King of the Ring
WWE King of the Ring 2015 logo
PromotionsWWE
BrandsRaw (2002)
SmackDown (2002)
First event1993

King of the Ring is a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) and WWE Network event produced by WWE, a Connecticut-based professional wrestling promotion. The PPV event was held annually in June and was established in 1993 when the promotion was still called the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, renamed WWE in 2002). It centered on the King of the Ring tournament, which had been held annually as a non-televised house show from 1985 to 1991, with the exception of 1990.

During the event's run as a PPV, it was considered one of the promotion's five biggest events of the year, along with the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, dubbed the "Big Five." The 2002 event was the final King of the Ring produced as a PPV. To coincide with the brand extension introduced earlier that same year, the 2002 event featured wrestlers from both the Raw and SmackDown! brand divisions. In 2003, the event's PPV slot was replaced by Bad Blood.

The tournament endured a four-year hiatus until its return in 2006 as an exclusive tournament for wrestlers of the SmackDown! brand. Instead of a dedicated PPV, however, this tournament concluded at that year's Judgment Day. While the tournament has since been held periodically as a non-PPV event and included WWE's other brands, the conclusion to the 2015 tournament aired exclusively as an event on the WWE Network and also occurred when a brand extension was not in effect. It has thus far been the last tournament to air as a separate event from WWE's other programs. While tournaments have been held since, the event itself was to be revived in 2023 and rebranded as "King and Queen of the Ring" to incorporate the women's Queen's Crown tournament; however, these plans were scrapped as WWE instead decided to revive Night of Champions. The rebranded “King and Queen of the Ring” that was intended for 2023 is scheduled to return on May 25, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

History

The King of the Ring tournament is a single-elimination tournament in which the winner is crowned the "King of the Ring." The tournament was established in 1985 by the then-World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and was held annually until 1991, with the exception of 1990. These early tournaments were held as special non-televised house shows in an effort to boost attendance at these events.[1]

In 1993, the WWF began to produce an annual June pay-per-view (PPV) titled King of the Ring. The inaugural PPV took place on June 13, 1993, at the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. Unlike the previous non-televised events, the PPV did not feature all of the tournament's matches. Instead, several of the qualifying matches preceded the event with the final few matches then taking place at the pay-per-view. There were also other matches that took place at the event as it was a traditional three-hour pay-per-view.[2] The King of the Ring pay-per-view was considered one of the promotion's "Big Five" PPVs of the year, along with the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, up until its disestablishment after the 2002 event[3]—it was the only event of the five to never be hosted at least once at Madison Square Garden. In 2003, the event's PPV slot was replaced by Bad Blood.[4]

In early 2002, the WWF was renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)[5] following a lawsuit from the World Wildlife Fund over the "WWF" initialism.[6] Also around this time, the promotion introduced the brand extension, in which the roster was divided between the Raw and SmackDown! brands where wrestlers were exclusively assigned to perform.[7] The 2002 tournament and PPV was in turn held for wrestlers from both brands.[4]

After a four-year hiatus, the tournament returned in 2006 and was held exclusively for wrestlers from the SmackDown! brand. Unlike the previous years, however, there was not an associated pay-per-view. Instead, tournament matches took place across episodes of SmackDown! with the finale being held at Judgment Day.[8] While WWE has continued to periodically hold the tournament across their other programs, the semifinals and final of the 2015 tournament aired exclusively as an event on WWE's online streaming service, the WWE Network, which launched in February 2014. It has thus far been the only tournament since 2002 to have its own dedicated event. This 2015 tournament also occurred when a brand extension was not in effect.[9]

In October 2022, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that WWE was planning to resurrect the King of the Ring event in 2023 to replace the Hell in a Cell event.[10][11] This was officially confirmed by WWE on March 6, 2023, with the company announcing that the event would be rebranded as "King and Queen of the Ring" to incorporate the women's Queen's Crown tournament that was established in 2021. This would have seen the event's return to PPV, in addition to airing on WWE's livestreaming platforms. It was scheduled for May 27, 2023, and would have been the ninth event that WWE held in Saudi Arabia in support of Saudi Vision 2030.[12][13] However, on April 13, it was revealed that WWE decided to scrap the revival and would instead hold Night of Champions, thus reviving the Night of Champions event.[14] According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, the decision to change the event to Night of Champions was a creative choice to revive and bring that event to an international market.[15] Fightful later reported that WWE did not have plans to reschedule King and Queen of the Ring for later that year, but the event could possibly be used for a future Saudi show.[16]

