7/8/85 - King Of The Ring - Sullivan Stadium - Foxboro, MA

We made our debut tonight in Foxboro, MA, and the respectable crowd that came out for the show were in for a treat, as they would get to witness the coronation of the second King of the Ring! Sixteen men would duke it out through the tournament of endurance, but only one man would be crowned king!

King of the Ring - First Round Match
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Bret "Hitman" Hart (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Bret Hart's new association with Jimmy Hart would be put to the test as the Hitman wrestled the first match against one of the tournament favorites, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. These two have had some great matches in the past with Steamboat coming out on top. Even though the Hitman hasn't been able to get to the winner's circle against the Dragon, he has wrestled him close and proven he belongs in the ring with him. These matches have usually ended when one of the technicians makes a mistake. This time around, it happened much earlier in the match. The Hitman swung for a big roundhouse clothesline, but Steamboat saw it coming from a mile away and countered with a crucifix, getting the pin and punching his ticket for the quarters.

Ricky Steamboat pinned Bret Hart after a crucifix in 0:03:45.
Rating: **

King of the Ring - First Round Match
Junkyard Dog vs. Tully Blanchard (w/ Bobby "The Brain' Heenan/Baby Doll)

If Junkyard Dog didn't want to rip off Tony Atlas' head before, there is no doubt that he wants to now. JYD has a chance to take Atlas' Intercontinental Title away in their match that is signed for Philadelphia later this month, but the champion apparently couldn't wait that long to take a shot at JYD. Tully Blanchard ended up being the beneficiary of the IC champ's villainy. As JYD was bouncing Blanchard around the ring like a cocky rubber ball, Tully took a powder and looked to Bobby Heenan & Baby Doll for sanctuary. As Tully was stalling, referee Joey Marella went to the floor to get Blanchard back in the ring. This left him with his back to the ring, and thus he didn't see Atlas make his move. Atlas slid in the ring and cracked JYD in the skull with the Intercontinental Title, knocking the man out cold. Blanchard saw this over Marella's shoulder and slid back in the ring, immediately going for the cover. Marella wasn't sure what happened, but he made the count, moving Blanchard on to the next round.

Tully Blanchard pinned Junkyard Dog after outside interference in 0:08:12.
Rating: * 1/2
[Tony Atlas interfered against Junkyard Dog.]

Atlas got back in the ring looking to inflict further damage on JYD. He never got the chance before JIM DUGGAN sprinted to the ring, 2x4 in hand! Atlas wanted no part of that and made the wise decision to get out of the ring, content over the damage he had caused.

King of the Ring - First Round
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Stan "The Lariat" Hansen

Duggan was still all fired up about what just happened, and he wasn't completely focused. Unfortunately, his opponent in the first round was Stan Hansen, and he is about the last person you want to be in the ring with while distracted. Hansen showed he was as focused as anyone, completely ignoring the massive amount of boos he was being showered with (that happens when you turn your back on someone as popular as Dusty Rhodes). The Lariat barely heard the fans, only taking a moment here and there to bellow at the fans when he had the upper hand. Duggan got some good shots in, mostly heavy-handed punches that rattled Hansen's jaw. But Hacksaw is more or less an unpolished product at this point, and that allowed Hansen to hit the Lariat and move on to the quarterfinals.

Stan Hansen pinned Jim Duggan with the Lariat in 0:07:23.
Rating: *** 1/4

King of the Ring - First Round
Wahoo McDaniel vs. "Canadian Strongman" Dino Bravo (w/ Jimmy Hart)

When Wahoo McDaniel made his unexpected return to GCW back in June, he wrestled Dino Bravo to a double countout. As this match started, it was clear there were a lot unsettled issues. As soon as the bell rang, these two wasted no time going toe-to-toe. It was bowling shoe ugly, but it was a hell of a fight never the less. They both came out of the gate so quickly, that Wahoo managed to get Bravo in the Indian Deathlock in short order. Jimmy Hart saw his client in danger of submitting, and in lieu of that happening, the Mouth of the South slid in and jumped on Wahoo, causing the DQ.

