With the brackets out for King of the Ring now revealed, it is officially prediction season. Many people have already weighed in with their picks for who will win. Yet it isn’t always the matches from King of the Ring that go down in wrestling history.
As we have seen with the famous Austin 3:16 promo, it can be the moments surrounding them that we remember most.
And as unfortunate as it is that we are not getting a proper pay-per-view event, the talent is definitely there among the competitors to make this special. And it leaves room for some of the aforementioned shocking moments as well.
King Corbin anybody? Nobody? Bueller?
Well, beyond just pissing fans off (which seems oddly enough to be WWE’s favorite thing lately) with who wins, there are a lot of unfinished storylines that weave into this. These could end up creating some legendary moments themselves. Do we see Cedric vs. Drew reignited again in the semi-finals? Zayn suddenly ending his jobbing streak? King Booker reappearing and returning the spinaroonie?
Ok, those last two would never happen. But not long ago we may have said that about a tournament in the WWE as well.
Tournaments are a great way to showcase and put over talent, as the NJPW G1 Climax showed us (and probably inspired this revival, for that matter) this past month or so. So the possibilities really are wide open as to what we might see. Which of course, means predicting the unpredictable.
6. Shelton Benjamin Debuts A New Gimmick
Shelton’s odd transformation has been going on since the beginning of July with his infamous “promos” that consist of at most one or two words. It’s just mostly him staring off and making random facial expressions. Maybe because of being notoriously bad at promos? Nobody is too sure of what this is.
Yet in a weird way, him saying nothing and just standing there has probably gained him more attention than anything WWE has booked for him since March (if not longer, for that matter).
Go ahead and watch all of WWE television from then to now. Looking for Shelton Benjamin is like having a misprinted Where’s Waldo book with almost all the pages blank.
This tournament being the first singles match he will have had since 11 March, we might finally see what these weird angles are about. Don’t be surprised to see Shelton come out with a brand new look and/or gimmick.
Maybe they are teasing the return of “Woken” Matt Hardy and Shelton is his disciple? Clash of Champions (where the finals will take place) is in North Carolina after all.
Your guess is as good as mine, but it seems to be the perfect time to capitalize on…whatever it is they’re doing with him. Remember when he took maybe the best Sweet Chin Music ever? We will never forget, Shelton. Please get booked better soon.
Here’s hoping that they finally find a gimmick that matches the talent he has. And speaking of gimmicks, we will probably see…
5. The Winner Adopts The King Gimmick
Why do they love doing this odd gimmick? I don’t think anybody quite knows. Maybe this is the only way creative can get Vince to approve a tournament. One step backward for every step forward, apparently.
Regardless, just as King Barrett was created last time this tournament was revived we may see another King crowned. Even though nobody will EVER play that gimmick like the king of the spinaroonie.
This could still work for some people though, depending of course on who dons the cape and crown combo. For example, as deranged as Shelton seems maybe he REALLY believes he is now a monarch. Or have King Drew perhaps to finally let him breathe away from Shane. And we’ve all seen the potentially leaked image of King Ricochet already.
Or maybe we take this an entirely different (although not recommended) territory and let Elias win it and embrace his king reign as an Elvis knock off strumming a guitar, swinging his hips, and rocking some blue suede shoes.
That would be hilarious, although a bit of a poor way to deliver such an odd gimmick with all the importance around this tournament’s history. However the same could be said about the corny cape and crown stuff too, so this may be right up Vince’s alley after all. This might be just the type of crap that qualifies as good s**t nowadays.
4. Cesaro Shines Through (But Doesn’t Win)
Well that about sums up Cesaro’s whole WWE career so far, now doesn’t it?
Cesaro has been a match of the night candidate seemingly every time he ends up on the card. Yet he hasn’t even held a singles title since he became United States Champion all the way back on 19 August 2012.
This will probably be more of the same for Cesaro here, unfortunately. It just seems like a perfect way to have him put on great matches once or twice during the tourney to hype it up a bit more and then have him take a loss to make someone else look good. It also once again follows the formula of how the WWE use poor Claudio.
We can definitely expect at least one great match to come of this with Cesaro versus Samoa Joe for the first time since 2017. That alone should make up for their likely (read: inevitable) mistreatment of Cesaro in this tournament. And as always fans will see their great in ring work shine through. That still won’t be likely to change much, unfortunately.
