-WWF Championship: The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer)(champion) vs. The Rock (King of the Ring -June 27, 1999)
Match in Five Words or Less: Vince Russo Sucks
Match Highlights: I guess the thinking is they had to have some match from King of the Ring 1999. Boy, was this a brutal show. We’re once again pretending the actual tournament didn’t happen because Billy Gunn literally did nothing except job to Rock at Summerslam two months later. Rock was super popular. Taker was the leader of the Corporate Ministry. Taker attacks the referee for absolutely no good reason except to give Rock an excuse to hit the Rock Bottom and get a visual three count. A second referee comes in and gets pulled out by Paul Bearer. We’re two minutes in, and this is already an overbooked mess. Taker hits a chokeslam for two. Why wasn’t he disqualified? Did the bell even ring? Rock gets a kick and clothesline. More right hands send Taker down. Clothesline takes him over. They take a tour of the building. Taker gets control and tosses Rock inside. Rock crotches Taker and sprays some Evian into his face. Right hand to the floor. Now they brawl to the crowd. That goes nowhere. Taker hits the ring bell to block a chair shot. Bearer attacks Rock with his shoe. Taker hits a leaping DDT. Big boot as Taker had slowed the pace down. Rock manages a samoan drop for two. Double clothesline as both men are down. Rock counters a tombstone into a DDT of his own. Rock is sent into the referee. Bodyslam. People’s Elbow. No ref. That’s two visual pinfalls. I can do nothing but shake my head. And just for fun, Taker hits a low blow. Paul Bearer pours some ether into cloth. Rock comes back with clothelines and uses the ether on Taker. Here’s Triple H (in his gear?) for a pedigree. Rock kicks out. Tombstone hit by the champion. Done.
Analysis: This was another example of half baked Vince Russo booking as we had two ref bumps, all kinds of crowd brawling, ether, and the interference of Triple H. This match sucked.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: STILL WWF Champion-The Undertaker/19:11/*
-WWF Championship: Triple H (champion), Vince McMahon, and Shane McMahon vs. The Rock, Undertaker, and Kane (King of the Ring 2000)
Match in Five Words or Less: Five Title Reigns Already
Match Highlights: You might be asking what Vince Russo was thinking when booking a WWF championship to be defended in a six man tag. Well, he was long gone. This was a mere excuse to have Hunter lose the belt without having to be pinned. He’s not the smartest man in wrestling for nothing you know. Shane attacks Kane but backs off quickly. Kane allows for a free shot. Doesn’t work. Clothesline by Shane. Good gravy. Press slam. Vince tries making the save. Triple H saves. Kane clotheslines the McMahon family. Rock tags in Smackdown laid down. They face-off. Shane from behind and Triple H hits a clothesline. Shane shoulder blocks in the corner. Body shots. Rock fights back. Shane goes flying. Taker goes to work on Shane. Violence party in the corner. Chokeslam sends Shane down. 1-2-Rock breaks the count. Yup, that’s his partner. Triple H takes control. Taker drives the champion in the corner. Back drop. Running clothesline. Off the ropes with a boot. Leaping DDT gets two. Kane breaks the count. Rock tags in. Hunter tags Shane. Rock brings him in the hard way. Quick punch. Vince knocked down. Triple H knocked down. Triple H low bridges the top rope. McMahons join in on a triple team. Kane and Taker battle the McMahons. Rock breaks tables down. Hunter fires him back inside. Swinging neckbreaker. Hunter hits the pedigree. Taker forgets to break the count, so Rock has to kick out. Not a good year for the “American Bad Ass.” Rock refuses to tag out since he can’t win the title if he’s not in. Heat segment on Rock continues. Triple H comes off the top rope but gets met with a right hand. Neckbreaker from Triple H. Samoan drop by Rock. Rock and Kane fight the McMahons off again. Facebuster into his knee back in the ring. Kane sends his brother into the stairs. Spinebuster by Rocky on Hunter. Kane chokeslams Rock and makes the belt motion. Wait ten years. Triple H has a smile on his face. Not for long. Kane tombstones Hunter. Taker pulls his brother out. They brawl now. Taker lays his brother out with a chair shot. And now it’s time for Shane to die. THROUGH THE TABLE! Vince is in the ring to deliver a People’s Elbow. Rock gets up and hits the Rock Bottom for the win and his 5th title.