Wahoo McDaniel defeated Dino Bravo by disqualification in 0:02:08.
Rating: -1/4*

Jimmy Hart wasn't inflicting a lot of damage with his shots, but it was enough for Wahoo to break the hold on Bravo. Bravo rolled out of the ring and joined Jimmy Hart on the outside. Not a good night for Jimmy Hart, as both of his clients were eliminated from the tournament. Wahoo, meanwhile, gets a big challenge in the quarters in the form of Stan Hansen.

King of the Ring - First Round
Rick Martel vs. "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson (w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

This was the match of the first round that many people were most looking forward to. Rick Martel & Arn Anderson have wrestled in some great matches this year, including a fantastic 2-of-3 falls match in Boston back in May. The familiarity these two have with each other was evident early on when neither man could gain the clear edge in a series of chain wrestling. What would turn the tide of the match was Martel's injured ribs, taped up as a result of King Kong Bundy's attack two days ago on Superstars. As the match wore on, Martel was staying in it, but he was fading fast. An injury to your ribs can make it hard to breathe, and Martel looked like he was struggling to get oxygen into his lungs. Anderson's assault was relentless, and referee Danny Davis had to take a serious look at stopping the match for Martel's long term health. Martel insisted he could go on though, and it was a good thing he did. Martel caught a break when Anderson's uncharacteristically went for a dropkick. Martel countered it and quickly rolled the Enforcer over into the Boston Crab. Anderson held on for a couple seconds before realizing he was stuck, and gave it up.

Rick Martel made Arn Anderson submit to the Boston Crab in 0:11:28.
Rating: *** 3/4

Very hard fought win for Martel, but he looked worse for wear when it was all said and done. How is he going to be able to keep going in this tournament?

King of the Ring - First Round
Chavo Guerrero vs. "The Japanese Assassin" Shiro Koshinaka (w/ "Classy" Freddie Blassie)

Rick Martel would have a little time to rest before he would face the winner of this match in the quarters. Chavo Guerrero has been picking it up in the ring recently, but that hasn't translated to wins (despite coming within mere seconds of winning the battle royal for the Television Title). Unfortunately for Chavo tonight, he ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Shiro Koshinaka. Freddie Blassie's hired assassin in the Foreign Legion has caused considerable damage to Junkyard Dog & Jim Duggan, but there was no one who needed to be taken out in this tournament. This was just a chance for Koshinaka to make Blassie some money, and he took the first step in doing that by planting Guerrero for the 1-2-3.

Shiro Koshinaka pinned Chavo Guerrero with the Power Bomb in 0:06:35.
Rating: * 1/2

With Koshinaka moving on to the quarters, I do not like Rick Martel's chances - especially when he's injured.

King of the Ring - First Round
Bruiser Brody vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

This match may have been the most difficult to predict of all the first round matches. Bruiser Brody & King Kong Bundy are both straight ahead brawlers. When they lock up, you know it's going to be violent and you know it's going to be ugly. It took this match awhile to get going as Brody refused to lock up with Bundy to start, choosing to jump to the floor and stomp around the ring. He is extremely unorthodox and those his methods are unconventional, they do get into the head of the men he wrestles. Bundy didn't know what to make of Brody here, and when he finally went to the floor to fight Brody, that's when Brody went to work. No one is more dangerous on the floor than Brody, and he was getting the better of Bundy at every turn out there. To his credit, referee Dick Kroll was very lenient and let a lot go so that we could see this match go to a decisive finish. Brody finally got Bundy back in the ring and followed in himself. Before Brody could go back to work on Bundy, Heenan reached in and grabbed Brody's foot. Brody turned around and reached out to grab the Brain. In doing so, Bundy got his bearings and smashed Brody in the corner with an avalanche. Bundy wasted no time in hitting the Big Splash, and just like that, Bundy had pinned Bruiser Brody!

