Brett Mix’s- WWF King of the Ring 1996 Review:
“The first thing I want to be done….is to get that piece of CRAP out of my RING. Don’t just get him out of the ring, get him out of the WWF. Because I’ve proved SON, without a shadow of a doubt,… you aint got what it takes anymore! You sit there and you thump your bible and you say your prayers and it didn’t get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16,….Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass! All he’s gotta do is go buy him a cheap bottle of Thunderbird and try to dig back some of that courage he had in his prime! As the KING OF THE RING, I’m serving notice to everyone of the WWF SUPERSTARS, I don’t give a damn what they are, they’re all on the list and that’s Stone Cold’s list and I’m fixing to start running through all of them! As far as this Championship match is considered Son, I don’t give a damn if it’s Davey Boy Smith or Shawn Michaels…Steve Austin’s time has come, and when i get the shot you’re lookin at the next WWF Champion, and that’s the Bottom Line, Cause Stone Cold said so!” -Stone Cold Steve Austin
-WWF King of the Ring 1996 took place on Sunday, June 23rd, 1996 from the MECCA Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in front of 8,762 fans.
-This was the 4th Annual King of the Ring event.
-This King of the Ring is famous for containing the “Austin 3:16” promo.
-Newly signed Free Agent Wrestler Brian Pillman cut a controversial promo during this event.
-Jim Ross, Vince McMahon and Owen Hart did commentary for this event.
-Before the pay-per-view aired, Free For All match: The Bodydonnas (Skip and Zip) (w/Cloudy) defeated The New Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy) when Skip pinned Leif Cassidy at 8:06.
-Also as a dark match Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeasted Aldo Montoya at 3:00 (Helmsley was heavily rumored to win this event if the incident in MSG several weeks earlier had not taken place where he broke kayfabe and hugged a leaving Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in the middle of the ring)
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- Stone Cold Steve Austin vs “Wildman” Marc Mero (W/Sable) in a King of the Ring Semi-Finals match
Stunning Steve And Johnny B Badd, oh, we’re in the Federation! It’s the Wildman and Austin!
They wanted to change things fom the previous year by having the Semi’s to open rather then the Quarter Finals.
Stone Cold Steve Austin by this time was becoming edgier in attitude and there were several smarks out in Milwaukee on this evening supporting him and his character`s direction.
How significant this night would end up being, nobody had any idea…
On paper it was the Wildman set to go with Steve already in the Semi Finals of the tournament. This was the first King of the Ring to start off from the Semi Finals, a trend they would continue for the next few years.
Austin here was still looked at as as a master technician in the ring despite his cold attitude and brawling skill.
The often hilarious Owen Hart serving for some guest color commentary which only made matters better. Owen says Austin is an excellent technician.
This was a fine match and his commentary pushed it over the edge a bit further as far as making something enjoyable goes.
Stone Cold gets a pretty decent ovation coming out to his old theme music without the glass. Ross mentions Austin got to this point after first using the “Stone Cold Stunner” for the first time.
Mero put Skip away and then they show a clip of Mero defeating Owen and Owen claimed he cheated to win.
The “Wildman” off the opening bell ties up with Austin and he slaps on a standing side headlock, Mero goes into a headscissors with the legs and both men kick up. Ross mentions a great contrast in style since Mero likes his quickness and aerial offense while Austin likes the methodical ground game.
Wow, how times have changed.
Austin in a chain wrestling sequence here has a hammerlock on Mero and he turns the tide. Austin grounds Mero with a side headlock to the mat. Stone Cold tries to slowdown the faster Mero initially in the match but Mero drives the elbow into Austin. Stone Cold off the ropes hits a reverse elbow to Mero. Mero gets back in it with a shoulder block and a flying head scissors.
Mero scored with some quick moves as Stone Cold Steve Austin goes for a breather on the outside. Mero calls for him to get back in but Steve takes his time.
Owen claimed Stone Cold was in the driver’s seat in the match despite Mero holding a standing side headlock, Owen also takes his first of many shots at the age of Jake Roberts.
