WWE PPV Flashbacks: King of the Ring - June 25, 2000

King of the Ring
June 25, 2000
Fleet Center, Boston, MA

Heading into the winter of the year 2000, it was time once again for the annual King of the Ring event in the WWF. This year would mark the last time in the history of the PPV that the entire tournament from the quarterfinals on would take place on the event, as eight superstars face off for the crown tonight. Also, we have the culmination of the Faction/Regime storyline tonight, as the new WWF Champion Triple H teams with father and brother in law Vince & Shane McMahon to face the star studded team of the Rock, Undertaker & Kane - the first time in company history that the WWF title would be up for grabs in a six man tag. Lets get this one going. But first – follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91 and leave me all your thoughts and feedback!

We open the show with a video package focused on the King of the Ring tournament before shifting gears to the aforementioned six man tag. We then head into the arena for the pyro and are welcomed by our commentary team of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. We're getting the night started with our first quarterfinal match.

KOTR Quarterfinal Match:
Rikishi vs Chris Benoit

Rikishi beat Scotty 2 Hotty and Shane McMahon to get to this point in the massive 32 person tournament, whilst Benoit knocked off X-Pac and Road Dogg. That brings us to this match, although there's a bit of backstory here. Rikishi actually defeated Benoit on the Smackdown before this PPV to win the Intercontinental Championship, and he enters with the gold here. In that match though, Benoit injured Rikishi's shoulder following a post-match beatdown, so the big man is going in with the disadvantage. Anyway, Rikishi starts this one out in control for the most part after some brief offence from Benoit. The big guy ends up missing a charge though which allows Benoit to lock in the Crippler Crossface. Rikishi ends up getting to the ropes, which forces the hold to be broken, but Benoit responds by getting a chair from the outside and absolutely destroying Rikishi with it. Of course, that gives Rikishi the win by DQ at a quick 3:25. More about putting over the angle than an actual match with a time like this. After the match, Benoit continues to beat on Rikishi, hitting him with the diving headbutt and then locking in the crossface again until officials finally break it up. Fine for what it was as it established Benoit as a guy out for revenge who didn't care about winning the tournament so long as he took Rikishi out. The announcers question Rikishi's condition as he is tended to by officials.
Grade: *1/2

Following footage of Linda McMahon arriving at the arena on Heat, we go backstage to the rest of the McMahon family and Triple H. Vince says he is going to confront his wife, whilst the others tell him to stay calm. He says that he will be, but Trips, Shane & Stephanie express their doubts when he leaves. Elsewhere Michael Cole gets a word with Chris Benoit about his intentional DQ earlier. Benoit responds by saying he does what he wants to do.

KOTR Quarterfinal Match:
Eddie Guerrero w/Chyna vs Val Venis w/Trish Stratus

Eddie got to this match by defeating his Mamacita Chyna and Matt Hardy, whilst Venis advanced over Jeff Hardy and Al Snow. Eddie is still the European Champion with Chyna by his side, and after playing tweeners over the past few months, they are effectively faces by this point. Meanwhile, Val Venis has turned heel, adopting a more serious persona, new theme music and a new manager in Trish Stratus. Speaking of Trish, she looks stunning naturally. That's no knock on Chyna either though. This one starts out with some back and forth between the two competitors. Eddie takes over following a superplex and locks in a dragon sleeper, but Val rakes the eyes to escape and targets the back of the reigning European Champion. Eddie comes back and attempts the Frog Splash but misses, which leads to Val attempting the Money Shot, only to fail to connect as well due to Eddie getting his knees up. After some more back and forth, Val takes a page from Eddie's book, using the ropes in a pin attempt, but Guerrero manages to kick out and the match continues. Trish ends up trying to distract the ref for her man, but Chyna yanks her off the apron. Val goes after Chyna which leads to a roll up by Eddie. Val kicks out however and follows up with a Fisherman's Suplex to score the win at 8:04. Val advances to face Rikishi in the next round. The booking made sense here as Val would move into a feud with Eddie soon enough. Anyway, a decent enough match for the time it was given, although with more, this could have been better.
Grade: **3/4

We now head to the back where the new Hardcore Champion Pat Patterson is picking out dresses for his upcoming evening gown match with fellow stooge Gerald Brisco. Oh joy. We also hear from Rikishi who says Benoit's actions aren't going to stop him from advancing in the tournament.

