|King of the Ring|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||June 8, 1997|
|City||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Venue||Providence Civic Center|
|Tagline(s)||It's Bound to Get Medieval.|
|King of the Ring chronology|
The 1997 King of the Ring was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). It was the fifth annual King of the Ring event and took place on June 8, 1997, at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
The main event was a standard wrestling match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. The Undertaker defeated Faarooq to retain the title. The undercard included the 1997 King of the Ring tournament, won by Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Other matches on the undercard included Shawn Michaels versus Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Hart Foundation (Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, and Jim Neidhart) versus Sycho Sid and The Legion of Doom in a six-man tag team match and Goldust versus Crush.
King of the Ring consisted of professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Raw Is War—World Wrestling Federation's (WWF) main television program. Wrestlers portrayed a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.
The pay-per-view event included the annual King of the Ring single elimination bracket tournament. The tournament started on the May 12, 1997 episode of Raw is War, with Ahmed Johnson defeating Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the first quarter-final match by disqualification. On the May 19 episode of Raw is War, Helmsley got another spot in the tournament because he was not properly instructed before his match with Johnson and thus threatened to sue WWF with legal action. He replaced Vader, who was originally scheduled to wrestle Crush but had been injured in a No Holds Barred match against Ken Shamrock at In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell. Helmsley defeated Crush and advanced to the semi-finals. On the May 26 episode of Raw is War, Jerry Lawler defeated Goldust in the third quarter-final match. The final quarter-final match was held on the June 2 episode of Raw is War, as Mankind defeated Savio Vega.
The predominant rivalry heading into the event was between The Undertaker and Faarooq over Undertaker's WWF World Heavyweight Championship. On the May 12 episode of Raw is War, The Undertaker had nearly defeated Faarooq's Nation of Domination teammate Savio Vega in a non-title match until Faarooq interfered and attacked The Undertaker. On the May 31 episode of Shotgun, Faarooq, Crush, and Vega defeated The Undertaker, Mankind, and Vader in a six-man tag team match. It would eventually lead to a title match between Undertaker and Faarooq at King of the Ring.
Another predominant rivalry heading into the event was between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. On the May 26 episode of Raw is War, Austin and Michaels defeated Owen Hart and British Bulldog to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. However, after the title win, Austin went to fight Bret Hart and Michaels was attacked by the rest of The Hart Foundation, which created jealousy between the new champions. On the June 2 episode of Raw is War, Austin and Michaels began fighting each other during a title defense against the Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal). This led to a match between Austin and Michaels at King of the Ring to determine the captain of the team.
|Carlos Cabrera (Spanish)|
|Hugo Savinovich (Spanish)|
|Ray Rougeau (French)|
|Jean Brassard (French)|
|Ring announcer||Howard Finkel|
Before the event aired live on pay-per-view, The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) wrestled Bart Gunn and Jesse James on Free For All. Headbangers hit Gunn with a Powerbomb Diving Leg Drop Combo, which they called Stage Dive and pinned Gunn to win the match.
As the show began, the semi-final round of the King of the Ring tournament started with Hunter Hearst Helmsley taking on Ahmed Johnson. Johnson dominated most of the match and had nearly won the match until Helmsley's female bodyguard Chyna climbed the apron and distracted Johnson. Helmsley took advantage and hit Johnson with a Pedigree for the victory.
In the next semi-final match, Mankind wrestled Jerry Lawler. The match occurred outside the ring on many occasions. Lawler tried to finish the match by attempting a Piledriver on Mankind. However, Mankind reversed it into a Mandible claw, forcing Lawler to submit to the hold.
The third match was between Goldust and Crush. During the match, Crush's teammate D'Lo Brown tried to interfere on his behalf by attacking Goldust but was thwarted off. Goldust hit Crush with a DDT and pinned him for the victory.
Next was a six-man tag team match pitting The Hart Foundation (Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, and Jim Neidhart) against Sid and The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal). Sid tried to finish the match with a Powerbomb on Bulldog. However, Owen Hart, who was the legal man, took advantage and pinned Sid with a Sunset Flip for the victory.
Main event matches
The fifth match was the tournament final of the 1997 King of the Ring between Mankind and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Mankind dominated the match but Chyna's interference in the match prevented Mankind from winning. Helmsley hit Mankind with a Pedigree on the broadcast table outside the ring. As Mankind was trying to get back into the ring, Chyna hit him hard with the scepter. Helmsley threw Mankind into the ring and performed another Pedigree to pin Mankind for the victory. As a result, Helmsley won the 1997 King of the Ring tournament. However, Helmsley broke his King of the Ring crown by smashing it in Mankind's back. After the match, Bret Hart issued an open challenge to any five American wrestlers to wrestle him and his Hart Foundation at In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede.