Austin gets out by shoving Mero to the ropes and he hits a hiplock. Mero from his back kicks at Austin and takes him down with an armdrag and then begins to work on the left shoulder region of Austin applying an armringer, into an armbar and then a side headlock taking down Austin. Mero returning the favor as far as wearing down an opponent is concerned.
Owen claims Sable isn’t enjoyable to watch at all. Austin connects with a Thesz press and begins to viciously take apart Mero. The fans love Austin’s attitude with his quick offense.
A star was just waiting to break out.
Mero though off the rope with great elevation slammed Stone Cold back first to the mat hard with a hiplock. Fast action but Austin goes out for a breather.
Stone Cold Steve Austin faked a handshake and then the two went for a test of strength. Owen says you have to watch for Mero’s cheapshots but Stone Cold is the one to kick at his groin and then overpower Mero until he comes back with a ton of power.
Mero fights bac and Stone Cold elevated him over the top to the floor. Austin picks up the mat and drags it to the side of the ring exposing the concrete. Austin smacked Mero against the concrete floor and then Stone Cold got in the ring and posed on the top turnbuckle, half the crowd cheered him. ECW faithful was in attendance for a second straight year.
Austin with Mero in the ring grabs the trunks and hits a textbook vertical suplex. Austin drives his elbow into the side of Mero’s head. Stone Cold drops out of the ring and drags Mero before he drives his elbow into his throat. Stone Cold chokes the Wildman out and irishwhipped him hard back first to the corner. Stone Cold sends him hard to the buckle again. Austin with a methodical disection clobbering the lowerback of Mero. Stone Cold viciously applies some shots to the ribs, perhaps foreshadowing what was to come on the night.
Stone Cold slaps on a Boston Crab on Mero focusing further on the lowerback of the Wildman. As Mero grabs the bottom rope to break the hold, Owen calls him a quitter.
Mero kicks out of the hold but again Austin dropped Mero to his back with a reverse elbow off the ropes.
Stone Cold Steve Austin scoops up Mero’s legs and drives his foot into the groin of Mero. Austin again goes back into the Boston Grab as the lowerback remains his focus on Mero. Stone Cold Steve Austin then finds himself in trouble as Mero scores with a series of nearfalls after a few inside cradles out of desperation.
Austin kicks out of the holds and grabs Mero and sends him to the corner sternum first. Mero backdrops over Austin and lands on his feet before hitting a crucifix and almost got Austin. Steve fired at Mero with a big righthand. Austin irishwhipped by Mero on a reversal and and he slaps a sleeper on Stone Cold.
Austin hit a modified version of his finisher, the Stunner and neckbreaker combined which busts open his jaw. Austin begins to bleed from the mouth and Mero drops Austin with a dropkick off the ropes right to the bloody jaw, appropriately placed. Mero places Austin in the corner and he scores with a series of righthands. The Wildman hits Austin with a back bodydrop. Mero from up high drops the double axehandle on Austin but he kicks out.
Stone Cold a bloody mess in the corner sent backfirst into the corner. Austin gets a boot up on Mero but he turns him over and throws him to the floor. Mero comes charging off the ropes and he hits a springboard summersault over the top onto a bloody Austin on the mat. Back in the ring Mero flies over the ropes again onto Austin outside the ring again. Owen claims Mero’s risks aren’t going to get him anywhere. Mero throws Austin back in the ring and he hits a missile dropkick off the top but Stone Cold kicked out again.
Austin is shoved to the mat and Mero sets him up on the top rope. Mero with a hurricanrauna off the top rope and he scored another two count but Austin kicks out and half the place loves it.
Austin catches Mero with a kick to the mid-section and instead of a Stunner he elects to his a Stun Gun clotheslining Mero back to the mat after a hot shot. Austin gets a two, now Stone Cold hits the Stunner and he gets the win.
Mero’s first loss in the WWF.
Steve would have to be taken to the hospital after this match due to him being cut open by Mero, he recieved several stitches.
