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Tryout #2: Marion Cobretti

The Cobra Kai Review of The Best of the King of the Ring
by Marion Cobretti
The set is hosted by King Bookah. I wasn't into wrestling so much during the days of King Bookah, but from what I've seen, he's damn entertaining. Plus, Booker can wrestle well when he wants to.


Bret Hart vs Bam Bam Bigelow - King of the Ring Finals [1993]
I've often thought that King of the Ring 1993 was the greatest example of 'out with the old, in with the new' that we'd ever see in wrestling. Hulk Hogan comes out, wrestles his last match with the WWE for almost 10 years, and gives us absolutely nothing new. Bret Hart comes in, wrestles three different matches, that were all fantastic and shows us that he's best in the world at this point. This is a great big-man v underdog type of match, and Bret puts the icing on the cake that was an incredible night for him.
Bret Hart wins with the Owen Hart style roll-up from WMX at 18:11
Hulk Hogan [C] vs Yokozuna - WWE Title Match

From that same night, we get the polar opposite of Bret's performance. It's exactly what you'd expect. The oddest looking photographer EVER uses the exploding flash-bulb and blinds The Hulkster. Yoko takes advantage, drops the leg, and we get the three count. Everyone always references the guy there dressed like Hulk Hogan, and you know where you see him next? Front row at Bash of the Beach 1994. Who is this guy, by the way? I always saw him, and he was always dressed like Hulk, and he's always been a question mark. Why isn't he present in the IWC? Anyways, there's nothing memorable about this match other than the previous mentioned aspects. I understand it's inclusion.
Yoko drops the leg for the win at 13:09
Owen Hart vs Razor Ramon - KOTR Finals [1994]

For the second year in a row, Razor loses out to a Hart. This match wasn't much, but it's nice to see Owen win, because he was always so humble. I can't be the only one who during
his mark days, would become very mad at Razor for trying the Razor's Edge so close to the ropes, can I? I mean, c'mon Razor, don't you learn from your mistakes?! 1994 was the year of Owen. Well, in terms of having awesome, awesome matches. Also, I'm a bit bummed we didn't get the classic Piper v Lawler that followed this.
Owen drops a top rope elbow for the win at 6:35
Bret Hart vs Jerry "The King" Lawler - Kiss My Foot Match
This was basically the cap on their feud that had been goin
g on for about 2 years now. Why it couldn't be a decent match, is beyond me. But the stipulation here works to Lawler's character, because having him do whatever he could to make his foot disgusting works perfectly. Also, how does a gross foot lead to a tooth problem? But then again, why would Lawler go to his dentist to solve his problems in the ring.
Bret rocks the Sharpshooter for the win at 9:20
Goldust [C] vs Ahmed Johnson - Intercontinental Title Match

If Ahmed wasn't always hurting people, he could have really gone on to big things. But, I suppose getting the rights to the letter "T" and playing Suge Knight in Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story is a pretty good consolation prize. This match goes on about 5-6 minutes too long, but other than that, nothing too much to complain about. Goldust's The Kiss That Don't Miss ended up working like Macho Man's Hulkster Reviving Elbow as Ahmed scores the IC title.
Pearl River Plunge gets the pin at 15:34
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts - KOTR Finals [1996]

We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his "reborn" gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it's just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn't include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal. This does include the speech.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
Shawn Michaels [C] vs. British Bulldog - WWE Championship Match

This was your typical bout where Shawn was in his prime and having great matches with anyone and anything.The match at Beware of Dog ended in a double pin, thus setting up this bout, which ends in interference. I don't understand the need to protect Bulldog again, and I'm astonished that Shawn didn't have it vetoed, and the match was then that Bulldog got to be inside Truckosaurus, but Shawn still beat The British Truckosaurus with a superkick & Kerry Von Erich's false foot. Anyways, this match is a perfectly fine that isn't as great as Beware of Dog, but gets the job done.
Tons of interference gets the bell at 26:25
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels

I don't recall why they were having this match, but I do remember the absolutely fantastic tag-match where they beat Bulldog & Owen on Raw. Man, was 97 great. Either way, this match is all sorts of awesome. I wish they would have had an actual finish, but I suppose the need to keep both strong makes sense. I love that the mentally challenged kid just loves Shawn so much, that he'll do anything to get to Stone Cold. This kid just man-handles security.
Ref calls for a no-decision at 23:01
Triple H vs Mankind - KOTR Finals [1997]

I don't get it. Do I have some sorta special eyes that creates some sorta They Live scenario when I watch this match? Most people don't give this bout the time of day, but I LOVE IT. It's absolutely fantastic and one of the most under-rated matches of all time, I think. The crowd wasn't into this until the last 3rd of it, and I don't understand their apathy either. This match just kept building and building, it's incredible. Is there anyone else out there who loves this match?
Triple H hits Mick with the Pedigree for the win at 19:24
The Rock vs Ken Shamrock - KOTR Finals [1998]

I didn't expect much out this one, but I really enjoyed it. The Rock proves just as much that he's the man, getting a damn great match out of Ken Shamrock. It's a meat & potatoes type of match, that's delivered with a clean finish. Worth your time.
The Rock taps out to the ankle-lock at 14:09
The Undertaker vs Mankind - Hell in a Cell

Has a year gone by where the WWE hasn't released a DVD with this match on it? I mean, there's at least 5-6 DVDs with this. Funny thing is, I usually watch it with every DVD I get that has it, and my opinion of it always improves. I hate the first spot because of what a waste of time it is, it just eats up the minutes, and I get so sick of the replay. Anyways, it turns into a real war, and they take what would be a 20-30 minute hardcore match and cram in all the greatest hits.
The Undertaker gets the pin with the Tombstone at 16:01
***** for history and such, **** for the actual match.
The Undertaker vs The Rock - WWE Championship Match

