Dark Pegasus Video Review: King of the Ring 1995 Posted by J.D. Dunn on 11.05.2007
King Mabel the Grape.
the Diesel era began way before
In Your House I. He defeated Backlund for
the title just after the Survivor Series.
Honestly, I posted that so long ago that I can't tell you my thought processes on whether I meant that the 12-PPV/year era was underway or whatever the hell else I was thinking. Hell, I can't even tell you if I posted that teaser or if one of the editors had to do it for me because I wasn't paying attention. What I can tell you is, yes, Diesel had been champ for a long time before that show. Although, I can say that I don't consider his "era" (if that's what you want to call it) to have begun until WrestleMania XI. I don't consider the Bret Hart era to have begun until WrestleMania X either, even though he already had a title reign under his belt...or as his belt as the case may be.
If there's a PPV that is more fantasy re-booked than Starrcade '97 on forums across the world-wide web, it's this one.
Shawn Michaels was on fire as the hottest babyface in the company ever since dumping Sycho Sid (and then Sid dumped him on his head). Diesel, Shawn, the Undertaker and Bam Bam Bigelow were all feuding with Ted Dibiase's Corporation, and with Bam Bam and Diesel not being in the tournament, it was thought of as a foregone conclusion that either Shawn or the Undertaker would win, especially because it was a VERY weak field besides those two.
In fact, Diesel was a very forgiving champion. Not only did he rekindle his friendship with Shawn Michaels, he also became fast friends with Bam Bam Bigelow who quit/was fired from Dibiase's Corporation after losing to Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania.
June 25, 1995
Live from Philadelphia, Pa.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix.
Coliseum Home Video Exclusive, Qualifier Match: Savio Vega (w/Razor Ramon) vs. IRS (w/Ted Dibiase).
Ramon qualified but got injured and needed a replacement. Winner gets Yokozuna in the first round. IRS is on the way out anyway, and I think this was actually his last PPV match as a wrestler. Savio gets a few rollups early but spills to the floor in what must have been a botched spot because they cut away to the announcers while the crowd goes, "Ohhh!" Savio avoids a top-rope move and comes back with a snap suplex. Savio finishes IRS off with the spinning wheel kick at 3:59. *
Opening Match, Quarterfinals: Yokozuna (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Savio Vega (w/Razor Ramon).
Yoko defeated Lex Luger to get here. Savio tries his best to formulate some sort of strategy, like isolating a body part, but it's no good. Yoko settles down with a nerve hold and then tosses Vega to the floor. Vince, without a trace of irony, describes Yoko's quickness. Savio chops his way back but gets knocked down with a single blow. Savio avoids the big-ass legdrop and fires off a few clotheslines. The spinning wheel kick knocks Yoko down. Owen Hart runs down and picks a fight with Razor. Yoko and Savio brawl on the outside, so Savio just shoves Yoko into the post and hops back in the ring for the cheap win at 8:23. 1/2*
Jerry Lawler shoes off his disgusting foot. To bust out an old George Carlin joke, it looks like he has pussyfoot.
Quarterfinals: The Roadie (w/Jeff Jarrett) vs. Bob Holly.
Holly defeated Mantaur in the qualifier (I know, how do you justify that?!). Holly gets in a lot of quick rollups before Roadie blocks his backdrop and delivers a powerbomb! Holly takes a hard whip to the corner but backdrops out of a piledriver. Holly powerslams him for two. He keeps hitting big moves, but Roadie just keeps kicking out. Holly fights off a superplex and goes for a top-rope move, but Roadie gets his foot up and gets the pin at 7:36. Bizarre finish, but the match rocked for its time. Holly wrestled more like Paul London at this point, and Roadie was busting his ass to make an impression as something other than a lackey. **3/4
Quarterfinals: Kama (w/Ted Dibiase) vs. Shawn Michaels.
Shawn defeated King Kong Bundy in the qualifier. This would seem to be a no-brainer, and it was. Whoever booked it has no brain. *Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk* Shawn works a minor miracle here, getting a pretty good match out of Kama, who had previously shown no signs of talent. Shawn avoids Kama's jabs, which is pretty cool. Kama tosses him over the top, but Shawn skins the cat. Kama finally takes over on the outside and hits a series of stiff kicks. You know, Kama "the Supreme Fighting Machine" might get over today with the popularity of UFC. Shawn flips over the ropes and falls to the floor where Dibiase lays in the boots. Back in, Kama hits a backbreaker and holds him there. Kama misses an avalanche (or the Hoooooo train!), and Shawn hits a twisting double ax-handle for a double KO spot. They lay around for a good minute or so, leaving only two minutes in the match. Shawn kips up and pummels him in the corner. He hits a bodypress, but Kama rolls through for two. Shawn gets two off a small package, but Kama fights off a sunset flip long enough to hold out for the time limit at 15:00. Shawn pretty much sums it up: bullshit! Shawn superkicks Kama out and poses for the audience, who, by now, have turned on the show. If there's one thing you don't want to see, it's when Philly fans turn on a show. **
We catch up with Bob Backlund, who is running for President.
Mabel (w/Mo) vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer).
