Predicting & Breaking Down The 2019 King Of The Ring
For the first time in four years, we are getting a King of the Ring Tournament from WWE. This prestigious tournament has had many famous winners like Triple H, Edge, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, and Harley Race. This tournament is also the place where Stone Cold Steve Austin cut his famous Austin 3:16 promo, and started his rise to the main event scene. Recently, there has been a string of wrestlers taking the king title very literally after the success of King Booker after Booker T won the tournament in 2006. Sheamus and Wade Barrett took the victory literally and wore the robe and crown to the ring, and that didn’t work at all. Let’s ditch the winner getting a king gimmick and hope that this year's tournament is going to be used to build up someone that needs it, and all 16 guys in the tournament fit that bill, but what are all of their chances of actually winning the tournament?
I feel like Elias has been under utilized to an extent. I don’t think that he will ever be a main event player, but he would be a very solid midcarder much like Christian was during his career. As of writing this, Elias is the 24/7 Champion, and that is the very reason that I have him as the least likely wrestler to win the tournament. Every single superstar is going to be gunning for him and that title, so it’s very unlikely we see a big tournament from Elias here.
15) Baron Corbin
It is very tempting to just put a big fat ‘NO’ here, but that wouldn’t do it justice. After his three consecutive Universal Championship shots, we haven’t seen any sign of Baron Corbin on WWE TV. It was obvious that that push was a failure, but a push in this tournament isn’t out of the question. I don’t expect it, but what I think this tournament should be for Corbin is to get away from the formal attire, and back to his old character that was just a guy that was ready to fight anyone.
14) Shelton Benjamin
If anyone could tell me what exactly Shelton Benjamin’s new character is, then I would greatly appreciate it. He gets asked a question, moves his eyes all around and then leaves without saying anything. That one reason made it really tough to find the correct place to put him on this article. While he can still clearly go in the ring, it’s rather hard to see how a character like that will translate.
13) The Miz
This is the point that it got really hard to place these wrestlers got really hard to rank. All of these guys could advance out of the first round, but it all depends on how the bracket falls for them. Miz has been trying to break out of the midcard again for years, but always seems to have something holding him back for whatever reason. I would love to see him get one more run as a world champion, but as his career continues, it seems less and less likely. The reason I have Miz so low is because I feel like his feud with Dolph Ziggler isn’t over yet and well see him cost Miz his first round match.
This man could be the face of the business, yet he has struggled to get above the midcard for his whole WWE tenure so far. It’s hard to figure out exactly why that is, as Cesaro has it all. He has the wrestling ability, charisma, and promo skills to be a multi-time world champion at this point, but he just can’t get that break to be a main event player. Cesaro is the one that really needs to see how the bracket falls. If he has the right draw, he could find himself in the semifinals. But the wrong draw and he is out in the first round, which is more likely seeing as Cesaro hasn’t been on Raw for a while.
11) Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews is one of the guys that could really use a great showing in this tournament. Crews is someone I have talked about adnausem with his skills and athleticism and could be a top draw for WWE. He is someone, much like Cesaro that has all the tools needed and just needs someone to get behind him and he could easily be a main event player, he just needs the machine to get behind him. The Smackdown portion of the superstars in this tournament could all use a good push, but Crews is the one right now with no real character or direction right now. No matter who Crews draws in the first round, he is going to look fantastic.
10) Sami Zayn
It’s been so long since Zayn had a chance to show what he can do and that he can recapture the magic that he had back in NXT. One of the issues is that in his time in WWE, he has yet to get that career defining win. Whether it’s a championship win, a Wrestlemania win, or just a win over a champion in a non title match, Zayn has just not been able to put it together on the main roster. I think that trend will continue in this tournament, but I can also see a scenario where Zayn wins this tournament and uses it in his promos buring the crowd. I think it’s time that Zayn starts a push up the card, but the King of the Ring Tournament is not going to give him that.
9) Buddy Murphy
The line between Murphy and being in the top half of the tournament is so close. The main reason that I have him rounding out the bottom half of the list is because he is involved in the story with Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Rowan and some mysterious attacker. I think that one of them, if not all of them, will get involved in the match and cause Murphy to get distracted and lose the match for that reason. However, I really want to see him win the tournament, especially after his showing against Reigns on Smackdown this week. Murphy looked like a million bucks and wouldn’t surprise me if he won the Intercontinental Championship by Wrestlemania at least. Murphy brings a lot of raw aggression and talent to this tournament, and comes into every match looking like he has something to prove. While he may not get out of the first round of this tournament, Murphy is going to be a major player for years to come in WWE.
8) Chad Gable
The one reason that I have Gable this high in these rankings is because, if I had to guess the bracket will have Elias vs Gable in the first round because of the altercation they had backstage a few weeks ago. That isn’t me saying that Gable doesn’t have the talent to deserve in the top half of the competitors, he absolutely does. This is also me playing the bracket guessing game since this is the first one of these breaking down and predictions that I have done before the tournament bracket has come out. I think Gable could use this tournament as a bit of a character reset. Gable has all the makings of the next Kurt Angle type wrestler, an amateur wrestler turned pro that just gets pro wrestling. Gable is another one that could use the rub that this tournament gives competitors, seeing as he hasn’t really done much since moving back to Smackdown as a part of the Superstar Shakeup. This tournament will allow for Gable to remind the fans just how good he is.
