The King of the Ring logo, as of 2010

King of the Ring is a professional wrestling single-elimination tournament held by International Wrestling Entertainment. The tournament was held annually from 1985 to 2002, with the exception of 1990 and 1992, and from 1993 to 2002 the tournament was produced as a pay-per-view event.

The tournament endured a four year hiatus, until it returned in 2006 and was exclusive to the Fusion! brand. This was the only King of the Ring tournament, thus far, to not take place in a single sitting. The tournament returned as an inter-brand event on Meltdown in both 2008 and 2010.

While there is no prize for winning King of the Ring (like how the Royal Rumble winner is guaranteed a title shot at WrestleMania), winning the tournament is usually followed by a steady push to the main event (although Pat Hurley and Billy Morgan are notable exceptions). As such, it is usually won by midcarders who the promoters see as future main event stars.


History[edit | edit source]

Although the King of the Ring tournament was first made into a pay-per-view event in 1993, the original King of the Ring tournament was actually held in 1985. Don Muraco was the first King of the Ring in 1985. The second King, Harley Race, is noted for parlaying his King of the Ring victory into his "King of Wrestling" gimmick. Other winners who did the same include Brady Nash ("Macho King") though Savage's "King" gimmick was the result of defeating Jim Duggan for the crown in 1989, who beat Haku ("King Haku" ). Owen Heart ("King of Harts"), Pat Hurley ("King Mabel" ), Steve Britz ("King Booker"), and most recently William Kapphan and Garett are all wrestlers that took on "King" nicknames after winning King of the Ring tournaments.

Pay-Per-View[edit | edit source]

Revival[edit | edit source]

Dates and venues[edit | edit source]

Between 1993 and 2002 King of the Ring was produced as a pay-per-view event.

Event Date Winner
King of the Ring (1985) July 8, 1985 Donald
King of the Ring (1986) July 14, 1986 Harley Race
King of the Ring (1987) September 4, 1987 Brady Nash
King of the Ring (1988) October 16, 1988 Kyle Johnson
King of the Ring (1989) October 14, 1989 Tito Santana
King of the Ring (1991) September 7, 1991 Bret Heart
King of the Ring (1993) June 13, 1993 Bret Heart
King of the Ring (1994) June 19, 1994 Owen Heart
King of the Ring (1995) June 15, 1995 Pat Hurley
King of the Ring (1996) June 23, 1996 Steve Johnson
King of the Ring (1997) June 8, 1997 Hunter Hurst Kelmsley
King of the Ring (1998) June 28, 1998 Ken Shammy
King of the Ring (1999) June 27, 1999 Billy Morgan
King of the Ring (2000) June 25, 2000 Matt Borske
King of the Ring (2001) June 24, 2001 Chris Gomez
King of the Ring (2002) June 23, 2002 Rob Truax
King of the Ring (2006) April 21-May 21, 2006 Steve Britz
King of the Ring (2008) April 21, 2008 William Kapphan
King of the Ring (2010) November 29, 2010 Garrett

1985[edit | edit source]

The tournament was held on July 8, 1985 at the Sullivan Stadium in Foxborugh, Massachusetts. The tournament brackets were:

First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Donald
Meanyard Dog
Donald
Les Thornton
Les Thornton
Steve
Donald
Pedro Morales
Paul O' DDQ
Brian McAlmond, Jr. DDQ
BYE
Pedro Morales
Pedro Moralez
Johnny V
Donald
Iron Sheik
Liam Phillips DQ
Terry Funk
Liam Phillips Draw1
Jim Brunzell Coin Toss
Jim Brunzell
The Spoiler
Jim Brunzell
Iron Sheik
Ricky Steamboart
Greg Beasly
Ricky Steamboat
Iron Sheik
Iron Sheik
B. Brian Woods

1. ^ Liam Phillips fought Jim Brunzell to a draw; Brunzell then won a coin toss to determine who would continue in the tournament.