In the end at 16:49 Austin got the win and several popped.
This match made both men look incredibally strong, Owen called it unbelievable and it really was.
Steve’s charisma and workrate was quite simply, amazing here.
This match is what it is, a tremendous opening match between two fine workers in their prime.
2) Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs Vader (With Jim Cornette) in a King of the Ring Semi-Finals match
Jake Roberts was the sympathetic `born again` favourite to win this King of the Ring.
He was in tough against the Mastadon here.
Jake Roberts was hit with hard shots by Vader.
Jake “The Snake” was in tough early.
McMahon points out he’s never won a Championship in the Federation and he’s going to want the king of the ring tite now. Vader misses a clothesline and Jake hits an armringer on Vader and then a clothesline.
Roberts goes to clothesline Vader over the rope but he brings him in clobbering him with both fists in the middle of the ring. Vader charged at Jake and he moved out of the way.
Jake hits the ddt but Vader grabbed the official going down. Owen claims he didn’t do it, of course.
In the end at 3:34 Vader was disqualified for using the referee as a human shield when Roberts attempted the DDT.
After the match Vader out of anger destroyed the ribs of Jake Roberts which ended up being a major story going into the finals with Austin.
3) The Smokin’ Gunns (Billy and Bart) (c) (With Sunny) The Godwinns (Henry and Phineas) (W/Hilbilly Jim) for the WWF Tag Team Championship
Phineas Godwinn set up by the Smokin’ Gunns to start things off as Bart jumps him off the opening bell.
Bart Gunn scooped up Phineas Godwinn and slammed him to the mat, in comes Billy who just earlier on the mic told Phineas Godwinn he satisfied Sunny the way Phineas Godwinn would never be able to. It seems like more then a few superstars wanted to push the envelope during this night.
Billy connects with a slap but Phineas Godwinn brawls back with hard righthands taking down Gunn.
Speaking of pushing the envelope they show a clip of Cloudy who was a male spoofing Sunny. Just terrible stuff. Henry and Bart are all of the sudden in the ring and when Bart slams Henry into the corner he lifts up a boot on the Bart charge and slams Bart down to the mat. Henry with power dropping down on the canvas torking Bart’s arm, Phineas Godwinn with some momentum comes in as they begin to isolate Bart in their corner with frequent tags.
Henry comes back in and slaps on an armbar on Bart, the fans chant for Sunny. Billy manages to tag in and he attacks Henry as Bart managed out of the armbar from Henry. Billy Gunn takes apart Henry and tags back in Bart who drops the double axehandle.
Bart tags in Billy again and now the Gunns are looking to isolate big Henry O Godwinn this time. Billy Gunn before he was “The One”, or “Bad Ass” or even “RockaBilly” came in and went to work on Henry.
They show a clip of Billy Gunn earlier in the match hitting Henry in the back as he came off the ropes and Owen being his hilarious self said it was hard to tell, then proceeded to tell Jim Ross he talked too much for a guy who’s never been in the ring.
Bart comes in and applied pressure to the lower back of Henry. Henry rolled up Billy who was again in the ring and he got a two count. Henry desperately needed a hot tag to Phineas Godwinn as Phineas Godwinn started a Henry chant from the apron. Billy Gunn came crashing into the turnbuckle as Henry moved out of the way.
All four men came in the ring and as the Gunns irishwhipped both Godwinns into one another and as they came across one another they swung each other into the Gunns clotheslining them into the corner.
Behind the official Bart attacked Phineas Godwinn with a hard shot, Billy covered Phineas Godwinn and got the three count.
In the end at 10:10 The Gunns retained the title`s.
This match definitely dragged at times but when it was on, it was solid.
4) The Ultimate Warrior vs Jerry “The King” Lawler
Jerry Lawler and his insults were clearly the best part of this whole ordeal. It can`t be stressed enough how funny the King was back then.
Jerry says “Shut up McMahon” right as he begins talking in the mic. King talks himself up and then begins to rip on the crowd.
