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DeMarco: Cracking The Code On The 2019 WWE King Of The Ring

WWE King Of The Ring is back and I couldn’t be happier. It’s long been a favorite event of mine. Who will win? ALL HAIL KING…….???

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WWE King Of The Ring is back and I couldn’t be happier. It’s long been a favorite event of mine. Who will win? Let’s crack the code and see!

I love the King Of The Ring–it’s so simple as it’s just a single-elimination tournament at its core. For WWE, this is probably the closest you’ll get to a New Japan G1 Climax, as the target audience can easily follow a tournament bracket rather than a round-robin style tournament. For the hardcore fanbase, this is often a favorite PPV, despite the success rate of the more recent winners. So much about wrestling has changed in 2019, so it’s fair to hold out hope that this year’s King Of The Ring will fare better in his post-coronation affairs.

Before we figure out who will win, let’s see the field:

  • Ali – Smackdown
  • Andrade – Smackdown
  • Apollo Crews – Smackdown
  • Baron Corbin – Raw
  • Buddy Murphy – Smackdown
  • Cedric Alexander – Raw
  • Cesaro – Raw
  • Chad Gable – Smackdown
  • Drew McIntyre – Raw
  • Elias – Smackdown
  • The Miz – Raw
  • Kevin Owens – Smackdown
  • Ricochet – Raw
  • Sami Zayn – Raw
  • Samoa Joe – Raw
  • Shelton Benjamin – Smackdown

Thanks to the 24/7/365 nature of content delivery, we also have a 2019 WWE King Of The Ring bracket!

WWE King Of The Ring 2019 Bracket

We will use both the list of competitors and the bracket to use a process of elimination to pick the winner. Now is a great time to note that WWE doesn’t book forward like this, they book backwards. The idea to revive the King Of The Ring concept likely wasn’t done for the tournament itself, but for one performer. So they knew they wanted to push someone, THEN decided to use KOTR. That is going to play into my decision making criteria here.

Obvious Non-Winners

Assuming WWE has a real purpose behind this, some people simply aren’t winning. Either the time isn’t right for them, the ship has sailed, or they are too involved in something else. For that reason, we can say goodbye to first round opponents Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. And as much as I love him, Apollo Crews isn’t winning this thing. He’s getting a big push, and I probably shouldn’t eliminate him just yet, but the time isn’t right for King Cedric Alexander, either. (Although I stand behind my assertion that he should win the 2020 Royal Rumble.)

These four eliminations also do a few things for me: first off, this puts Andrade into the semifinals, or the Smackdown side final–whichever nomenclature you prefer. That’s a smaller point. The bigger point has to do with Sami Zayn. While I don’t expect Cedric Alexander to win the tournament, I also don’t expect him to lose in the first round. That means so long to Sami Zayn as well!

Updated field:

  • Ali – Smackdown
  • Andrade – Smackdown
  • Baron Corbin – Raw
  • Buddy Murphy – Smackdown
  • Cesaro – Raw
  • Drew McIntyre – Raw
  • Elias – Smackdown
  • The Miz – Raw
  • Kevin Owens – Smackdown
  • Ricochet – Raw
  • Samoa Joe – Raw
  • Apollo Crews – Smackdown
  • Cedric Alexander – Raw
  • Chad Gable – Smackdown
  • Sami Zayn – Raw
  • Shelton Benjamin – Smackdown

Clash Of Champions Storyline Considerations

You have to consider the storyline side of things. Because the tournament is going to take up TV time, they are going to involve storylines in the mix to progress things towards Clash Of Champions. Clash of Champions also happens to be the assumed location of the finals of the 2019 WWE King Of The Ring, so anyone with something to do at Clash Of Champions seems to be out. Based on this information I am eliminating Ricochet (so he can have another go with United States Champion AJ Styles) and Ali (so he can finally get his match with Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura).

Now you also have Kevin Owens embroiled in a feud with Shane McMahon, which will likely wrap up at Hell In A Cell. I am taking a risk here, because it’s entirely possible the Owens-Shane story is used as part of the King Of The Ring finals, but I think Shane keeping Owens out of the finals does a great job of advancing that story.

The question here is when Owens is taken out of the tournament by Shane. For me, that’s in the Smackdown side finals, sending Andrade into the finals. That also means Buddy Murphy isn’t winning King Of The Ring, even though I expect him to beat Ali in the first round. Ali can still rebound and win his way into that Nakamura match at Clash Of Champions. And if I having Owens making it to the second-to-last-match before being screwed by Shane, then he has to beat Elias in the opener. That eliminates Elias, whose gimmick doesn’t lend itself to being King Of The Ring anyway.

