Hosted by Jim Ross, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Who will become the 1993 King of the Ring? Will Yokozuna regain the WWF title or will Hogan keep his “toy”? Let’s find out!
Here is the bracket for the tournament:
Match 1 (quarterfinal): Bret “Hitman” Hart versus Razor Ramon
When Ramon made his entrance, the Dayton faithful chanted “1-2-3” at him.
Bret attempted to hip-toss him, but Razor countered with a clothesline.
As he gave Bret a back elbow, Razor got 2.
Bret then reversed a cross corner whip but ate knee on his follow-through.
After Ramon made Bret HIT THE POLE shoulder-first, the Dayton faithful LOUDLY chanted “1-2-3” at him.
Ramon then delivered a fallaway slam for another 2.
When he powerslammed Bret, Ramon couldn’t get 3.
He then hit a pair of elbow drops followed by a sidewalk slam.
As Bret evaded a pair of elbow drops, he gave Ramon an inverted atomic drop.
He then clotheslined Ramon for 2.
Upon delivering a side Russian leg sweep, Bret got another 2.
He then hit a backbreaker but couldn’t get 3.
When he mounted the second turnbuckle, Bret gave Ramon a flying elbow smash for yet another 2.
Bret then rolled up Ramon and almost got 3.
As Bret attempted a bulldog, Ramon shoved him sternum-first into the corner.
Ramon then attempted the Razor’s Edge, but Bret escaped.
While Bret hooked a backslide, he flipped over Ramon with help from the turnbuckles.
He then hooked an inside cradle for the ninth 2-count of the match.
After Razor clotheslined him, he placed Bret atop the top turnbuckle.
He then attempted a belly-to-back superplex; however, Bret used momentum to land on top.
Summary: While the move-countermove sequence told a story of two wrestlers who had some familiarity with one another, Bret dominated the middle portion of the match and won with a successful counter.
We then revisit Superstars when Hughes WALLOPED Undertaker with his own urn. In the meantime, Giant Gonzalez held Undertaker at bay. When Bearer tried to recover, Hughes CLOBBERED him with the urn too. What a heinous act!
Match 2 (quarterfinal): Mr. Perfect versus Mr. Hughes (w/ Harvey Wippleman)
Hughes reversed an Irish whip, but Perfect leap-frogged and dropkicked him.
As Hughes nailed him in the corner, Perfect fell over the top rope to the floor.
Hughes then gave Perfect a big boot followed by a clothesline.
When Hughes gave Perfect a pair of HARD cross corner whips to injure the back, Bret provided analysis via split-screen.
Hughes then botched a belly-to-belly suplex, and a right hand by Perfect rewarded him for the error.
After Hughes missed a running guillotine, Perfect hip-tossed him.
He then backdropped Hughes and followed with a neck snap.
As Hughes grabbed the urn, he DECIMATED Perfect with it.
Perfect advanced by DQ.
Summary: I understand the storyline finish for the house show feud between Undertaker and Hughes, but this match stunk on Melba toast.
Back in the locker room, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Mr. Fuji with Yokozuna who each cuts a promo on Hogan.
Match 3 (quarterfinal): “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan versus Bam Bam Bigelow
In lieu of his traditional blue trunks, Duggan wore a blue singlet with stars and stripes on the back.
Duggan clotheslined the evil foreigner from South Jersey three times before taking him off his feet.
When Bigelow reversed a cross corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through. In the meantime, he injured Duggan’s ribs.
Bigelow then applied a bear hug, but Duggan escaped.
As Duggan tried to slam him, Bigelow fell on top for 2.
He then reapplied the bear hug, but Duggan escaped by biting Bigelow. Perhaps he’ll hit the concession stand for some popcorn.
After he slammed Bigelow, Duggan knocked himself silly while attempting a three-point stance clothesline.
Bigelow then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit the diving head butt.
Summary: Although a bear hug is good psychology for injured ribs, better options were available for a more entertaining match.
Back in the locker room, Terry Taylor interviews the Steiners and Smoking Gunns. Luckily, he doesn’t cluck, er, I mean muck up the interview.
Match 4 (quarterfinal): The “Narcissist” Lex Luger versus Tatanka
Ring announcer Howard Finkel informed us that officials deemed it necessary for Luger to wear an elbow pad on his surgically-repaired forearm or he will forfeit. Let’s just say that Luger was a bit miffed about the news.
As Tatanka made his entrance, Luger ambushed and tossed him over the top rope to the floor.
Tatanka re-entered the ring and pushed the mirror atop Luger.
When a series of chops by Tatanka sent Luger over the top rope to the floor, he joined and slammed Luger on the floor.
Tatanka then reversed a cross corner whip and backdropped Luger.
After he clotheslined Luger, Tatanka got 2.
Bigelow stated in split-screen that he wanted “the Indian.”