Lawler went above and beyond to insult the crowd. The King even ripped on kids in the front row and Owen said he speaks the truth from commentary.
The Ultimate Warrior begins to dominate but the King regains the advantage.
Lawler chokes out Warrior in the corner.
This is Jerry Lawler’s third King of the Ring in a row wrestling.
The King sets up Warrior for the piledriver and he hits it. Warrior gets right back up and Lawler can’t believe it. Warrior shakes it off and Lawler’s face is priceless.
Warrior hits clotheslines and hits a splash on Lawler.
Warrior pinned Lawler after a running shoulder block at 3:50 to win the match.
The match gets a little score for Lawler’s entrance and facial expressions alone.
This match is pretty much what you`d expect, Warrior wouldn`t last much longer in the Federation. Infact this is final PPV appearance ever in the WWF.
5) Mankind vs The Undertaker (With Paul Bearer)
Now, this was the first major meeting between the two. That’s incredibally significant because this is one of the greatest feuds in Wrestling history.
Obviously it’s overshadowed by the match the two would have just two years later in a Hell in Cell at this same event but this is still very solid.
The Undertaker and Mankind have produced several borderline classic’s over the years, and I’ve always considered this one in paticular, very underrated.
The Undertaker met Foley with hard shots until Mick took it to The Undertaker like no one had ever before previous to it.
This saying is said about pretty much every powerful force Taker faced but this one is actually legit.
Foley took it to The Undertaker like no one else literally had before. Manind sets up Taker and drives his elbow into his throat and the Deadman slips to the outside floor.
Mankind took it to Taker on the outside now.
Mankind made those deranged noises and gets up on the apron and drops out to the floor with a big elbow shot to the sternum of the Phenom. Mankind sends Undertaker into the steel stairs and looks under the ring for some weapons. Mankind throws chairs into the ring and the people applaud his hardcore style.
As Mankind charged to The Undertaker he holds up a chair and then Mankind crashed and burned. The Undertaker backdropped Foley hard onto the concrete floor. The Undertaker sends Manking back into the ring and cracks it over Mankind’s head. The Undertaker choked out Mankind under the bottom rope using his boot. Mankind irishwhipped to the ropes and Manind recieved a big boot by the Deadman. The Undertaker signalled for a tombstone but Mankind was able to get out and kicked at The Undertaker’s groin. A side russian legsweep from Mankind to The Undertaker.
Both men are down now, and Mankind gets up first. Mankind kicks at Taker keeping him down and then he drops the elbow on the Phenom. A hard elbow drop followed by a reverse chinlock now as Mankind tries to weardown the Phenom by taking him down. Undertaker fought back and took Mankind out to the floor once he re-gained his vertical base. Mankind landed on his feet and sweeped the Deadman to the outside and Mankind hit him with a series of blows.
In unique fashion Foley then ran around the ring and with The Undertaker set up by the steel steps, Foley crashed his knee into his head into the steps. Mankind slammed The Undertaker down onto the concrete. Mankind then went to drop an elbow on the Deadman but he got a chair out of desperation and held it up as a protector and it struck Mankind. The Undertaker picks up the chair and it dented the chair upon impact to Mankind.
They called this a war, at the time it looked more like one considering the WWF’s style back in early 1996.
This is much slower then the other WARS the two would later engage in, in comparison but it’s very good for the time it consisted in.
The Undertaker regains control of the match inside the ring and drives Foley on his half-ear straight to the mat as pointed out by Owen. The Undertaker drives Foley hard into the corner and he drives his head into Mankind. The Undertaker bent Mankind on the bottom rope pushing him back, after he sends Mankind to the ropes he hit Foley with his signature flying clothesline. The Undertaker sends Mankind to the ropes again and going for a back bodydrop is caught by Mankind who drives The Undertaker into the mat with a hard piledriver, Mankind gets a two count.
Mankind rams his head into the top turnbuckle and then into the canvas in hilarious fashion. Mankind then pulls out his hair as the crowd laugh.
Mankind goes over to Taker and chokes him out and then snatches the Urn from the hands of Paul Bearer.
