At the Extreme Rules PPV Michael Cole announced the return of the King of the Ring with an exclusive live special this Tuesday on the WWE Network. I’m big fan of tournaments and the King of the Ring so I was excited that it was coming back, but I had me reservations about it. The special was only slated for 1 hour and the announcement seemed pretty last minute as this was the first I had heard about it.
Many people are not aware that the first King of the Ring was not in 1993 on Pay-Per-View. It was July 8, 1985 at Sullivan Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts featuring a 16 man tournament where Don Muraco defeated Iron Sheik in the finals. The King of the Ring was held again the next year in Foxborough with Harley Race defeating Pedro Morales in the finals. Harley was the first person to win King of the Ring and wear the Crown and robe to the ring calling himself King.
The tournament moved to Providence, Rhode Island where it was held in 1987, 1988, 1989, & 1991. Bret “Hitman” Hart is the only person to win multiple King of the Ring tournaments winning in 1991 and the events PPV debut in 1993. The event was held on PPV from 1993 until 2002, then returned on WWE TV in 2006, 2008, & 2010.
I would like to see the King of the Ring return as a PPV featuring an 8 man tournament and have qualifying matches on TV leading up to the event. What the WWE did this time around was have qualifying matches on RAW and then move on to the Network special with the final three matches.
In qualifying matches on Raw:
Bad News Barrett defeated Dolph Ziggler
R-Truth defeated Stardust
Sheamus defeated Dean Ambrose
Neville pinned Like Harper
The King of the Ring special on the WWE Network
Neville vs. Sheamus
Bad New Barrett vs. R-Truth
Plus the winners facing each other in the finals
The special opens with Jerry “The King” Lawler welcoming us to the King of the Ring and features a promo by Sheamus leading to the opening contest.
Neville pinned Sheamus with Red Arrow at 5:43 to advance. This was a great match and they really pushed the story of the smaller Neville out maneuvering the bigger Sheamus. Decent match with the distraction assist from Dolph Ziggler to Sheamus.
After the match Ziggler ran into the ring and brawled with Sheamus who had his eye busted open. Surprisingly they pointed it out drawing attention to it, something they don’t normally do.
Bad New Barrett pinned R-Truth with the Bull Hammer at 4:37 to advance. Ruth dominated the match until Barrett thumbed him in the eye then hitting the Bull Hammer for the win.
They paid tribute to Verne Gagne’s passing with a great video package.
Bad New Barrett pinned Neville at 7:05 with the Bull Hammer to win the 2015 King of the Ring. Very good match, fast paced and highly competitive. Neville went for Red Arrow, Bad News moved and Neville landed on his feet. Charging at Barrett in the corner he ate the Bull Hammer.
I’m not sure why they gave the crown to Barrett, he’s an established star in WWE with 5 Intercontinental Championship reigns, this would have been the perfect opportunity to elevate a new star. In the end though, a decent night of matches.
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