Saturday, November 27, 2010

Long Live the King

Another "king" will be crowned in the WWE Monday night as the 19th tournament is held on a special 3 hour Raw.  Most of us know about the pay per view and Raw tournaments, but back in the mid 80's, there were several kings crowned.

I remember back in 1986, being at a WWF house show in St. Louis that was being touted as a King of the Ring tournament.  Harley Race won that one by pinning Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat in the finals.  Of course, Race was already "the King" as that was his gimmick when he arrived earlier that year.

In 1993, the first ever PPV KOTR was held, with former world champion Bret Hart being crowned.  In the years that followed though, the tournament served as a stepping stone to the title.  In many cases anyway.  Triple H, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and Kurt Angle are just a few who got the royal treatment before winning the world title.  Then we had "Mr. Ass" Billy Gunn, Mabel, and Ken Shamrock who never quite achieved world title success.

The most recent King, William Regal, seemed to lose his momentum after being suspended by the WWE shortly after his coronation.  That was about two years ago, now it's time to crown a new king.

I must say, I like the 8 participants in this year's event.  I feel like any one of them is capable of winning this.  In other words, it's hard to pick a winner.  Past tournaments were a little lopsided, especially back in the 80's.  Did anyone really think Boris Zhukov or "Iron" Mike Sharpe would get the crown and scepeter?  Even the qualifying matches for this year's could have gone either way in most cases.  And here's a little fun fact.  In 1988, "the Outlaw" Ron Bass pinned Shawn Michaels in the KOTR tournament.  Wow.

John Morrison in action at Wrestlemania 26
I believe John Morrison has all the tools to win this tournament.  He's been in the WWE for a while now and besides a run as Intercontinental champion, he's not had much of a singles push.  With big wins over Chris Jericho and Sheamus over the last few months, he's proven to me he's ready for the next level.

Winning the King of the Ring would propel him into the title hunt.  I definitely don't think Morrison would "Billy Gunn" this opportunity.  So as of right now, John Morrison is my pick to win the King of the Ring.  However, I know history is not on my side, as most of the time the winner of this tournament is a heel.

Sheamus vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 26
One other thing I like about this year's tournament is there are no former world champions in it,  except for Sheamus.  I'm not sure if that's good or bad for the Irish man.  My hope is that he will not win it, as I'd like to see someone who hasn't really contended for the world title be in the hunt.

But Sheamus has been doing the job lately to John Morrison and Santino.  Could the crown be his reward?  I could see that happening, and Triple H returning to ruin the coronation.  After all, he's a past KOTR and the "King of Kings" as he taught King Booker a few years back.

Kofi at Wrestlemania 26.

Kofi Kingston has been in a bit of slump lately.  It seems to have all started when he lost the U.S. title to the Miz late last year.

But he put on a helluva show at Wrestlemania 26 though.  Kofi seems to do well in the Money in the Bank matches.  He's a solid worker, dedicated, and over with the fans.

That being said, I'm not sure that he'll win this tournament.  Although I do think he's ready for the main event rub.  I didn't really care for the way they booked him in the Randy Orton feud.  I felt even then he deserved to go over in that program.

Another reason I don't think Kofi will win, he's already got King in his name.  We can't have King Kingston can we?  It just doesn't sound right.

Courtesy: WWE

Initially when I read who was in the tournament, my pick to win it was Ezekiel Jackson.  But after some discussion with a fellow fan and some thinking, I'm taking it back.

Since returning from his injury, Zeke has been unstoppable.  But victories over Zach Ryder, Alex Riley, and The Brooklyn Brawler hardly make you ready for the spotlight.

But the dude has a lot of potential.  I think I liked him better as a monster heel though.  I'm hoping Zeke doesn't get lost in the shuffle.  Being crowned king could be a great springboard for him, and just what he needed since he never really got to enjoy his reign as ECW champion.

Drew McIntyre climbing to new heights at Wrestlemania 26
Of the heels in this tournament, Drew McIntrye is without a doubt my favorite.  I think he's got a lot of potential but is still trying to find his way in the WWE.  A brief run as Intercontinental champion helped him, but his reign was marred with some bad booking.

Then his run with Cody Rhodes as tag team champions was laughable.  Not even sure why the WWE went there with that one.

Drew draws that natural heel heat.  He thinks he's better than everyone else and people hate him for that.  He reminds me a of young Triple H when he had the blueblood gimmick, and when he was crowned KOTR 13 years ago.

Cody Rhodes slugs Mark Henry at a house show.

Cody Rhodes is another guy with a great deal of potential, who seems to be floating around on Smackdown! right now.  But I expect big things for him in the future too.

I must admit, I'm not a big fan of the whole "Dashing" gimmick, but he seems to be making it work.  Since the split from Legacy, I think both he and Ted DiBiase have struggled to carve out a new niche and find their own identities.  Personally, I thought it was too early to split up that group.  He and DiBiase made an excellent tag team.  I would have rather seen them pushed as a duo and have another run as tag team champions.  Cody is good, but I don't think he's good enough to win the KOTR.

Courtesy: WWE

Alberto Del Rio has enjoyed quite the push since arriving in the WWE.  A win over Rey Mysterio on TV.  Hanging with Edge.  And beating the Big Show (albeit by countout) are just a few feathers in his cap so far.  He is also "responsible" for taking Christian out of action.

However, he came up short at the Survivor Series.  Is that an indicator of things to come? Again, this is a hard tournament to pick a decisive winner, and I would not be surprised at all by a Del Rio victory.  My gut tells me though that a Raw guy is going to win, since the tournament is being held on Raw.

Daniel Bryan leaving the Hall of Fame ceremony
I know I picked John Morrison to win in my earlier analysis, however I really like Daniel Bryan to win as well.  The one thing that may prevent that from happening is the U.S. title.

But it would make sense for him to win, especially with the Miz being world champion.  These two have a history and it would seem logical to have them meet again.  However, what's logical doesn't always come to fruition.

That being said, I don't think Daniel Bryan NEEDS the crown to propel him into the world title picture.  He's got the ability to wear the belt one day without having to go through a coronation ceremony.

So as you can see, I'm still going back and forth on who will win this.  I won't be disappointed in any of these guys.  I mentioned how I liked the fact that most of these guys haven't been to the top of the mountain yet.  That's good and bad.  The problem with it is there are no established guys in this tournament to put over any of the young talent.  It would have been nice to see Randy Orton, Big Show, or Edge give the rub to the future main eventers of the company.  No matter what, I don't think this tournament will disappoint, and I can't wait to see who's crowned king.

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