Mankind has the Urn but Bearer takes the Urn away at thre last second. The Undertaker sits up and then Mankind slaps on the Mandible Claw on The Undertaker.
The Undertaker grabs Mankind by the throat as Bearer held up the Urn on the apron, Mankind backed him into the corner and he was hit by the Urn. Ross calls it a mistake that Bearer hit
The Undertaker with an Urn and Owen says Bearer meant to. Perhaps Vince got all his ideas from Owen afterall considering the events at Summerslam not long after.
After The Undertaker crashed, Mankind slapped on his claw again and this time the official calls for the bell.
A big rub for Manind here going over The Undertaker at 18:21.
A forgotten gem that deserves more credit.
This match is very solid but with a slower pace to most of the others.
6) Goldust (c) (With Marlena) vs Ahmed Johnson for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Goldust had been playing `MIND GAMES` with Ahmed before this paticular match. Original I know.
Owen keeps getting better at the announce table which is just scary how hilarious the guy could be.
Owen claims Goldust saved Ahmed Johnson’s life by performing mouth to mouth CPR and McMahon and Ross’s reactions to this were more Gold then his attire.
Ahmed Johnson runs to the ring and knocks down the doormen for the event.
Ahmed Johnson means business and attacks the Champion still in his jacket and the bell rings as the fans cheer.
Ahmed Johnson drives right hands into Ahmed Johnson and then meets him with a giant clothesline. Ahmed Johnson charged to the outside and leaped over the top rope crashing into Goldust on the floor. Again Owen says he doesen’t know why Ahmed Johnson is so mad at Goldust as all he did was save his life.
Goldust is sent to the buckle hard. Ahmed Johnson is obviously an intense power wrestler and that was strictly his game. Ahmed beat on Goldust on the outside and missed with steel steps. Ahmed Johnson sent Goldust back inside the ring.
Ahmed sent this time into the steps as Goldust turns it around and shows his aggressive streak. Goldust drops Ahmed Johnson with a clothesline followed by hard right hands. Goldust scoops up Ahmed Johnson and he slams him to the canvas. Goldust poses again and kicks at Ahmed down on the mat. Ahmed Johnson is put into a reverse chinlock, almost a camel clutch.
Goldust eventually needs to fight back against Ahmed who comes back and he clobbers the kidney area of Johnson while he raked his face across the top rope. Goldust hit a snapmare on Ahmed and went into a headlock.
Goldust on the mat has this hold slapped on for a long period of time until Ahmed Johnson gets up and Goldust goes for a sunset flip but Ahmed Johnson lands on him. Goldust still meanwhile regains control as he throws shots at Johnson on the mat not knowing fully what to do and Goldust takes him apart. Goldust sets him up for the piledriver and the camera shows how he didn’t get all of it so McMahon and Ross are quick to point out “Ahmed twisted his body.”
Goldust puts his whole body over Ahmed Johnson but the official was slow to count. Goldust again slaps on a reverse chinlock on Johnson.
Ahmed Johnson keeps fighting back but finds himself in the unfortunate predicament of a sleeper hold by Goldust.
Goldust got down on the mat and kissed Ahmed Johnson. Ahmed grabbed him from the canvas and shoved him in the corner and unloaded with hard shots to Goldust. Owen says he has gone insane despite the fact Goldust had just kissed Ahmed.
Ahmed Johnson hits a Spinebuster on Goldust off the ropes and goes for his Pearl River Plunge and hits it.
Ahmed Johnson gets him and there is a new IC Champion as the place pops.
In the end at 15:34 Johnson pinned Goldust after a Pearl River Plunge.
This match dragged on quite a bit and could of been a lot shorter, as a result it was nearly as impressive as some of the work should suggest.
7) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake “The Snake” Roberts in the 1996 King of the Ring Finals
Jake “The Snake” Roberts all bruised comes out holding onto his injured ribs. Austin comes out with a bloody mouth and some fans in attendance are giving him a great ovation still and the bell rings, this final is underway.
