For those of you who don’t watch wrestling, there has been an on and off again tradition within the WWE. For years they’ve hosted a one night tournament called “King of the Ring” and who ever won it was talked up as some one to watch. However things have changed so much that winning it could be seen as more of a curse then a good thing.
Back in 1993, when it had it’s own pay per view, it was seen a boost to a superstar. Bret Hart won the first televised tournament, and despite already being a former world champion at that point he would go on for even greater success, becoming one of the biggest wrestlers in the 90s. His brother, the late Owen Hart would win in ’94, and while he never won a world title, he was in the midst of high profile feuds with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H. The Late Mabel, or Viscera as he was known later on won in ’95 to little success, except the uncanny ability to be rehired in the mind 2000s.
The King of the Ring only became a launching pad for success in ’96 due to the birth of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s famous catch phrase after he beat Jake Roberts. It was that one moment he began to connect with the audience. ’97 saw Triple H win, and of course we know how that turned out. Ken Shamrock and Billy Gunn won the accolade in ’98 and ’99 respectively and their careers didn’t really receive the boost they were hoping for, with both failing to connect to the audience as single wrestlers.
In the 2000’s an up and comer called Kurt Angle would win it that year and he has become one of the greatest wrestlers ever. Edge won it in 2001 and he also was one of the biggest acts of the later 2000’s, before his sudden retirement due to injuries. Brock Lesnar was the last PPV winner of the event and if you haven’t heard of Brock Lesnar then picture a shaved bear who is quick as he is strong
Since then it’s only been brought back a handful for times. Booker T won it in 2006, but he was already a major star so it didn’t impact him too greatly. William Regal won it but then was caught in a drug scandal which derailed his push, Even then his career wasn’t ever the same after it. Sheamus won it, but it was used as a tool to mock him or so the dirt sheets say, and then again with Wade Barret, who is stuck in a lame fued with R-Truth. My point is, the WWE are treating the King of the Ring as if it’s some great honor, when really things couldn’t be further from the truth.
How do we fix this problem? It’s simple, have Barrett go full King and refer to the fans as his subjects, and have the Ascension work for him as his knights. You could form an entire stable based around that gimmick. If the WWE were truly serious you could turn it into a multi-month event, much like a football tournament, where every wrestler wrestles against each other for points and the eight highest point scores would then square off in a one night tournament. It would give meaning to a series of once meaningless matches on Raw and Smackdown. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time, and I don’t see the mistreat of the once red hot Wade Barrett changing any time soon either.
Look it’s one thing if you’re going to use the tournament as a way to get some one over, that’s fine. But if they win the tournament and they do nothing good with the boost, and end up in silly fueds then it helps no one.