7) Cedric Alexander
Talk about someone who has taken the ball and run with it over the past month. Ever since he main evented Raw teaming with Roman Reigns, Alexander has been great on Raw. He had a highlight moment on Raw when he jumped off the tunnel portion of the entrance ramp and two fantastic matches with Drew McIntyre. I expect to see that continue with this tournament. I’ve been high on Alexander since he was on 205 Live, and I expect him to be a main player on the roster for years to come. One of the things that Alexander brings to this tournament is that unknown factor. We’ve only seen Alexander a handful of times on Raw since the Superstar Shakeup. This tournament is a great way for those unfamiliar with Alexander to get to know him.
The fans of NXT know that Andrade is capable of being a champion, and it probably is only a matter of time before that becomes true. In recent weeks, Andrade has been picking up wins over Rey Mysterio, even ripping apart Rey Mysterio’s mask after beating him. In tournaments, you usually have a heel make a deep run, and since this is a dual branded tournament, your going to have one on either side of the bracket, and Andrade is the perfect person for that on the Smackdown side. Andrade, like Alexander, Gable and Murphy before him, Andrade can use the tournament to show how talented he is, but most of the Smackdown fans already know how good he is. I expect Andrade to have yet another good showing and continue to get closer and closer to that first championship win.
5) Samoa Joe
Joe really needs some help in his career, but with some of the other superstars left to talk about in this tournament, it’s highly unlikely that Joe will be to big of a player. I do think he at least will be a quarterfinalist, but nothing more. Joe is in a weird place in his career, as he is getting up there in age but his style could allow him to wrestle for another 15 years or more. But in the current WWE product, Joe really needs a lot of help. He, a lot like Sami Zayn, is someone who just can't get that big win. He is a former United States Championship, but in the big matches he’s had for the WWE Championship, Universal Championship and against Roman Reigns, Joe has always come up short. Joe needs to be able to turn this all around and get back to the dominance that the Samoan Submission Machine had in NXT, TNA, and ROH.
Part of me feels like I should put Ricochet at number one since he was called King Ricochet on the indys. Ever since his call up, Ricochet has been a high profile member of the Raw roster and been involved in feuds with both AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. He also won the United States Championship already in his career. Ricochet has since lost the championship and the rematch to Styles, so now Ricochet really has no direction or anything to do right now. It’s like this tournament came at the right time for Ricochet. While Ali, Alexander and Murphy do bring high flying to the table, nobody in this tournament can fly quite like Ricochet can. If it wasn’t for one other Raw superstar in this tournament, Ricochet would be my pick for a finalist. I do expect that we will see a fantastic showing from Ricochet in this tournament, and if we get Cedric Alexander vs Ricochet in this tournament, I would really like to see that.
Ever since he had to miss the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship, I’ve been wondering when Ali would get another chance to showcase his skills in a big way. He impressed in the Royal Rumble and on the pre show of Wrestlemania. If rumors are to be believed, he was supposed to win the Money in the Bank contract before the idea of Lesnar winning came about. Ali seemed to have all the momentum taken away, but got a big win over Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura in a non title match to help regain some momentum. Ever since he made the jump from 205 Live to Smackdown, Ali has always seemed to be a big deal. Within his first month Ali pinned then WWE Champion Daniel Bryan in a non title tag team match. I fully expect for Ali to have a great showing in this tournament, especially given the direction that he seems to be going right now. The main reason I don’t have him winning the tournament is because of the previously mentioned win over Nakamura, so it seems that he already has a match in place for Clash of Champions. Even if he doesn’t win the tournament, a great showing will be in store for Ali. I realize I’ve said that for a lot of the wrestlers in this tournament, but a lot of them just need that chance to show what they can do and get that shot.
2) Kevin Owens
Owens has the most momentum of anyone in the tournament, thanks to beating Shane McMahon at SummerSlam. Owens was very hard to place in these rankings partly due to the win at SummerSlam, and Shane McMahon wanting to get revenge. I don’t think that will happen early, if at all. Owens has a lot of work to do as a face here, seeing as he somewhat recently turned. For the entire run of his WWE career, Owens has been a heel and a really good one. I think Owens will use the tournament to establish what exactly his character is as a babyface. It’s really hard to find a reason to not pick Kevin Owens as the Smackdown representative in the finals. He is the biggest name on the Smackdown side, and is one of two wrestlers in the tournament that is a former world champion, the other being Miz. It would also set up the typical face vs heel matchup in the finals, and if we are going to see the McMahon vs Owens story going on (none of us want to really see that), then some shenanigans will be a foot in the finals.
1) Drew McIntyre
McIntyre is the easiest answer for the winner of this tournament, and honestly, it’s not even close. McIntyre is someone who is the total package of a pro wrestler. It’s really clear that WWE is high on McIntyre and they really need that big time heel on their roster. McIntyre has that look and the skills to be that top heel. It’s time for the push for McIntyre and his rise to the main event scene. While the main reason I think that McIntyre is going to win the tournament is that he is the one that needs the win the most, there is the fact that he is an ally with Shane McMahon. If the final is going to be Kevin Owens vs Drew McIntyre, and I do expect it to be, then I do feel like Shane will get involved. But the main reason why McIntyre is my pick for the King of the Ring, and that is the Universal Championship. If I had to guess what the winner of the tournament will get, it would be a title shot at Hell in a Cell. After Clash of Champions and Rollins defeating whoever he ends up facing, he would need another challenger and the winner of the King of the Ring would be a fitting challenger. This is the perfect spot to push McIntyre to the main event level that we all know he is going to reach sooner rather than later.