Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.

WWF King of the Ring
Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland
June 19, 1994

It was the Coliseum Video version of the show because Gorilla Monsoon mentioned it. They showed some wrestlers backstage all claiming that they were going to win King of the Ring.

The voiceover guy was Todd Pettengill talking about the King of the Ring tournament. They also mentioned the WWF Title match with “Hitman” Bret Hart defending against Intercontinental Champion Diesel. Another match on the show was “Rowdy” Roddy Piper facing Jerry “The King” Lawler and a Tag Team Title match as well.

The national anthem was performed by a singer named Rickey Medlocke. I’ve never heard of him.

Gorilla Monsoon was on commentary wishing us a Happy Father’s Day. Thanks to my dad for the illegal cable box that we had at this time (and through the 1990s) so I could watch PPVs for free. Gorilla was joined on commentary by “Macho Man” Randy Savage and NFL Hall of Famer Art Donovan. It was not a good idea to put Art there as we would soon find out.

King of the Ring Tournament – First Round: Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Luna Vachon) vs. Razor Ramon

Pre-match notes: Bigelow was a heel while Razor was a face. Bigelow beat Sparky Plugg (Bob Holly) to get into the tournament while Razor beat Kwang. Oh Kwang. What a shitty gimmick that was.

Bigelow used his power with two shoulderblocks and a leg drop. Bigelow went up top for a headbutt, Razor moved and the fans cheered as Bigelow hit the mat. Razor tripped up Bigelow by the turnbuckle and drove him groin first into the ring post. Razor jumped off the middle ropes with a bulldog for two. Razor wrenched on the left leg of Bigelow with Art wondering what Luna was screaming at, so Gorilla had to explain wrestling to him. Razor with two clotheslines and then Bigelow tossed Razor over the top to the floor. Nice bump by Razor. Back in the ring, Bigelow with an enziguri kick to the back to the head. Bigelow with headbutts to the back, then he put Razor on his back for a torture rack submission and Bigelow held him in that position for about two minutes. Razor got some momentum going with a belly to back suplex. Razor worked over Bigelow with punches, Bigelow charged, Razor moved and Bigelow hit the turnbuckle, so Razor hit a body slam. Razor went for a move by turnbuckle, but Bigelow stopped him and hit a body slam. Bigelow went up top for a moonsault, so Razor gave him a Powerbomb into a pin off the top for the pinfall win at 8:24.

Winner by pinfall: Razor Ramon

Analysis: ** A good effort by both guys with Razor coming up with the creative finish to win the match. Bigelow was such an athletic big guy, he hit some cool moves and then Razer found a way to win.

There were quick promos from Irwin R. Schyster and Mabel talking about their match up next.

Irwin R. Schyster walked down to the ring doing a promo telling people to pay their taxes. Art asked if IRS was one of the wrestlers and said he looked like a businessman. Way to pay attention, Art. Mabel was up next with his manager Oscar joining him, who did a rap on his way down to the ring. Art had no idea who Mabel was, so he asked for his name.

King of the Ring Tournament – First Round: Irwin R. Schyster vs. Mabel (w/Oscar)

Pre-match notes: Irwin was the heel while Mabel was the face. IRS beat Scott Steiner to make the final eight while Mabel beat Pierre of the Quebecers to make it this far. Mabel won the next year’s King of the Ring when he was in the heel role.

Mabel with a running clothesline and a body slam. Art posed his first “how much does that guy weigh?” question of the night as Gorilla said 500 pounds for Mabel. There was a suplex by Mabel, then a fireman’s carry and a leg drop. Mabel missed a corner charge when IRS moved, Mabel hit the turnbuckle and Irwin hit a knee to the back to knock Mabel out of the ring. Back in the ring, they ran the ropes with Irwin with a leaping clothesline that he sometimes used as a finisher. Irwin with two elbow drops with Mabel doing a power kickout. Mabel countered a slam attempt into an inside cradle for two. That looked sloppy, but good attempt by a big man like Mabel. Irwin grounded Mabel with a chinlock, then Mabel drove him to the turnbuckle and Mabel hit a back body drop. Mabel with a running clothesline and a back elbow. Mabel sent Irwin into the ropes leading to sidewalk slam for two. Art thought they might get slammed through the ring. Mabel went to the middle ropes, took way too long, Irwin shook the ropes and Mabel bumped into the ring leading to Irwin holding onto the ropes for the pinfall win at 5:34.

