After carrying the WWE on his back for several months as WWE champion, the company jobbed Bret Hart out to Yokozuna at WrestleMania 9 and then fed the sumo to Hulk Hogan in the time it takes to make breakfast. But The Hitman did get the grand consolation prize of being named “King Of The Ring.” While the proclamation meant nothing and wasn’t anything fans already didn’t know Bret was, the first-ever King Of The Ring PPV was made special by showcasing just how good Bret was in three different matches.
It made what was an otherwise throw-away show, must-see WWE TV for the time. The night is historical for that reason and it’s Hogan’s last WWE show for nearly a decade. But the event not only belonged to Bret, he main evented the show in what was no pun intended, his crowning achievement.
Bret Hart Had 3 Very Different But All Great Matches
Bret Hart had defended the WWE Championship against Razor Ramon at the 1993 Royal Rumble. He won the Intercontinental Championship from Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam 1991. He would face both of them again during the King Of The Ring Tournament, along with Bam Bam Bigelow. That’s Bret Hart against three very different but very excellent workers in their own right. Against Ramon in the first match, Bret was able match skill and speed with The Bad Guy, but occasionally was overpowered by the stronger man. Hart was able to win by reversed a top rope superplex. Next was the semifinal SummerSlam rematch with Mr. Perfect; the technical contest was back and forth as both men countered each other’s finishers. Bret was able to win by reversing a small package. In the finals, an exhausted Harthad to deal with Bam Bam Bigelow who received a bye during the tournament and his main squeeze Luna. But he was able to avert loss and win the tournament with a victory roll.
Bret Hart: The King Of Wrestling
History has revealed that Bret Hart was really one of the best technical workers of all time. Considering how he not only grew up in the business and constantly worked with his brothers in The Dungeon it’s not very surprising that Hart was able to have great matches with everyone. But when you have to do it three times in the same night, you have to keep the crowd engaged three times over.
The WWE Universe in Dayton, Ohio was rocking all night thanks in part to The Hitman’s performance. Razor and Bam Bam gave great matches too, but the classic rematch between Mr. Perfect and The Hitman was in some ways what the crowd really came to see. Throughout the night, on advice from Pat Patterson, The Excellence Of Execution excellently executed all of his opponents without using The Sharpshooter.
Bret Hart Showed How He Was Different From Hulk Hogan
It didn’t happen very often, but at the 1993 King Of The Ring, Hulk Hogan was not in, involved in, or anywhere near the main event of the evening. The honor of main eventing the PPV and having a main event angle went to Bret Hart and Bam Bam Bigelow. Much like the prior two matches Bret was in, he was able to out wrestle and out finesse the Beast Of The East to win the crown. After his win and coronation, The Hitman was confronted by Jerry “The King” Lawler and then left laying to set off their years-spanning angle. Meanwhile, Yokozuna left Hogan laying as he won his second WWE title in a match with a hackneyed finish of a photographer shooting a fireball in Hogan’s face after a lackluster, plodding affair.
1993 was a pivotal year for Bret Hart’s career. He started the year as WWE Champion but was forsaken for big meaty men like Yokozuna and Hogan. Yokozuna was able to establish himself as a big, nasty heel that Bret would eventually overcome. But for a brief moment, it seemed like the grand Bret Hart experiment was done and Vince went back to the heavyweights.
So the Hitman did what he had always done – just continue to work stellar match after stellar match for the fans to enjoy. The inaugural King Of The Ring tournament was the first step in showing the WWE brass and the WWE Universe that The Hitman’s run at the top wasn’t done yet. Not only was it his greatest night wrestling-wise but it helped begin to right the ship and steer The Hitman back to the top of the mountain.
Drew McIntyre did a great job as WWE Champion during the Thunderdome Era but with his current booking, he is shaping up to be the next Bret Hart.
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