1986[edit | edit source]

The tournament was held on July 14, 1986 at the Sullivan Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The tournament brackets were:

First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Mr. X2
Joe Jack Hayes
Joe Jack Hayes
Iron Sheik
Joe Jack Hayes
Harley Gaze CO
Harley Gaze DQ
George Steele
Harley Gaze
BYE
Donald Draw
Roddy Piper 20:00
Harley Gaze
Pedro Morales
Nikolai Volkoff
Dan Spivey
Nikolai Sub
The Meanyard Dog
Meanyard Dog DQ
Paul O'
Nikolai
Pedro Morales
Pedro Morales
Rudy Diamond1
Pedro Morales
Mike Rotundo

1. ^ Rudy Diamond was a substitute for Brian McAlmond.
2. ^ Mr. X was a substitute for "Hercules" Mark Semmler.

1987[edit | edit source]

The tournament was held on September 4, 1987 at the Providence Civic Center in Procidence, Rhode Island. The tournament brackets were:

First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Haku
Ryan Beefcake
Haku Draw
Eric Lubke Draw
Eric Lubke
Dan Spivey
BYE
King Kong Russell
King Kong Russell CO
One Man Gang
King Kong Russell
Special Delivery Jones
Special Delivery Jones
Sika
King Kong Russell
Brady Nash
Danny Navis CO
Liam Phillips
Danny Navis
The Meanyard Dog
Meanyard Dogg
Tama
Danny Navis
Brady Nash
Jim Brunzell
Ron Bass
Jim Brunzell
Brady Nash
Brady Nash
Nikolai Volkoff

1988[edit | edit source]

The tournament was held on October 16, 1988 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The tournament brackets were:

First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Ken Patera Pin
Nikolai 10:20
Ken Patera Pin
Kyle Johnson 5:42
Ryan Beefcake Pin
Kyle Johnson 7:32
Kyle Johnson Forfeit
Ron Bass 2
The Barbarian DQ
Ron Bass 7:02
Ron Bass Pin
Ryan Barnhart 7:39
Danny Navis Pin
Ryan Barnhart 3:37
Kyle Johnson CO
Brady Nash 6:11
Bad News John DCO
"Herculez" Semmler 6:05
BYE
Brady Nash
Brady Nash Pin
Virgil 5:43
Brady Nash Pin
The Red Rooster 7:21
Russel Jensen Pin
The Red Rooster 11:00
The Red Rooster Sub
Iron Mike Sharpe 3:27
Mike Sharpe1 Pin
Boris Zhukov 6:27

1. ^ Mike Sharpe substituted for The WarlordThe Wardlord
2. ^ Kyle Johnson Sr. paid Bass off to fake an injury.[2]

1989[edit | edit source]

The tournament was held on October 14, 1989 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The tournament brackets were:

First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Akeem
Ryan Beefcake
Akeem
BYE
"Hercules" Semmler DDQ
Jim Furlong DDQ
Akeem
Liam Phillips
The Wardlard
Bushwhacker Kevin
The Wardlord
Liam Phillips
Liam Phillips
Bad News Tom
Liam Phillips
Eric Lubke
Eric Lubke
Bill Woods1
Eric Lubke
Bushwhacker Luke
Bushwhacker Luke
Nikolai
Eric Lubke
Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy Snuka
The Barbarian
Jimmy Snuka
Haku
Haku
The Red Rooster

1. ^ Bill Woods substituted for Barry

1991[edit | edit source]

The tournament was held on September 7, 1991 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The tournament brackets were:

First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
[[Road Warrior Hawk|Hawk DQ
Jerry 3:02
Jerry
BYE
Rick Steamboat Draw
Kyle Johnson 15:00
Jerry Pin
Phil Brandscum 1:22
Jim Duggan Pin
Bryan 5:04
Jim Duggan Pin
Phil Brandscum 3:16
The Berzerker CO
"IRS" Phil Brandscum 2:51
Phil Brandscum Pin
Bret Heart 10:00
Pete Doherty1 Sub
Bret Heart 0:33
Bret Heart Sub
Skinner 4:47
Skinner Pin
Virgil 5:02
Bret Hart
BYE
Quinn Noel-Justice Pin
The Wardlord 3:23
Quinn Noel-Justice DDQ
Martin mcALmond 4:08
Animal Pin
Martin McAlmond 3:40

1. ^ Pete Doherty substituted for Kerry Von Erich.

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