There's not much to say about this match, honestly. Undertaker was doing his super-evil gimmick here, which produced a run of matches nearly as bad as Biker-Taker, and this is no bright shining star. Taker punches out the ref right when the bell rings for absolutely no reason. I believe everyone knew that things weren't working with 'Taker, because he dropped the title on Raw the next night.
Undertaker gets the tombstone on The Rock for the pin at 19:10
Triple H, Vince & Shane McMahon vs The Rock, Undertaker & Kane - 6 Man Tag For the WWE Championship

The 2000's was probably the greatest year of high quality wrestling ever, as far as the WWE was concerned. Starting at Royal Rumble 2000, they started on an awesome streak of incredible PPVs that ended with King of the Ring. Sure, WM2000 wasn't a huge success, but it had the awesome triangle-ladder match, and the Kurt v Jericho v Benoit bout. That's more than KOTR2000 had, and the main event here is in no way a saving grace. There's not much to say here about the match, because it runs 20 minutes, has Vince McMahon, and doesn't flow at all. Don't bother with this at all.
Rock Bottom to Vince allows Rock to get the pin at 18:55
Rikishi vs Kurt Angle - KOTR Finals [2000]

This match is about 5 minutes, and it's Kurt just taking everyone on home to the finish-line that we all saw coming miles away.
Kurt nails Rikishi with the superplex and the pin at 5:00
Jeff Hardy vs X-Pac - Light Heavyweight Championship Match

They're kind of reaching here on the 3rd disc, but I guess it's always nice to be reminded of one of the 12 times they tried to have a Lightweight title. There's nothing wrong with this match, and I think if they got an extra 5 minutes they could have produced a pretty decent match. But then that might have helped elevate the title, so, no. The blown spot is a pretty bad one, and both guys seem kinda out of it afterward.
Jeff hits the Swanton at 7:12
Edge vs Kurt Angle - KOTR Finals [2001]

Ah, now we're talking. Kurt extended his hand in friendship, and asks Edge to bow-out so Kurt can rest up for his show-stealing match with Shane later. Edge gives it some thought, but opts not too. This is a great match,. and it's no surprise because Edge & Kurt always had chemistry.
Kurt eats the Impaler for the pin at 10:22
Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon - Street Fight

Oooh man. This match was the big reason for me buying this DVD. This match is absolutely incredible, and to my amazement doesn't get love from everyone. How? I have no idea. These guys go full tilt for almost a half and hour, and they both show what passion they have for putting on a great show. According to Kurt from his RF Shoot, someone ordered the wrong kind of glass, and what they ended up with was the absolute worst kind of material they could be crashing through. Once the glass didn't break, Shane didn't have to go for it again, but he did. When it came to the 2nd glass pane, knowing that he'd been cut to hell the first time around, he could have vetoed going through it, but he didn't. Then when TWO suplexes didn't do it, he didn't have to get thrown through it head first, but he did. This match is absolutely incredible, and I'm shocked it didn't get Match of the Year for 2001.
Kurt gives Shane the Angle Slam from the top rope for the pin at 26:01
Brock Lesnar vs RVD - KOTR Finals [2002]

Brock was on the war path, and the winner here got a shot at the WWE Championship at the upcoming SummerSlam. I can't imagine anyone had RVD for the win. A typical Raw match with no real high-light.
Brock gets the F5 on RVD for the pin at 5:56
Kurt Angle vs Hulk Hogan

I know a lot of people don't like Hogan, but for my money, when he was in the ring with an awesome worker they could have a hell of a match, see Jericho's DVD for proof. I didn't know Kurt was during his wig period for this match, and busted a gut. Hands down, that's the funniest thing any wrestler has ever done. It's absolutely hilarious, and one of the reasons why heel Kurt was my all time favorite bad-guy. Kurt carries Hogan to one of the better matches of his 2nd WWE run, and Hogan even taps to the Ankle-Lock which is absolutely amazing. That'd be like seeing Cena tap.
Kurt Angle gets Hogan to tap to the Ankle-Lock at 12:06
Booker T vs Bobby Lashley - KOTR Finals [2006]

After 2002, the KOTR gimmick was dead. No one really missed it, because of how pointless it had become. But I think they had a plan with this, so it all makes sense. Booker is able to take the rather green Lashley, and carry him to a very watchable match. The last few minutes really get the match going, and makes you wish they would have kept it going.
Booker T with the axe kick and the pin at 9:12

CM Punk vs William Regal - KOTR Finals [2008]
There was no real reason to bring back KOTR, but if they actually put some stock into William as a heel, he could have done some real damage. Punk took out Henry & Jericho, while Regal passed Hornswaggle & Finlay. They don't give this match much time, thus showing us just how much we should really care.
Regal scores the win at 4:04

John Morrison vs Sheamus - KOTR Finals [2010]
It's an absolute shame that these guys didn't have a big feud, because they have a crazy chemistry. This match is fantastic. Sheamus comes out there as the brute that he is, and works the hell out of John's arm & shoulder. Right when you think that there's no hope for Morrison, he'll do something to get the best of Sheamus, and help turn the tides. You really felt like this could go either way, and if they were given 5-10 more minutes, they could have broken 4 stars, no problem at all. Also, I still stand that Starship Pain is probably the lamest finisher of all time.
Sheamus hits the High-Cross on John for the pin at 8:32

Last Word: This is a fantastic set. They cover the King of the Ring in a exhaustive manner, and give us all the gems. Thankfully they didn't feel the need to give us coverage of King Ass, or King Mabel. Although to be honest, I would have liked a look back at King Mabel, simply for how atrocious of a decision it was. I would definitely give this set a recommendation. All in all, as a set it gets ****1/2.