Muraco won the first King of the Ring 25 years ago in Foxboro

Earlier this month we hit the 25th anniversary of the original King of the Ring, which took place July 8, 1985, at Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, MA, then the home field of the New England Patriots.

The tournament had a mix of major stars and curtain jerkers – you can read the bracket results here on – but the final was a rare heel vs. heel match, as Magnificent Muraco beat the Iron Sheik to win it all. Muraco’s victory even got coverage on the local news stations’ sports reports.

The main event saw Hulk Hogan defeat Nikolai Volkoff. Attendance that night at Sullivan Stadium was about 22,000.

The next year, on July 14, 1986, in Foxboro, Harley Race beat Pedro Morales in the finals to become the new King of the Ring, which lead to him being called King Harley Race for much of his WWF run. The most intriguing bout of the tournament was another heel vs. heel match, this time Muraco vs. Roddy Piper in the first round. That fight ended in a double disqualification.

The main event that night saw the British Bulldogs retain the Tag Team Championship by defeating Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake in a steel cage match. However, the show only drew 12,000, and it was the last time wrestling was held at the stadium (the WWE has yet to appear at the newer Gillette Stadium, which was built nearby).

Sadly, we’ll probably never get WrestleMania at Gillette given Greater Boston’s climate in March.

As for the King of the Ring tournament, it eventually became its own annual pay-per-view event for the WWE before being phased out in 2002. However, the tournament has occasionally resurfaced on TV on Raw or Smackdown.


  1. Pingback: The late Nikolai Volkoff headlined King of the Ring in Foxboro | Boston Garden Balcony
  2. Pingback: Boston and Providence played large roles in past WWE King of the Ring tournaments « Boston Garden Balcony
  3. bostongardenbalcony

    Don’t know if anyone else who grew up in the Boston area in the 1980s remembers Kowalski’s local promotion, which aired on Channel 25 as “Bedlam From Boston.” It was the first time I had seen wrestling other than the WWF on local television. Kowalski’s track record of training wrestlers was very good, with Triple H probably his top student in terms of success.

  4. Sunkist2

    Killer Kowalski’s legacy as a gental giant: Walter “Killer” Kowalski’s death in 2008 saddened me from my personal knowledge of his life. I met Walter personally in the late 70’s when he was about 60 and almost retired. He gave me a card:
    SunLife Agent: Walter Kowalski, and on the back was his wrestling photo. Who could or would not buy a policy?
    He explained that he was a veggitarian, too. I ate a burger and he ate salad. The promotion of his School of Wrestling in the Boston area, took up more time. I don’t think he had any wealth, though I read that he married a few years before his death. A real giant.

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