As Tatanka hit a cross body block, he got another 2.
Luger rebounded with a knee to the midsection and a forearm smash for 2.
When he gave Tatanka a backbreaker, he delivered an elbow drop for another 2.
He then hit another elbow drop but couldn’t get 3.
After Luger argued with referee Mike Chioda, Tatanka rolled him up for 2.
Luger then clotheslined Tatanka, hit another forearm smash, and got 2.
As Tatanka hooked an inside cradle, he got 2.
He then secured a sunset flip for another 2.
According to Ross, only four minutes remained in the match.
Tatanka then chopped Luger down to the mat but failed to earn a pin.
When he powerslammed Luger, Tatanka almost got 3.
He then slammed Luger, mounted the top turnbuckle, and chopped Luger down again for yet another 2.
After he mounted the opposite top turnbuckle, Tatanka WHIFFED on a cross body block.
Luger then clotheslined Tatanka for 2.
With ninety seconds left, Luger powerslammed Tatanka for another 2.
Luger then backdropped and suplexed Tatanka but couldn’t put him away.
While only thirty seconds remained in the time limit, Luger delivered another backbreaker, and another 2-count occurred.
The bell then rang, and referee Mike Chioda ruled the match a time-limit draw.
As a result, neither wrestler advanced; therefore, Bigelow moved on to the final.
Summary: Since both wrestlers were undefeated on television, either a double-DQ or double-countout would have been better choices for a fall.
After the match, Luger grabs the microphone and demands five more minutes. Upon removing the elbow pad, Luger ANNIHILATES Tatanka to maintain his heat. Needless to say, but Tatanka is OUT COLD.
Backstage, Okerlund interviews both Bret and Perfect. He stirs the pot between them, and the interview gets heated. Perfect then vows to even the score from Summerslam ‘91.
Match 5 (semifinal): Bret “Hitman” Hart versus Mr. Perfect
For the official odds on who wins here, let’s hear from Hank Goldberg:
Great expert analysis, no?
Bret countered a hip toss with one of his own.
When Bret reversed a cross corner whip, he slammed Perfect.
He then hooked a crucifix for 2.
As Bret gave Perfect a cross body block, he earned a 1-count.
From the apron, Bret secured a sunset flip for another 2.
Perfect rebounded with a standing dropkick that sent Bret to the floor.
After he acted sportsmanlike by holding the ropes open, he kicked Bret. SNEAKY!
He then delivered a knee lift for 2.
When he kicked Bret down to the floor, Perfect joined and rammed him face-first into the apron.
With Bret on the apron, Perfect used momentum to shoot him into and make him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Pork Lord sandwich at Fifth Street Brewpub.
Perfect then hit a knee lift for 2.
As he mounted the top turnbuckle, Perfect landed a missile dropkick for another 2.
He then gave Bret a cross corner whip that resulted in a sternum-first bump.
After he almost got 3, Perfect mounted an adjacent top turnbuckle, but Bret crotched him.
Bret then joined and superplexed him for 2. Woohoo!
When Bret hooked a figure-four leg lock, Perfect ultimately made the ropes.
Perfect rebounded by tossing Bret across the ring by the hair.
As Perfect applied a sleeper, Bret made the ropes.
Perfect then reapplied a sleeper and used the bottom rope for leverage. Devious!
In order to escape, Bret used momentum to send Perfect face-first into the top turnbuckle.
He then gave Perfect a taste of his own medicine by tossing him across the ring by the hair. In the process, Perfect crotched himself on the ring post. OUCH!
After Bret delivered an inverted atomic drop, he followed with a side-Russian leg sweep for 2.
He then leg-dropped Perfect and hit a backbreaker.
When he mounted the second turnbuckle, Bret gave Perfect an elbow smash for another 2.
He then attempted the Sharpshooter, but Perfect countered by grabbing Bret’s injured left hand.
As Perfect attempted a Perfectplex, both wrestlers spilled over the top rope to the floor.
Back in the ring, Perfect hooked an inside cradle for 2.
Bret then countered and got 3. Wow!
As a result, Bret advanced to the finals.
Summary: Historically great match that surpassed their Summerslam ‘91 encounter. What a phenomenal match! Great job, guys!
Afterward, Bret and Perfect stand face-to-face and shake hands like good sports.
Backstage, Okerlund interviews Hogan with Hart. Hogan neither refers to Yokozuna as “the Jap” nor the WWF title as a “toy.” If you wanted a toy, Hogan, call Hasbro.
Match 6 for the WWF title: Hulk Hogan (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)
Several photographers surrounded the ring.
As he slammed Hogan, Yokozuna gave him a HARD cross corner whip to injure the back.
He then gave Hogan another cross corner whip, attempted an avalanche, but came up empty.
When he delivered the ten-punch count-along, Hogan gave Yokozuna a cross corner whip followed by a corner clothesline.