King Kong Bundy pinned Bruiser Brody with the Big Splash in 0:08:24.
Rating: 1/2*

Heenan immediately ran to the back after the bell rang, knowing Brody would be looking for him. Disappointing night for Brody, but he hussed his way to the back anyway. Bundy punches his ticket to the quarterfinals.

King of the Ring - First Round
Ted DiBiase vs. Bad News Brown

This was the final of the first round matches, and it was an interesting one. Bad News Brown is still relatively new to a singles wrestling career in GCW, having worked as a bodyguard for months. Ted DiBiase is a tag team wrestler first and foremost, having formed a successful tag team with Barry Windham. But DiBiase had an extensive singles career before coming to GCW, and he let a lot of that shine tonight. Brown was looking to turn this into a streetfight because that is where he excels. If he can get you throwing bones, he's going to win that fight every single time. DiBiase didn't let himself get suckered into it though, sticking with his game plan. This got Bad News off his game, wondering why DiBiase wasn't falling into the fight. This actually got Brown more off his game than anyone, allowing DiBiase to catch him by surprise with a backslide and steal a win!

Ted DiBiase pinned Bad News Brown after a backslide in 0:04:04.
Rating: **

Brown couldn't believe he had just been pinned and was looking for a lot more fight, but DiBiase was smart and got out of the ring. A big win for DiBiase, but now he has an even bigger mountain to climb.

King of the Ring - Quarterfinals
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Tully Blanchard (w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan/Baby Doll)

What a gem to kick off the quarterfinals! And what a preview of Philadelphia we got as well. Ricky Steamboat & Tully Blanchard will settle their feud on the 27th in a no-disqualification match, but tonight, it was all about moving on in the King of the Ring. Early on it took a little while for both men to remember that this match wasn't no-DQ, and they had to pull themselves back so as to not get DQ'ed and thus eliminated from the tourney. After they got their bearings, what we got was a damn good wrestling match. There will be time for the rules to be thrown out in Philly, but here they were looking to prove their superiority as mat technicians instead. The momentum kept swinging back and forth and if you were judging this match on points, by the end, it would have been a draw. As the time ticked away, Bobby Heenan was becoming impatient and looking for places where he could interfere and swing the scales in his client's favor. He would climb up on the apron to distract the Dragon, who grabbed the Brain by the collar. Blanchard came charging in from behind, but Steamboat saw him coming and moved, sending Tully crashing into Heenan and Heenan flying to the floor! Steamboat hit a picture perfect dropkick on Tully, climbed to the ropes, hit the Flying Crossbody Press, and took home the win!

Ricky Steamboat pinned Tully Blanchard with the Flying Crossbody Press in 0:16:08.
Rating: *** 1/2

What a finish to the match, and with that, the Dragon is the first man to make the final four in the King of the Ring.

King of the Ring - Quarterfinals
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Stan "The Lariat" Hansen

If you were ever looking to see an old school fight, this would be a great place to start. Stan Hansen is used to being the bully in the ring, intimidating his opponents with the fact that he's such a rugged fighter. But Wahoo McDaniel is from a different breed. He may he closer to 50 than 40, but Wahoo has shown that he is still tough as nails, and he certainly wasn't going to be intimidated by Hansen. He proved that right off the bat by slapping Hansen across the face. You would think this would have sent Hansen into a fury, but instead, he sort of smirked, almost happy to see someone ready to fight him. From there, fists were flying and the brawl was on! Wahoo's big equalizer is that he has a very effective chop, and by the end of the match, Hansen's chest was almost raw from the impact. Wahoo got his share of hard blows as well, his back covered with welts by the time this one was all said and done. Wahoo looked like he was going to pull off a shocking win when he locked on the Indian Deathlock, but Hansen was just barely able to get himself to the ropes to break it up. Sadly if you're a Wahoo fan, this was as close as he got to victory. Hansen had to work for it, but he hit the Lariat and moved on to the semis.