Analysis: The McMahons could never have a good control under the structure of these rules. Kane is blah. Taker was lazy. Rock and Triple H had wrestled too much too care by this point. Rock winning was for the best considering everything leading to this match, but the wrestling was nothing to write home about.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: NEW WWF Champion-The Rock/17:54/**
-King of the Ring Final: Kurt Angle vs. Rikishi (King of the Ring-June 27, 2000)
Match in Five Words or Less: King Angle
Match Highlights: Everyone knew Kurt Angle or Chris Jericho would win the 2000 King of the Ring. Well, Angle beat Jericho earlier. Battle starts outside the ring. Rikishi controls in the early going and gives a stinkface. Angle counters and hits a clothesline. Angle gets on the offensive. Rikishi gets a samoan drop and backs that ass up. Stinkface, the full version this time. Angle Slam for two. Rikishi sits down on Angle and almost gets three. Rikishi inexplicably climbs up top. Belly-to-belly suplex off the top! Thankfully, it’s the finish as Angle gets three.
Analysis: Both guys were clearly tired with this being their third match of the night. Angle is an amazing wrestler, but he couldn’t drag Rikishi to a great match on this night. At least the finish was cool.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: 2000 King of the Ring-Kurt Angle/5:34/*
WWF Light Heavyweight Championship: Jeff Hardy (champion) vs. X-Pac (King of the Ring-June 24, 2001)
Match in Five Words or Less: Why?
Match Highlights: We get to hear the GODAWFUL X-Factor theme song, so that makes this an automatic thumbs down. Armdrag into an armbar by Hardy. Headscissors sends X-Pac on the floor. Clothesline. Whisper in the Wind misses. Abdominal stretch and he holds onto the ropes. Hardy reverses. X-Pac hip tosses him over and hits a springboard cross body. Spin kick from the challenger gets two. Fist Exchange. Another spin kick. Kick in the corner and here we go with a bronco buster. It misses. Hardy hits a dropkick. Clothesline. Right hand. X-Pac misses a dropkick. Legdrop to the abdomen. They try… something. Whisper in the wind hits flush. Cross body but X-Pac rolls through. Facebuster but Hardy gets his foot on the ropes. Whip to the corner. Hardy hits a chinbreaker. Swanton attempt but he gets crotched. Hardy pushes him off. Swanton hits. Hardy retains.
Analysis: A fairly mediocre and non-descript match. The only purpose of this match was to seemingly get Sean Waltman DVD residuals. This wasn’t awful, but it was perfectly skippable.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: STILL WWF Champion-Jeff Hardy/7:11/**1/4
-King of the Ring Final: Kurt Angle vs. Edge (King of the Ring-June 24, 2001)
Match in Five Words or Less: No Back-to-back
Match Highlights: This was Angle’s chance to repeat as King of the Ring winner. Angle apologizes to Edge for getting his way. They shake hands. Since he has a street fight with Shane McMahon later on tonight, he wants Edge to lie down and give him the King of the Ring. Edge nails him. Flapjack and stomps in the corner. Angle comes back and gets Edge down in the corner. Off the ropes with a leg lariat. Angle kicks Edge. Belly-to-bell suplex over the top and to the floor. Angle continues the beatdown on the floor. Back suplex by Angle. Vertical suplex gets two. Chinlock. Edge placed on the top rope. Elbows. Edge rolls off and rolls Angle up for two. Another belly-to-belly suplex. Snapmare into the chinlock. Edge tossed to the floor. Front facelock suplex into the wall. Angle climbs to the top. Edge dropkicks him. Hurancanrana off the top. 1-2-NO! Fist battle as they’re on their knees. Clotheslines from Edge. Back drop. Angle reverses a whip. Dropkick misses. Slingshot into a cover for two. Angle slam countered. He goes to the anklelock. Edge rolls him up for two. Edgecution. Christian runs to the ring and is on the apron. Angle O’Connor rolls Edge for two. Edge gets his boot up and clotheslines the referee. Anklelock. Edge taps. Shane McMahon spears Angle out of nowhere and quickly departs. Impaler DDT gets three.
