Take Another Look

Or The Night I Rewatched King Of The Ring '94 And had a Blast

Johnathan McDonald

Maybe I had read one too many cynical reviews from the plethora of online recappers who once dominated the internet wrestling community. Maybe I had (mistakenly) thought that Art Donovan's BotchaMania Hall of Fame performance on commentary brought down the entire event, when in reality its effect is adding an occasional dose of hilarity to an already-great event.

Whatever the case, I was wrong to avoid rewatching King of the Ring '94 all these years after my first viewing--undoubtedly as part of the Friday night VHS mega-rental and binge-watch tradition that was a staple of my childhood. I took another look this weekend, and there is a ton of great stuff on the show.

Razor Ramon and Bam Bam Bigelow open the event, and my first observation is just how much the "Bad Guy" looked like an absolute superstar whenever he made his way to the ring. He's tall, muscular, and has an abundance of charisma matched only by the amount of hair gel he uses--in short, he is the personification of a professional wrestler. Razor and the "Beast from the East" had a solid opener, and Ramon would go on to wrestle twice more before show's end.

Though Razor shined as a superstar throughout the show, there's no question that the MVP of the 1994 King of the Ring was also the event's winner--the "Rocket", Owen Hart, who, with his tournament victory, re-christened himself as the "King of Harts" (an *awesome* nickname). Owen had a great, ***½ match in round one with Tatanka, another ***ish match with Razor in the finals, and in between those bouts, he had what can only be described as the greatest sub-five minute pro wrestling match in history, as he defeated the 1-2-3 Kid in a show-stealing classic. For the entirety of their all-to-brief, semi-final encounter, Hart and Kid tore down the roof of the Baltimore Arena ("literally" as the great Gorilla Monsoon would oft mistakenly declare), pulling out one jaw-dropping move after another in a match that was about twenty years ahead of its time.

In other action, Owen Hart's brother, Bret, proved once again just how awesome he was during this time period, as he carried a very green Diesel to a fantastic WWE Title match--one I'd rank exactly ****. The crowd was hot, the match was well-structured, and there were a ton of great near-falls the that fans completely bought into.

Jim Neidhart accompanied Bret in an effort to neutralize Diesel's perennially pesky second, Shawn Michaels. Neidhart's involvement here was part of a larger story, that unfolded by night's end, and was a solid, logical piece of booking that would culminate at the next two pay per views. Good booking usually means an entertaining product, and that was certainly the case in this instance.

There was a ton of good on this show, and the bad was kept short, and the result was an excellent pay-per-view, one that I was completely wrong about. This has opened up the rewatch flood gates for me, and I look forward, as I give some other shows another look, to maybe being as pleasantly surprised as I was with the 1994 edition of WWE's June pay-per-view spectacular.