KOTR Quarterfinal Match:
Crash Holly vs Bull Buchanan

The tournament continues with our third quarterfinal match. Crash defeated Hardcore Holly and Albert to get here, whilst Bull Buchanan has victories over Perry Saturn and Steve Blackman. Crash is basically still doing the Houdini of Hardcore thing here as we will see later on, whilst Buchanan is mostly floating around until he gets a shot in the arm soon enough. Anyway, with Crash being the ultimate underdog, this is basically all Buchanan, although his offence quickly draws "boring" chants from the crowd. He definitely wasn't cut out for being a singles guy, so I'm glad they realised this. After beating on Crash for a few minutes and utilising his size advantage, Buchanan goes for a scissor kick, only for Crash to move out of the way. Crash follows up by rolling Buchanan into a pinning predicament to score the upset at 4:07. Nothing special at all here as again this wasn't about the match. Crash winning made sense considering who he would be up against in the next round, but they could have put someone else on here.
Grade: 1/2*

We now go to Vince backstage as he finds Linda. Linda wants to know what kind of shenanigans Vince intends to pull in the main event, but Vince promises there will be no interference whatsoever.

KOTR Quarterfinals:
Chris Jericho vs Kurt Angle

Now here's a match that really should have taken place later in the tournament. The whole thing really could have been restructured but I won't go into that. I probably would have at least put Jericho in Crash's spot as a match like this should have been in the semi-finals at least. Anyway, now that I've given the result of this match away, Jericho got here by defeating Edge and Test, whilst Angle was victorious over Bubba Ray Dudley and Bradshaw. Angle's big push up the card is getting started here, as he's already had a few interactions with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley by this point, but more on that in future reviews. Of course, Jericho was notorious for calling Stephanie out in this stretch, so Angle wants to shut him up here. Angle cuts a condescending heel promo before the match as usual before Jericho rips on him during his own entrance. From there they trade blows and the match gets under way. We get some back and forth with Jericho hitting the Lionsault early on, only for Angle to get his foot on the rope to break the subsequent pin. From there the action goes to the outside where Angle sends Y2J into the ring steps. Back in the ring, we get some more back and forth action. Angle looks to put Jericho away with the Olympic Slam, but Y2J counters into the Walls of Jericho. Angle actually taps, but Stephanie rushes out and distracts the official before he can see it. Y2J argues with the ref, but Angle sends him crashing into him. With the ref out, Stephanie comes in and attempts to nail Jericho with her Women's Championship, but she accidentally hits Angle instead. Jericho follows up by planting a kiss on the Billion Dollar Princess, but that distraction allows Angle to recover and put him away with an Olympic Slam at 9:50. He'll meet Crash in the semis. Way too short for these guys, but the best match of the quarterfinals all the same. Fun for what it was and it laid the foundations for further interactions between Kurt and Steph. Angle's rise continues.
Grade: ***

Before our next match gets under way, we go to the McMahons in the back. Shane is pissed at Vince for making it no interference in the main event, but Vince is confident that their opponents will self-destruct anyway. Next we head across to WWF New York where Mick Foley is hanging out watching the show. He talks about past King of the Rings, including his famous Hell in a Cell match two years prior at the event. He also gives Kurt Angle the nod, picking him as the winner of the tournament.

WWF Tag Team Championship - Elimination Match:
Too Cool (c) vs Hardy Boyz w/Lita vs T&A w/Trish Stratus vs Edge & Christian

We take a break from the tournament now for our first title match of the night - the WWF Tag Team Championship. The tag division is on fire at this point, and we actually have new champions heading into this show. In what was a bit of an upset at the time, Too Cool defeated Edge & Christian to win the titles on Raw is War, thanks to the interference of celebrity guest Joe C. The former champions look to regain the gold here, but they are joined by T&A and the Hardy Boyz here, who have also been feuding with each other in recent weeks. Lita is now by the side of the Hardyz as well, having been dumped by her former superstar Essa Rios. Anyway, Edge & Christian do their always classic five second pose before the match, this time mocking Bill Buckner (how bout it?! - Pete Rose). As far as the match goes, its elimination rules meaning the last team remaining win the titles. The Hardy Boyz start this one out going at it with T&A, with the popular brothers from North Carolina teaming up on Albert until Trish interferes for the distraction. Lita kicks off the greatest women's rivalry of all time as she pulls Trish down off the apron, but the altercation allows Test to come in and take down Matt. Jeff turns the tide again though, delivering the Swanton to Test, which allows Matt to score the cover, eliminating T&A at around four minutes in. The rivalry between those teams would continue. From there we get a few combinations going at it. Lita actually comes in and hits Edge with a hurricana at one point, and Matt goes to follow up with the Twist of Fate. Before he can connect though, Christian tags himself in and nails Matt with the Unprettier, which scores the elimination of the Hardy Boyz. This brings us down to the current champions and the former champions. Scotty 2 Hotty ends up getting worked over by the heels until he gets the hot tag to Grandmaster Sexay. Sexay builds a bit of momentum, but Edge & Christian double team him with a flapjack and go to mock the Worm. As they do so, Scotty comes in and hits the real thing. Huge reaction of course. Anyway, after some double teaming by Too Cool, the ref is busy getting Scotty out of the ring. Thats all the distraction the heels need, as Christian whacks Sexay with the tag title belt and scores the pinfall at 14:11. Edge & Christian are the WWF Tag Team Champions once again. A decent enough match overall that probably would have been better if it was just Too Cool against Edge & Christian. The tag division was so deep at this point though that you couldn't leave the others off the card so I understand why they went the four way.
Grade: **1/2

