Wrestling / King of the Ring

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King of the Ring is a tournament that was created by WWE in 1985, and was held annually until 2002 note . From 1993 through 2002, the tournament was produced as the annual June pay-per-view event, which was one of the major WWE PPVs along with the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series.

The event consists of a single-elimination tournament consisting of 16 wrestlers competing in a one-on-one single elimination bracket. When a wrestler wins, he advances to face the next opponent, who has won their match. The final few matches would take place at the PPV, and the winner is crowned the King of the Ring.

The tournament discontinued until its return in 2006 as an exclusive event of the SmackDown brand. Tournaments also occured in 2008, 2010, and 2015.

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    King of the Ring Winners 

King of the Ring contains examples of:

  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The ending of the tournament, but this being wrestling and all, they're not really being crowned king of anything, but simply being honored in a faux-coronation ceremony for winning the tournament. This doesn't stop most of the heel winners from snapping and starting to behave as if they actually were the king of something, however.
  • Badass Boast: Plenty of victory speeches, but Stone Cold's in the 1996 event is unquestionably the most iconic.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • At King of the Ring 1993, Yokozuna was out for revenge after he lost the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IX to Hulk Hogan the same night he won it. This culminated in a match where Yokozuna won after a photographer (who was actually Harvey Wippleman in disguise) shot a fireball out of his camera at Hogan, allowing Yokozuna to use the atomic leg drop on Hogan for the win. After the match, Yokozuna used the Banzai Drop on Hogan. This turned out to be Hogan's last appearance in the WWF until 2002. "Hulkamania is dead" indeed.
    • Only one Face scored a victory (Rob Van Dam) in the 2002 event, but it was pointless since he eventually lost to a heel in the finals anyway.
    • The eponymous crowned winners of the 1988, 1994-1997, 1999, 2000, and 2002-2015 tournaments are all Heels.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The 1998 event is famous for two of its matches; Mankind vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Kane in a First Blood match. Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon in a Street Fight match in the 2001 is also a contender.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Matt and Jeff Hardy were the "gatekeepers" in the 1996 event. Their faces can be seen when Jake Roberts is being escorted backstage after Stone Cold whopped his ass.
  • Cool Chair: Awarded to the winner.
  • Cool Crown: Awarded to the winner, of course!
  • Crossover: The grand finals of the 2006 event was held on the Judgment Day PPV.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Title became less prominent after 2002.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Both the winner and the tournament itself is called King of the Ring.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The King of the Ring tournament serves as the platform of wrestlers becoming breakout stars. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin being the prime example in KOTR 1996 with his famous Austin 3:16 promo. Of course, some others have flopped (e.g. Mabel and Billy Gunn).
    • Booker T made his WWE debut by attacking Stone Cold and slamming him on the Spanish Announcers Table, thus officially beginning the WCW invasion angle.
  • Event Title: The title is the name of the Tournament Arc.
  • Evil Versus Evil: King of the Ring matches that qualify include Marc Mero vs. Jeff Jarrett in the quarter-finals in 1998 and Test vs. Brock Lesnar in 2002.
  • First Blood: KOTR '98 introduced the first ever First Blood match between Stone Cold and Kane for the WWE title.
  • The Gloves Come Off: Inverted at the King of the Ring '01. Diamond Dallas Page had been stalking The Undertaker's wife, Sara, and The American Badass persona of The Undertaker does not play that shit. Before their "match" (WWE refused to sanction it because they didn't want to be legally responsible for what Undertaker did to DDP) Undertaker made it a point to slowly walk to the ring during his entrance, as the impending ass-kicking was a long time coming. There was no motorcycle and there were no theatrics. Not even any ring gear; just his character-themed T-shirt and jeans. Right before he got to the ring, he stood in Page's view and slowly put his gloves on. Presumably, as Jim Ross ascertained, Undertaker was "glovin' up" so he wouldn't break his hands on DDP's face.
  • History Repeats:
    • Bret Hart won both the 1991 and 1993 events.
    • Both the 1988 and 2001 events saw the previous year's winner lose in the finals.
    • The main event of the 2001 edition deliberately invokes the Montreal Screwjob.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Bret Hart defeated Jerry Lawler in a "Kiss My Foot" match at King of the Ring 1995. After the match, Bret shoved Lawler's smelly foot in Lawler's own mouth.
  • How Much More Can He Take?:
    • Mick Foley in the Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring 1998. He was thrown off of a sixteen-foot-tall steel chain link cell and through the Spanish announcers' table. The fall was so devastating that he sustained a concussion, spinal damage, a dislocated shoulder and internal bleeding. The EMTs squeezed in to put him on a stretcher and wheel him away, which seemed to signal the premature end of the match. Instead, Foley got up off the stretcher and climbed back up the cell (faster than before his fall!) to resume the match. After some more fighting, Undertaker performed his signature choke-slam, which sent Foley through the chain link cell to the ring below, a steel chair following close behind to smash his teeth out of his mouth, one of which lodged in his nose. Foley was completely knocked out, nearly died, and has no memory of the next few hours...but he got back up and resumed the match, finally ending it after taking two hard falls onto a large pile of thumbtacks. And then, simply because he refused to be stretchered out twice, he got up and walked back up the ramp to a standing ovation.
    • From King of the Ring 2001 Kurt Angle wrestled three matches in one night, including a 26 minute Street Fight match with Shane McMahon that was more violent than expected thanks to a Special Effects Failure or two. (The reason Kurt wrestled three matches in a single night is because Shane intentionally interfered in Kurt's King of the Ring tournament matches to ensure that he would both move on to the finals and lose the tournament to weaken him up for the Street Fight.)
  • I Kiss Your Foot: From King of the Ring '95, The "Kiss My Foot" match between Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler, in which Bret wins.
  • Made of Iron:
    • As the event is sometimes a one-night Tournament Arc, wrestlers will fight more than one match.
    • Kurt Angle wrestled thrice in the 2001 event. He fought in the eponymous tournament twice, losing to the final round, and then winning a Hardcore match against Shane McMahon in the penultimate main event.
    • Mick Foley was infamously thrown from the top of the eponymous Hell in a Cell during the 1998 event and finishes the match in spite of his injuries.
  • Meaningful Rename: A lot of the winners have incorporated the word "King" in their names (e.g Macho King, King Booker, King Barrett). Subverted by Triple H, who adopted the Red Baron "King of Kings" nine years after his coronation.
  • Mle Trois: The triple threat match between Stone Cold, Chris Jericho, and Chris Benoit for the WWE title at KOTR '01, which was the only triple threat match that ever took place in a KOTR event.
  • The Namesake: The titular King of the Ring will be awarded to whoever wins the eponymous tournament.
  • The Place: The eponymous tournament are held in the ring, after all.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's legendary Badass Boast after winning the 1996 event due to the WWF being PG at the time.
    Austin: Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: At King of the Ring 1996, Brian Pillman said "I'm gonna rape, pillage and plunder this entire federation!"
  • Spanish Announcers Table: The famous example comes from 1998 with The Undertaker throwing Mankind off of the cell through it.
  • Tournament Arc: When the event was PPV exclusive until after 2002.

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