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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 Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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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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