An awesome staredown between Austin and Pillman in the entrance way. Pillman had just cut a great promo and Stone Cold poses for the fans.
Jake Roberts is continually ripped on by Owen Hart.
Jake Roberts dragged a Snake as he couldn’t carry it due to the injured ribs.
Austin attacked Jake in relentless fashion and he stomped on the ribs.
Stone Cold drove his knees into his ribs over and over as Austin taunted him more and more venting his anger.
Austin slapped him in the face. Austin called him pathetic as he kicked at Roberts and then Jake fights back from the corner with a couple of icks and an uppercut. Austin gets up and fires back, Roberts is kicked back down.
Any time Jake Roberts would hit offense it would hurt himself which only helped Austin. Stone Cold ripped off the tape surrounding Jake’s ribs.
Gorilla Monsoon came into the ring as the fans booed at Austin attacking the ribs of Jake.
Jake tells Monsoon he doesen’t want to stop and he attacks Austin with a series of right’s. Jake Roberts signalled for the ddt. Jake is driven into the corner by Austin into the broken ribs.
Austin tackles him over and over in the corner. Austin again poses on the top rope.
Austin drives his elbow into Jake Roberts and picks him up. Jake Roberts is hit with the Stone Cold Stunner.
In the end at 4:28 Austin pinned Roberts after a Stone Cold Stunner to become King of the Ring.
This match works fine for its historical significance.
It’s also quite amusing seeing a Heel Steve Austin methodically disect an injured old man’s ribs over and over.
But it`s what took place after the match that launched a marketing juggernaut and changed the company’s soon to be “biggest draw of all time’s” career forever€.
8 ) Main Event- “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (w/Jose Lothario) (c) vs Davey Boy Smith “The British Bulldog” (w/Jim Cornette and Diana Smith) with Mr. Perfect as special guest referee for the WWF Championship
The Bulldog`s big chance to get the title off of Shawn.
This feud was becoming personal and the question here was what side was Mr. Perfect going to be on.
Owen Hart throughout the main event was playing mindgames regarding that issue and taking real shots at Shawn all throughout the match while supporting his brother in law, the Bulldog.
Owen said things like the fans were chanting “UK, UK, UK” when chanting “USA, USA, USA”, he also called Michaels a coward and that his brother Bret was adopted.
Shawn Michaels in 1996 got a lot of mixed reactions, and again this match was no exception.
Davey Boy Smith waves the flag and the crowd boo’s. The bell rings and we’re underway. Bulldog shows his power advantage as he pushes Michaels out of the way both times as they tie up with one another. Bulldog twisted around with an arm-ringer by Shawn Michaels and Bulldog flips over and reverses it into a wristlock much Owen would. Shawn swings the arm of Bulldog and hits a suplex. Michaels with a side headlock take down and Bulldog counters into a leg scissors, they kick up and Shawn Michaels hits another leverage move with the same side headlock takeover but Bulldog can’t apply the leg scissors on Shawn this time as he keeps Davey Boy grounded with a side headlock.
Bulldog begins to use his power to pick up Michaels but Shawn counters Bulldog’s power attempt with a side headlock takedown. Bulldog pushed Shawn to the ropes and he comes bouncing off the ropes and this time he swings back up over the top rope and while doing that catches Bulldog with a hurricanrauna to the outside. In front of the announce table Michaels hits another one to Davey Boy out on the floor. Shawn smacks Cornette and Owen is livid.
Shawn Michaels is held in a headlock by Bulldog as he tries to weardown the quicker Shawn Michaels. Shawn counters the headlock into an armbar.
A slower pace to this match but logical moves by both men. Michaels attempted to take out toe arm of Davey Boy since he was a power wrestler and that would relieve some of his upper body strength. Bulldog makes it to the ropes to break up Shawn’s hold. Michaels holds the armbar on Smith for a longer duration.