Winner by pinfall: Irwin R. Schyster

Analysis: 1/2* This was a bad match. At least it was short. It was a tough challenge for IRS, who was capable of good matches while Mabel did not have good matches.

There was a Coliseum Home Video exclusive promo with Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji talking about their guys Yokozuna and Crush in a match later.

Tatanka made his entrance for the next match with Art asking how much he weighs. Art loved to ask that and nobody answered him. Don’t worry because he would ask again. Of course he would. Owen Hart was next with Macho Man saying Owen wanted to do what his brother did the previous year.

King of the Ring Tournament – First Round: Tatanka vs. Owen Hart

Pre-match notes: Tatanka was the face while Owen Hart was the heel. This was a few months after the biggest win in Owen’s career when he beat Bret Hart. Tatanka beat Crush to qualify for King of the Ring while Owen beat Doink the Clown. This was three months after Owen’s big win over brother Bret at WrestleMania 10.

Tatanka was aggressive right away with whips into the turnbuckle and a back body drop. Tatanka with a suplex. Art kept asking about Tatanka’s weight, so Macho Man tried to answer him. Owen ran the ropes, Tatanka with a deep arm drag and then a hip toss. Nice mullet by referee Mike Chioda as Tatana slapped on a headlock. Tatanka with a shoulder tackle, then Owen got a hold of him and sent Tatanka out of the ring with Tatanka landing on his feet. Tatanka with punches on the floor, Owen with an eye gouge and Owen whipped Tatanka into the ring post. There was a shot of Irwin and Razor shoving eachother in the backstage area. Owen set up Tatanka against the middle rope and hit a running splash onto the back. Owen with headbutts followed by a gutwrench suplex. Owen went up top, Tatanka back up and Owen hit a perfect missile dropkick for a two count. Owen grabbed a sleeper hold, then sent Tatanka into the turnbuckles and Tatanka did the no selling routine. Tatanka hit multiple chops to the head for a two count. Owen charged in, Tatanka hit a boot to the face and a DDT got a two count. Nice nearfall there. Tatanka with a body slam, then he went up top and jumped off with a chop to the head for two. Tatanka with a powerslam for two. Tatanka with chops, then a sunset flip and Owen sat on top while hooking the legs for the pinfall win at 8:18.

Winner by pinfall: Owen Hart

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a fast-paced, fun match with the crafty heel Owen figuring out a cheap way to win. When Owen slapped on the sleeper, the pace slowed down and then it picked up for Tatanka’s comeback. Tatanka was on offense for most of the match, he kept getting nearfalls and every time he did, the crowd got more interested in the match. The finish came off as a clever way to win a match with Owen sitting on top and hooking the legs for the pinfall win. These guys worked very well together.

Diesel and Shawn Michaels were interviewed by Todd Pettengill in the backstage area. Diesel let Bret Hart know that a Jackknife (Powerbomb) was coming for him. Shawn said that nobody in Bret’s family liked him. Shawn said that Diesel was going to be the new World Wrestling Federation Champion.

King of the Ring Tournament – First Round: Jeff Jarrett vs. 1-2-3 Kid

Pre-match notes: Jarrett was the heel while Kid was the face. Jarrett qualified by beating Lex Luger while Kid beat Adam Bomb. If you don’t know, Kid would be better known as X-Pac later in his career. Art on Kid: “He looks like a boxer.” Gorilla and Macho didn’t even respond to that.

Jarrett left the ring, tripped up Kid and rammed the leg against the apron. Jarrett with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Kid got a rollup, but Jarrett got out of that and hit a back elbow. Jarrett with a clothesline. Jarrett missed a dropkick when Kid held onto the ropes and Kid got a forward roll into a pin for two. Jarrett hit a slingshot suplex followed by a fist drop off the middle ropes. Kid with a spinning heel kick for a two count followed by body slam. Kid up top, he jumped off with a flip, Jarrett moved and Kid hit the mat hard. Jarrett went for an attack off the ropes, Kid moved, Jarrett hit the ropes and then recovered to punch Kid off the top. Kid knocked Jarrett off the turnbuckle, Kid jumped off with a cross body block and that got a two count. The crowd was getting into it as Kid hit a spin kick. Jarrett tripped up Kid and sent him into the turnbuckle. Jarrett went for the Figure Four Leglock, Kid countered into a small package and that was enough to win the match at 4:39.

Winner by pinfall: 1-2-3 Kid

Analysis: **1/4 A good match that was fast-paced since that was the style that Kid usually did at this stage in his career. Jarrett was athletic enough to keep pace. The fans really got into it in support of Kid, so the story of the match worked. I liked the finish with the underdog Kid doing the cradle to counter the Figure Four Leglock for the win. It was the right way to end it.