Let’s not forget that Kevin Owens still needs an opponent for Clash Of Champions. It doesn’t make sense for that to be Shane McMahon, but it they’re going to screw Owens than it makes sense for Owens to end up (somehow) facing a Shane McMahon associate. I am giving that nod to Drew McIntyre. Thus, Drew is (shockingly) out. I know many of you expect Drew to win, but remember this was created for one person. I don’t think it’s Drew, although the argument in his favor is compelling.

Updated field:

  • Andrade – Smackdown
  • Baron Corbin – Raw
  • Cesaro – Raw
  • The Miz – Raw
  • Samoa Joe – Raw
  • Ali – Smackdown
  • Buddy Murphy – Smackdown
  • Drew McIntyre – Raw
  • Elias – Smackdown
  • Kevin Owens – Smackdown
  • Ricochet – Raw
  • Apollo Crews – Smackdown
  • Cedric Alexander – Raw
  • Chad Gable – Smackdown
  • Sami Zayn – Raw
  • Shelton Benjamin – Smackdown

Match-Ups for Andrade

So we have Andrade–a heel–in the finals. Who will he face? Will he face a face? We have four potential opponents in Samoa Joe, Cesaro, The Miz, and Baron Corbin. They all happen to be dance partners in the first round, so lets look at match-ups to see if we get any clues. First up we have Cesaro vs. Samoa Joe. Cesaro is a heel, and Joe is essentially a tweener at this point. Unless we’re turning Cesaro face in this process–which is such a damn good possibility that I am using it for this analysis. The Swiss Superman beats Samoa Joe in the first round, sending Joe back to (ineffectively) searching for answers to this Roman Reigns mystery.

On the flip side we have The Miz vs. Baron Corbin. I know there is a contingent of fans who want to see Big Breakfast Baron make it to the finals so he can wear the crown…carry the scepter…and don the cape. 2019 featured The Summer Of Baron, and your typical WWE cooling off period tends to last more than one pay-per-view. I don’t think this is Baron’s moment in the son. Thus The Miz wins, and Baron Corbin is out.

That leaves us with three would-be Kings: Andrade, Cesaro, and The Miz. That gives us the assumption that we see Cesaro in the Raw final against The Miz. Not so fast my friend! Just because Drew McIntyre doesn’t win or make the finals doesn’t mean me doesn’t go deep. McIntyre eliminates Cesaro in the semifinals, thus also eliminating Cesaro from our field.

Updated field:

  • Andrade – Smackdown
  • The Miz – Raw
  • Ali – Smackdown
  • Baron Corbin – Raw
  • Buddy Murphy – Smackdown
  • Cesaro – Raw
  • Drew McIntyre – Raw
  • Elias – Smackdown
  • Kevin Owens – Smackdown
  • Ricochet – Raw
  • Apollo Crews – Smackdown
  • Cedric Alexander – Raw
  • Chad Gable – Smackdown
  • Sami Zayn – Raw
  • Samoa Joe – Raw
  • Shelton Benjamin – Smackdown

King Of The Ring Finals: The Miz vs. Andrade

And now we are down to two men: Andrade from Smackdown and The Miz from Raw. In The Miz you have a former world champion who made his first WWE appearance 15 years ago. He’s amassed 18 championships, plus he’s won Money In The Bank and even a Mixed Match Challenge. He has his own reality show, and a list of movie and television credits that would surprise you. In short–it makes ZERO sense for The Miz to win. The only reason you put the crown on The Miz is to elevate the King Of The Ring. But remember, we went into this with the assumption that WWE picked a guy to push, then decided to use the King Of The Ring concept to do just that.

That guy is Andrade. Outside of NXT, Andrade has held zero championships in WWE. He hasn’t won Money In The Bank or any other prime accolades. No WrestleMania moment to speak of, either. On the flip side, he’s young (29), has the look and charisma to get over the top. He has one of the most underrated managers in the entire business in Zelina Vega, and politically he’s either engaged or simply linked to Charlotte Flair–that means something. He’s the type of guy Vince McMahon, Bruce Prichard, and Eric Bischoff would love. The only knock against him is his promo ability, and that was handled with the addition of Zelina Vega to his act in NXT. He has all the tools to be “The Guy.”