Before the tournament continues, Michael Cole gets a word with Crash Holly, who tells Kurt Angle not to take him lightly.

KOTR Semifinal Match:
Rikishi vs Val Venis w/Trish Stratus

These guys would go on to feud properly after this show, so it makes sense that they face off in our first match of the semifinals. Of course, Rikishi is entering this one with a bad shoulder as the announcers play up the attack from earlier. Trish is all over the place tonight which is always a good thing. Val attempts to jump the big man to get this one started, but Rikishi fights him off with a kick to the outside. He gets back in but is met by a legdrop before going on offence and targeting Rikishi's shoulder. After a focused assault on the arm by Venis, Rikishi comes back with a belly to belly suplex off the top, and that allows the big man to pin his opponent at a quick 3:15. Rikishi advances to the finals, but before he can celebrate his victory, Trish gets in his face. Rikishi goes to give her the Banzai, but Val hits him with a lowblow before sending him crashing into the ring steps outside. From there he proceeds to assault the I.C champion with a number of chair shots before leaving. This serves two purposes - furthering the issues between these two, and creating even more sympathy for the battered Rikishi heading into the finals. The match itself was too short to be anything special though.
Grade: 1/2*

Backstage, Jonathan Coachman gets a word with Gerald Brisco about the aforementioned evening gown match. Brisco is angry and promises revenge on his old friend for screwing him out of the Hardcore Championship.

KOTR Semifinal Match:
Crash Holly vs Kurt Angle

Yeah, Crash has no chance here. This is essentially a glorified squash, which really makes you wonder why if they were going to have this match you wouldn't swap Crash and Jericho's positions in the tournament. Have Angle squash Crash in the first round then move on to Jericho here. Oh well, anyway Crash gets a few shots in, but this is really all Angle. Crash almost pulls off the upset out of nowhere following a missile dropkick, but before he can capitalise on the tiny burst of momentum, Angle follows up with the Olympic Slam to advance to the finals at 3:58. Much like the other semifinal match, this was too short to be anything substantial. Angle moves on, but we haven't seen the last of the Houdini of Hardcore either.
Grade: 1/2*

Before moving on we get a cool little video package looking at the previous night's live event in Madison Square Garden which Donald Trump attended. From there, Cole gets a word with Kane, followed by Coach with the Undertaker. Both guys essentially say they are going to leave tonight as WWF Champion. From there, the Hardcore Championship is up next, so we get a recap of how this whole battle of the stooges came about.

WWF Hardcore Championship - Evening Gown Match:
Pat Patterson (c) vs Gerald Brisco

Alright, how did we get to this mess? As we saw at Judgment Day, Gerald Brisco had pinned Crash while he was sleeping to win the Hardcore Championship via the 24/7 rule. Crash would actually win the title back a few weeks later on Raw is War, but Brisco would interfere the following week in a match against Crash's cousin Hardcore Holly. After attacking the Houdini of Hardcore during that match, Brisco would pin Crash to once again claim the gold. His celebration was cut short though as later in the night when celebrating with Pat Patterson, Patterson smashed a champagne bottle over the head of the new champion to win the title. Later that week on Smackdown, Patterson dressed up as a woman and hid out in the women's locker room, which led to Brisco dressing up as well and getting into a brawl around the backstage area with his old friend. Mr McMahon would come across the scuffle and declared that if they wanted to embarrass him, they would face off in an evening gown match for the title at the King of the Ring. Alas here we are. Both stooges are in drag, with Brisco coming out to Real American, and Patterson to the striptease music they used around this time. Anyway, Patterson tries to trick Brisco, telling him that he will lay down for him to climb on top to save their friendship. Brisco agrees, but Patterson blind sides him to get this going. What follows is your typical evening gown ripping of clothing. We even get the appearance of bananas and tampons. Yeah, I'm not doing play by play. Crash Holly finally rushes out with another referee to a big pop to put this thing to sleep. He hits both stooges with a trash can and pins Patterson to win the title at 3:07. All is right in the world again as Crash Holly is once again WWF Hardcore Champion. The angle here was funny enough, but the match was an absolute mess.
Grade: DUD

Before our next match, we go backstage to the Dudley Boyz. They have a table with Tori's name on it - literally!