Post match, Jarrett hit two consecutive piledrivers on Kid. The referee tried to stop it, Jarrett shoved him away and Jarrett hit a third piledriver. There were three referees in the ring as Jarrett did the first drop off the ropes two times in a row. The fans booed loudly as Jarrett did another fist drop off the ropes. Jarrett left to boos. Kid slowly got out of the ring and was helped to the back.

Analysis: The piledrivers looked great. The fist drop off the ropes didn’t look devastating at all.

The final four graphics let us know it would be IRS vs. Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid faces Owen Hart in the semifinals.

A commercial aired about the New Generation being alive and well in the WWF.

Analysis: They air that about how it’s a new generation, yet the main event had two guys in their 40s. It was the WWF’s way to counter what WCW was doing by bringing in Hulk Hogan, who was an older former WWF guy at that point. They would take more direct shots at Hogan (and later Macho Man) in the future.

Bret Hart, the WWF Champion, was interviewed by Todd Pettengill. They showed a clip from Raw a few weeks earlier when Diesel hit Bret with the Jackknife Powerbomb on Raw. Bret said that Diesel wasn’t going to be able to do that to him in this match. Bret said that Diesel is impressive to look at, but Bret is the Excellence of Execution and once he gets Diesel in the ring, he’ll bring Bret down to his size. Bret said he had a family member to watch Shawn Michaels outside the ring. The family member thing was a surprise.

Diesel, the Intercontinental Champion, made his entrance with his buddy Shawn Michaels joining him. Michaels was not hurt. He was just off this card because they wanted to put Diesel against Bret on this show. Art: “Who’s the guy leading him? Is he another wrestler?” Art was asking that about Shawn Michaels, who was one of the best wrestlers in the world at this point. It was clear that Art never watched the show as Savage said that Shawn was one of the great ones.

Bret “Hitman” Hart made his entrance as the WWF Champion with his brother-in-law Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart joining him at ringside. Jim was Bret’s brother in law (Jim was married to Bret’s sister) and they were the Hart Foundation tag team together. Big pop for Bret’s entrance as you would expect for the babyface WWF Champion. Art was impressed by Anvil, so Savage told him about Anvil’s football history and Art wanted to know if Diesel played football. Nope. He was a basketball guy as Savage talked about how focused Diesel was.

WWF Championship: Bret “Hitman” Hart (w/Jim Neidhart) vs. Diesel (w/Shawn Michaels)

Pre-match notes: Bret was the babyface WWF Champion that won the title two months earlier at WrestleMania 10. Diesel was the heel Intercontinental Champion. The IC Title was not on the line here.

Diesel used his power advantage early on with punches and a boot to the throat of Bret. Diesel missed a running boot, then Bret crotched him across the top rope followed by a headbutt to the ribs. Bret got a rollup, Diesel powered out, body slam by Diesel and a missed elbow drop by Diesel. Bret sent Diesel face first into the turnbuckle, then Diesel with an eye rake followed by an elbow to the back. Diesel with a blatant choke against the ropes. Diesel charged into the turnbuckle, Bret moved and Diesel hit the turnbuckle with the knee. Bret was wrenching on the left leg of Diesel along with a knee drive into the leg. Bret slapped on the Figure Four Leglock on Diesel, who sold it well until he was able to get his hand the bottom rope to break the hold. Bret continued working on the left leg with an elbow drop and jumping right on the left leg. Bret wrenched on the leg some more with Diesel kicking him out to the floor. When Diesel got up, Bret grabbed him by the ring post and sent him left knee into the ring post two times. The referee checked on Diesel, so Michaels hit Bret with a clothesline. Neidhart chased Michaels around the ring, he couldn’t get him, Neidhart went into the ring and the referee Earl Hebner made him leave the ring. Bret regrouped, he jumped off the top rope and Diesel was supposed to catch him, but they fell over. Diesel slapped on a bearhug, which was probably the spot that they wanted to do after the attack off the ropes. Bret with an eye rake, then off the ropes and he a hit dropkick to send Diesel over the top to the floor. Bret went for a slingshot attack over the top, Diesel moved and Bret hit the floor. That’s about as much as Bret does in terms aerial moves. Diesel sent Bret back first into the ring post.

