Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling

King of the Ring is an annual World Wrestling Entertainment tournament that was first held in 1985. From 1993 to 2002, it was held as a pay-per-view event as well. After a four-year hiatus, the King of the Ring tournament returned in 2006 as a SmackDown! exclusive tournament and lastly took place in 2015 as a WWE Network exclusive event.


Although the King of the Ring tournament was first made into a pay-per-view event in 1993, the original King of the Ring tournament was actually held in 1985. Don Muraco was the first King of the Ring in 1985. The second king, Harley Race, is noted for parlaying his King of the Ring victory into his "King of Wrestling" gimmick. Other winners who did the same include Randy Savage ("Macho King"), Owen Hart ("King of Harts"), "King" Mabel, Kurt Angle ("King Kurt"), Edge ("King Edge The Awesome"), Booker T ("King Booker") and most recently Bad News Barrett ("King Barrett")


The King of the Ring was an event in which typically fifteen to sixteen wrestlers wrestled in a one-on-one single elimination bracket. When a wrestler wins a match in the bracket, they advance forward to take on another wrestler that has also won. The final few matches would then take place at that year's King of the Ring event. The winner of the final match is officially crowned the King of the Ring. There were also other matches that took place at the King of the Ring event since it was a traditional three hour pay-per-view.

While some believe that the new King of the Ring traditionally receives a WWF/WWE Championship shot at the SummerSlam pay-per-view, this only became an established rule in 2002, for what would become the final King of the Ring tournament for 4 years until SmackDown! general manager Theodore Long brought it back in 2006. Only four kings went on to challenge for the championship at SummerSlam (Owen Hart, Mabel, Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar) and only in Lesnar's case was the challenger granted a title shot as a "right" after winning the King of the Ring. More important than an actual title shot was the prestige of winning the tournament itself; some wrestlers have made being king an integral part of their gimmick, and, in general, the winner of the King of the Ring is a wrestler whom management has picked to advance in the storylines and be the next breakout star. In fact, Steve Austin's famous "3:16" saying started at KOTR. A number of wrestlers have had huge successes after winning the tournament (in particular Steve Austin, but also Bret Hart, Kurt Angle, Triple H, and others), while some wrestlers have admittedly been "flops" as king (such as Mabel and Billy Gunn).

The PPV also was considered the fifth major WWF PPV (alongside the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series) as it was one of their only annual events.

King of the Ring dates and venues[]

Event Date Venue City Winner
King of the Ring 1985 July 8, 1985 Sullivan Stadium Foxborough, Massachusetts Don Muraco
King of the Ring 1986 July 14, 1986 Sullivan Stadium Foxborough, Massachusetts Harley Race
King of the Ring 1987 September 4, 1987 Providence Civic Center Providence, Rhode Island Randy Savage
King of the Ring 1988 October 16, 1988 Providence Civic Center Providence, Rhode Island Ted DiBiase
King of the Ring 1989 October 14, 1989 Providence Civic Center Providence, Rhode Island Tito Santana
King of the Ring 1991 September 7, 1991 Providence Civic Center Providence, Rhode Island Bret Hart
King of the Ring 1993 June 13, 1993 Nutter Center Dayton, Ohio Bret Hart
King of the Ring 1994 June 19, 1994 Baltimore Arena Baltimore, Maryland Owen Hart
King of the Ring 1995 June 25, 1995 The Spectrum Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Mabel
King of the Ring 1996 June 23, 1996 MECCA Arena Milwaukee, Wisconsin Steve Austin
King of the Ring 1997 June 8, 1997 Providence Civic Center Providence, Rhode Island Triple H
King of the Ring 1998 June 28, 1998 Pittsburgh Civic Arena Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Ken Shamrock
King of the Ring 1999 June 27, 1999 Greensboro Coliseum Greensboro, North Carolina Mr. Ass
King of the Ring 2000 June 25, 2000 FleetCenter Boston, Massachusetts Kurt Angle
King of the Ring 2001 June 24, 2001 Continental Airlines Arena East Rutherford, New Jersey Edge
King of the Ring 2002 June 23, 2002 Nationwide Arena Columbus, Ohio Brock Lesnar
King of the Ring 2006 April 21 - May 21, 2006 US Airways Center (Final Round) Phoenix, AZ (Final Round) Booker T
King of the Ring 2008 April 21, 2008 Bi-LO Center Greenville, South Carolina William Regal
King of the Ring 2010 November 29, 2010 Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Sheamus
King of the Ring 2015 April 27/28, 2015 Resch Center/I Wireless Center Green Bay, Wisconsin/Moline, Illinois Bad News Barrett
King of the Ring 2019 August 19, 2019 Xcel Energy Center Saint Paul, Minnesota Baron Corbin
King of the Ring 2021 October 8, 2021 – October 21, 2021 Mohammed Abdu Arena On The Boulevard (Final) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Final) Xavier Woods


