Pro wrestling has featured big over all wearing farmers, crazy maniacs who talk to themselves, playboys, american heroes, terrorists, assassins, giant mummies, and anything your creative mind can conjure up. But nothing can beat royalty. In particular, wrestling kings.
Kings in professional wrestling have mostly been self proclaimed. Who wouldn’t want to be a king of something? With the nice velour robes and extravegant crowns, wrestling kings are head and shoulders above anyone else in professional wrestling.
Kings are so important that WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) created a tournament called “King of The Ring”. The winner would be proclaimed king of the company. No championship was given, it wasn’t needed. The king ruled over all in the land. There are still many kings in pro wrestling. We are going to roll out the red carpet and provide the common man with a look inside the world of kings in professional wrestling.
The first king of Memphis Wrestling, maybe the first king of wrestling. Fargo was a huge name in professional wrestling. He mentored Jerry “The King” Lawler until Lawler beat him in the ring and took his “king” title.
Jerry “ King” Lawler
Arguably the most famous king of wrestling. Lawler is a legend in the Memphis wrestling territory, but is probably the most familiar as the color commentator in the WWE. His ring work and commentary in WWE since the 1990’s has been so ingrained that people either don’t remember or don’t know that he wrestled anywhere else. Lawler would beat opponents with his piledriver finisher. He would hold his crown close to him during his interviews and talk about how he is the only king in professional wrestling. Hollywood star Andy Kaufman challenged Lawler in the mid-eighties to wrestling matches claiming he was the true king of wrestling as he wrestled women across the United States. Lawler beat Kaufman with a piledriver to silence him once and for all in their only match. Kaufman soon left pro wrestling with nothing more than a whimper and Lawler remained king of wrestling.
“King” Shane Williams
The most recent king in professional wrestling, Williams is a member of TCW (Traditional Championship Wrestling). He mixes an old school heel (bad guy) persona and the piledriver that Jerry Lawler made famous and brought it to the surface of the present.
“King Harley Race”
In 1986, Harley Race won the King of The Ring tournament over Pedro Morales in the finals. He started wearing the purple robe and purple crown. He began feuding with the beloved Junkyard Dog. Years ago Harley Race became the king of NWA by winning the NWA World Championship twice. His “King” gimmick lasted around six months until he was injured in a match with Hulk Hogan and then the gimmick was scrapped.
Haku was given the title “King” when Harley Race left the WWE in 1986 due to injury. Haku and Harley Race feuded over the title at Royal Rumble that year. Haku quickly lost the gimmick and teamed with Andre The Giant as the Colossal Connection.
“Macho King” Randy Savage
Winning the King of The Ring in 1987, Savage wore the robe, crown and scepter. Savage was bumped to main event after his run as the king and his teaming with Hulk Hogan as the Mega Powers. The “king” gimmick was very successful for Savage and as a bonus, he was given the services of Queen Sherri (Sherri Martel).
List of All King of The Ring winners:
- 1985 King of the Ring: Don Muraco (via defeating Tito Santana).
- 1986 King of the Ring: Harley Race (via defeating Pedro Morales).
- 1987 King of the Ring: Randy Savage (via defeating King Kong Bundy).
- 1988 King of the Ring: Ted DiBiase (via defeating Randy Savage).
- 1989 King of the Ring: Tito Santana (via defeating Rick Martel).
- 1990 King of the Ring: No event took place…
- 1991 King of the Ring: Bret Hart (via defeating Irwin R. Schyster).
- 1993 King of the Ring: Bret Hart (via defeating Bam Bam Bigelow).1994 King of the Ring: Owen Hart (via defeating Razor Ramon).
- 1995 King of the Ring: Mabel (via defeating Savio Vega).
- 1996 King of the Ring: Steve Austin (via defeating Jake Roberts).
- 1997 King of the Ring: Triple H (via defeating Mankind).
- 1998 King of the Ring: Ken Shamrock (via defeating The Rock).
- 1999 King of the Ring: Billy Gunn (via defeating X-Pac)
- Photo Credit: WWF – King of the Ring 2000
- 2000 King of the Ring: Kurt Angle (via defeating Rikishi).
- 2001 King of the Ring: Edge (via defeating Kurt Angle).
- 2002 King of the Ring: Brock Lesnar (via defeating Rob Van Dam).
* Brock Lesnar was the last King of the Ring winner due to the WWE dropping the tournament & adding the “Bad Blood” PPV for the Raw brand in June ’03.
- 2006 King of the Ring: Booker T (via defeating Bobby Lashley).
* The King of the Ring Tournament was brought back to WWE in 2006 exclusively for the Smackdown brand. Matches took place on Smackdown the weeks prior to the Judgment Day PPV.
- 2008 King of the Ring: William Regal (via defeating CM Punk).
* The King of the Ring Tournament was brought back to WWE in 2008 as part of a three-hour edition of Monday Night Raw. The tournament was held in one night featuring William Regal defeating CM Punk in the finals.
- 2010 King of the Ring: Sheamus (via defeating John Morrison).
* The King of the Ring Tournament was brought back to WWE in 2010 as part of a three-hour edition of Monday Night Raw. Qualifying matches were with the tournament concluding on November 29, 2010. Sheamus def. John Morrison in the finals.