Stan Hansen pinned Wahoo McDaniel with the Lariat in 0:06:50.
Rating: ** 1/2

As Wahoo rolled out of the ring, Hansen stole the microphone from a terrified Howard Finkel. Hansen ranted about Dusty Rhodes, yelling that this reign of terror known as the American Dream was coming to a violent end. Hansen was practically begging Sgt. Slaughter to leave some scraps of Rhodes after July 27th as he wanted to pick the bones and put Rhodes out of wrestling once and for all. Hansen threw the microphone down and stormed to the back.

King of the Ring - Quarterfinals
Rick Martel vs. "The Japanese Assassin" Shiro Koshinaka (w/ "Classy" Freddie Blassie)

Martel had some time to get some medical treatment backstage and had his ribs re-taped, but he was clearly less than 100% going into his quarter against Shiro Koshinaka. Freddie Blassie had his Japanese Assassin target the taped ribs of Martel, which might be ruthless, but is also extremely smart. Martel's screams of pain were difficult to hear, but he just wouldn't quit fighting. You could even hear some fans begging Martel to quit so he wouldn't risk permanent injury, but that just isn't in his DNA. Koshinaka's martial arts kicks were cracking against Martel's ribs, but he just wouldn't give it up. Koshinaka showed no remorse whatsoever, and it was only a bit of luck that turned this around for Martel. Koshinaka had Martel trapped in the corner and was chopping and kicking away at him. Martel looked like he was out. Koshinaka reared back for one big kick to the ribs of Martel, but Martel got out of the way. Koshinaka's foot connected with the ring post with a sickening thud. Martel got his bearings enough to take Koshinaka down with a double-leg takedown and then turn him over into the Boston Crab. I don't know if it was pain from the Boston crab or from kicking the ring post (probably a painful cocktail of both) but Koshinaka couldn't take it and called it quits.

Rick Martel made Shiro Koshinaka submit to the Boston Crab in 0:06:19.
Rating: **** 1/4

I have no idea how he did it, but Martel somehow survived and made it to the semi-finals! I don't know where he's getting it, but Martel's heart cannot be questioned.

King of the Ring - Quarterfinals
Ted DiBiase vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

Ted DiBiase came to battle for the final quarterfinal, but he just couldn't find the combination to unlock a victory over King Kong Bundy. Bundy got beaten up a little bit by Bruiser Brody in the first round, and I think he may have been a little embarrassed by it. He didn't suffer anywhere near the same amount of damage here. DiBiase tried to hit and run, but that's not really his style. DiBiase likes to wear his opponents down with wrestling holds, but Bundy isn't a man you can easily put in holds - after all, he is 450 pounds! This was just a bad matchup for DiBiase, who got the air knocked out of his lungs forcefully by a Bundy powerslam to put this one in the books.

King Kong Bundy pinned Ted DiBiase after a powerslam in 0:04:28.
Rating: ***

The semi-finals are now set. It will be Ricky Steamboat vs. Stan Hansen, and Rick Martel vs. King Kong Bundy!

King of the Ring - Semi-Finals
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Stan "The Lariat" Hansen

When you look back in the record books, this match may say it was only 4 minutes long, but that wouldn't be telling the whole story. As Ricky Steamboat was being introduced for the first semi-final, Stan Hansen jumped him from behind! The first 5 minutes of this was a brawl on the outside before the match even officially began! Steamboat got some shots in, but he had a lot of trouble recovering. Not only was this Hansen's element, but Steamboat was battling from behind after being sneak attacked. While Hansen was pounding on the Dragon on the floor, he was belittling Steamboat at the same time, mostly hitting the point that Steamboat is friends with Dusty Rhodes. Hansen threw Steamboat in the ring and the match officially began much the same way the fight had. Hansen was beating Steamboat like a scalded dog, yelling, "THIS IS RHODES!" as he did so. Steamboat's offense consisted of desperation punches and chops, but Hansen would cut him off with a clubbing blow or a knee to the midsection. Hansen had Steamboat on Dream Street and signaled for the Lariat. Before he charged at Steamboat, he yelled, "GO TO HELL, DUSTY RHODES!" He let out a loud bellow as he ran at Steamboat. The Dragon wasn't done yet though as he used his lightning quickness to counter the powerful Lariat with a crucifix to get a flash pin!