Next was a Singles match between the WWF Tag Team Champions Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin to determine the team captain. The referee was knocked out during the match. Austin hit Michaels with a Stone Cold Stunner. He picked up the referee and hit him too with a Stone Cold Stunner. This gave Michaels time to recover and hit Austin with a Sweet Chin Music and tried to pin Austin. A second referee came out in the match but instead of counting the pinfall for Michaels, he checked on the first referee. This angered Michaels and he attacked the replacement referee. The third referee Earl Hebner came in and disqualified both Austin and Michaels for attacking the referees. As a result, the match resulted in a double disqualification but Michaels and Austin continued to fight with each other.
The main event was between The Undertaker and Faarooq for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Due to numerous interferences by Nation of Domination, Faarooq was able to dominate the match. However, late into the match, Crush and Savio Vega began arguing with each other which distracted Faarooq. Faarooq left the ring to investigate. This gave Undertaker time to regain his momentum. Undertaker hit Faarooq with a Tombstone Piledriver, and pinned him to retain the title. After the match, Ahmed Johnson made a run-in and argued with Undertaker. The argument ended with Johnson hitting Undertaker with a Pearl River Plunge.
Following Ahmed Johnson's attack on The Undertaker at King of the Ring, Johnson and The Undertaker were teamed together for a tag team match against Faarooq and Kama Mustafa on the June 16 episode of Raw is War. Johnson turned on The Undertaker during the match, allowing Kama to pin The Undertaker for the victory. As a result, Johnson became a villain and ended his rivalry with Faarooq's Nation of Domination by joining the faction.
After losing the WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at King of the Ring due to an argument between his teammates, Crush and Savio Vega, Faarooq fired them from the Nation of Domination and converted it into a faction of black wrestlers, leading to a racial gang war as the White American Crush formed Disciples of Apocalypse (DOA) and the Hispanic Vega formed Los Boricuas. The Nation, DOA, and Los Boricuas battled each other throughout 1997.
As a result of Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeating Mankind to win the King of the Ring tournament, Mankind and Helmsley feuded with each other for several months. After ending his rivalry with Mankind and his alter ego, Dude Love, Helmsley found immediate success by forming the comedic faction D-Generation X with Shawn Michaels, Chyna and Rick Rude.
The tournament was held between May 12 and June 8, 1997. The tournament brackets were:
|Quarterfinals (TV)||Semifinals (PPV)||Final (PPV)|
|Hunter Hearst Helmsley||3:25|
|Hunter Hearst Helmsley||7:42|
|Hunter Hearst Helmsley||Pin|
|Hunter Hearst Helmsley||Pin|
1. ^ Helmsley was allowed another spot in the tournament because he was not properly instructed prior to his match with Ahmed Johnson the previous week that he could be eliminated via disqualification and thus threatened the WWF with legal action; Vader was originally in this spot but sustained a broken nose after his No Holds Barred match with Ken Shamrock at In Your House: A Cold Day in Hell on May 11. This gave Helmsley the opportunity to fill in the vacant space and face Crush. Vader fought Ahmed on the May 26 episode of Raw Is War for his spot, but lost.
- "King of the Ring 1997 Tournament Brackets". Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. May 12 – June 8, 2000. Retrieved August 26, 2010.
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- "WWF Raw is War Report". The Other Arena. May 26, 1997. Archived from the original on March 9, 2003. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "WWF Raw is War Report". The Other Arena. June 2, 1997. Archived from the original on May 30, 2003. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "WWF Shotgun 1997 Results". The History of WWE. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "King of the Ring 1997 Results". Complete WWE. June 8, 1997. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "WWF Raw Report". The Other Arena. June 16, 1997. Archived from the original on September 4, 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "Wrestler Profiles: Savio Vega". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "Wrestler Profiles: Crush". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "Nation of Domination – FAQ". WrestleView. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- "Wrestler Profiles: Hunter Hearst Helmsley". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "Wrestler Profiles: Mankind". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "Tag Team Profiles: D-Generation X". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "King of the Ring 1997 results". Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. June 8, 1997. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "WWF Raw: May 26, 1997". Archived from the original on March 9, 2003.