So booking backwards, it makes sense for WWE to have chosen to push Andrade (who would be the perfect person to unseat Kofi Kingston), revive the King Of The Ring concept, and then book the tournament around storylines and Andrade’s push.

Spoiler Alert: that’s also what I did! I had Andrade picked when I started this experiment, and booked backwards from there. Why would I pick my winner any different from how WWE picks theirs?

As an added bonus, there is my King Of The Ring bracket, developed during this process of elimination–using my selected winner (Andrade) and WWE storylines. All Hail King Andrade!

WWE King Of The Ring 2019 Bracket Greg DeMarco


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Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE RAW 3/1/21

Bodeen takes a look ath the Top 5 moments from an eventful episode of WWE Raw on the Road to WrestleMania!

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Bobby Lashley WWE Champion Raw

Bodeen takes a look ath the Top 5 moments from an eventful episode of WWE Raw on the Road to WrestleMania!

With just 6 short weeks left until WrestleMania, RAW once again came to us from the Thunderdome, with the main story on RAW this week being focused on the WWE Championship match between The Miz and Bobby Lashley. Despite this there were still some other moments on RAW that stood out, so without further ado let’s once again look at the top 5 moments that stood out on RAW.

5. Mustafa Ali pins Riddle

There is no denying that the booking of RETRIBUTION has been botched. While it was extremely interesting to watch Retribiution at first, Retribution soon died even after Mustafa Ali turned heel mainly due to terrible logical booking and a series of losses that made them all look weak.

However, it is still nice to see RETRIBUTION get wins back, especially when it comes to their leader, Mustafa Ali. Ali is extremely talented and has shown he can perform with the best in the ring. That is why it was so great to see him beat Riddle on RAW.

While the match between the two men was nothing special and had a bad-looking finish, it was still nice to see him beat the United States Champion in a non-title match and give RETRIBUTION and himself a small amount of credit back.

4. Miz makes Bobby Lashley wait

Over the years The Miz has grown to be one of the best heels in the business, his promos are amazing to watch and over the years Miz has learned to control any crowd as a heel. Miz’s promos though are not the only thing that has helped him as a heel, as we have seen Miz over the years use brilliant strategies to give himself an advantage in the ring.

Miz would once again use his mind this week on RAW as he used excuse after excuse throughout the night to avoid defending the WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley until eventually, Shane McMahon forced him to defend or vacate the title at the end of the night.

The great part about watching this was seeing the reaction from MVP and Bobby Lashley as they grew increasingly frustrated with The Miz and his ideas as their annoyance at the start of the night turned into a pure rage after Miz retained after being counted out.

3. Damian Priest gets another win 

At first, I was somewhat worried about Damian Priest being teamed up with Bad Bunny, mainly due to the fact it feels Priest deserved more. However, after a few weeks and seeing how much merchandise Bad Bunny has been selling, the relationship between the two men can be effective for Priest especially as Bad Bunny guarantees Priest time on RAW, where he can impress fans.

Priest would once again look good on RAW this week as he pinned Elias in a solid match between the two men. It was also nice to see Priest beat Elias without any major interference from Bad Bunny, as Priest has arguably looked somewhat weaker due to the distractions from Bad Bunny in his matches.

With there being a good chance that Bad Bunny will be on WrestleMania with Preist, it will be interesting to see what will happen to Priest after WrestleMania

2.  Drew Mcintyre and Sheamus destroy each other

While this may not off been on a Pay-Per-View, Drew McIntyre and Sheamus put on an amazing match between each other and easily put on the best match of the night. The match showcased the brutal style of the two men as they traded moves with both men working extremely well together.

The match would start with an intense brawl between the two men as they gave each other a beating. After a brutal match where both men push each other to their limit, Drew McIntyre would catch Sheamus with a Claymore after Sheamus attempted a Brouge kick to win the match.

After the match, both men stared at each other potentially meaning that this is not the end of their feud as he approach Fastlane.

1. Bobby Lashley finally wins the gold 

It is hard to believe how much Bobby Lashley’s career has changed in a year. This time last year, Bobby was stuck in a never-ending feud with Lana and Rusev which had lost all credibility. Then Bobby Lashley left Lana for MVP and started The Hurt Business, where he became a dominant part of the mid-card as the United States Champion.

