As announced on Monday Night RAW last night, WWE will be reintroducing the King of the Ring this year, with matches taking place on weekly TV starting next Monday. 16 superstars have been selected for the tournament this year, and at this time no bracket has been produced by WWE. This makes it difficult to predict precise winners and losers, since we don’t know who would be facing who. For now, we have placed each superstar into one of three categories, varining on chances victory in the tournament.
With all of that said, here are some way too early predictions for the upcoming King of the Ring!
For reference, here is the full list of participants for the King of the Ring:
SmackDown Live: Ali, Andrade, Apollo Crews, Buddy Murphy,Chad Gable, Elias, Kevin Owens, Shelton Benjamin
Monday Night RAW: Baron Corbin, Cedric Alexander, Cesaro, Drew McIntyre, The Miz, Ricochet, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe
3) Here for the fun of it:
RAW: Sami Zyan, The Miz, Cedric Alexander
SmackDown Live: Apollo Crews, Chad Gable, Shelton Benjamin
The title of this category may seem disrespectful, but it’s simply the reality of the situation. Regardless of one’s status, every superstar should feel excited that WWE picked them to participate in the first King of the Ring tournament in 4 years. With that, you can be rest assured that none of these guys are winning it.
While guys like Apollo Crews, Chad Gable and Cedric Alexander have shown how talented they are when they’re given the opportunity, they simply do not have the stock to be given any real chance in this tournament, especially with the superstars we already have it in. Look for these guys to have nice showings, but they will mainly be used to make the rest of the competitors in this tournament look good.
We concede that the The Miz and Sami Zayn are outliers, they both are big name stars that have been put in high profile spots in the past. Either one of these men can conceivably make it to the Quarterfinals, however don’t expect much.
Honestly, we forgot that Shelton Benjamin was on the roster. No disrespect to the gold standard though.
2) Dark Horses:
RAW: Ricochet, Cesaro, Samoa Joe
SmackDown Live: Ali, Buddy Murphy, Elias
These are the guys that make picking a winner of this tournament difficult. While it’s hard enough to pick from the upcoming four competitors, these six have legitimate potential to, not only going far in the tournament, but earning the title of King of the Ring.
Both Ricochet and Ali have very similar positions on their respective rosters, as both men are high flyers who have dazzled audiences time and time again. More so, they have both proven that they could hang with the best, and even pull out a victory or two.
Ricochet is just coming off a fued with current US Champion AJ Styles, and showed without a doubt that he can push the Phenomenal One to the limit, only losing thanks to distractions from his fellow OC members Gallows and Anderson.
Ali on the other hand is finally starting to find his place on the SmackDown Live roster again, as he has had consistently good matches every week. Ali was once slated for a major push prior to WrestleMania 35, but injury caused a roadblock that would lead to Kofi Kingston getting the much deserved push instead. What does that tell us? WWE has big plans for Ali in their future. Maybe being crowned King Ali is what they have in mind.
However lets not forget Buddy Murphy. Murphy is coming off one of the biggest matches in his career, when he faced Roman Reigns on Tuesday night. While it was a losing effort on the part of Murphy, it’s clear now – the best kept secret is out and he’s ready to kick some heads in.
A larger group of WWE fans got to see what everyone who watched 205 Live already knew, Murphy is the real deal and is able to put on classics with anyone. The fact that he was put in that position against arguably one of the top 3 superstars in the company is a HUGE vote of confidence from WWE management.
But then there’s Samoa Joe and Elias, and while both men’s recent creative paths do not give us any indication of either getting a push anytime soon, there is a reason why we put them both in the Dark Horse catageorgy…because they HAVE to do well.
While it might sound over dramatic, it’s due or die time for both Joe and Elias.
The Samoan Submission Machine has lost nearly every significant feud he has ever been in since coming to the main roster. Whether it’s Reigns, Rollins, Lesnar, Strowman or even Styles, Joe always comes out with the short end of the stick. He seems to have contracted the old “Bray Wyatt Syndrome”, meaning he comes out to the ring, delivers an epic promo on a superstar, and loses. Rinse and repeat. Over and over again.
Joe is gradually losing credibility; he’s treading water, and his promo skills and bad-to-the-bone look only carry so much. With that said, a King Joe could turn this doomed train around, and move him into that main event status that he desperately needs.
All of these points also ring true for the Drifter, Elias. Like Joe, Elias is victim to the same rinse and repeat policy. He comes out, tries to do one of his concerts, fails because someone interrupts and then has a feud with said superstar that lasts for about three to four weeks, which he ultimately loses. Everyone forgets, moves on and then before you know it, he’s right back on his stool asking the fans “who wants to walk with Elias?!”.