Analysis: This was such an oddly booked match as the heel had the clean victory, but interference led to the babyface getting the win. These two would go on to have some excellent matches in 2002. Obviously, Angle was saving himself for the street fight, but he put in some solid work here and got Edge over. Edge never fully realized his potential until the big heel turn in 2005, but he was always dependable for good wrestling matches.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: 2001 King of the Ring/Edge/10:21/**1/2
-Street Fight: Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon (King of the Ring -June 24, 2001)
Match in Five Words or Less: An Absolute War
Match Highlights: Angle with a spear. Pair of German suplexes. Clubbing blows and back suplex. Stomps. Not exactly a feeling out process. Knees to the gut. McMahon shows some technical wrestling. Angle looks displeased. He goes into the down position and wants McMahon to grab him. Angle rolls out and forearms McMahon in the back. Gutwrench suplex. Two belly-to-belly overhead throw. Crossface elbows. Roll-up. Angle shows off his wrestling acumen. Slap in the corner. Angle goes in the down position again. Kick to the gut and right hands. Back elbow and clothesline. Angle with a waistlock takedown. McMahon runs Angle out of the ring. They run around the ring. McMahon hits an elbow off the barrier. He hits a clothesline over the announce table. Kendo stick time. He wears Angle out with cane shots. Angle posts McMahon. Charge misses. Clothesline. Back over and right hands. Angle rammed into the side of the ring. Armdrag into the wall. A second one. Angle rammed into the steps. Spear into the steps. Back in the ring for cover. Angle continues bridging out of the counts. McMahon drops an elbow drop. McMahon tosses toys in the ring. Angle is shown bleeding from his head. Sign shot to the head. Angle rolls out of the cover and hits some hard shots. Enziguri misses. McMahon gets an anklelock. Charge misses. McMahon goes over and hits a DDT. McMahon applies an ugly looking sharpshooter. Okay, it was better than The Rock’s version. Angle almost reaches the rope. McMahon pulls him out. Cane shots from Angle. Swings and misses. McMahon with right hands. Garbage can shots to various parts of Angle’s upper body. He places the can on him. Ruh roh. Shooting star press (not kidding) misses badly. Holy Moses. Angle covers and gets two. Firemen’s carry takedown. McMahon dumped to the floor. They take a tour of the entrance way. Then things get real. Angle tries to belly-to-belly suplex McMahon through one of the glass King of the Ring signs. I say try cause Angle doesn’t put him through the first time. That suplex was absolutely ridiculous looking and sounding. The second suplex sends McMahon through the glass. May I just say wow. McMahon is bleeding. Another suplex into a glass pane. Doesn’t work. A second suplex into another pane fails. Angle then tosses McMahon through the glass face first. Both competitors are cut up and bloody. Angle brings an anvil close toward McMahon. Angle puts McMahon on the case and pushes him back to the ring. Cover for 1-2-NO! Low blow from McMahon. He uses a lid to wear Angle out. Angle slam. 1-2-NO! McMahon fights out of the anklelock. Slingshot sends McMahon upside down into the corner. Angle nails McMahon with the wood board. He uses it to stand upon AND HIT AN ANGLE SLAM OFF HE TOP ROPE. GOOD LORD! The three count is academic.
