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 ProWrestlingHistory.com – 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.