Excluding his current reign as the 24/7 Champion, a fact that could easily be untrue before this sentence is finished, Elias has never even come close to prominent championship gold. Nor has he ever felt like a real main eventer. Like Samoa Joe, his character keeps fans interested, but that can only last so long.
Needless to say, a strong showing in the KOTR tournament is much needed.
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you Cesaro. However we don’t have much to say.
His tenure with the company alone makes him a Dark Horse, and we all know the immense talent that he possesses. With that said, Cesaro has reached the level where wins and losses don’t matter. He could lose 100 matches in a row and still be seen as a legitimate challenger to anyone. Hence why he was chosen to be Aleister Black’s opponent at Extreme Rules (side note: kind of surprised he’s not in this tournament).
In short – he’s an ace, and he will do whatever he is called upon to do. While it would be a fun surprise to see the King of Swing became the King of the Ring, don’t be shocked when it doesn’t.
1) Winners Circle:
RAW: Drew McIntrye, Baron Corbin
SmackDown Live : Andrade, Kevin Owens.
We have now come to the winners circle. The top four of the 16 man field. We’re not saying that you should go bet your house, but any of these guys are probably good bets nonetheless…maybe just bet your Honda?
It’s been well documented that Andrade is one of Vince McMahon’s new favorite toys on the main roster. Since the former NXT Champion made his debut, alongside his faithful manager Zelina Vega, Andrade has shown glimpses of absolute brilliance.
There is no question in anyone’s mind that both McMahon, and the rest of the WWE brass, see big money in Mr. Tranquilo, but they have yet to pull any major triggers on him. He was in the final four of this year’s Royal Rumble, and while he does have big wins over major superstars like Rey Mysterio and Finn Balor, these haven’t equated to much progression at all. Mysterio is an aging ring-veteran and Balor immediately got his win back from Andrade.
Everything change with the KOTR, however. A reign as King Andrade could be a game changer (no pun intended) and could easily propel him to main event status. With SmackDown Live moving to FOX in October, they will be looking for a big time heel to work with guys like Kofi Kingston and Roman Reigns.
With that said, one cannot forget about the other SmackDown Live star in this winners circle, and that man is Kevin Owens.
For this, we defer to some great work done by writer Mike Rosa just the other day. In his article: The King of the Ring Tournament is Kevin Owens’ to Lose, he explains perfectly why KO would be a perfect candidate to win KOTR. To give you a teaser, Rosa explains how if you read the WWE tea leaves very closely, WWE is modeling Owen’s current run after a former Attitude Era star. One that defied authority, loved to drop bombs on the mic, loved to “stun” people, and whose career took off after winning the…what was it again? Oh yeah – King of the Ring.
The RAW branch of the winners circle have very legitimate claims to the throne, as as it is represented by Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre.
While some may see it as a stretch for Baron Corbin to win, considering the field in front of him, anyone who has payed attention knows that WWE see Corbin as one thing -A “heat” magnet.
As expressed in our Money in the Bank article, literally everything about Corbin makes fan’s skin crawl, no one can deny that the WWE universe loves to hate Baron Corbin. While some may say this is due to them genuinely hating the existence of the character, and them wanting him off TV, there is no denying that fans tune-in to watch Corbin get what’s coming to him.
Don’t forget, Corbin is the one who defeated Kurt Angle in his final match, and his End of Days finisher is still one of the most protected finishers in WWE. Additionally he is coming off a feud with Seth Rollins, the current Universal Heavyweight Champion, where he was the ultimate bad guy when he hit Becky Lynch with his finisher in their Winner Take All – Mixed Tag Team Match at Extreme Rules.
The point is; for all of the hate that WWE has allowed to pile on this man, there HAS to be some kind of payoff for Corbin, and a reign as KOTR would be perfect.
If you thought Constable Corbin was bad…just wait for King Corbin.
We now come to the Scottish Psychopath himself, Drew McIntyre. Up until now, WWE has had no clear direction for McIntyre, mainly because of two people: Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. WWE’s hands were tired in both pushing Seth Rollins to the moon, in preparation for his match with Lesnar at WrestleMania 35, and then building a returning Roman Reigns back up.
Finally, McIntyre is in a place where he can really grow to his full potential. With Roman Reigns on SmackDown Live and Brock Lesnar vanquished by Seth Rollins (for the time being), WWE can now truly build McIntyre up to be the monster they know he can be.
Come on, who doesn’t want to see an evil King McIntyre. It just sounds cool.
How do you like our rankings? Are we on the money or way off the mar? Let us know what you think! And of course, for more news regarding the King of the Ring tournament, please be sure to stay tuned to the Game Changer Sports Network!
Cover Image: WWE
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