Even after being a dominant mid-carder for so long Lashley still hadn’t reached that next level however Bobby would finally break through the glass ceiling this week on RAW after he waited for three hours to dominate The Miz to finally become WWE Champion after what has felt like an eternity.

With Bobby now Champion the big question is, will Lashley be Champion by WrestleMania and if so, who will Lashley face?

These were my top 5 moments from RAW this week. What were your top 5 moments and what do you think of Bobby Lashley being WWE Champion? Let us know in the comments below. 


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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 2/28/2021

A weird week of matches and shows! Let’s see what made the Top 5!

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This is one of the more tame weeks. New Japan had a few big events, but let’s just say it wasn’t their best work. Then we get the announcement of combining the Intercontinental and Heavyweight to become a “world heavyweight” title, so yeah, New Japan is weird right now.

Speaking of weird, AEW Dynamite: Riho vs Serena Deeb, won the match vote last week.

This will be the voting week to round out February, and we should start March off strong with what’s coming next week!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii
    Rating: ****
  2. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi (c)
    Rating: *** ¾
  3. AEW Dynamite: Lance Archer vs Rey Fenix
    Rating: *** ¾
  4. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: BUSHI vs El Desperado vs El Phantasmo
    Rating: *** ¾
  5. AEW Dynamite: Hangman Page vs Isaiah Kassidy
    Rating: *** ½

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL w/Dick Togo
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NJPW Strong: IWGP United States Championship: Jon Moxley (c) vs KENTA
    Rating: *** ¼
  • IMPACT!: Chris Bey, Ace Austin & Black Taurus vs Josh Alexander, Trey Miguel & Willie Mack
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: TenCozy (Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan) vs The United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay)
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NXT: Zoey Stark vs Io Shirai
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: NEVER Openweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs The Great O-Khan
    Rating: *** ¼
  • WWE Raw: Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman
    Rating: ***
  • NXT: No DQ: Santos Escobar vs Karrion Kross
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Moose vs Jake Something
    Rating: ***
  • WWE Raw: Angel Garza vs Damian Priest
    Rating: ***

5. AEW Dynamite: Hangman Page vs Isaiah Kassidy

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Kassidy runs, but Hangman follows! Kassidy leaps, into a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Both men are down and fans are fired up! The standing count begins, the fans rally up, and both men stand at 3. Hangman runs in at Kassidy to corner clothesline him! Hangman snapmares Kassidy, runs and SLIDING- NO! Kassidy dodges, mule kicks and CHOPS! Kassidy reels Hangman in but Hangman suplexes to BRAIN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!!! Kassidy lives and “This is Awesome!” Hangman and Kassidy slowly stir. Hangman aims from a corner, runs at Kassidy, but Kassidy blocks the boot to BOOT back! And enziguri, to a POISON-RANA! Cover, TWO!?!

But Kassidy has the arm for an ARMBAR! Hangman endures as Kassidy pulls back! Hangman sits up, and gets the ropebreak! Kassidy lets go at the ref’s count of 4, and Hangman drags himself away. Kassidy gets up, runs over, but Hangman FLIPS him out to the apron! Kassidy grabs at Hangman’s arm but Hangman BOOTS him from below! Hangman runs to triangle LAR- HOT SHOT!! Kassidy counters Hangman at the right time, slithers back up to the apron, and springboards, but no Destroyer! Hangman gives him the DEADEYE! Cover, Hangman wins!!

Winner: Hangman via Deadeye

 

2t. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: BUSHI vs El Desperado vs El Phantasmo

From My Results:

Early on this was a little paint by numbers. Counters, a few signature spots to get early advantages, but the match didn’t pick up until ELP tried to take out Desperado. ELP and Despy fight up the ramp, ELP rips the mask to expose Despy’s head and pulls out the Jerry Lynn special, Cradle Piledriver right into the ramp!

ELP takes the ripped mask as a trophy, and we see a singles match between BUSHI and ELP for a good bit of time. BUSHI proves to be as stubborn as other Tetsuya’s in LIJ, and takes it to ELP fairly well. BUT – that’s not the story here. Desperado starts slowly making his way back to the ring with a new mask. Desperado comes in and goes on a warpath after ELP. Stiff looking strikes, dives that take out both of his opponents, and just an unbridled rage that makes him focus on ELP.