Video & DVD Images[]

Winners' Images[]

Don Muraco Harley Race Randy Savage Ted DiBiase Tito Santana Bret Hart Mabel Steve Austin Triple H Ken Shamrock "Mr Kurt Angle Edge Brock Lesnar Booker T William Regal Sheamus Bad News Barrett Baron Corbin Xavier Woods

See also[]

World Wrestling Entertainment Tournaments
King of the Ring
Queen's Crown
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournaments





1985 The Wrestling Classic1986 Sam Muchnick MemorialFrank Tunney Sr. Memorial Tag Team1990 WWF Intercontinental Championship1993 WWF Women's Championship1998 WWE Championship Tournament1995 WWF World Tag Team Championship1996 WWF World Tag Team Championship1996 Kuwaiti Cup1996 WWF Intercontinental ChampionshipMiddle East Cup1997 WWF Intercontinental Championship1997 WWF World Tag Team Championship1997 WWF Light Heavyweight Championship1997 WWF European Championship1997 Kuwaiti Cup1998 WWF Championship1998 WWF Intercontinental Championship1998 Brawl For All2002 WWE Tag Team Championship2003 WWE Championship #1 contenders2003 WWE United States Championship2005 Gold Rush Tournament2005 WWE Championship #1 Contenders2005 WWE Championship #1 Contenders2005 WWE Championship #1 Contenders2006 WWE Championship #1 Contenders2006 WWE Women's Championship2008 Intercontinental Championship TournamentIntercontinental Championship Tournament 20102010 WWE Divas Championship2011 WWE Championship2012 WWE NXT Championship Tournament2012 WWE Tag Team Championship2013 NXT Women's Championship2014 Intercontinental Championship Tournament2014 NXT Women's Championship TournamentThe Wrestling ClassicNXT Tag Team Championship 20132014 NXT Tag Team Contender's Tournament2015 NXT Championship Contender's Tournament2016 WWE Tag Team ChampionshipWWE Cruiserweight Classic 20162016 Smackdown Tag Team Championship2017 United Kingdom Championship TournamentWWE Mae Young Classic 20172017-18 United States Championship Tournament2018 WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament2018 WWE UK Championship Invitational Tournament2018 NXT North American Invitational Tournament2018 NXT Tag Team Invitational Tournament2018 NXT Women’s Invitational Tournament2018 WWE Tag Team Eliminator2018 United Kingdom Championship TournamentSmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament 2018Mae Young Classic 2018WWE United Kingdom Women's Championship Tournament 2018SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament 2018World Cup Tournament 2018NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament 2020Intercontinental Championship Tournament 2020NXT Breakout Tournament 20212022 NXT Women's Breakout Tournament2022 WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament2022 NXT UK Championship TournamentWWE SmackDown World Cup Tournament 2022WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contenders Tournament 2023World Heavyweight Championship Tournament 2023NXT Women's Championship Tournament 20232023 NXT Women's Breakout Tournament2023 NXT Men's Breakout TournamentWWE United States Championship No. 1 Contender Tournament 2023-2024

King of the Ring
Queen's Crown/Queen of the Ring
Queen's Crown 2021Queen of the Ring 2024
World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-view events

Royal RumbleElimination ChamberFastlaneWrestleManiaBacklashMoney in the BankExtreme RulesSummerSlamHell in a CellCrown JewelSurvivor SeriesTLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs

Former pay-per-view events
The Wrestling Classic (1985)This Tuesday in Texas (1991)King of the Ring (1993-2002)In Your House (1995-1999)No Way Out (1998-2012)Unforgiven (1998-2009)Over The Edge (1998-1999)Fully Loaded (1998-2000)Judgment Day (1998-2009)Armageddon (1999-2008)InVasion (2001)Vengeance (2001-2011)Cyber Sunday (2004-2008)New Year's Revolution (2005-2007)December to Dismember (2006)Breaking Point (2009)Bragging Rights (2009-2010)Fatal 4-Way (2010)Capitol Punishment (2011)Night of Champions (2008-2015)Over The Limit (2010-2012)Bad Blood (1997-2004)Roadblock (2016)Payback (2013-2017)Battleground (2013-2017)Great Balls of Fire (2017)No Mercy (1999–2008, 2016–2017)Evolution (2018)
Former International pay-per-view events
One Night Only (1997)Mayhem in Manchester (1998)Capital Carnage (1998)No Mercy (UK) (1999) • Rebellion (1999-2002)Insurrextion (2000-2003)Global Warning (2002)Super Show-Down (2018-2021)