Tonight, WWE’s King of the Ring tournament makes its return to television after a four-year hiatus. The once-yearly PPV spectacular has fallen on hard times in recent years with only four tournaments taking place since WWE dropped the tournament as a PPV in 2002.

Still, the tournament has a storied lineage among WWE fans past and present with some wrestlers using the King of the Ring to transform their careers and alter their characters (Randy Savage, Owen Hart), catapult themselves into generational superstars (Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar) and hey, there was also Billy Gunn and Mabel. 

For a brief history lesson, the King of the Ring tournament began as a single-night house show attraction in 1985.

In 1993, WWE moved the King of the Ring to PPV. In doing so, WWE also stretched the tournament beyond a single-night and often featured qualifying matches and first-round matches on TV. The initial King of the Ring saw the tournament quarterfinals, semifinals and finals on PPV but that format moved around year-to-year.

After Lesnar’s King of the Ring victory in 2002, WWE discontinued the tournament as a PPV event. After four years on the shelf, the tournament was resurrected as a TV-only property in 2006. Since then, the tournament has made sporadic appearances and no longer holds the same reverence and prestige as it did from 1993-2002.

For this piece, I’ve charted the wins, losses and appearances of every single King of the Ring participant in the tournament’s history. If you know anything about WWE tournament you know there were (and still are) plenty of DQs, double countouts and double disqualifications to help protect wrestlers from taking losses during the tournament. For my purposes, I’m counting everything that’s not a win as a loss. So if Wrestler X and Wrestler Y wrestled to a draw in round one, that’s a loss for both men as neither will have made it to the next round of the tournament. Got it? Good.

Let’s have some fun.

Most Appearances

Despite prestigious past winners like Bret Hart, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and many more, the wrestler with the most King of the Ring tournament appearances (and it’s not even close is), of course: Bob Holly. Bob Holly?

I can’t believe it either but Bob freaking Holly has the most King of the Ring tournament appearance at seven. Holly’s first came in 1994 as the wrestling race car driver Thurman Plugg. Holly would wrestle in the 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 tournaments as Plugg and then-eventually “Hardcore” Holly.

More shocking is just how far ahead Holly as the most prolific King of the Ring participant. At seven, he’s three full tournaments ahead of the field. Oh, and what a star-studded field featuring such luminaries (and four-time King of the Ring participants) like Test, The Godfather/Kama, Jeff Jarrett, Tito Santana, Nikoli Volkoff.

Despite being in more King of the Ring tournaments than anyone else, Holly doesn’t exactly have the best track record with a 4-7 overall record including three one-and-ones.

Most Wins

So we know Ol’ Thurman Sparky Plugg doesn’t have the most wins all-time but who does? It’s a name we mentioned earlier and it’s someone who probably SHOULD have the most all-time: Kurt Angle. Angle participated in three King of the Ring tournaments, winning one and making is to the finals in another. Overall, Angle’s nine wins put him well above fellow King of the Ring winners Savage (seven wins), Bret Hart (seven wins), Owen Hart (six wins) and X-Pac/123 Kid (six wins).

If we’re talking strictly overall tournament wins, Bret Hart, by default, is tops amongst the field as the only two-time winner.

Most Losses

Hey, so I don’t really want to write about Bob Holly again but here we are. He has the most losses all-time at seven. Let’s just move on and talk about who is close behind, cool? Ignoring Holly’s seven losses our next biggest losers are Jarrett (four), Volkoff (four), Test (four) and Godfather/Kama (four). As far as three-loss King of the Ring careers, well, that’s a much bigger list including Road Dogg, Val Venis, King of the Ring winner Tito Santana, Chris Jericho, Junkyard Dog, Dangerous Danny Davis, Big Show, Christian, Lex Luger, Brutus Beefcake, Doink the Clown, Goldust and Matt Hardy.

Best Win Percentage

Six wrestlers have perfect King of the Ring records starting at the top with two-time winner Bret Hart who is a perfect 7-0 in the King of the Ring. Harley Race, who unfortunately recently passed away, is a perfect 4-0 in King of the Ring tournaments and was winner of the 1986 crown. Austin, winner of the 1996 King of the Ring, is a perfect 4-0 while Gunn (1999), Lesnar (2002) and Bad News Barrett (2015) round out our perfect tournament slates.

Despite going a perfect 4-0 en route to the 1987 crown, Savage’s 1988 tournament finals loss bumps him from our perfect scores. Likewise, 1995 King of the Ring winner Mabel (*shudder*) dropped a fall in 1994 thankfully preventing him from being on this list. 1998 tournament winner Ken Shamrock also has only one blemish on his King of the Ring record with a 5-1 all-time record.

Rikishi is the only non-King of the Tournament winner to feature an 80% or better win percentage in the tournament as he went 4-1 in his only appearance (2000).

