WWF King of the Ring 1997
Ahmed Johnson vs HHH KOTR Semi-Finals
These two are SO DIFFERENT. WORLDS APART! One is rich and white. One is poor and black. One had butlers. One was in a gang. Why didn't Ahmed just wear full on padded tights? Wearing 3 sets of knee pads seems weird. Ahmed is too stronk for HHH. And black. And poor. Because Ahmed was poor and is black. I don't know if you know that or not, but let me remind you. Ivan Putski trained Ahmed. I wasn't aware of that. That kind of makes sense. He should have done the Polish Hammer. HHH has to use the steps to get Ahmed in control. Busting up those kidneys. Awkward moment where Ahmed was expecting to go for the spinebuster and HHH wasn't. Ahmed hits it moments later. Chyna says something to Ahmed, which distracts him enough to get hit with the pedigree. HHH heads to the finals.
TO THE TODD. Todd spoke with King, which actually happened after Mankind's promo. He won't respond to Todd, takes the mic, and heads to the ring.
Mankind vs Jerry Lawler KOTR Semi-Finals
Mankind is basically a face now. Or at least pretty accepted as a face by the fans. Before the match, Mankind cuts a promo wondering where Paul is, and what kind of a king Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy should be. Then he talks about how gross it would be for King to be naked, and how it would be worse if he himself would be naked, throws a BANG BANG, and sings some Aretha Franklin. It was a weird promo. King heels on various fans on the way out and then throws out typically terrible King jokes towards Mankind. He gets the shit knocked out of him for a few minutes for it. JR goes pretty deep into King's history, mentioning the USWA, the Kaufman feud, Lance Russel, and being trained by Jackie Fargo. Foley had recently done his sit down interviews with JR, so the perception of him has changed. Mankind does a running headbutt into the steps trying to attack King. Seems like a weird move to try regardless. Then his scrambled brains on the railing spot. It's no wonder Mick's brain wasn't working right by 2000. Then a piledriver on the floor, because who needs a brain? Dropkick from King! So proud of himself for it. Piledriver in the ring. King plays with his imaginary international object, which JR is happy to not have to call an international object anymore. Really. He said that. Diving fist drop. Another piledriver is countered. Mandible claw for the win. HHH vs Mankind in the finals.
TO THE TODD. Todd is with Brian Pillman, who is apparently the responsible one for Austin vs HBK tonight. Austin shows up behind him and beats his ass before giving him a swirly.
Crush vs Goldust
JR brings up Demolition, the Natural Dustin Rhodes, and Dusty. Goldy also did a sit down with JR. We also found out the head tattoo of Crush is a Hawaiian declaration of war. "Pillman right now is probably near suicidal." "I've never had a man 6 foot 6 give me a kiss." Would you like to try, Jim? JR also drops knowledge of Marlena being a make up artist for Larry King. You know who sucks? Crush. A lot. JR telling random WCW stories like Bill Watts not giving him a day off to go do something is much more interesting than anything Crush is doing. *Goldy grabs his junk* "I know that's right!" Vince. What? Clearance and D'Lo try to DP Marlena. Goldust wins with a snap DDT OUTTA NOWHERE. "Ha ha haaa. They are husband and wife!"
TO THE CUNT. Hayes is with LOD and Sid. "WELLLLL, revenge is a dish best served cold, and by diddly do squat, we're serving the coldest dish in town." Elsewhere, Todd speaks with the Hart Foundation.
British Bulldog/Owen Hart/Jim Neidhart vs LOD/Sid
Missed opportunity to not have Sid in face paint and shoulder pads. I get why they brought Anvil back, but god damn why did they bring him back? He was so shitty after 1991 or so. Sid is still over as fuck. The internet always shits on him, but he was always over. And fist bumps are rad. He was so excited about them. I can't hate on that. JR is better as a color man than play by play. Not that Vince is really doing play by play so much, but JR now that he's past his heel run is basically full on color guy since King isn't around and it's really good. Adding a ton of factoids and history to every match. Oh hey, Hawk no sells a piledriver. No way. JR's color stuff even gets Vince into things, bringing up the Dynamite Kid when Owen hit a snap suplex. Owen pins Sid with a Meroiffic top rope sunset flip.
TO THE TODD. Mankind ain't laying down for no one. Then he drops a Lion King reference.
