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Building The Ultimate WWE King of the Ring Card: A Puzzle Game

September 13, 2019 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWE Untold Mankind The Undertaker King of the Ring 1998 Hell in a Cell Mick Foley Mick Foley's hell in a cell

Building The Ultimate WWE King of the Ring Card: A Puzzle Game

-Welcome back to the latest edition of Building The Ultimate Card. My plan was to tackle Clash of the Champions, but then the WWE announced the return of the King of the Ring Tournament, so here we are. The KOR Tournament started well before the original PPV in 1993 and continued after the last PPV version in 2002, but I am just tackling the PPV run. I know there was a brief Network Special when they crowned the last King, but that was a 2 match show and won’t be included.

-The rules of this puzzle game for those that may be reading for the first time are as follows: 1) You must pick one match from each year of the show 2) No wrestler can appear more than once 3) Any title that was defended during the history of the show, must be represented with a match. The titles represented this time: WWE, Intercontinental, WWE Tag, Hardcore, Light Heavyweight/Cruiserweight, and Woman’s. I also decided to include a King of the Ring Final since that is  the selling point of the card (that decision came back to bite me in the end).

1993: Intercontinental Title: Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Crush (11:14)

-I was watching King of the Ring 1993 on the Network just after the return of the KOR Tournament was announced and my first thought was to use Hogan/Yokozuna as my WWE Title Match. It made sense to me as it got Hogan on the card and the reaction from the crowd to seeing Hogan lose was something else. However, I soon realized it wasn’t going to work as I needed an IC Title match and then I thought I was going to be stuck using Yokozuna in a Tag Title match. That didn’t last though as Yoko was teamed with Crush and I needed him for this spot. This Crush/Shawn match is nothing to write home about but it was solid and the crowd was still getting over the shock of Hogan getting crushed.

1994: WWF Title: Bret Hart (c) vs. Diesel (22:51)

-There was the thought of using Bret/Bigelow as my KOR Final or Bret/Perfect but it wasn’t to be, but I had to find a spot for The Hitman. Lucky for me I was able to figure out a way to get this match in my WWF Title spot. Diesel wasn’t ready for prime time yet as he was still seen as just Shawn’s bodyguard, but working a long match with Bret is a great way to learn. Owen winning King of The Ring would have been amazing here, but there was no WWF Title match in 1995 as Diesel was involved in a tag match. I also couldn’t use the Tag Title match here as it involved Crush who I used on the previous show. Owen/Razor was my original choice until I realized I had someone on the card twice and it caused me to basically start from scratch.  The WWE obviously had big plans for Diesel even at this point as he did win this match by DQ as a way to protect him from taking a loss.

1995: King of the Ring Final: Mabel vs Savio Vega (8:32)

-Quite possibly the worst King of the Ring winner ever, but I could not find a way to include any other KOR final. In a perfect world Owen in 1994 would have been my choice and the first time through it was the match I picked, but I soon found it wasn’t going to work. I almost got to the point where I was going to ditch making sure to include a KOR Final, but I really wanted to make it work if I could. I will say that at least they went all the way with the Mabel push as he got a Title Match against Diesel before getting pushed back down the card. Other KOR Winners (Billy Gunn) never even got that kind of push and were stuck in mid-card hell.

1996: WWF Tag Titles: The Smoking Gunns (c) vs. The Godwins (10:10)

-This was my original choice for the Tag Titles, but when I had to start things over, I thought this could be the spot for the WWF Title Match with Shawn/Bulldog, but that didn’t work. Next I thought this could be my IC Title spot with Goldust/Ahmed Johnson, but that match sucked and I realized there wasn’t a Tag Title Match in 1993 so I was back to my original choice. This match is a perfect example of the New Generation of the WWF as we have cowboys fighting pig farmers. It was a simpler time back then,

1997: The Hart Foundation (Owen, Bulldog, Neidhart) vs. Legion of Doom and Sid (13:37)

-This is where things went wonky for me the first time as I thought I was stuck using Taker defending the WWF Title against Faarooq. I actually started writing the column when I realized Taker was booked twice and that is against the rules. So I scratched everything out except the matches from 98-02 as they were pretty much set in stone unless I absolutely had to change. I think it ended up working for the better though as this match has some impressive star power. This was a precursor to the 10 Man Canadian Stampede match (minus Sid) and is a solid 6 man tag. This match is sadly also kind of depressing when you realize every member of the Hart Foundation in this match has passed and Hawk has left us as well.