Taker beat Jeff Jarrett to get here. Mabel defeated Adam Bomb all the way at the last PPV. Taker hits the Ropewalk Forearm early and does a lot of choking. Heh, in more ways than one, as you'll see. Mabel hits a horrible Bossman Slam and tosses Taker. Taker lands on his feet but gets tied in the ropes. Bearer gets him out, but Taker goes after Mo and gets belly-to-bellied by Mabel. A chinlock kills time (and the crowd). Taker fights back but takes a piledriver. Vince: "Pretty smart on the part of Mabel's part." It's a sad thing when good sentences go bad. Taker comes back with the usual, bumping the ref in the process. He chokeslams Mabel, but the ref is out. That allows Kama to return and nail the Taker. Mabel drops a leg and picks up the unfathomable win at 10:46. Taker chases Kama up the aisle. 1/2*
We see the 1995 Hall of Fame induction ceremony back when they didn't make a big deal about it like they do today.
Semi-Finals: The Roadie (w/Jeff Jarrett) vs. Savio Vega (w/Razor Ramon).
Okay. Shawn didn't make it to the second round. Undertaker didn't make it to the second round. BUT THESE TWO DID! In fairness, the Roadie is *really* taking advantage of this opportunity. He bumps his ass off, trying to make the match interesting. Savio has two moves, though: armbar & spinning kick. Jarrett trips Savio up and gets on the apron. Savio knees Roadie into him and rolls up Roadie for the win at 6:38. Not bad, thanks to the Roadie. **
Recap of Bret fooling Lawler at the first In Your House, but Hakushi and Shinja cost him the match.
Kiss-My-Foot Match: Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart.
How else would you blowoff a feud between two "kings?" We're told that Lawler got ready for this match by training in horse stalls and refusing to wash his feet. Well, he's from Tennessee. Isn't that a bit redundant? Bret starts out hot but gets sent into the railing. The crowd gets on Lawler with a "Burger King" chant. Back in, Lawler hits THREE piledrivers. He takes his boot off and nails Bret with it, I guess in case dropping him directly on his head didn't do the trick. The smell of Lawler's feet seems to revive Bret, though, and he fights back. They brawl on the floor, and Hakushi and Shinja come down again. Hakushi's interference backfires, though, and he takes out Lawler. Back in, Bret hits the usual and finishes with the Sharpshooter at 9:21. This would be Bret's only win in this two-year feud. Bret fends off all the heels and sticks his toes in Lawler's mouth. That's not good enough, so Bret forces Lawler to kiss his own smelly foot. Lawler would be so traumatized by this that he'd have to go to a dentist to get the taste of da feet (heh) out of his mouth – a dentist named Isaac Yankem DDS. 1/2*
We get a promo hyping the alliance between the WWF and the Special Olympics. We even get a brief interview from one of the kids who says, "Hey, even I wouldn't have booked this shit." Kidding.
King of the Ring Finals: Mabel (w/Mo) vs. Savio Vega (w/Razor Ramon).
See, we're supposed to care because Savio is a Cinderella story who didn't even know he was going to be in the tournament, and here he is wrestling a plum. Well, it's not like they were going to go with "King Kwang." Savio gets in a few strikes, but Mabel kills the match with a bearhug. It's not even a good bearhug! He's bent at a 90-degree angle. Even Vince notes it, and he's been giving Mabel the verbal reacharound all night, and he's only doing that because it's physically impossible to give him an actual reacharound. Vince is practically begging Savio to do something to make the match interesting. The fans start a revolt with an "ECW" chant. Savio fights back and hits the spinning heel kick. Mabel kicks out, killing that finisher. Mabel finishes with a splash at 8:44. After the match, Razor stands up to Mo and Mabel and gets squashed for his trouble. The 1-2-3 Kid tries to save and also gets squashed. So it goes Bret Hart to Owen Hart to Mabel. Wow. O
The fans pelt the new king with garbage. But remember, you filthy smarks, there's no such thing as bad heat. That's just a made-up phenomenon. Mabel got tons of heat here and he drew more money than…well, I could go on, but that would be rubbing my rightness in. The point is, if you don't think "X-Pac Heat" exists, just look at this because the fans are very vocal here, and Mabel didn't draw dick.
Diesel & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Sid & Tatanka (w/Ted Dibiase).
The backstory here was that the Clique was trying to sandbag Bigelow because Bigelow got so much mainstream exposure at WrestleMania and overshadowed the match between Nash and Michaels. Nash apparently didn't care much (which shouldn't come as a surprise, considering his demeanor), but Shawn was very pissed off, and Nash went along with whatever Shawn wanted. It doesn't really manifest here. I just thought I'd send you a tidbit. The actual story that you probably care about if you're watching is that Diesel has an injured elbow from In Your House I, and the heels keep working on it early. Bigelow tags in and kicks ass until Sid chokeslams him off the second-rope. Bigelow plays face-in-peril for a while. Tatanka even cuts off his slingshot shoulderblock. Diesel gets the hot tag and drops an elbow with his bad elbow like an idiot. He has to tag right back out. Well, at least he's paying attention to psychology, which is more than Test ever did. Why Test? Why not? Bammer hulks up and tag in a recovered Diesel. Diesel absolutely MURDERS Tatanka with a big boot and a Jackknife, but he wants Sid. Sid takes a walk in lieu of getting his ass kicked, so Nash finishes Tatanka with an elbowdrop at 17:35. Diesel would hound Sid into meeting him at In Your House II. This was all kinds of bad as Sid and Tatanka didn't do much more than kicking and punching. 1/2*
The 411: This would be rock bottom for the WWF's stupidity in the 1990s. It's not just that the wrestling's bad because a lot of shows have bad wrestling. What makes this show so uniquely awful is that the WWF either didn't know or didn't care about what the fans wanted even though all signs pointed to Shawn. Vince would continue "The Mabel Experiment" for the next several months before finally pulling the plug, but it would take him nine more months to put the title on Shawn and turn business around.