8 WWE Legends Who Never Became King of the Ring
In 1985, the WWE introduced a tournament that determined who was the best in the company. The participants had to fight their way to being crowned the champion.
This tournament was simply called the King of the Ring.
When the tournament was introduced, it included 16 men. That same number of men competed in future tournaments.
The 1997, 2006, and 2008 tournaments were different. They had the lowest number of participants, with a total of 8 men competing.
The 2000 tournament was the biggest in history. It included 31 men, and 1 woman, competing for the crown.
The list of winners includes many current, and future, Hall of Famers. The list may look good, but there are some legends that aren’t in it.
Here are eight WWE legends who never won the King of the Ring tournament.
Yes, I know, just eight. It's okay. Don't panic.
The Ultimate Warrior
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, The Ultimate Warrior was one of the biggest stars in the WWE. His popularity was rivaling Hulk Hogan’s, which was pretty big.
It may surprise many that Warrior never took part in the K-ot-R tournaments during his prime.
Warrior actually took part in a tournament during his meh days, and during a lame rivalry.
After being released by the WWE twice, Warrior returned in 1996. The magic wasn't there anymore.
He seemed crazier, and looked out of place with the new era of the company.
That same year, he feuded with Goldust. One of their matches took place at the ’96 tournament.
In the first round, both men got counted out. And thus Warrior’s first tournament was disappointing.
The Ultimate Warrior didn’t last long with the company (shocker!). He went on to join WCW, because who can turn down money?
Hulk Hogan, without any doubt, is the biggest WWE superstar that ever lived. Without him, the WWE wouldn’t be as big as it is today.
During his prime, he won the WWE Championship on many occasions. One accomplishment he never checked off was winning the K-ot-R tournament.
You would think that the WWE would've tried to have Hogan win the tournament as soon as possible, but nope.
Hulk Hogan never competed in a K-ot-R tournament. Even during his meh days, he was never in one.
I guess he was so popular that he didn’t need the K-ot-R crown.
Even if he did win, it wouldn’t have elevated him any further. Once you’re a mega-star, how much bigger could you get?
He may have never won the tournament, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have history with the King of the Ring name.
Hogan’s run with the WWE came to an end at the K-ot-R PPV, in 1993. That night, he lost the WWE Championship to Yokozuna.
He was pure evil. His DDT was deadly. His promos were mesmerizing.
Jake Roberts was a man that could’ve been a great WWE champion. Trust me.
Roberts, just like Ultimate Warrior, never took part in the tournament during his prime.
But like Warrior, Roberts’ first tournament was in 1996. Unlike Warrior, Roberts made it to the finals.
Though he did not win, Roberts was part of history. His lost came at the hands of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
This was the night were Austin uttered his famous “Austin 3:16” line.
Roberts’ winning this tournament wouldn’t have been right. He wasn’t the same man like in the 80’s and early 90’s.
He may not have won anything major in the WWE, but Jake Roberts managed to become a legend.
The Undertaker is undefeated at WrestleMania. He was won the WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, Tag Team Championships, and Hardcore Championship.
One thing ‘Taker never did was win the K-ot-R tournament. He may not have won one, but that doesn’t mean he hasn't been in them.
‘Taker has been in two K-ot-R tournaments.
He competed in the 1991 tournament, reaching the quarterfinals. He and Sid Justice were disqualified, causing both to be eliminated.
At this point in the game, ‘Taker was only in the WWE for a year. He was a heel, and hadn’t yet defeated Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship.
His second tournament entry was in 1995. He, once again, reached the quarterfinals, where he was defeated by Mabel.
Mabel went on to win the 1995 tournament, which was received by a chorus of “meh”. No one cared about Mabel that much.
1995 was a weird year for the WWE. Mabel winning is the proof I need to back up that statement.
It would've been interesting to see what Undertaker would’ve done with the crown and cape.
Would he have worn it? Changed the cape to black, and worn some sort of evil-looking crown? We will never know.
