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Opinion

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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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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