Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / King of the Ring

Go To

"As God as my witness, he is broken in half!"

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 occur at the PPV, and the winner would be crowned the King of the Ring.

The tournament was discontinued until its return in 2006 as an exclusive event of the SmackDown brand. Tournaments also occurred in 2008, 2010, and 2015. In 2019, it returned as a dual-brand event, and in 2021, a Queen's Crown tournament was established as the equivalent for the women's division.

In 2023, it was announced that the event would return as a PLE under the moniker "King and Queen of the Ring" which would include WWE's female talents competing for the crown in addition to the men's tournament. However, on April 13, WWE scrapped those plans and opted to revive Night of Champions in its stead.

    open/close all folders 

King of the Ring:

Queen's Crown:

King of the Tropes:

  • 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, 1994-1997note , 1999, 2000, and 2002-2019 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.
  • Ceiling Smash: Inverted during The Undertaker and Mick Foley's Hell in a Cell match at the 1998 event, in which they brawled on the Cell's roof twice. The second time, 'Taker chokeslammed Foley through the roof, sending him crashing onto the ring below. And Foley still wanted to fight.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Matt and Jeff Hardy were the "gatekeepers" in the 1995 event. Their faces can be seen clearly when Savio Vega makes his entrance.
  • Cool Chair: Awarded to the winner.
  • Cool Crown: Awarded to the winner, of course!
  • Crossover: The finals of the 2006 event was held on the Judgment Day PPV.
  • Demoted to Extra: The tournament became less prominent after 2002, only being held intermittently and not receiving its own PPV after that year.
  • 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 at the 2001 event, thus officially beginning The 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 did 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 invoked 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.note 
    • 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.note  (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 1995, The "Kiss My Foot" match between Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler, in which Bret wins.
  • Just the First Citizen: Inverted. Despite the coronation ceremony and title being a Bragging Rights Reward, many heels who won the tournament started conducting themselves as if they were actually kings and the audience were their commoner subjects. Booker T took this the furthest by far, not only calling himself King Booker and having his wife and valet Sharmell start calling herself Queen Sharmell, but switching his hip-hop theme tune for an orchestral one, adopting a phony British accent and eloquent vocabulary and even "knighting" Finlay and William Regal to form a Power Stable called King Booker's Royal Court.
  • 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.
  • Victory by First Blood: In the 1998 event, Kane defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin in the first blood match to win the WWE Title after the Undertaker inadvertedly hits Austin with a steel chair, busting him open.