First-ever "King of the Ring" brings tournament full circle

In 1985, Don Muraco battled through the brackets to be coronated the first-ever "King of the Ring." To take the crown, he defeated the likes of the Junkyard Dog, Pedro Morales and The Iron Sheik. Now that SmackDown has brought back the King of the Ring tournament and will crown a new king, caught up with Muraco to remember how it all began: You were the first-ever King of the Ring. What do you remember about your coronation in the King of the Ring tournament in 1985 in Foxboro, Mass.?

Don Muraco: It's always an honor to be the first. The tournament that year was at the Patriots' old stadium outdoors, so it was a big show and very cool. Wrestling Junkyard and Pedro was one thing, but Iron Sheik and I were both heels, so it was a unique confrontation. Sheik was a former WWE Champion and someone I knew from Verne Gagne's farm in Minneapolis. What did you think when you got word that you'd be in this new King of the Ring concept, involving brackets and multiple matches?

Muraco: It wasn't the big deal that it is now, but it was a unique concept and a lot of matches to wrestle in one night. What were your thoughts going into this unique event?

Don Muraco: I just wanted to go out and annihilate whoever happened to be the opponent in front of me — whether he was once a tag-team partner or a close friend or a bitter rival like Morales or Junkyard Dog. It doesn't matter who it is. As a professional, as a WWE Superstar, you just have to have the attitude that whomever they put in front of you will be your victim for that evening. What do you think about the way King of the Ring has developed into what it is today?

Muraco: As with everything that's happened with my connection with WWE, being the very first King of the Ring and a WWE Hall of Famer and everything else that's gone along with it, I'm very honored to be a part of all that wrestling history and everything that's gone on. It's nice to see that the format and event itself has grown to such large proportions, and to be the original king of the ring — like being the original Rock — is a great honor. What's it like to be the King?

Muraco: It's great knowing that every other wrestler in the world has to look up to you and lace up your bootstraps for that year. It's something that I already knew from the beginning — that I was better than all my peers, better than anyone who put on a pair of boot and a pair of tights. More than anyone else, I deserved that honor before even having to wrestle for it. Do you have any advice for the SmackDown Superstars in the King of the Ring tournament this year?

Muraco: Win if you can. Lose if you must. But always cheat.


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