HHH vs Mankind KOTR Finals
Mankind still has a sore neck from the match with King. He's also still a weirdo. HHH can't win in a fight and he stupidly has not tried to make it a wrestling match. You can't out brawl Mankind/Cactus Jack/Dude Love/Jack Manson/Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy. Silly. Oh no, the dreaded hanging spot. You'd think he'd drop that after it ripped his fucking ear off. It pulled his mask off this time. HHH focuses on the head and neck when he can. Mick definitely brings out the edge in HHH, which is something he had needed for about 2 years. Very long Cactus Elbow. Almost didn't make it. Double arm DDT would have ended the match had Chyna not distracted the ref. Chyna just straight yanks Mankind out of the ring while he had the mandible claw on. You can't keep a good weirdo with a bizarre looking head down. Cactus Clothesline. God damn it, Mick. He brings back the "jump backwards off the apron and bang my head off the guard rail" spot. Pedigree through the announce table. Uguuuuu. That mother fucker won't stay down. So Chyna blasts him with the cepter. Then he takes a Nestea Plunge into a camera man. Man, I hope Vince paid him very well for this night for all the body and brain destroying bumps he took. And he kicks out! Pedigree. HHH is the King of the Ring.
Todd comes in the ring for the coronation ceremony. HHH beats Mick with the crown. What a dick. King Haitch.
The Hart Foundation comes to the ring. Bret is just about healed and will be returning to the action soon. He's no longer an invalid who can be bowlied in a wheel chair. A challenge is issued to any 5 wrestlers in the WWF to take on the Hart Foundation at the Canadian Stampede next month. Bret then takes Vince's headset to join for commentary. Agents come out and force the Harts to the back.
TO THE CUNT. Hayes is with Austin. Austin and HBK are tag champs, yet have a match against each other tonight. The Russo Special. Austin says he is the captain. As Austin heads out from the interview, he walks into the Hart Foundation, who are still bitching. Else where, Cunt asks HBK the same questions.
Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels
Austin hits a big shoulder block that sends HBK flying to start the match. A young mentally challenged fan jumps or falls over the railing. HBK goes to help him. Austin attacks HBK while doing so.. Heel as fuck. They have a quick sequence in the ring, HBK goes back out to the kid, makes security leave him alone, and personally walks the kid back to the locker room. The match resumes with mat wrassling. HBK attempts the Thesz Press. Austin catches him, drops him on his dick, and dumps him to the floor. Austin has huge fucking hands. What the fuck. Austin wins the test of strength. The drunken camera man falls off the apron. Thesz Press! WM3 pinning sequence, from Stone Cold. HBK gets sent flying over the top rope. The fight continues on the floor, where HBK goes sternum first into the steps. I bet that hurt. Press slam on the exposed floor. HBK's flying forearm misses because his leg hit Austin's shoulder. It sent him face planting into the mat and rolling to the floor. Looked like it hurt. HBK starts his 5MOD, which is halted when he goes shoulder first into the ring post. Ladies are happy to get to see some of Shawn's ass. Ref bump. Of course. Superkick is caught. Stunner! Austin gets the ref up and hits him with a stunner. Superkick! A second ref comes in to...check on the first ref. He gets superkicked. Austin kicks out. Earl comes out and disqualifies both men.
TO THE TODD. The whole NOD is with him. Taker needs to stop worrying about Paul Bearer's blackmail and worry about this black male.
TO THE CUNT. Cunt is with Paul and Taker. Paul is holding some kind of deep dark secret over Taker, so he's stuck with Paul once again. "Zip it, Lazarus."
Faarooq vs Undertaker WWF Championship
Faarooq, should he win this match, would be the first ever black WCW and WWF Champion. Big powerslam from Ron. Don't step to him, mother fucker. Taker goes for Old School and then decides to jump backwards onto the NOD instead. He probably shouldn't have done that, as they now interfere when they had just been watching the match. You brought it on yourself, Dead Man. Piledriver OUTTA NOWHERE. The pace has decidedly slowed. Taker totally did a stunner. It was supposed to be a jaw breaker, but Faarooq's head was over his shoulder when he went down. Vince mentions that Paul will tell Taker's secret if he loses the title. JR says that is a good, sound analogy. It isn't an analogy at all, Jim. Faarooq "dodges" the flying clothesline. He actually botched and bumped way too early. Crush starts getting into shit with Savio and Clearance for some reason. This distracts Faarooq. Taker hits him with the tombstone. Title retained. Paul forces Taker to chokeslam Faarooq after the match. Twice. Three times. Ahmed Johnson comes out after the third one and gets all up in Taker's face. Taker doesn't like it. Ahmed hits the PRP on him.
Pretty fun show, at least compared to most shows in 1997. The performances of JR as color man, Foley at everything, and the Austin/HBK match really stand out. Austin up to this point is most definitely the MVP of the WWF for 1997. In ring and out. It's also clear that the decision to make him THE man had been made even before WM13. Winning the Rumble, main events the next PPV, and the ads for WM13's VHS release had Austin being the first person shown. Not Bret, Shawn, Sid, or Taker. Austin. The PPV after WM, he main evented over the title match, all while JR talked about how popular he was despite his attitude. The next month, he main events for the title. At KOTR, Vince and JR talk nonstop about his popularity and meteoric rise.