Diesel was in control with forearms to the back followed by a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Diesel with a sidewalk slam for two along with a backbreaker into a stretch across the knee. Diesel with an elbow drop. Diesel with a running splash onto the back of Bret. Diesel with the hard whip into the corner for Bret’s patented sternum bump into the turnbuckle that led to a two count. Bret got a rollup, but then Diesel came back with a clothesline for two. Diesel grounded Bret with a chinlock, then a punch and a backbreaker got two. Michaels went on the apron to take off the turnbuckle pad, Neidhart complained about it and referee yelled at Neidhart. Meanwhile, Diesel held Bret over his shoulder in a backbreaker position with Bret getting out of that with a sleeper hold. The fans were really into it supporting Bret. Diesel charged into the corner, Bret got the boot up and Diesel blocked a sleeper attempt by sending Bret into the turnbuckle. Diesel whipped Bret intentionally into referee Earl Hebner, Shawn distracted the referee and Diesel took the turnbuckle pad off to expose the steel. Bret blocked a whip into the turnbuckle and Bret sent Diesel face first into the steel. Bret worked over Diesel with punches, a running clothesline, another clothesline and a third running clothesline knocked down Diesel for two. Bret with the Russian legsweep, then the diving elbow off the middle rope and that got a two count as usual. Bret jumped off the middle rope with a bulldog. Michaels to the apron, Bret punched him down and Bret with a clothesline off the middle ropes for two. Bret got a small package/inside cradle for a two count. It looked like Diesel was really tired by this point in a long match. Bret got caught on the shoulder, but then he managed to send Diesel into the turnbuckle and Diesel came back with a boot to the face. Bret with a takedown into a Sharpshooter attempt, but Diesel got his hand on the bottom rope to break it. Bret with a running dropkick as Diesel took an impressive bump to the floor. Diesel threw Anvil into the ring post, which led to Shawn hitting Bret in the back with the WWF Title. Diesel hit an elbow drop for two, which drew a big pop from the crowd. Neidhart got his hands on Michaels and punched him down while on the floor. After Diesel hit a Jackknife Powerbomb, Neidhart went into the ring and clotheslined him as payback for when Diesel attacked Neidhart. That led to the DQ finish at 22:51.

Winner by disqualification: Diesel (Bret Hart remains champion)

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great match with a weak finish because they were protecting both guys and likely didn’t want to book a decisive ending. There was a lot of selling by Bret because it was the obvious thing with the bigger man Diesel on offense for most of the match. It was really cool to hear the crowd get excited every time Bret would get any offense going, then Diesel was there to shut it down and they kept building to when Bret got more momentum. It’s not their best match together because I liked Survivor Series 1995 more, but this was still awesome to watch.

Post match, Neidhart punched Diesel repeatedly and was sent to the back by referee Earl Hebner. Back in the ring, Michaels hit Bret with a piledriver. Diesel worked over Bret with a forearm to the face. There were officials that showed up to break it up as the heels left. Art was asking who those guys were. Shawn and Diesel left while Savage said he wondered why Neidhart didn’t stick around after the match. Bret was still down in the ring as ring announcer Bill Dunn (Howard Finkel was better in this era) announced that Bret was still the champion.

Analysis: The piledriver was a popular move on this night. It was not a clean or decisive win for Bret, but he held onto the title. Diesel would end up winning the WWF Title for the first time in his career later in the year.

Jerry “The King” Lawler was interviewed backstage by Todd Pettengill. Lawler trashed Roddy Piper saying this was a historic event while claiming that King of the Ring was named after him. Lawler trashed Art Donovan saying that wisdom doesn’t come with age. Lawler said that he’s the undisputed king and that’s the bottom line. Yes, he said that phrase. Pettingill said Roddy Piper is donating money to sick kids in Toronto and Lawler said he’ll make sure nothing is going to those brats in Canada. That would be the main event later in the show.

Razor Ramon was up first for the semifinals. Irwin R. Schyster entered while calling Razor a tax cheat.

King of the Ring – Semifinals: Razor Ramon vs. Irwin R. Schyster

Pre-match notes: Razor was a babyface while IRS was a heel.

Ramon attacked Irwin before the match by sending him into the ring post. Irwin with a whip into the ropes followed by a knee to the ribs. Irwin bounced off the ropes with an elbow drop along with a backbreaker. Irwin charged, Ramon moved and Irwin went flying over the top to the floor. Ramon sent Irwin face first into the steel steps. Irwin got back into it with some kicks to the knee and an elbow to the face. Irwin grabbed a chinlock while putting his legs on the bottom rope with the referee not seeing it and this took over one minute. Ramon with punches, then a back elbow and a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Razor slammed Irwin down by grabbing the tie. Irwin with a leaping clothesline that he sometimes used as a finisher as fans chanted “Irwin” at him. Razor with a boot to the ribs, he lifted up Irwin and hit the Razor’s Edge for the pinfall win at 5:13.