He then tried to slam Yokozuna twice but failed miserably.
After Hogan clotheslined him twice, he ate one from Yokozuna.
Speaking of Yokozuna, he missed a splash but hooked a bear hug.
While the Dayton faithful chanted “U-S-A,” their American hero escaped.
Yokozuna then hit a back elbow followed by a belly-to-belly suplex for 2.
It’s Hulk-up time!
As he gave Yokozuna a pair of big boots, Hogan couldn’t take Yokozuna off his feet.
A third big boot finally took Yokozuna down to the mat, so Hogan delivered a leg drop.
Will Hogan retain?
Yokozuna kicked out! That’s unfathomable!
When Fuji got up on the apron, Hogan nailed him.
Suddenly, a photographer got up on the apron.
Just as suddenly, when Hogan approached him, a fireball emitted from the camera.
Yokozuna then nailed and leg-dropped Hogan.
WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: If you want to build a monster as big as possible, pay attention to this match. Hogan made Yokozuna look like an unstoppable force while having almost no offense.
After the match, Yokozuna and Fuji drag Hogan to the corner, and Yokozuna banzai-drops him. While Heenan declares Hulkamania dead, officials assist the blinded Hogan backstage. Photographers enter the ring and capture the NEW WWF champion.
HOT TAKE: This match represented Hogan’s last WWF TV appearance until 2002. Hmmm...I wonder where he’ll end up next.
Backstage, Taylor interviews Perfect who provides a disgruntled yet confident promo.
Elsewhere backstage, Okerlund interviews Michaels with a bodyguard who you might know already. When Okerlund asks for his name, Michaels refers to him as “Diesel.” I could swear it’s Vinnie Vegas, but what do I know? Oops, I almost forgot that Michaels discredits Hogan by referring to him as a “dinosaur.” That one’s gotta sting a little.
Match 7 (eight-man tag): WWF tag team champions Money, Inc. & the Headshrinkers (w/ Afa) versus the Steiners & the Smoking Gunns
Scott leap-frogged and dropkicked DiBiase to start the match.
When Scott clotheslined DiBiase over the top rope to the floor, Rick nailed DiBiase before tossing him back in.
DiBiase then badmouthed Rick, so Scott clotheslined him again over the top rope to the floor.
As Rick nailed him again, DiBiase sought refuge closer to the heel corner.
Tags were exchanged on both sides as Bart dropkicked Fatu.
After Bart face-planted Fatu, he ate a superkick. Wait a minute! Are you telling me that Bart didn’t do his homework?
Samu tagged in, and the Headshrinkers double-clotheslined Bart.
When IRS tagged in, he gave Bart a back elbow.
DiBiase tagged in and delivered his own back elbow to Bart.
As DiBiase suplexed Bart, Samu tagged in.
The Headshrinkers then double-backdropped Bart for 2.
After Fatu hit a backbreaker, he got another 2 on Bart.
IRS tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Bart.
When IRS gave Bart a leg drop, he couldn’t get 3 on Bart.
Speaking of Bart, he hooked a sunset flip for 2.
Next, a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
Hot tag Billy.
As he backdropped DiBiase, Billy clotheslined him twice.
DiBiase then hit a stungun and applied a Million Dollar Dream.
After DiBiase released the hold, Billy fell to the mat, but the match wasn’t over.
DiBiase then attempted a slam, but Billy countered with an inside cradle.
The Steiners and Smoking Gunns won.
Summary: With the Dayton faithful in utter disbelief over the previous match’s outcome, this match served as a bathroom break. While I realize the Gunns are a brand-new team in the WWF, the Steiners got ZERO chance to shine in this match. Hello? Dayton’s a mere 200 miles from Detroit. Is this thing on?
After the match, an eight-way brawl erupts, and the babyfaces clear the ring.
Back in the locker room, Okerlund interviews the NEW WWF champion—Yokozuna—with Fuji and WWF President Jack Tunney. After Tunney congratulates Yokozuna, Fuji cuts a promo on the fallen Hogan.
Match 8 for the WWF Intercontinental title: The “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (champion w/ Diesel) versus Crush
According to Ross, Hogan didn’t sustain any permanent damage, and we haven’t seen the last of the Hulkster in the WWF. Lest we forget, Hogan’s appearances caused strong ticket sales in Chicago, Boston, and the upcoming European tour.
A shoulder block by Crush sent Michaels reeling backward out of the ring.
As Crush leap-frogged Michaels twice, he ducked a superkick and dropkicked him. Wow!
A second dropkick sent Michaels over the top rope to the floor.
When he military-press-slammed Michaels, Crush followed with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
Diesel then pulled Michaels out of the ring, and Michaels used him as a decoy to make Crush HIT THE POLE.
While Michaels distracted referee Mike Chioda, Diesel made Crush HIT THE POLE again. How dastardly!
