WWF King Of The Ring 1996

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Joe
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WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm

I'm watching this one for a podcast that Bern, a friend of his, and I are taping later this week. I haven't seen this show in forever! And of course the opening video started with the Ultimate Warrior, so I'm not sure what to expect, haha.

I will say, the opening match between Austin and "Wild Man" Marc Mero was awesome! Seriously, is this the best match Mero ever had? I think it could be a contender. He looked great! Diving out of the ring, oozing with charisma, legit coming off like a superstar. And Austin looked strong too, of course. I'm sort of surprised Mero didn't get over with this gimmick/look, because its so much better than his poor man's boxer look from 1997.

Joe
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Sun May 19, 2019 3:05 pm

Jake Roberts vs. Vader was more angle than anything, but man I wish we had seen more of "Monster Vader" in WWF like we did here, versus the Vader we got for most of his WWF run.

Joe
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Sun May 19, 2019 3:11 pm

I loved tag team gimmicks like The Smoking Gunns and The Godwins. They wrestle here and honestly its not bad. There's even some really fun moments. I don't remember the Gunns being heels, but it worked for them. Also, I was thinking during the match that Billy Gunn is one of those rare wrestlers whose name never changed even when his gimmick did. He was always Billy Gunn, or at least Billy. There's not many wrestlers who can make that claim.

Joe
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Sun May 19, 2019 3:23 pm

Warrior vs. Lawler was so much better than I anticipated. I mean, it's not a great match or anything by any stretch, but Lawler is a great heel, and Warrior's act is entertaining in small doses like we get here. I was entertained, I can't lie. I think a gimmick like the Warrior's would still get over like crazy with an audience.

Joe
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Sun May 19, 2019 4:55 pm

Undertaker vs. Mankind have one of their more straightforward matches here. Nobody almost dies! Honestly, I love these characters, and Mankind was especially a favorite of mine as a kid. When the pace would pick up in this one, it was great. When things would slow down, it would be a bit too slow for me. But definitely a good match overall. I just wish it more built up instead of ebbing and flowing, if that makes sense.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Goldust, built around a storyline you couldn't get away with in 2019, started out hot and then quickly cooled down and stayed on the lower frequency until the end. I'll say this, the live crowd popped big time for the winner. If the match had been shorter, it would have been better overall. But it certainly wasn't bad. Man, Ahmed really did have some look.

Joe
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Sun May 19, 2019 4:56 pm

Crazy ass Brian Pillman's promo has to be a highlight of the show, because crazy ass Brian Pillman as a whole had to be a highlight of WWF's 1996. Maybe 1996 wrestling in general. Loose cannon indeed!

Joe
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Sun May 19, 2019 5:33 pm

Austin vs. Jake Roberts for the KOTR has to be one of the most disappointing matches that ends up paying off incredibly. Like I even vaguely remember the six man match from Bash at the Beach before the nWo officially debuted being a decent enough contest. But Roberts vs Austin is just such a throwaway, and I was scratching my head at it even now. They clearly build the story throughout as Roberts being beaten and bruised and hopefully able to rise up against the odds and come back to win. And then he doesn't. He just doesn't. It goes against almost all things you're supposed to do when telling a narrative story. And it isn't even like the match is dramatic and Roberts almost wins but just can't pull it off. No, he goes out there and gets mugged by Austin. He never has a chance. Its a whimper. There's two guys sitting in the front row across from the hard cam whose faces literally say "that's it?" when the match ends. They represent everything I thought.

But then it happens. Austin cuts what I'd argue may be the greatest single promo in the history of the WWF, maybe pro wrestling as a whole. He gives birth to Austin 3:16 and the rest, as they say, is history. I still think Jake should have put up an actual fight in the match and just barely lost, though I suppose the WWF creative argument would have been that Austin could look weak if he didn't essentially destroy the much older competitor. But ultimately its all about the promo here, and Austin quite literally becomes one of the biggest starts the industry has ever had on the heels of "Austin 3:16." And that is still incredible to watch.

Joe
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Sun May 19, 2019 6:15 pm

British Bulldog vs. HBK in the main event and it's a really good one! It reminds me of Taker vs. Mankind in terms of the ebbs and flows, but it works better here. It makes sense that HBK wants to keep the pace quick, as that's how he excels, and Bulldog wants to slow things down and use his power. Every time Shawn seems to pick the action up, Bulldog just brutalizes him with a clothesline and takes things back to where he wants them. Bulldog has some sloppy moments but overall it's a great performance from both men. And the post match melee with Owen Hart and Vader joining in to go after HBK, only to have Ahmed and Warrior come to defend the champ is actually really fun. I'm a fan!

Honestly, this show overall was way better than I expected it to be. I thought I was essentially going to get three hours of meh and one incredible promo, and instead there were three really good to great matches and really nothing was especially outright bad. Thumbs up!

Keith6601
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Keith6601 » Tue May 21, 2019 11:20 am

I don't think the Austin promo is one of the best ever, it's a simple I won, I'm coming after whoever the champion is promo. It's the 3:16 line that makes it memorable simply because of how it exploded.

On STW, Prichard tells a great story about how during the promo, they were like "hey that's not bad" and then the next night on raw, there were just all these signs in the audience and it just blew up right away.

Joe
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Tue May 21, 2019 4:48 pm

Keith6601 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 11:20 am
I don't think the Austin promo is one of the best ever, it's a simple I won, I'm coming after whoever the champion is promo. It's the 3:16 line that makes it memorable simply because of how it exploded.

On STW, Prichard tells a great story about how during the promo, they were like "hey that's not bad" and then the next night on raw, there were just all these signs in the audience and it just blew up right away.
To me, the line exploding as it did is what makes the promo. I mean, audiences wouldn’t have gravitated to it if it wasn’t just damn cool to say. It’s like marketing juggernaut of Suplex City, that literally came out of Brock talking trash in the ring.

I remember Prichard saying that and I’m thinking of watching that Raw as a follow up to having watched this show.

-mp-
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by -mp- » Tue May 21, 2019 8:43 pm

See and I don't really buy the "there were signs everywhere the next night" narrative either. Austin didn't warm up much at all after KOTR, until he started cutting promos on Bret Hart during the fall. That's when they were off to the races.

Joe
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Joe » Tue May 21, 2019 8:48 pm

-mp- wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 8:43 pm
See and I don't really buy the "there were signs everywhere the next night" narrative either. Austin didn't warm up much at all after KOTR, until he started cutting promos on Bret Hart during the fall. That's when they were off to the races.
Now my goal this week is to watch that Raw and count the Austin 3:16 signs!

Keith6601
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Re: WWF King Of The Ring 1996

Post by Keith6601 » Wed May 22, 2019 4:20 pm

Joe wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 8:48 pm
-mp- wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 8:43 pm
See and I don't really buy the "there were signs everywhere the next night" narrative either. Austin didn't warm up much at all after KOTR, until he started cutting promos on Bret Hart during the fall. That's when they were off to the races.
Now my goal this week is to watch that Raw and count the Austin 3:16 signs!
MP is right, there isn't any :lol: I'd be interested to see where they really did start showing up now.

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