Winner by pinfall: Razor Ramon

Analysis: *1/2 A short match to give Razor the decisive win with his finisher. The weird thing about the way he did the Razor’s Edge is that he had his back to the main camera. He should have been facing the camera when he did it. Anyway, IRS wasn’t a heel that was pushed that much, so Razor winning was the right call here.

Bret Hart was shown walking around the backstage area calling for Jim Neidhart. Bret couldn’t find him.

Todd Pettengill was backstage saying he wanted to interview 1-2-3 Kid, but there was no sign of him.

It’s the second semifinal match with Owen Hart up first. Art: “How much does this fella weigh?” Poor Art. Savage said 235 (pounds), he thinks. The 1-2-3 Kid was next and he was beaten up by Jeff Jarrett earlier in the night, so the story was that he was banged up going into the match.

King of the Ring – Semifinals: Owen Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid

Pre-match notes: Owen was a heel and Kid was a face.

With Kid standing on the floor, Owen hit a dropkick and a suicide dive onto Kid on the floor. Owen sent Kid back in the ring and jumped off with Superfly Splash for a two count. Kid with a hard whip into the ropes with Owen doing the sternum bump. Kid with a cross body block off the ropes for two followed by a cradle for two. Kid with two kicks to the chest and a spin kick for two. Owen went for a kick, Kid caught the foot leading to Owen hitting an enziguri kick. Kid with a kick to the face leading to a Northern Lights Suplex, but Owen got his foot on the rope to break up the pin. Kid with a dive over the top onto Owen on the floor. Back in the ring, Kid went for a spin kick, Owen caught him and hit a bridging German Suplex! So great. Owen hit a belly to belly suplex for a two count. Kid avoided a suplex, jumped onto the shoulders, got a rollup for two and Owen countered for a two count of his own. Kid jumped up, Owen caught him and dropped him with a Powerbomb. Owen slapped on the Sharpshooter submission with Kid giving up to give Owen the win at 3:37.

Winner by submission: Owen Hart

Savage did a great job on commentary saying if this was the New Generation was about then we’re in for a treat. Meanwhile, Art was wondering what that move was called – the Sharpshooter, which was arguably the most popular move in the company at the time. Way to be a fan, Art!

Analysis: ***1/4 This match is famous for being one of the best WWE matches under four minutes. Believe me when I tell you I’ve reviewed thousands of matches under four minutes and this is probably the best of them all. It made me want to see them in a longer match since Owen and Kid worked so well together in the time they were given with the fans sounding like they were into it. Some of the moves they did looked so crisp. They were two of the fastest, most athletic guys, so their styles meshed well together. Owen moving on to the finals was the obvious result since he was being pushed more at the time. You could tell that Macho Man loved this match because he was an athletic wrestler too.

Roddy Piper was interviewed earlier in the day about his match with Jerry Lawler. It was a Coliseum Video exclusive interview just talking about the match.

The team of Yokozuna and Crush entered with managers Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji. You know Art had to ask his favorite question when he saw Yoko: “How much does this guy weigh?” Gorilla said 600 pounds plus and Art let out a “whoa oh” as if he is in love after finding out how much a guy weighs with a kayfabe weight number. The Headshrinkers duo of Fatu and Samu were joined by Captain Lou Albano and Afa as the champions.

WWF Tag Team Championships: Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu) (w/Afa and Captain Lou Albano) vs. Yokozuna and Crush (w/Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji)

Pre-match notes: The Headshrinkers were the babyface champions. Fatu was best known as just Rikishi later in his career although he went through a lot of gimmicks as well. Fatu is the father of Jimmy and Jey Uso. Samu is the son of Afa. Yokozuna and Crush were heels. Yokozuna was a former WWF Champion that was a nephew of Afa, but I had no idea of that fact when this happened. It was about five years after that this when Fatu as Rikishi would weigh nearly as much as Yokozuna weighed and get over more than ever, but in this match, Fatu looks like a normal-sized guy.