Considered the best wrestler to ever step foot in a WWE ring, Shawn Michaels has pretty much done it all.
Countless championships, great matches, Royal Rumble wins, and a Hall of Fame induction, are just a few things part of his legacy.
Michaels has been a part of two K-ot-R tournaments. In both, he lost in the quarterfinals.
In the 1988 tournament, Michaels lost to Ron Bass. This was during the period of The Rockers, so it wasn’t surprising to see him lose.
1995 was a different story. He lost to Kama, who couldn’t even touch Michaels’ popularity.
That same year, Michaels won the Rumble in January, and faced Diesel at WrestleMania XI.
This was the same tournament that Mabel won. Mabel went on to feud with Diesel, which was not good.
Shawn Michaels’ career really took off in 1996, but a K-ot-R win would’ve been great.
"Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig
If you want to know about the perfect candidate for a K-ot-R winner, you have to look no further than "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig.
He had the look, the wrestling skills, and the mic skills. He was perfect, no pun intended.
In 1993, Hulk Hogan was on his way out of the company. With a big star leaving, it was time for a new, big star to emerge.
Perfect could’ve been a good choice, but sadly it didn’t happen.
He was part of the ’93 tournament, but came up a bit short. He lost to Bret Hart in the semifinals.
Hart went on to win the tournament, and later win the WWE title.
If Hart had been champ throughout 1993, instead of Yokozuna, a feud with Hennig would’ve been…perfect.
Hennig's wrestling career with the company didn't last long. He had back problems, and took time off to heal.
He appeared every now and then as a commentator and special guest referee.
Curt Hennig officially left the WWE in 1996, and later joined WCW.
Labeled as the best heel ever, Roddy Piper made a huge name for himself without winning a world title.
The only title he won was the Intercontinental Championship. That took place in 1992, during his babyface run.
By 1992, Piper's career was slowing down a bit. He was no longer the great heel everybody knew him for.
If Piper had won the K-ot-R tournament during his prime as heel, magic could’ve happened.
Piper claiming he was the best, due to winning the tournament, could’ve been the best segment ever.
Piper was actually involved in the 1986 tournament. He never got past the first round, as he and Don Muraco fought to a draw.
Harley Race ended up winning the ’86 tournament.
Imagine what it could’ve been like if Roddy Piper had been crowned king? Sucks we will never know.
If you want to talk about a man that should've definitely won the K-ot-R tournament, The Rock is your main guy.
In 1998, The Rock was quickly rising to the top of the roster. He had the crowd behind him, and everything was set and ready.
He was the perfect candidate to win the '98 tournament. What happened? He lost to Ken Shamrock.
Rock losing to Shamrock may not have been as bad in the first round, but they fought in the finals. The freaking finals!
Instead of giving the win to the man that deserved it the most, the WWE decided to go with Shamrock.
Shamrock was not great with the mic, or in the ring. Unbelievable.
I guess it wasn’t all that bad for The Rock. He did win the WWE Championship at Survivor Series.
The Rock found great success, without winning the K-ot-R tournament. Ken Shamrock, on the other hand, slowly became irrelevant.
There you have them.
Those were just eight legends who never became the King of the Ring.
Even though I mentioned just eight of them, there are plenty of other legends who never won the tournament.
Legends include: Ric Flair, Rick Rude, Ricky Steamboat, Iron Sheik, Razor Ramon, Mankind, Kane, Chris Jericho, and Eddie Guerrero
Would a King of the Ring win have elevated some of these legends? Maybe a few.
Razor Ramon, Eddie Guerrero, and Ricky Steamboat could've had a good push as the K-ot-R winner.
There are only two legends who have a chance of winning the tournament, if it returns. Those two men are Kane and Chris Jericho.
Now that I think about it, there are a few current stars that could use a K-ot-R win.
Such wrestlers include: Antonio Cesaro, The Miz, the Shield members, and Kofi Kingston. Just to name a few.
If they were to win, hopefully their push isn't like Ken Shamrock's and Billy Gunn's.
And with that, this article comes to an end.
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