There are few people who would be disappointed in Cesaro becoming the king. Of course as long as he doesn’t adapt the king attire and ruin his bad-ass MMA-inspired image. Sadly, what the fans want and what the fans get are usually a good distance away from each other.
And Cesaro may be an equally good distance away from that final bracket spot.
There is one other superstar in King of the Ring who also paid their dues in ROH right alongside Claudio Castagnoli. Cesaro even beat him in a tournament there back in 2007. And he might be getting treated even worse by the WWE.
3. Sami Zayn Will Continue Jobbing
Sami Zayn has amassed a losing streak that is as confusing as it is worrying. Booking Zayn into the Money in the Bank match back in May seemingly started a trend of trolling fans with his character. He talks great, everybody loves (and kayfabe hates) his promo work, yet he is booked like he is an enhancement talent scrub.
Hell, he might be teaming up with somebody to take on The Viking Raiders at this rate.
The point is, WWE seems to love teasing Zayn as having a chance. Then as soon as the bell rings (or even before in the case of Money in the Bank) it is quickly proven that he does not. It is almost as if him trolling people IN character has made the writers think he should be booked as THE character to troll fans as well.
This points to a likely first round exit, with Sami doing the job to Cedric Alexander to further his push. Which makes sense, admittedly.
However, why is it always Sami Zayn being the designated jobber?
It has just become so predictable how bad they book Zayn. They will likely have Cedric do the ever-dangerous roll up finish to further screw Sami (and in turn the fans) over. It might be time for him to put the mask back on and return to being El Generico.
And speaking of his ROH/independant days of old, El Generico’s former partner-turned-rival may have a story of his own following him into King of the Ring.
2. Shane Screws Over Kevin Owens
The McMahon family sure does love screwing over those Canadians, don’t they? And this tournament could be no exception to that rule.
We already had Shane interrupting Kevin right in the middle of him talking about King of the Ring. That could be a rare bit of foreshadowing in a WWE script.
And Kevin Owens starts off against Elias, who as we know is one of Shane’s lackeys. This could lead to Elias busting out the sharpshooter, or maybe even letting Shane (please god no) take his spot and apply his “deadly” (to watch anyway) triangle submission. Then either Shane or Elias, who has been doing official duties lately, will ring the bell just like in Montreal in 1997.
Or it could be Buddy Murphy in round 2, or Andrade in the semifinals. Any heel will do, as the result will be the same. No tapping will happen and the McMahons will have screwed with Canadians more than South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
This would actually be an entertaining way to continue their feud, even though most want it to end sooner rather than later. We can all hope that there is one more match after this, maybe an “I Quit” match, that will let Owens kick Shane’s ass right off our screens for a while. That is assuming they have any set plan at this point. WWE haven’t really been the planning type lately. Which probably means that there are…
1. No Real Plans For The Winner
An anti-climactic finish to the article, befitting the similar anti-climactic booking that may occur after this tournament.
After all, there is no mention of title shots, no pay-per-view of it’s own, no build up to the announcement. It felt as if WWE didn’t really care (looking at you Vince) about this tournament until it started trending on Twitter. Then when they realized it might actually make casual fans watch Raw and SmackDown again they doubled down. This doesn’t bode well for the winner.
As stated before, this may be just a way to put somebody new into the awful king costume. Then they will walk around in what looks like a last-minute Halloween costume and talk about how great they are without creative having a plan for their push (or lack thereof) after the tournament ends.
Or even worse, we could get a SmackDown winner. Then a few weeks of those last minute rewrites McMahon loves so much and the King of the Ring gets written out. It makes sense too with Vince having equal passion for his hatred of tournaments as he does his hatred of scripts on Tuesdays.
All we can hope is that if this prediction does come true, that the performers in it are allowed time to properly deliver on the in-ring action. Take a look at some of the match-ups and it reads like a fantasy booking article.
Cesaro versus Joe, Ali versus Buddy Murphy, Cedric Alexander versus Sami Zayn (if he doesn’t job), and so on all could be amazing and refreshing contests. At least they found a way to put these names into something meaningful.
And they didn’t even need to use the obscenely ugly (albeit entertaining) 24/7 title this time to do it.