Diesel then distracted Chioda so that Michaels could smack Crush’s head against the ring post repeatedly.
After Michaels put Crush back into the ring, somehow he only got 2.
Michaels then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a double axe handle for another 2.
As Crush countered a front face lock with a flapjack twice, he hung Michaels out to dry on a third attempt.
Michaels then mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but Crush evaded him.
When Crush backdropped him, he gave Michaels a cross corner whip followed by a backbreaker for 2.
He then delivered a big boot and a leg drop for another 2.
After Crush clotheslined Michaels over the top rope to the floor, a pair of Doinks came to ringside.
With Crush distracted, Michaels hit a superkick to the back of Crush’s head.
Summary: Michaels bumped like a basketball during tournament season, and the Diesel interference added to his character. Crush’s dropkicks alone deserve a ½*.
After the match, Crush chased the Doinks backstage.
Backstage, Okerlund interviews Bigelow who’s ready to get “the job done.”
Match 9 (final): Bam Bam Bigelow versus Bret “Hitman” Hart
Bigelow attempted a military-press slam, but Bret fell on top for 2.
When Bigelow clotheslined him, he pressed Bret overhead and dumped him over the top rope to the floor. OUCH!
He then gave Bret a HARD cross corner whip to injure the back.
As he delivered a diving head butt, Bigelow got 2.
He then hit a belly-to-back suplex for another 2.
After he gave Bret a second HARD cross corner whip, Bigelow delivered another head butt but couldn’t get 3.
Bigelow then applied a bear hug, but Bret countered with a head lock.
When Bigelow countered with a second belly-to-back suplex, he almost got 3.
He then tossed Bret outside the ring and joined him.
As Bret reversed an Irish whip, he sent Bigelow back-first into the steel railing.
He then made Bigelow taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Screamer at Blind Bob’s.
Upon mounting the apron, Bret delivered an elbow smash.
He then remounted the apron, leaped, but Bigelow caught and rammed him back-first into the ring post.
When Bigelow slammed Bret on the floor, he distracted referee Joey Marella.
Suddenly, Luna Vachon came to ringside with a chair.
She then WALLOPED Bret with it and scampered backstage. Nefarious!
As Bigelow tossed him back into the ring, he slammed Bret.
Next, he mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a diving head butt.
Bigelow’s the King of the Ring!
Abruptly, Earl Hebner came to the ring and informed Marella about Luna’s shenanigans.
Finkel then announced that the decision had been reversed, but Hebner corrected him.
Instead, the match continued while Bigelow gave Bret a third HARD cross corner whip.
He then reapplied a bear hug followed by a Canadian backbreaker.
After Bret escaped, he delivered his own belly-to-back suplex.
Bigelow then missed a senton splash yet gave Bret HARD cross corner whip #4.
When Bigelow reapplied a Canadian backbreaker, Bret countered with a sleeper.
Bigelow escaped but ate a dropkick from Bret.
As Bret dumped him over the top rope to the floor, he then delivered a plancha. Woohoo!
Back in the ring, Bret mounted the second turnbuckle and clotheslined Bigelow for 2.
He then hit a side-Russian leg sweep, mounted an adjacent second turnbuckle, and bulldogged Bigelow.
While Bret attempted a Sharpshooter, Bigelow powered out to escape.
A third bear hug by Bigelow was countered by gnawing from Bret.
Upon receiving a belly-to-back suplex, Bigelow used momentum to land on top.
Can he become King of the Ring this time?
Bigelow then gave Bret a cross corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
When Bret mounted the second turnbuckle, he put himself on Bigelow’s shoulders.
He then hooked a victory roll and pinned Bigelow.
As a result, Bret became the King of the Ring!
Summary: Fantastic match where Bigelow tried everything to put the beleaguered Bret away but to no avail. Bret used skill and workrate to wrestle three different matches in one night and pulled it off gracefully and masterfully.
After the match, Bret walked to the podium for the coronation. Okerlund then proclaims Bret as the King of the Ring. All of a sudden, Jerry “The King” Lawler interrupts, claims to be the only true King in the WWF, and would bestow the honor of Prince upon Bret if he bowed down and kissed Lawler’s feet.
Bret rightfully pleads his case and calls Lawler a “burger king.” While the Dayton faithful chants “Burger King,” Lawler nails Bret with his scepter. He then destroys the crown and dumps the throne atop Bret’s back. As he wants Bret to kiss his feet, Lawler kicks Bret off the podium. Excellent heel destruction by Lawler here.
Conclusion: With the spectacular Bret trifecta and Hogan’s last hurrah, this show is both historical and worthwhile. I suspect that the summer of ‘93 will be somewhat based around the Lawler-Bret feud. On the other hand, something else rather big needs to happen between now and Summerslam ‘93, right?