Tables/Dumpster Match:
Dudley Boyz vs X-Pac, Road Dogg & Tori

This is a continuation of the feud from last month between these teams. Bubba had been put through a table by Tori heading into this show, and he is obsessed with doing the same to her here as a result. The feud between these teams was taken to the next level on an episode of Smackdown where the Dudleyz were placed into a dumpster by DX along with Edge & Christian, and then tossed off the stage, hence the inclusion of dumpsters in this match. Basically you win this one by putting your opponents through tables or into the dumpster. Once again, DX gets a good pop despite being heels courtesy of the Road Dogg's pre-match routine. At the same time, the Dudley Boyz are also incredibly over. Despite the nature of this match the teams need to make tags which is something I always find silly in no DQ type matches. Anyway, D-Von starts this one getting worked over by the DX men, but the popular Dudleyz come back with the head to the crotch double team shortly after and then go after Tori. The action continues, and as DX fight back they actually put both Dudleyz into the dumpster, but the referee does not see it since he is busy tending to Tori. The Dudleyz escape through the side of the dumpster and take the fight to their opponents with chairs in hand and shortly after start stacking tables. They set the ring steps up in the ring as well, and Road Dogg takes a powerbomb off them through a set of two tables. That match continues though as all team members need to go through. X-Pac attempts to even up the score by looking to out D-Von through a table, but Bubba comes to his half brother's aid which leads to a superplex through the table to X-Pac as well. This means its down to Tori on the heel side. She tries to escape by hiding in the dumpster (I guess it doesn't count because she wasn't put in?). Nonetheless the Dudleyz go over to the dumpster and open it up, looking to get their hands on that 'jezabel'. It turns out it was a trap though, as X-Pac and Road Dogg jump the Dudleyz from behind with chairs and knock them into the dumpster to win the match at 9:45. A bit of a strange decision since the Dudleyz were moving up the ranks whilst DX had pretty much run its course by this point. Anyway, Road Dogg & X-Pac head up the aisle unaware that Tori is still in the dumpster with the Dudley Boyz. They emerge with her, which brings the DX members back down only to be taken out with a series of 3Ds. With Tori all alone, Bubba finally gets his payback by driving her through a table to a big pop, ending this feud. Tori would actually injure her shoulder in the spot and this would effectively be the end of her run as a result. Anyway, this was okay for what it was, but really nothing spectacular, which is becoming a bit of a trend on this show.
Grade: **

The finals of the King of the Ring tournament are up next, so we here from both Angle and Rikishi separately. They both say they are going to win. Before the match, we get the same video package from the start of the show highlighting the KOTR tournament.

KOTR Finals:
Rikishi vs Kurt Angle

The finals of this massive tournament have arrived, and its pretty clear who is winning this thing. Rikishi was over and would actually get a pretty big push going forward, but Angle was clearly destined to be a star in the future and that begins tonight. Of course, the announcers are playing up Rikishi's injuries due to the two post-match beatings he has taken tonight alone. Kurt shows his intelligence by going right to work by targeting Rikishi's shoulder, ramming it into the ring steps outside. Back in the ring, Rikishi takes over following a Samoan Drop, and he follows up with a Stinkface to the Olympic Gold Medallist. This gets Angle worked up, and he responds with an Olympic Slam, but it only gets a two count to the shock of the announcers. Rikishi comes back and gets a near fall following a sunset flip counter. From there, the big man goes upstairs, but Angle follows and delivers a belly to belly suplex from the top in an impressive spot, which allows him to pick up the win at 5:58. A short match, but you couldn't expect it to go very long with it being Rikishi's third match of the night. The most important thing here is that Kurt Angle is the 2000 King of the Ring, and his push to the main event begins now with him never really looking back for the rest of his tenure.
Grade: *

Before the upcoming main event we see further dissension in the McMahon-Helmsley faction as Triple H and Shane are annoyed with Vince. We then hear from the Rock and go to a video package about how this got started.

