Minutes to Bell Time

What Happened to the One Night Tournament? 👑

Newsletter #88 – What Happened to the One Night Tournament? 👑

June 1, 2022

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Happy June 1st.

What happened to the one night tournament?

As a child and teenager, I anxiously looked forward to the month of June when WWE held their annual King of the Ring (KotR) event – a single elimination tournament and PPV by the same name.

For ten royal years from 1993 to 2002, WWE made KotR a one night single elimination tournament where the winner received nothing but the ability to call himself King.
Six KotR tournaments preceded 1993, but those took place on non-televised house shows.

Six more KotR tournaments followed 2002, but those mostly took place on Raw and Smackdown with the finals occasionally occurring on the next monthly PPV.I long for the days when a tournament played out on a single night.

The babyface wrestled 3 or 4 grueling matches on his way to the final while something weird happened on the other side of the bracket sending the heel into the finals after just 1 or 2 matches.

My love for this particular form of wrestling drama most likely grew out of my earliest wrestling memory: WrestleMania IV – a night where “The Macho Man” Randy Savage wrestled four times on his way to winning the WWF Championship. His opponent, the greedy and villainous Million Dollar Man, only wrestled three matches that night.

Randy Savage wins WWF Championship at WrestleMania IV.

As much as I loved WrestleMania IV and the drama of crowning a new WWF Champion, KotR allowed my focus to linger on something other than the world champion, the world championship belt, and the world championship match.

I’ll admit that even the later years of the ’93-’02 run saw WWE putting quarter finals and qualifying matches on Raw and Smackdown, and almost no-one thinks back on the 1998 KotR as winner Ken Shamrock’s crowning achievement.
Shamrock’s victory stands in the shadow of Mick Foley getting tossed off the top and through Hell in a Cell.

Still . . .

We didn’t dwell on King of the Ring all year. We crowned a king, acknowledged that wrestler’s elevated status, and moved on. The entirety of the story contained in just one night.

Undertaker throws Mankind through the Cage at KOTR 1998.

What happened to the one night tournament?

These days WWE runs tournaments to fill title vacancies and just last year Xavier Woods became the most recent KotR while Zelina Vega became the first winner of the Queen’s Crown.

AEW runs tournaments all the time with the most recent examples concluding this past weekend at Double or Nothing.

But none of those WWE or AEW tournaments happen on a single night.

As we enter the month of June, if you (like me) also long for the days of that one night single elimination tournament, then I suggest you head over to the WWE Network and fire up any of the various KotR. You can choose from the event that led to the Austin era (KotR 1996) or the weird 1999 even that led to Billy Gunn winning the crown.

Whatever you choose to do with your month of June (KotR related or not), I hope you enjoy some wrestling!

Thanks for reading this week’s newsletter. In addition to the above letter, read on for some great wrestling resources.

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P.S. – I spoke to Chris Farrow on this week’s episode of CCW Insider. He’s the first ever CCW Cruiserweight Champion. You can get that episode using the links below.


MTBT Resources

  1. Here is a listing of all our Television and PPV Results
  2. Here is where we track all of the Cards for Upcoming Shows
  3. Listen to the audio version of every episode of CCW Insider.
  4. We have a Shop with some great T-Shirt options.

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