It started as a slugfest with as the Headshrinkers were whipped into eachother, then they no sold headbutts and delivered a double headbutt to knock Yokozuna and Crush out of the ring, which drew cheers from the crowd. Samu tried a body slam, Yokozuna with a whip into the corner, Samu with a back kick, dropkick and clothesline led to Yokozuna bumping to the floor again. Crush worked over Fatu with punches, then a slam headfirst into the mat, Fatu no-sold that (Headshrinkers do not get hurt by being hit in the head) and Fatu hit a piledriver. Fatu with a headbutt off the middle ropes for two. The referee wasn’t looking as Mr. Fuji jabbed the Japanese flag into the back of Fatu, which led to Crush hitting a clothesline to take control. Crush hit a piledriver on Fatu , then a leg trip and Yokozuna hit a leg drop to the head for two. Crush with a body slam on Fatu. Yokozuna sent Fatu into the turnbuckle, he charged, Fatu moved and Yoko hit the turnbuckle. Samu went in illegally, clothesline to Yoko, they whipped the heels into eachother and a double superkick knocked Yokozuna out of the ring. Gorilla was confused about who the legal men were as Yoko was sent into the ring post while Samu was on the top rope, so Samu was crotched. It was back to Crush and Samu with a superplex off the middle rope followed by a leg drop. Yokozuna went in illegally with a leg drop on Samu as well. The crowd reacted in a big way as Lex Luger staring at Crush, who cost lex a spot in the King of the ring tournament. Samu got a rollup on Crush for two, then Crush got back up and hit a clothesline on Samu out of the ring. That rollup may have been the finish because I think Crush only kicked out because he lost his balance. Art asked who’s the guy with the American flag (way to watch the show, Art) and Gorilla said it was Lex Luger. Fatu went into the ring illegally, hit a superkick and covered Crush for the pinfall win at 9:16.

Winners by pinfall: Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu)

Analysis: * This was not a good match, but they got through it with a finish that looked like it was messed up. While I wouldn’t say Yokozuna was a favorite of mine, I did appreciate his willingness and ability to take a big bump when needed because it got such a big reaction. The refereeing by Danny Davis was terrible, but that’s part of what happened in Headshrinkers matches. I just think that kind of thing shouldn’t happen as much for a babyface team. Fatu and Samu worked well together.

Post match, Crush no sold the finish and fought with Luger on the floor. They went into the ring with the Headshrinkers joining Luger in punching Crush out of the ring. Crush went back in to fight more, but Yokozuna pulled Crush to the floor again and the heels left.

Analysis: The Luger rivalry with Crush wasn’t very good. The fans did respond to their interaction, but it was a forgettable feud.

Owen Hart was interviewed backstage by Todd Petengill. Owen said that his brother Bret won King of the Ring last year, but Bret was a loser tonight and now Owen is going to win King of the Ring. Owen wished his father a Happy Father’s Day as well, albeit with less sincerity then you might think.

It was time for the finals of the King of the Ring tournament with Razor Ramon out first for his third match of the night. Next man up was “The Rocket” Owen Hart, who was using The Rocket name for a few years.

King of the Ring Finals: Razor Ramon vs. Owen Hart

Pre-match notes: Razor Ramon was the face while Owen Hart was the heel. I think Art knew the weight of both guys by this point!

Ramon with a punch to the face that decked Owen, who came back with a slap to the face. Ramon caught Owen with a body slam followed by an elbow drop. Owen with another slap in the face, he went for a dropkick, Razor caught him and did a slingshot into the corner for two. They battled over a backslide pin that led to a two count for Ramon. There was a shoulder tackle by Ramon, then he went off the ropes and Owen hit a spinning heel kick. Owen with a stop to the gut along with an eye rake across the top rope. Owen did an abdominal stretch while holding onto the top rope. After about one minute of that, Razor did a hiptoss. Owen went for a move, Ramon blocked it and hit a sitout Chokeslam style move before the Chokeslam became a regular move in wrestling. Ramon with a fallaway slam for two. Owen with a counter into Russian legsweep. Owen went up top, Razor blocked him on there and Razor hit a belly to back suplex off the top rope, which was a move that Razor did all the time. The fans were getting into it as Owen hit a back body drop over the top to the floor. With Ramon on the ground, Jim Neidhart went to ringside to act like he was checking on Ramon, but then Neidhart decked him with a clothesline and a whip into the ring post. Meanwhile, Owen was distracting the referee during all of that. Owen jumped off the top with an elbow drop like Randy Savage and covered Ramon for the pinfall win at 6:35! Owen Hart is the King of the Ring!