1998: Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs Mankind (17:00)

-There was no way this match wasn’t making the list even when I had to tear down and starting over.  It got to a point I thought I had no way of putting this together with this match, but thankfully it all worked out. This is one of the most famous matches in the history of pro-wrestling. So many people have claimed to be in Pittsburgh for this match that it would have had to taken place at Three Rivers instead of The Igloo to fit everyone inside. I wasn’t there for the match, but watched from the comfort of my home and was losing my mind. The carnage was so bad that my parents (who don’t watch wrestling) stopped what they were doing to see the replays of the 2 bumps off/through the cell. Many debate on how good the match really was as some say it was just 2 bumps and then some tacks to cover things up and others will say it is the greatest match of all time.  The crazy bumps are part of the story of the match and the fact they got through it is a testament to both men.  It just a breath taking spectacle that everyone who watched likely remembers where they were.

1999: Ladder Match for The WWF: Steve Austin vs. Vince and Shane McMahon (17:09)

-This show was a mess with a bunch of sub 5 minute matches and one of the few matches getting any time was Chyna vs Road Dogg in a King of the Ring match. The Rock and Taker had a bad WWF Title match as well as they had no in ring chemistry for whatever reason and thankfully by using Taker/Foley, I didn’t have to settle for that match. With not many options I went with Austin vs Vince and Shane in this ladder match for control of the WWF. At least it gets Austin on the card and him abusing members of the McMahon family is always fun. The ending was garbage though, but really it was expected as control of the WWF had to go back to Vince somehow. Nothing else on the show is worth mentioning and thankfully there were no other title matches I had to consider.

2000: Hardcore Title: Evening Gown Match: Pat Patterson (c) vs. Gerald Brisco (3:07)

-What made this card frustrating was these final 3 matches as all 3 are ones I was forced to use thanks to the title rule. This is regarded by many as the worst match of not only 2000, but in history. The title was always kind of a joke, but it was in a horrible spot during this run and was thankfully saved a bit when Raven came in and joined the division. The less said about this match the better.

2001: Light Heavyweight Title: Jeff Hardy (c) vs. X-Pac (7:11)

-There have been two CW/LH Titles matches and this one gets the nod as in 2002 I was forced to use a different title match. This is also the better match and interesting match up as I had totally forgotten that Hardy even held this title. If I wasn’t forced to use this match, then Angle/Shane was the clear choice here as they had an amazingly, brutal battle that saw Shane kill himself for our enjoyment. It would have made me change my 1999 match, but it would have been worth it.

2002: WWF Women’s Title: Trish Stratus (c) vs. Molly Holly (5:41)

-The only time the Women’s Title has been defended on the show and it at least features two pillars of the division in a regular wrestling match. The division was getting better with the rise of Trish and Lita and the inclusion of Molly, Victoria, Jazz, and company. They still weren’t being given a ton of time, but it was an improvement from swimming pool and bra and panty matches to crown champions. Other interesting matches were Brock winning the King of the Ring and Hogan/Angle as a way to get Hogan on the card, but it wasn’t to be.

-That completes our 10 match card and this one clocks in at 1:56:32. This one proved more frustrating than I anticipated, but I was able to complete everything including getting a KOR Final match on the card. I also was able to keep Taker/Mankind Hell in a Cell which was a must. I learned from last time when I left Bulldog/Bret off my SummerSlam card that I need to find a way to get historic matches that are synonymous with the event on the card. I did that this time and everything else was just gravy. My goal is to still try to put together a Clash of the Champions card before getting to October when Hell in a Cell and Halloween Havoc are musts. As always, thanks for reading.