Events

# Event Date City Venue Main Event Ref.
1 King of the Ring (1993) June 13, 1993 Dayton, Ohio Nutter Center Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow in the 1993 King of the Ring tournament final [17][18]
2 King of the Ring (1994) June 19, 1994 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena Jerry Lawler vs. Roddy Piper [19][20]
3 King of the Ring (1995) June 25, 1995 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Spectrum Sycho Sid and Tatanka vs. Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow [21]
4 King of the Ring (1996) June 23, 1996 Milwaukee, Wisconsin MECCA Arena Shawn Michaels (c) vs. The British Bulldog for the WWF Championship with Mr. Perfect as the special guest enforcer [22]
5 King of the Ring (1997) June 8, 1997 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center The Undertaker (c) vs. Faarooq for the WWF Championship [23]
6 King of the Ring (1998) June 28, 1998 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Civic Arena Stone Cold Steve Austin (c) vs. Kane in a First Blood match for the WWF Championship [24]
7 King of the Ring (1999) June 27, 1999 Greensboro, North Carolina Greensboro Coliseum Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a 2-on-1 Handicap Ladder match for control of the World Wrestling Federation [25][26]
8 King of the Ring (2000) June 25, 2000 Boston, Massachusetts Fleet Center The McMahon-Helmsley Faction (Triple H (c), Shane McMahon, and Vince McMahon) vs. The Rock, Kane, and The Undertaker for the WWF Championship where if Triple H, Shane, or Vince was pinned or submitted, Triple H would lose his title to whoever scored the fall [27]
9 King of the Ring (2001) June 24, 2001 East Rutherford, New Jersey Continental Airlines Arena Stone Cold Steve Austin (c) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit in a triple threat match for the WWF Championship [28]
10 King of the Ring (2002) June 23, 2002 Columbus, Ohio Nationwide Arena The Undertaker (c) vs. Triple H for the WWE Undisputed Championship [29]
11 King of the Ring (2015) April 28, 2015 Moline, Illinois iWireless Center Bad News Barrett vs. Neville in the 2015 King of the Ring tournament final [9]
12 King & Queen of the Ring (2024) May 25, 2024 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Jeddah Super Dome TBA [30]
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match

References

  1. ^ Beaston, Erik (August 18, 2019). "WWE King of the Ring: Everything You Need to Know About Historical Tournament". Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  2. ^ "King of the Ring 1993". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
  3. ^ Sullivan, Kevin (November 23, 2010). The WWE Championship: A Look Back at the Rich History of the WWE Championship. Gallery Books. p. 124. ISBN 9781439193211. At the time, SummerSlam was one of WWE's "big five" Pay-Per-Views (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, King of the Ring, and Survivor Series were the others), ...
  4. ^ a b "King of the Ring 2002 results". Online World of Wrestling. June 23, 2002. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
  5. ^ Sacco, Justine; Weitz, Michael (April 7, 2011). "The New WWE" (Press release). Connecticut: WWE. Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  6. ^ "World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Drops The "F" To Emphasize the "E" for Entertainment". WWE. Archived from the original on January 19, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2008.
  7. ^ "WWE Entertainment To Make RAW and SMACKDOWN Distinct Television Brands" (Press release). WWE. March 27, 2002. Archived from the original on April 17, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  8. ^ "Judgment Day 2006 results". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
  9. ^ a b "PWTorch.com – CALDWELL'S WWE KOTR SPECIAL REPORT 4/28: Complete "virtual-time coverage" of King of the Ring finals on WWE Network". pwtorch.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  10. ^ "WWE's Hell in a Cell Event is No More". 27 October 2022.
  11. ^ "WWE considering return of King of the Ring PPV | WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, AEW News, AEW results".
  12. ^ WWE.com Staff (March 6, 2023). "WWE to return to Jeddah for WWE King and Queen of the Ring at the Jeddah Superdome on Sat. May 27". WWE. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  13. ^ Russell, Skylar (March 6, 2023). "WWE Returning To Saudi Arabia In May 2023 For King & Queen Of The Ring Event". Fightful. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  14. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (April 13, 2023). "WWE Changes 'WWE King & Queen Of The Ring' PLE To 'WWE Night Of Champions'". Fightful. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  15. ^ Johnson, Mike (April 13, 2023). "WWE PPV NAME CHANGE". PWInsider. Archived from the original on April 15, 2023. Retrieved April 15, 2023.
  16. ^ Brennan, Corey (June 10, 2023). "WWE Keeping King And Queen Of The Ring For A Future Saudi Arabia Show". BodySlam.net. Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  17. ^ "411MANIA". Random Network Reviews: King of the Ring 1993. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  18. ^ "WWF King Of The Ring 1993 « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  19. ^ "411MANIA". From The Shelf – WWE King of the Ring 1994. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  20. ^ "WWF King Of The Ring 1994 « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  21. ^ "411MANIA". Random Network Reviews: King of the Ring 1995. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  22. ^ "411MANIA". Random Network Reviews: WWF King of the Ring 1996. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  23. ^ "411MANIA". Dark Pegasus Video Review: King of the Ring 1997. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  24. ^ "411MANIA". Random Network Reviews: King of the Ring 1998. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  25. ^ "411MANIA". Kevin's Random Reviews: WWF King of the Ring 1999. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  26. ^ "WWF King Of The Ring 1999 « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  27. ^ "411MANIA". Kevin's Random Reviews: WWF King of the Ring 2000. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  28. ^ "411MANIA". Random Network Reviews: King of the Ring 2001. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  29. ^ "Card « WWE King Of The Ring 2002 « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  30. ^ "WWE Bringing Back King Of The Ring". Inside the Ropes. April 7, 2024.