The King of the Ring tournament made it’s return once again this year after a near 5 year absence. I find it to be one of WWE’s trademark events and one of the most prestigious. Having the title of King of the Ring is a huge accolade and it allows a superstar to leave their mark in the history books of WWE.
I feel that the last few tournaments have been very rushed and under-appreciated at times. At some point, this tournament was a PPV on it’s own! 2008, 2010 and 2015’s tournaments were all condensed into one or two episodes of Monday Night Raw and I felt it has lost a lot of prestige because of it. Unlike the 2006 tournament which culminated over numerous weeks on Smackdown, with the finals being held on PPV. That’s the format I would preferred to have seen going into Payback this year; it would have created huge hype and given a bigger spotlight on some of the struggling mid-carders.
Speaking of the participants, the superstars involved were, once again, mostly mid-carders with a few upper-tier favourites. This year’s brackets looked like this:
Most of these guys, I would have expected to see in the tournament, and funnily enough, almost all of them were in the IC title Ladder match at Wrestlemania! The one that really surprised me though was R-Truth. Honestly, Truth has been fairly irrelevant in WWE’s current booking process, he hasn’t had a big win in forever and he was never convincing enough to be a King of the Ring. He even made it to the semi-finals which makes me feel even worse for an extremely talented guy like Cody, sorry, Stardust!
Ziggler, Ambrose and Harper are already experienced guys in WWE but once again, management is struggling to find something for them, especially Harper who has had no momentum since splitting from the Wyatt family and having an almost forgettable IC title reign. So Harper was ruled out almost immediately. Ambrose was not as bad as Harper, but still in a similar position. He’s over with the fans, yet management doesn’t seemed to realise it. At least he lost by DQ to Sheamus which still made him look strong. Ziggler lost out to Barrett because of Sheamus, so although it means one of the hardest-working men in the business misses out on a prestige that he really deserves, it was a wise move to keep his feud with Sheamus going as it will benefit both of them.
Neville was no doubt the wildcard heading into this tournament. The win would have been huge for him, but it wouldn’t have been the worst thing if he lost. Making it to the finals was the best thing for him in his current push. He thrived on NXT, but Raw is a different stage and he’s still in the transitional stage. I like how WWE is taking their time with his push and being very methodical about it. Plenty of wins, a few losses, going toe-to-toe with the best guys on offer and almost winning the King of the Ring in the space of a few weeks. Pushing him to the moon and back would be a bit risky at this stage as I feel he needs a little improvement with mic skills The former NXT champion has a huge future ahead of him, we just need to be a little patient.
The one man I would have put money on to win the whole thing did just that! Bad News Barrett walked away with the crown!
BNB has been a big-time player in WWE for 5 years now. Once the leader of the Nexus and the Corre, followed by multiple IC title reigns, he can now add King of the Ring to his accolades. I feel Barrett was the best choice to be King of the Ring this year for a number of reasons: 1) He has enough experience to be considered a credible winner 2) It gets him out of a difficult position after hopelessly chasing IC title again and 3) I doubt anyone wanted to see Sheamus win it again.
This win puts BNB in a prime position to once again be a main-event player, move him away from the midcard and be a potential WWE title contender. I don’t know about you guys but I like the sound of where this could end up. And for everyone who wanted Neville to win, I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS!!
God save the bloody King!
The analyst of the team and the inaugural ESSR Champion, David provides all the random facts and stats of the wrestling world, until another team member slams him for botching or micro-hosting.
The biggest WWE mark of the team, David is a purist in the art of kayfabe and has drawn comparisons to Drew Gulak for his approach to analysis.