This of course allows for BUSHI to pick some solid spots, and after Despy returns the match really picks up. It’s also great to ELP’s heel tendencies where he takes moves from higher profile people just to turn the knife. Styles Clash, V-Trigger, an attempted One Winged Angel, Sweet Chin Music, the Undertaker arm fold pin cover, and it’s just good entertainment.

BUSHI has a great count break up where he just grabs Marty Asami’s arm to prevent the 3. BUSHI sets up for MX, but he gets caught with Sudden Death…and rolls out of the ring. So ELP has to go back to a now slowly coming back up Desperado, ELP charges, gets caught with a big right hand and not 1 but 2 Pinche Locos!

Winner: Despy via Pinche Loco

 

2t. AEW Dynamite: Lance Archer vs Rey Fenix

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Fenix goes to a corner while Archer is in the drop zone. Fenix hops up and MOONSAULTS, but Archer moves, so Fenix somersaults through! ROLLING CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!! Archer survives again and Fenix can’t believe it! Fenix hauls Archer up, Archer whips him away and runs in to ROCK him with a right! Archer puts Fenix up top, hooks legs and brings Fenix out, FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Fenix survives again but Archer drags him back up! Archer goes up the corner, drags Fenix up to join him, but Fenix fights the choke grip to adjust! Archer body shots, Fenix rebounds, SUPER SPANISH FLY!! Cover, TWO!?!? How are either of these guys doing this?!

Fenix fireman’s carries, Archer pulls the mask! Fans boo, Fenix SUPERKICKS, mule kicks, forearms and CHOPS! Fenix fires up, runs, but gets DERAILED!! Both men are down but Archer fires up! Archer drags Fenix up and reel shim in, for a BUCKLE BOMB! Choke grip, CHOKE SLAM!! Cover, TWO?!?! Archer drags Fenix to a corner, hauls him up, CHOPS and inverted crucifix lifts, for the BLACKOUT BOMB!!! Cover, Archer wins!!!

Winner: Archer via Blackout

 

2t. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi (c)

From My Results:

Naito focused on mat wrestling in the beginning, and it was all in effort to get to Ibushi’s knees to bring the match to parity. With Naito having well documented bad knees (including miss time during the Road to), Naito had to work to make things more even.

We see a lot of old threads get pulled on, the corner spot could reference to Naito and Omega’s G1 match, the Outside In German Suplex was something Ibushi struggled to execute before on Naito. Naito pulled out an Avalanche Diamond Dust that we don’t often see, and this was somewhat interesting. New Japan continues to implore that main events are 25+ minute matches, and lately these all drag.

Even with the fun story aspects, a few big scary spots as we’ve come to expect, the match never ascended to a great height. Naito hit Valentia and a few running Destinos, but that wasn’t enough to take out the champion. Ibushi hit Kamigoye to the back of the head, much like as Wrestle Kingdom, then we got 2 more Kamigoyes and Ibushi just falling on top of Naito for the pinfall victory!

Winner: Ibushi via Kamigoye

 

1. NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii

From My Results:

Ishii has had White’s number lately, and just added to the broken status of his mental health after the Wrestle Kingdom loss. Within the first minute or so, Jay looked to have tweaked his hamstring, and that added an interesting layer to his early attack. But much like the strategic genius that he is, he lays Ishii over the barricade, and Ishii starts selling a rib injury.

Everything in this match mattered, the leg and ribs came back to play into aspects of the finishing sequence. Ishii was slow transitioning between some of his power moves since he was hampered with the rib injury, and Jay got caught a bit more than usual because his quickness was taken away.

A huge Avalanche Brainbuster after a Jumping Headbutt nearly gave Ishii the win, but a slow cover as he wanted the high stack, kept Jay alive. They fight back and forth, then we get a great counter wrestling sequence to finish the match. Ishii slips suplexes and Blade Runners, Jay slips the Brainbuster and eats a strike. It was up, down, back and forth, just hard to call until Jay finally slips a hold and catches Ishii with Blade Runner for the win!

Winner: Jay via Blade Runner

 

Thoughts:

Definitely a weird week when I was not a fan of the New Japan shows, and I’m not AEW’s biggest fan…but I guess the top stuff is the top stuff. My vote will go to Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii, purely because it was the only thing that really stood out during this weekend.

Personally, I hope New Japan figures it out and starts getting interesting; because I’m really going to need to consider other promotions if New Japan stays stale – you know, just to spice things up. Ugh…weird week, but yeah the White vs Ishii match is worth watching.


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