Analysis: This is legitimately one of the most physical and brutal WWF/E matches of all time. People can debate about McMahon’s role as a wrestler can be debated by people far smarter and richer than me. All I know is he took bumps that even a lot of wrestlers today would shy away from him. He and Angle had an incredible street fight. It was intense and was everything you could want out of a match like this. Easily one of the best matches from this year and the match that actually turned Angle babyface inadvertently.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: Kurt Angle/26:00/****1/4
-King of the Ring Final: Rob Van Dam (Intercontinental Champion) vs. Brock Lesnar (Paul Heyman)(King of the Ring -June 23, 2002)
Match in Five Words or Less: Brock Rules
Match Highlights: Brock was barely three months into his WWE career, but he was being fast-tracked toward a WWE title match at Summerslam. RVD with shots in the corner. Lesnar no sells. Leg kicks. RVD flips over. Kick to thigh. Shoulder blocks. Lesnar counters a monkey flip into a powerbomb. Lesnar drives RVD into the corner. Again goes RVD. Powerslam for two. Series of backbreakers. Bearhug. Lesnar drives RVD in the corner when he feels the hold breaking. Shoulder blocks in the corner. Lesnar drives his shoulder into the post. Up and over. RVD with more leg kicks. Big spinning kick. Kick off the top and Lesnar goes down. Rolling thunder gets two, and he gets powered off. Spinning leg drop. Five star frog splash. Heyman guillotines RVD. RVD falls on Lesnar and almost gets three. Dropkick sends Heyman flying. Splash caught into an F-5. Lesnar wins.
Analysis: Lesnar wouldn’t really arrive as a wrestler or performer until Summerslam 2002 when Rock put him over in the best way conceivable. Match quality wise, this wasn’t exactly a classic. As far as putting Lesnar over? It served its purpose and continued the Lesnar push.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: Brock Lesnar/5:43/**
Kurt Angle vs. Hulk Hogan (King of the Ring-June 23, 2002)
Match in Five Words or Less: Hogan TAPS OUT!
Match Highlights: Angle was wearing an awful hairpiece after losing a hair versus hair match with Edge at Judgment Day a month earlier. Feeling out process. Angle clotheslines Hogan down but gets cocky. Hogan tosses Angle to the arena floor. Into the wall and right hands. Angle sent into the turnbuckle multiples times. Right hand and Angle is down. Hogan threatens to take off the headpiece. Mule kick. May have been a low blow. Angle chokes Hogan. Chops in the corner. Rake of the eyes. Back suplex. A second back suplex for a two count. Choke along the middle ropes. Hogan counters a vertical suplex into one of his own. Bodyslam. Sleeper hold. Hogan won’t go down. he gets a sleeper of his own. A third back suplex puts both men down. Angle hits the Angle Slam for two. Hulk-up time. Big boot. Hogan tears he hairpiece off Angle. Angle rolls out of the ring. Weird how paranoid he is about showing off his bald head considering how used to it we’ve all become. Hogan wears the headpiece. Angle swings a chair but eats it. Leg drop but Angle locks in an ankle lock. Wow. That was quite the counter. Angle has to struggle but eventually locks it in good. Hulk Hogan freaking taps!
Analysis: The crowd’s love for Hogan really carried this and made it something special. Angle rebounded big time from losing his hair into beating a WWE icon. Not a great technical wrestling match but this was most definitely one of the more important victories of Angle’s career. I believe Hogan did more jobs in 2002 than he did from 1985-1993 combined.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: Kurt Angle/12:08/**1/2
-King of the Ring Final: Booker T (w/Sharmell) vs. Bobby Lashley)
Match in Five Words or Less: King Bookah
Match Highlights: King of the Ring ceased to be its own PPV after 2002, and this was the first tournament since that year. Lashley shoves Booker down quickly. Booker stalls in the corner. To the other corner where Lashley has to fight back toward the ring. Running clothesline. Vertical suplex and two. Another clothesline leads to a two count. Lashley works the shoulder. Booker with a knee and chop. Suplex blocked. Lashley covers for two. Poke to the eye by Booker. Chops in the corner. Whip to the corner. Lashley explodes with a clothesline. Double leg takedown into the corner. He rams his shoulder into the post. Lashley rammed into the post. Booker wants a count-out. Stomps. He continues working the arm before hitting a solid kick. He continues the arm work. Axe kick turned into a clothesline from Lashley. Forearms from Lashley. To a pair of back forearms. Atomic drop and clothesline. Sharmell goes on the apron. Kick from Booker. Bookend blocked. Overhead throw by Lashley. Sharmell grabs Lashley’s leg. Spin kick takes Lashley down. Bookend only gets two. Lashley hits the powerslam. Booker kicks out at 2.9. Whips to the corner. Heel kick from Booker. Axe kick. Booker covers. 1-2-NO! Heel kick misses. Spear by Lashley. Sharmell is on the apron. Finlay nails Lashley with a shillelagh. Axe kick gets Booker T the victory.
