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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


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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