An armbar held by Michaels is reversed by Bulldog, he tried to flip over in the corner but does so in the middle of the ring. Bulldog drops Shawn with a hiplock but Shawn shoots himself up and this time off the ropes Shawn tried a hiplock on Davey Boy but he held his vertical base and didn’t move. Davey Boy utilized his power driving Shawn to the corner. Davey Boy Smith irishwhipped Shawn Michaels to the corner back first. Michaels crashed back first again into the opposite corner.
Bulldog with a snapmare into a headlock. The power moves then the weardown hold by the challenger. Michaels hits an armdrag takedown on Bulldog out of the headlock and then he drops a double axehandle off the top. Michaels lifts a knee up high on Bulldog off the ropes. Bulldog dropped Shawn to the floor over the top rope. Michaels was down and out while Perfect had a word with Jose.
Bulldog hits a vertical suplex on the floor to the Champion Shawn Michaels.
The British Bulldog goes back inside the ring. Shawn Michaels is in a standing side headlock once back in as Davey Boy continues to slow down the pace, Michaels begins out by backing him to the corner.
Shawn Michaels is irishwhipped quickly into the other corner and he flips upside down. Bulldog gooks the surfboard on Michaels applying pressure to rotator cuff in the shoulder joint as he bends the knee back. Awesome move by Davey Boy.
Shawn Michaels doesen’t give up and Bulldog gets a nearfall after Shawn manages out of the hold. Bulldog tried to slow the pace down any way he could with another headlock. Bulldog is on the recieving end of a few elbow shots but ends up slamming Shawn to the mat. Bulldog drops a leg and Shawn Michaels kicks out. Bulldog slaps a sleeper on once again. Bulldog is caught with a crossbody by Michaels and he gets a two count. Bulldog knocks Shawn to the mat hard and somehow he kicks out again. Shawn Michaels fights back with a few shots and then a crucifix. Bulldog is picked up but then he lands on his feet and goes for a powerslam. Michaels has it scouted and drops to his feet and attempts to hit Davey Boy Smith with a superkick. Bulldog had that scouted as he holds onto the ropes for leverage holding him back and drives Michaels to the canvas hard with a clothesline.
Bulldog drops Shawn Michaels with a piledriver.
Davey Boy goes for a high risk move and he misses an elbow, Owen claims Jose grabbed the ropes!
Both men down slowly rising up. Shawn Michaels out of desperation irishwhipped Bulldog hard back first into the corner. Michaels goes to the outside apron and Bulldog hooks Michaels from the top and drops him with a Superplex after a dropkick to make him groggy. Bulldog couldn’t get the three. Shawn Michaels counters in mid-air turning a disadvantage into a crossbody pinning predicament and he gets a two. Off the ropes the two collide in the center of the ring knocking both men down.
Both these guys had a similar climax at In Your House: Beware of Dog not long before this on PPV in a title match. Bulldog hits a running powerbomb and somehow Shawn still managed to kick out. Bulldog sent into the corner hard as Shawn Michaels reversed an irishwhip and you rarely see Davey Boy bump like this. Bulldog is hit with a flying forerm shot by Michaels who kicks up and begins to feel some momentum. Shawn slams him to the mat. Shawn flies off the top with an elbow drop. Shawn Michaels goes to the corner and begins to tune up the band. Shawn Michaels drops Bulldog with a superkick and Perfect tells Hebner they would count at the same time, Owen pulls out Perfect while Hebner did count the three.
So in the end at 26:25 Michaels pinned Bulldog after the Sweet Chin Music.
A slower pace here but definitely done extremely well.
This match is a borderline classic to close out a very memorable show.
This show will always be known as the birth of Austin 3:16.
Final Rating for WWF King of the Ring 1996 = 8/10
But there are several other fun elements to this event including the fantastic opener and main event. Owen Hart keeps us entertained the whole night on commentary and there weren`t any terrible matches outside the Warrior match on the card. This is a significant upgrade on the year before, to say the least…..
I`d say add this to your collection as it is one of the best events as far as King of the Ring shows go, infact it’s up there for PPV’s as a whole in this paticular time period.