Also thanks to his stellar tournament history, Angle is the only wrestler to lose twice in the King of the Ring but still maintain an 80%+ win percentage (82%).

Worst Win Percentage

We’ll ignore the 0% guys because, well, there’s a lot of them. I will make note of a few particular losers though as Brutus Beefcake, Doink the Clown, Golddust and Matt Hardy each participated in three King of the Ring tournaments without a single victory.

Paul Orndorff, Dan Spivey, Terry Funk, The Barbarian, Bad News Brown, Hercules, Adam Bomb, Crush, Marty Jannetty, D’Lo Brown, Faarooq, Steve Blackman, Al Snow and MVP all make up our 0-2 list. There are countless others that went 0-1 including legends like Johnny V, The Brooklyn Brawler Steve Lombardi, someone named Bill Wood and, of course, Kwang.

It’s worth noting that some of wrestling’s biggest figures are included amongst the likes of Wood include Cody Rhodes (then-Stardust) and Jon Moxley (then-Dean Ambrose) who both lost the first-round King of the Ring matchups in 2015. Four years is a LONG time in wrestling.

Moving beyond those without a single King of the Ring winner we have perpetual losers like The Godfather/Kama (1-4 / 20%), Luger (1-3 / 25%), Volkoff (2-4 / 33%) and Test (2-4 / 33%).

Worst King of the Ring Winner

What I mean by worst King of the Ring winner is the guy who actually won a tournament but performed worse overall historically. Thankfully that distinction goes to the perfect guy for this honor: Tito Santana, who despite winning the 1989 tournament is 5-3 all-time, worst among King of the Ring winners.


Here is a table with all the data collected from past King of the Ring tournaments, if you come up with any more fun facts/stats, let us know over at @VoicesWrestling.