Ricky Steamboat pinned Stan Hansen after a crucifix in 0:04:01.
Rating: ** 3/4

The crowd exploded as Ricky Steamboat was announced the victor. Steamboat also knew that sticking around was not in his best interest, rolling out of the ring and getting himself up the aisleway as quickly as possible. Hansen didn't take the loss well, destroying the ringside area. He once again nearly scared Howard Finkel half to death, overturning the timekeeper's table, pushing Finkel over, and throwing his chair into the crowd (narrowly missing some fans). Hansen finally got himself under control enough to go to the back, mumbling something else about Dusty Rhodes.

King of the Ring - Semi-Finals
Rick Martel vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

Rick Martel looked like a dead man walking. Martel showed a massive amount of heart to survive matches with Arn Anderson and Shiro Koshinaka to make it this point, but now he was facing the man who injured his ribs in the first place, the imposing King Kong Bundy. Martel was having a hard time even walking to the ring with how badly his ribs were hurt. Referee Joey Marella asked Martel before the match started if he was sure he wanted to have this match. Martel told Marella to ring the bell. Marella did, and Martel instantly darted across the ring and jumped on Bundy, peppering him with punches. Bundy was back on his heels and in the corner as Martel fired away on him, and it looked for a moment like we were going to see a miracle. Bundy pushed Martel away, but Martel came right back at him. Bundy threw him off again, and once more, Martel came back. Bundy tossed him aside a third time, but this time when Martel came back, Bundy caught him with a shoulder to the ribs. Bundy was mad now, and he hit Martel with a huge bodyslam followed by an elbowdrop on those ribs. Bundy picked Martel up, whipped him into the turnbuckle, and followed in with an avalanche. Bundy backed up and connected with another avalanche. He started attacking Martel in the corner, using a variety of punches, elbows, and knees to Martel's taped rib bullseye. Marella warned Bundy to let Martel out of the corner, but Bundy wouldn't listen. Marella tried to physically get Bundy back, but Bundy didn't like that, shoving Marella hard to the canvas to continue the assault on Martel's ribs. Marella cleared the cobwebs and called for the bell.

Rick Martel defeated King Kong Bundy by disqualification in 0:03:00.
Rating: ** 1/4

Bundy had been disqualified! Bobby Heenan couldn't believe it, and now Bundy was REALLY pissed off. Bundy tossed Marella out of the ring (and surely earning a fine in the process). Bundy picked Martel up and drove him to the canvas with a bodyslam. Bundy hit the ropes, and brought his 450-pound frame crashing down on Martel's ribs with the Big Splash. Officials ran down and got Bundy & Heenan out of there, but Martel was hurt and hurt badly. Martel couldn't get up on his own power. RICKY STEAMBOAT ran down to check on his friend and subsequently, his opposition for the finals of the King of the Ring. The Dragon wasn't worried about that part though, helping Martel get to the back.