Winner by pinfall and King of the Ring: Owen Hart

Analysis: ** It was okay for a shorter match. It would have been nice if they had a longer, better match but I think after wrestling twice in the night, it was booked to be shorter to sell the fatigue factor. Owen did not win with the elbow drop off the top rope very often, but he needed a move to win the match and it was enough to get the job done. Razor could say he was screwed out of the win by the Jim Neidhart attack, which also fit Owen as a cheap heel character.

There was some pyro above the ring for Owen’s King of the Ring win. Owen and Neidhart beat up Razor with some punches. Neidhart held Ramon in his arms as Owen ran the ropes for the classic Hart Attack clothesline. The fans chanted “We Want Bret” as referees stopped Owen and Anvil continuing the attack. There was no sign of Bret in the ring.

An interview with Bret Hart was shown with Ray Rougeau there to interview. Bret said he couldn’t believe what happened and had nothing to say.

Savage talked about how he had a theory that earlier in the night, Anvil was only in Bret’s corner to make sure he didn’t lose the WWF Title to Diesel because he’s hoping that Owen is the guy to beat Bret. Gorilla asked if you think Anvil was that smart and Savage said that Owen might be. Macho Man said that Razor is the big loser here because he had the victory locked in.

Analysis: There’s Savage explaining the storyline for the viewers at home in case you couldn’t figure it out. Anvil was only with Bret earlier to make sure he kept the title because Anvil was working with Owen, so the idea was that Anvil wanted Bret to keep the title so that Owen could take the title from Bret. This would set up SummerSlam 1994 with Bret defending the WWF Title against Owen in a Steel Cage match.

King of the Ring Ceremony

Owen Hart was on the stage by the entrance with the King of the Ring throne, robe and crown. Owen was joined by brother-in-law Jim Neidhart, WWF President Jack Tunney and Todd Pettengill. Owen let all the dumb people out there know that he’s the King of the Ring and he wanted the respect of being the King. Owen said he didn’t want Jack Tunney, he wanted the only person in his whole family that he can trust, Jim Neidhart, to present Owen with the crowd. Owen made Pettengill go down on a knee to salute the King. Neidhart gave Owen the scepter, put the robe on and Owen sat on the throne. Anvil put the crown on Owen as well.

Owen had more to say: “My first proclamation as King is to be, from this day forward, known as the King of Harts. The King of Harts. And I want you people to remember it with respect for the King of Harts.” Owen left with his new outfits and went to the back.

Owen Hart makes history: King of the Ring 1994

Analysis: I was so happy for Owen in this moment. I wasn’t anti-Bret or anything like that. I just supported Owen because I liked heels at this time when I was 13 years old and as a younger brother myself, I always rooted for Owen.

A video package aired about Jerry Lawler and Roddy Piper’s match. It started with Jerry Lawler trashing Roddy Piper by saying things like his father wanted a boy, his mother wanted a girl and they were both satisfied. Lawler trashed Piper’s movies, he trashed the sick kids at the hospital and Piper accepted his challenge for a match. Lawler mocked Piper for wearing a dress (the kilt) while also beating up a fake Piper that was very skinny. Piper did promos from remote locations responding to Lawler’s promos.

It was main event time with Jerry “The King” Lawler up first. Lawler was a part time wrestler that was also one of the WWF’s main announcers at this point in his career. Art had no idea who Lawler was, so he asked if he was the king at one point. Savage said that Lawler was the king for a long time. Lawler trashed the Governor that was sitting in the crowd. Lawler ripped on Piper for giving a percentage of his winnings to some sick kids in Canada while noting that they won’t get a dime from Piper. Lawler won’t give any of his winnings to anybody.

There were bagpipe players along with some drummers that led to Piper’s entrance. Gorilla said that the “New Generation was alive and well” here for a show with two guys in their 40s in the main event. They weren’t “new” stars, but Piper got a nice reaction as he entered in his “No Fear!” t-shirt. Piper brought out the kid that Lawler used in the skit on Raw. Piper fired off a line from his movie They Live: “We have come here to kick ass and chew bubble gum…” and Piper’s friend said that they’re all out of bubble gum. Piper looked like he was in great shape, which was true as Savage said Piper was ripped.

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler

Pre-match notes: Piper was the babyface that was only a part time wrestler at this point. Lawler was a heel that was on commentary more than in the ring, but they did use him in some matches because he was great at getting heat. Piper was 40 years old while Lawler was 44 years old. It was Piper’s first match in over two years (since WrestleMania 8 in 1992). Shockingly, Art didn’t ask for the weight of either man.