WrestlerYearWinsLossesAppearancesOverall WinsOverall LossesOverall Win Percentage
Don Muraco19854024180%
Tito Santana19851145363%
Junkyard Dog19850132340%
Paul Orndorff1985012020%
Terry Funk1985012020%
Jim Brunzell19852123260%
The Iron Sheik19853123260%
Pedro Morales19852125271%
Steve Lombardi1985011010%
Bob Orton Jr1985011010%
Johnny V1985011010%
The Spoiler1985011010%
Greg Valentine1985011010%
B. Brian Blair1985011010%
Les Thornton19851111150%
Ricky Steamboart19851111150%
Harley Race198640140100%
Nikolai Volkoff19862142433%
Dangerous Danny Davis/Mr. X19860132340%
Junkyard Dog19861132340%
Dan Spivey1986012020%
Paul Orndorff1986012020%
The Iron Sheik19860123260%
Pedro Morales19863125271%
Don Muraco19860124180%
George Steele1986011010%
Roddy Piper1986011010%
Rudy Diamond1986011010%
Mike Rotundo1986011010%
Billy Jack Haynes19862112167%
Randy Savage19874027188%
Nikolai Volkoff19870142433%
Tito Santana19870145363%
Brutus Beefcake1987013030%
Dangerous Danny Davis/Mr. X19872132340%
Junkyard Dog19871132340%
Dan Spivey1987012020%
Ron Bass19870122250%
King Kong Bundy19873123260%
Jim Brunzell19871123260%
Rick Martel19871124267%
One Man Gang1987011010%
SD Jones19871111150%
Ted DiBiase19884034267%
Nikolai Volkoff19880142433%
Brutus Beefcake1988013030%
Dangerous Danny Davis/Mr. X19880132340%
The Barbarian1988012020%
Bad News Brown1988012020%
Marty Jannetty1988012020%
Ron Bass19882122250%
Shawn Michaels19881122250%
The Red Rooster19882122250%
Randy Savage19883127188%
Boris Zhukov1988011010%
Ken Patera19881111150%
Mike Sharpe19881111150%
Tito Santana19894045363%
Nikolai Volkoff19890142433%
Brutus Beefcake1989013030%
Bad News Brown1989012020%
The Barbarian1989012020%
The Warlord19891121233%
The Red Rooster19890122250%
Rick Martel19893124267%
Jim Neidhart1989011010%
Bushwhacker Butch1989011010%
Bill Wood1989011010%
Bushwhacker Luke19891111150%
Jimmy Snuka19892112167%
Bret Hart199140270100%
Ted DiBiase19910134267%
The Warlord19910121233%
Jim Duggan19911122250%
The Undertaker19911122250%
Irwin R. Schyster19913125271%
Ricky Steamboat1991011010%
Brian Knobbs1991011010%
The Berzerker1991011010%
Pete Doherty1991011010%
Sid Justice19911111150%
Jerry Sags19912112167%
Lex Luger19931131325%
Bret Hart199330270100%
Tito Santana19930145363%
Doink the Clown1993013030%
Jim Duggan19931122250%
Bam Bam Bigelow19933124267%
Razor Ramon19931124267%
Bob Backlund1993011010%
Giant Gonzales1993011010%
Papa Shango1993011010%
Mr. Hughes19931111150%
Mr. Perfect19932112167%
Owen Hart19944036275%
Bob Holly19940174736%
Jeff Jarrett19941143443%
Doink the Clown1994013030%
Lex Luger19940131325%
X-Pac/123 Kid19942136367%
Adam Bomb1994012020%
Bam Bam Bigelow19941124267%
Razor Ramon19943124267%
Irwin R. Schyster19942125271%
Scott Steiner1994011010%
Bob Holly19951174736%
The Godfather/Kama19951141420%
Jeff Jarrett19950143443%
Doink the Clown1995013030%
Lex Luger19950131325%
The Roadie/Road Dogg19952134357%
Adam Bomb1995012020%
Shawn Michaels19951122250%
The Undertaker19951122250%
King Kong Bundy19950123260%
DUke Droese1995011010%
Jacob Blu1995011010%
Razor Ramon/Savio Vega19953113175%
Steve Austin199640140100%
Bob Holly19960174736%
Triple H19960134267%
Owen Hart19961136275%
Marty Jannetty1996012020%
Ahmed Johnson19960121233%
Savio Vega19961121233%
Marc Mero19962123260%
Henry O. Godwinn1996011010%
The Ultimate Warrior1996011010%
Jake Roberts19963113175%
Triple H19973034267%
Ahmed Johnson19971121233%
Savio Vega19970121233%
Jerry Lawler19971111150%
Ken Shamrock19984025183%
The Godfather/Kama19980141420%
Jeff Jarrett19982143443%
Triple H19981134267%
Owen Hart19981136275%
D'Lo Brown1998012020%
Steve Blackman1998012020%
Terry Funk1998012020%
Mark Henry19981121233%
Marc Mero19981123260%
Dan Severn19982112167%
The Rock19983113175%
Billy Gunn199940140100%
Bob Holly19991174736%
The Godfather/Kama19990141420%
Jeff Jarrett19990143443%
Big Show19991132340%
The Roadie/Road Dogg19992134357%
Val Venis19990134357%
X-Pac/123 Kid19993136367%
Al Snow1999012020%
Ken Shamrock19991125183%
Big Boss Man1999011010%
Kurt Angle20005039282%
Bob Holly20001174736%
The Godfather/Kama20000141420%
Matt Hardy2000013030%
The Roadie/Road Dogg20000134357%
Val Venis20003134357%
Chris Jericho20002135363%
Al Snow2000012020%
D'Lo Brown2000012020%
Bubba Ray Dudley20001121233%
Chris Benoit20002122250%
Eddie Guerrero20002122250%
Jeff Hardy20001122250%
Perry Saturn20001122250%
Crash Holly20003123260%
D-Von Dudley2000011010%
Dean Malenko2000011010%
Grand Master Sexay2000011010%
Shane McMahon2000011010%
Scotty 2 Hotty20001111150%
Bull Buchanan20002112167%
Bob Holly20010174736%
Matt Hardy2001013030%
Big Show20011132340%
Kurt Angle20013139282%
Steve Blackman2001012020%
Jeff Hardy20011122250%
Perry Saturn20011122250%
Crash Holly20010123260%
Brock Lesnar200240140100%
Bob Holly20021174736%
Val Venis20021134357%
Chris Jericho20022135363%
X-Pac/123 Kid20021136367%
Bubba Ray Dudley20020121233%
Eddie Guerrero20020122250%
William Regal20020123175%
Booker T20021124180%
The Hurricane2002011010%
Rob Van Dam20023113175%
Booker T20063024180%
Matt Hardy2006013030%
Kurt Angle20061139282%
Mark Henry20060121233%
Chris Benoit20060122250%
Randy Orton2006011010%
Bobby Lashley20062112167%
William Regal20083023175%
Chris Jericho20081135363%
The Great Khali2008011010%
CM Punk20082112167%
Big Show20100132340%
Ted DiBiase20100134267%
Cody Rhodes20101121233%
Jack Swagger2010011010%
Alex Riley2010011010%
Tyson Kidd2010011010%
Rey Mysterio2010011010%
Kofi Kingston20101111150%
Drew McIntyre20101111150%
Ezekiel Jackson20101111150%
Daniel Bryan20101111150%
Alberto Del Rio20102112167%
John Morrison20103113175%
Bad News Barrett201530130100%
Cody Rhodes20150121233%
Dolph Ziggler2015011010%
Dean Ambrose2015011010%
Luke Harper2015011010%