For the third annual King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1995, the WWF was not only building up a new monster threat, the company was also building up a new underdog babyface, trying to overcome the odds to win the one-night tournament. Savio Vega had just debuted with the company at the inaugural IN YOUR HOUSE in May, helping his pal Razor Ramon overcome a double team from Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie. With Ramon injured, Vega was given the chance to take Razor’s spot in the tournament, which he earned by beating Irwin R. Shyster on the pre-show. With the extra match, that meant Vega would have to win four matches to win the King of the Ring tournament.
With the pay-per-view emanating from Philadelphia, Vince McMahon made a point of comparing Vega to another famous underdog from Philly: Rocky Balboa. It’s a pretty apt comparison, actually, since Rocky didn’t manage to win his first big fight, either.
No, that honor went to Mabel, the monster of Men on a Mission, who only had to go through two men to win the tournament after getting a bye past the semis (more on that later). The third televised King of the Ring tournament had a ton of potential, but the way the show played out always felt like a bit of a disappointment, especially watching a guy like Mabel get declared King.
Best Match: Kiss My Foot Match – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Jerry “The King” Lawler – The feud between Hart and Lawler started at the first King of the Ring in 1993, when Lawler attacked the Hitman during his coronation, and their feud seemingly lasted forever. I never really got into their matches, though. None of their fights felt like they had the big match feel that Hart’s matches usually have. Despite their somewhat average matches, this one was still the best one of the night, culminating in Lawler not only getting Hart’s toes shoved in his mouth, but his own as well. Lawler claimed to have not washed the foot for a while, so kissing his own foot ended up causing him some dental problem. Thankfully he had a good orthodontist…
Worst Match: King of the Ring Final – Mabel defeated Savio Vega – Mabel is immobile and Vega was in his fourth match of the night. It was never going to be good.
Tag Team Main Event – For the first time at the King of the Ring pay-per-view, the WWF Championship wasn’t defended at the event. Instead, the ongoing saga between Champion Diesel and Sid was turned into a tag team match. Sid had fellow Million Dollar Corporation member Tatanka as his partner while Diesel had former Corporation member Bam Bam Bigelow – still recovering from his WRESTLEMANIA loss to Lawrence Taylor – at his side. Diesel and Bigelow won the match when Diesel pinned Tatanka after Sid walked away from the ring. The feud between Big Daddy Cool and Sid would continue!
What Could Have Been – Watching this back in 1995, 15-year-old me was convinced that the semifinals would include a “dream match” between Shawn Michaels – already one of the best workers in the world – and the Undertaker. I was completely pumped for this match. And then Michaels went to a 15-minute draw with Corporation member Kama, while the Undertaker inconceivably lost to eventual King of the Ring Mabel. The draw between Kama and Michaels meant Mabel got a bye into the finals, at the very least sparing us a third Mabel match. Once I realized Undertaker and Michaels would only get one match each in the tournament, it completely took me out of the rest of show.
Ranking the King of the Ring 1995
1 – Kiss My Foot Match: Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Jerry “The King” Lawler
2 – King of the Ring Quarterfinal Match: The Roadie defeated Bob Holly
3 – King of the Ring Quarterfinal Match: Shawn Michaels and Kama battled to a time limit draw
4 – King of the Ring Semifinal Match: Savio Vega beat The Roadie
5 – Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Sid and Tatanka
6 – King of the Ring Quarterfinal Match: Mabel defeated The Undertaker
7 – King of the Ring Quarterfinal Match: Savio Vega beat Yokozuna by countout
8 – King of the Ring Final: Mabel defeated Savio Vega
*DISCLAIMER* The Top 10 rankings are for discussion purposes only and in no way reflect an official or authoritative list. It is simply my opinion. If you disagree, let me know in the comments. New arrivals to the Top 10 are in bold.
The Hitman gets his third match in the Top 10!
1 – WWF Championship Match: Diesel (c) and Bret “Hitman” Hart battle to a draw – Royal Rumble 1995
2 – WWF Championship Match: Diesel (c) defeated Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania XI
3 – WCW World Championship Match: Hulk Hogan (c) beat Vader by disqualification – SuperBrawl V
4 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Hakushi – In Your House 1
5 – WCW TV Championship: Arn Anderson (c) defeated Johnny B. Badd – Clash of the Champions XXX
6 – Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage defeated the Butcher and Kevin Sullivan – Clash of the Champions XXX
7 – WCW Tag Team Championship Match: The Nasty Boys (c) defeated The Blue Bloods – The Great American Bash 1995
8 – WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Final Match: The Kid and Bob “Spark Plug” Holly defeated Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka – Royal Rumble 1995
9 – ECW TV Championship Match: Eddy Guerrero defeated Too Cold Scorpio (c) – ECW Three-Way Dance
10 – Kiss My Foot Match: Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Jerry “The King” Lawler – King of the Ring 1995
In three weeks, it’s time for WCW’s Bash at the Beach! Stay tuned!