WWF Championship:
Triple H (c), Mr McMahon & Shane McMahon w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley vs The Rock, Undertaker & Kane

The idea here is that anyone on the face team can pin anyone on the heel team, and the person who makes the pin will become the WWF Champion. This goes back to an episode of Raw is War following Taker's return at Judgment Day, when the American Bad Ass faced off against the Rock in a lumberjack match, with the lumberjacks being members of the McMahon-Helmsley Faction. Rock and Taker instead decided to fight off the lumberjacks and as they were outnumbered, they were rescued by Kane. Later that week on Smackdown, Vince, Shane and Triple H all promised the aforementioned faces a shot at the WWF Championship separately which led to a triple threat number one contender match the next week on Raw. The Rock would win that match and get a shot at the title later in the evening, but did not win the championship due to interference from both Undertaker and Kane who wanted the shot. The following week, WWF CEO Linda McMahon announced that the three would team together to battle the Faction at the next PPV, and thanks to Mr McMahon losing his cool, the WWF Championship was eventually put up for grabs. That brings us to where we are tonight. Of course, the big theme here is will the face team implode due to their individual egos getting in the way. Anyway, Kane and Shane start this one out, with the Boy Wonder jumping the Big Red Machine from behind. Kane offers Shane a free shot at him, and then responds by absolutely destroying Shane and his father in the early part of the match. Its basically the faces in control for most of the early going as they all tag themselves in and dish out a beating on Shane. The cracks come out as Taker puts Shane down with a chokeslam and makes a cover, only for Rock to break it up, since he wants to win the title himself. They end up going at it on the outside as a result. This allows Triple H to tag in and he takes control, hitting Rock with the Pedigree, but Taker comes back in and makes the save. After a bit of back and forth consisting mostly of Rock being worked over, Kane decides to double cross his partners, attacking the Undertaker and then stopping Rock from delivering the People's Elbow to Trips. For a moment it looks like Kane was in on it with the champion all along as Triple H gives him the thumbs up, but the Big Red Machine responds with a Tombstone Piledriver to the Game. Undertaker comes back in and breaks the pin up though, hitting his brother with a chair. Shane attempts to come off the top in the mean time, but Taker stops him in his tracks with an awesome chokeslam off the top through the announce table. That effectively takes Shane out of the match. Meanwhile, Vince tags himself in and attempts the People's Elbow on the Rock, but the Great One kips up and delivers the Rock Bottom to the boss. He follows up with the pin at 17:54, and the Rock is once again the WWF Champion. Overall a fitting end to the McMahon-Helmsley Faction, but the match itself was very underwhelming. I understand not doing another Triple H/Rock match as it would have been difficult to top the previous month's ironman, but thats why I think the Rock should have won there anyway. After the match Rock celebrates his victory, whilst the Game is pissed that Vince cost him the title. Vince would disappear from TV for most of the remainder of the year here, and Shane would follow soon after. We'll have a new authority figure by our next show and he's definitely a memorable one. Anyway, not the best match here to say the least.
Grade: *3/4

This PPV breaks the streak of hot shows that really was kicked off at the turn of the new year and for the most part continued to this point. In fact this is probably the worst show of the year off the top of my head - it definitely is thus far at least. I only had one match here rated at *** and that was less than ten minutes! The big problem was trying to fit too much on this show. I've said this before and I will say it again - 11 matches is way too many for a three hour show! I mean look at this card - you only have two matches going over ten minutes, and one of those was an incredibly underwhelming main event. Thankfully things would turn around heading into the second half of the year, as the next PPV would attempt to regain the momentum from the previous few months.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Kurt Angle - the tournament matches weren't great, but his win tonight got him to the top of the card and he was in line for a big push ahead.
2. Chris Jericho - involved in a solid match on a card lacking in them.
3. The Rock - regains the title that he probably didn't need to lose last month. This reign would be more impressive than his last.

FINAL GRADE: 3 out of 10

What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1.

Steve Austin = 84
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
The Rock = 44
Triple H = 42
Mick Foley = 38
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 25
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Diesel = 15
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 12
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 10
Chris Jericho = 9
Ric Flair = 8
Matt Hardy = 8
Jeff Hardy = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Christian = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Edge = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Bubba Ray Dudley = 4
D-Von Dudley = 4
Kurt Angle = 4
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Tanaka = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Sato = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Hakushi = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Savio Vega = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Shane McMahon = 3
Chyna = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Chris Benoit = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Test = 1
Big Show = 1
Dean Malenko = 1
Scotty 2 Hotty = 1

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @Mpmcc91. Thanks for reading!