Piper was aggressive with punches along with some biting and a whip across the ring. Piper with a punch led to a comical bump by Lawler, who left the ring. Piper held Lawler so that the Piper imitator could poke Lawler in the eye. Piper worked over Lawler with even more punches. Piper off the ropes, Lawler dropped down and Piper stomped on the back. Lawler tried a boot to the face when Piper was on the mat, Piper blocked it, kicked the leg and did an atomic drop that sent Lawler out of the ring. Piper went after Lawler on the floor with punches and chops. Lawler went for a punch, Piper caught the hand and sent Lawler’s hand right into the steel post. Lawler went after the “fan” at ringside, choked him a bit and Piper broke it up, so Lawler punched Piper. Lawler finally got some offense in the ring with some stomps to the back. Piper got the Piper imitator out of the ring as Lawler worked over Piper with punches, which led to Piper bumping to the mat. Lawler went for the sleeper hold, which Piper sold for over one minute until it was time to get back up. Lawler with more punches. Lawler connected with the piledriver, which is a move that he used many times to win big matches in his career. Lawler taunted the crowd some more leading to a slow cover for a two count. Lawler with punches, Piper wanted more, Lawler did more punches and Piper spit at him while asking for more. Piper got some offense going again with a bulldog, so there’s a move other than a punch. Piper hit another bulldog. Lawler countered another bulldog attempt by shoving Piper into the referee, which led to a ref bump. Lawler pulled out an object from his tights (brass knucks maybe) and punched Piper. Lawler covered over by where the Piper imitator was, the referee Earl Hebner did a slow count and the Piper imitator knocked Lawler’s legs off the ropes. Piper hit a belly to back suplex into a pin as Hebner did the slow count to give Piper the win at 12:30.

Winner by pinfall: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

Analysis: *1/4 It was a boring match even though they are two legends that knew how to get reactions from the crowd. If you like matches where most of the match is punching and kicking then this is the match for you. I know that was the style of both guys and what matters is selling, but the lack of action in this match made it boring.

After the match, Piper tossed Lawler out of the ring and got a hug from the Piper imitator. Piper lifted the kid up on his shoulders. The announcers tried to put this over as a big deal as the pyro went off. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: This was Piper’s first match in two years (according to ProFightDB) and his next match would be less than two years later at WrestleMania 12 in 1996. When Piper showed up in WCW in late 1996 and the years that followed, the WWF mocked him (plus Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage) for being older.

There was an exclusive Coliseum Home Video clip with Shawn Michaels and Diesel talking about how they were going to get the WWF Title. They kicked the camera out of the room.

This event had a runtime of 2:45:07 on WWE Network. Since it was the Coliseum Home Video version of the show, there were a few more minutes of extra content.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 6

There was enough good stuff here that it’s worth a watch if you want to see Owen Hart become King of the Ring thanks to Jim Neidhart’s help. I really liked the Bret Hart/Diesel match although as I wrote in the review, their Survivor Series 1995 match is better. Putting Piper/Lawler on last was likely done to make the fans happy, but it was a boring match and didn’t feel like much of a main event although it was Piper’s first match in two years. That played a part in why they went on last. It’s just funny how they threw the “New Generation” phrase out there all night, yet two guys in their 40s main evented the show.

The commentary was hurt big time by the presence of Art Donovan, who had no idea who most of the wrestlers were. I felt bad for Gorilla and Macho Man having to deal with it. You could tell at times they were agitated by Art. Whoever decided to put Art on for the whole show made a mistake. One match would have been okay, but by the end of the night it was too much. (If you want more of Art Donovan at King of the Ring 1994, the good people of Wrestlecrap covered it very well right here.)

What I’ll always remember is how this match elevated Owen Hart. The win over Bret Hart at WrestleMania 10 was huge obviously, but this King of the Ring victory elevated Owen as well. I was so happy Owen at the time with Owen becoming the “King of Harts” after this and really becoming a bigger star because of this win. When King of the Ring is used to make the winner look like a bigger star, it’s effective. Owen’s win is one of the best examples of that.

 

FIVE STARS

  1. Owen Hart
  2. Bret Hart
  3. Diesel
  4. Razor Ramon
  5. 1-2-3 Kid

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: Bret Hart vs. Diesel (***3/4)

Worst Match: Irwin R. Schyster vs Mabel (1/2*)

Most Memorable Moment: Owen Hart winning King of the Ring after getting help from Jim Neidhart.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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John Canton

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