Analysis: This was a really solid and fun nine minutes. I believe the injury to JBL (which caused him to retire) is what led to Booker winning this tournament and then the world heavyweight title. Lashley definitely showed a lot of potential and spark in his contest. Too bad he wouldn’t hang around long enough to have a deep impact. One of the more enjoyable King of the Ring finals I’ve ever witnessed.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: 2006 King of the Ring-Booker T/9:15/***
-Booker dons the crown and apron, but not before enduring a beating from Lashley.
-King of the Ring Final: William Regal vs. CM Punk (Monday Night Raw-April 21, 2008)
Match in Five Words or Less: I Don’t Get It
Match Highlights: Regal was the general manager who got the easy road. Punk defeated Matt Hardy and Chris Jericho to get to this point. Quick strikes in he corner. Shoulder tackle from Punk. Kicks to the head. Running knee. His back is clearly hurting from earlier in the night. Regal drops Punk on the back of his head. Regal places his knee in Punk’s back. Pair of kicks and a backhand. One more kick and into the cover for two. Go 2 Sleep attempt but Regal grabs the top rope. Knee strike to the head. Shots to the back. Regal Stretch. Punk taps.
Analysis: I never understood Regal winning this tournament. I’m the first to admit a deep bias towards Punk, but there’s no way WWE was ever going o push Regal as anything special. As great of a technical wrestler as Regal is, he doesn’t jive with WWE and never has. Punk already has the Money in the Bank briefcase and could have gotten even more momentum with the King of the Ring. Regal got popped for a wellness violation weeks later and was basically forgotten except for a brief Intercontinental championship run.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: 2008 King of the Ring-William Regal/4:07/*
-King of the Ring Final-Sheamus vs. John Morrison (WWE Monday Night Raw-November 29, 2010)
Match in Five Words or Less: King Sheamus Goes Nowhere
Match Highlights: Sheamus got a bye into the finals thanks to a double count-out. Morrison has an injured arm courtesy of Alberto Del Rio. Sheamus focuses on that arm. Morrison tries springboarding, but Sheamus knees him to the floor. Morrison comes out of the corner. Sheamus works the arm. Divorce court. Strikes to the chest. Into a modified arm. Strikes from Morrison. Kick to the midsection and a series of clothesline. Mule kick for two. Kick and more strikes. Punches in the corner but Sheamus shoves him off. Clothesline sends Morrison end over end. High Cross countered. Morrison goes for a backslide. Sheamus shoves him in the corner but runs into an elbow. Morrison counters into a DDT. 1-2-NO! Sheamus grabs the bottom rope. Running knee blocked. Kick from Morrison. Sheamus pulls Morrison off and drives him shoulder first. Armbar. Roll over and back to the hold. Morrison rolls and kicks Sheamus in the head. Pele kick. Starship pain but Sheamus gets his knees up. Brogue Kick. High Cross. Sheamus covers and gets the victory.
Analysis: These two had a really underrated series of matches at the end of 2010. Unfortunately, neither guy would get the benefit of being elevated. Sheamus went into full jobber mode after winning this tournament. He even got an awful outfit to celebrate his King of the Ring victory. Morrison sold his arm so well and carried himself extremely well as an underdog babyface. I have to shake my head considering how good this match was and how little the tournament ultimately meant.
Winner (s)/Time/Rating: 2010 King of the Ring-Sheamus/12:05/***1/4
The Verdict: Nothing on the Blu Ray version struck me as being particularly worthwhile to go out of my way to see, so I stuck with the regular version this time. There’s a lot of really important history contained on these three disks, which makes up for the match quality in many respects. With the exception of Mabel and Billy Gunn’s finals victories, you get to see everyone have their King of the Ring moment. Plus, you get two of the most physical WWF/E matches of all time. Really can’t go wrong with this collection. Thumbs up from me.
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