The Rock 'N Roll Express (World Tag Team champions)/The British Bulldogs (w/ "Captain" Lou Albano) vs. The Fabulous Ones/The Electric Dream Machine (w/ Precious)

Before we got to the finals of the King of the Ring, we had our one non-tournament match. A big 8-man tag team match with big implications for the tag team division in GCW. The Fabulous Ones & The Electric Dream Team were announced first, and was their ring entrance ever lengthy (and in the case of Jimmy Garvin & Steve Regal, also very sparkly). We already know that the Fabulous Ones are scheduled to meet the British Bulldogs in Philadelphia. But it was also announced after this match that the Rock 'N Roll Express would be defending the World Tag Team Titles on July 27 against the Electric Dream Machine. The Rock 'N Roll Express & the British Bulldogs started off as a cohesive unit, but by the end of the match, they fell apart. There are still some lingering issues from their recent World Tag Team Title match not having a clear winner. The Fabulous Ones & The Electric Dream Machine, however, surprisingly gelled without issue as a team. I think it may have been that all four men were enjoying being in the spotlight so much that it brought out the best of them. They were adept at dividing and conquering the fan favorites, and it eventually led to Stan Lane & Steve Keirn hitting Ricky Morton with the Double Flapjack to take home the win.

The Electric Dream Machine (Jimmy Garvin and Steve Regal) and The Fabulous Ones (Steve Keirn and Stan Lane) defeated The Rock 'N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) and The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) when S. Lane pinned R. Morton after the Double Flapjack in 0:11:56.
Rating: ***

King of the Ring - Finals
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Rick Martel

The fact that Rick Martel made it out to the ring for the finals is an absolute accomplishment in itself. Martel was barely standing, but even as Ricky Steamboat got in the ring for the final, Martel showed no indication that he wanted to go anywhere. Steamboat took the microphone before the bell. Steamboat told Martel that they were friends and he knew how badly Martel was hurt. Steamboat said that if Martel wanted to postpone the match, they could do the finals of the King of the Ring at another time. Martel told Steamboat that he appreciated the offer, but there was no chance he wasn't going to wrestle this match. You have to admire guts like that, and Steamboat did too. The Dragon is the same type of wrestler, and he didn't try to talk Martel out of it.

Martel had to have been filled to the brim with adrenaline, because once the match got going, he blocked out the pain and went all out. Even Steamboat seemed shocked that his friend had so much fight left in him. Steamboat had no intentions of taking it easy on Martel though, doing what any smart competitor would do and that's target the injured ribs. Steamboat got a smattering of boos from particularly rabid Martel fans, but most understood what was at stake here. Martel fought and fought and fought, but in the end, he just ran out of steam. Steamboat connected with the Flying Crossbody Press, causing an immense amount of pain to Martel's ribs, and that was enough to put this one away. Ricky Steamboat is the King of the Ring!

Ricky Steamboat pinned Rick Martel with the Flying Crossbody Press in 0:11:43.
Rating: *** 1/2

Steamboat's first move after getting his hand raised was to check on Martel. Martel was obviously in a lot of agony, but once he got to his feet, he gave the Dragon a hug and congratulated him for becoming the King of the Ring, prompting a standing ovation from the fans in Foxboro. Referee Dick Kroll assisted Martel out of the ring and to the back while Steamboat was presented with his crown. Steamboat hardly got a chance to even adjust the crown on his head before STAN HANSEN blindsided him with the Lariat! Steamboat was knocked out cold by the force of the blow. Hansen put on the crown to mock Steamboat before throwing it to the canvas and stomping on it. Hansen yelled, "Any friend of Rhodes is an enemy of mine!" before leaving the ring. Steamboat had to be helped out of the ring as well to end the show. Not the greatest of coronations for the new king.

Card rating: ** 3/4

Match observations:

7/27/85 - THE SPECTRUM - Philadelphia, PA

INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Tony Atlas (c) vs. Junkyard Dog
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Rock 'N Roll Express (c) vs. The Electric Dream Machine
NO-DISQUALIFICATION - Ricky Steamboat vs. Tully Blanchard
Dusty Rhodes vs. Sgt. Slaughter
The British Bulldogs vs. The Fabulous Ones
Andre the Giant vs. Eddie Gilbert
Ted DiBiase vs. Stan Hansen

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