The 5 Best Options to Win 2019 WWE King of the Ring Tournament
WWE King of the Ring will make its long-awaited return next week on Raw next Monday.
Bad News Barrett was the last winner of the beloved tournament in 2015 before it was shelved. Now, the following 16 Superstars from Raw and SmackDown will fight for the revived title:
- Apollo Crews
- Baron Corbin
- Buddy Murphy
- Cedric Alexander
- Chad Gable
- Drew McIntyre
- Kevin Owens
- The Miz
- Sami Zayn
- Samoa Joe
- Shelton Benjamin
It's still unclear how the bracket layout will work and if Raw and SmackDown stars will be interspersed or compete strictly on their brands until the final. For that matter, WWE hasn't even said when the tournament will end.
But that shouldn't stop us from speculating about which Superstars on this list stand the best chances to win, so let's start ranking their odds.
Superstars with No Chance
Everyone stands a potential shot at winning, but there are some who are easier to write off.
Elias would make a great King of the Ring if he weren't 24/7 champion. That puts him in danger of having R-Truth, Drake Maverick and others get in his way and cost him a win next week. Plus, his gimmick still works, so he doesn't need a repackaging.
Shelton Benjamin has done little for well over a year, and his new shtick of looking confused does not fit as King of the Ring material.
It would be too hard to keep King Miz a babyface, so unless WWE is turning him heel again, he will likely miss out.
When it comes to Chad Gable, Apollo Crews and Buddy Murphy, they all suffer from the stigma of being lower on the card.
WWE could make a star out of one of them with this win, but that rarely happens. Instead, they could just be sacrificial lambs who having good showings but are stepping stones for the bigger names.
The Long Shots
There's a better case to be made for the next few names, but they're still just shy of making it into the top five.
As fun as it would be for Sami Zayn to lord his win over the WWE Universe, he already cuts those types of promos and doesn't need this. It's also more in his nature to lose and complain, rather than come out on top.
Samoa Joe was even referenced as King Kong, and he has it in him to win. However, he almost always loses big matches, and that track record is likely to continue.
Baron Corbin is exactly the type of heel who could run with this, but it's completely unnecessary. He has a long list of accolades announced for him every time he comes to the ring and gets enough heat on his own. It would be a waste to give him this when it could go to someone else.
Kevin Owens already uses the Stone Cold Stunner and is feuding with a McMahon. If he wins King of the Ring for a contrived Owens 3:16 moment, people will roll their eyes on how unoriginal and transparent it is.
Just missing out on the top five is Cedric Alexander. The nickname of "Alexander the Great" would be so fitting, but two other babyfaces stand above him on this list after being booked stronger this past year.
No. 5: Ali
Ali impressed enough on 205 Live to be moved over to SmackDown and seemed poised for big things, but that's yet to happen.
His spot in the Elimination Chamber was taken away due to an injury, and his Intercontinental Championship shot at Smackville was a bust.
But this may be WWE's way to give Ali the push he's been fighting for since December.
Seeing an underdog overcome the odds would make for a great moment, and winning this tournament would put a big stamp of approval on his future.
However, what stops him from being higher on the list is the fact he's a babyface, and there have been far more heels who have won King of the Ring in the past.
No. 4: Ricochet
Ricochet suffers from the same babyface problem as Ali, but he has more momentum on his side which could override that issue.
Perhaps he only dropped the United States Championship in order to give AJ Styles a title to make The O.C. a more formidable group.
If that's the case, WWE may want to give The One and Only something so he can bounce back from the loss of the title and show audiences he's still worth being invested in.
However, Ricochet made an enemy out of Elias this week on Raw and is still a target for The O.C., so that's four people who could do something to cost him a win in this tournament.
No. 3: Cesaro
Cesaro checks every box when discussing who could be a great fit for King of the Ring.
He's a heel who has no real gimmick at the moment that would get in his way, he's weaker on promos and could use this as a crutch, he's great in the ring and could conceivably beat every other competitor, and his credibility would benefit drastically from this win.
On paper, there's no reason for him not to be at the top of this list, and he may be the sleeper pick to win the tournament. But Cesaro also wrestles a lot on Main Event, and WWE may see him more as a utility player to call on when necessary, rather than someone worthy of a major push.
It's a tough call, as he fluctuates so much. This could be the means to propel him to the top so he can challenge Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship down the line, or he could just as likely lose to a guy like Chad Gable or Cedric Alexander in the first round.
No. 2: Andrade
It's hard to come up with any reasons why Andrade won't win this.
El Idolo is already dating Charlotte Flair in real life, so why not make him a king so he can match The Queen?
His cocky attitude fits perfectly for a King of the Ring as he can back up his words with wins, such as his victory over Rey Mysterio this week.
Andrade's on-screen partner, Zelina Vega, could rock a regal outfit like no other while being a great mouthpiece to hype him, much like Queen Sharmell did for King Booker T.
Andrade also fits the Ali build of being someone who seemed ready for at least a midcard title but missed out.
Winning King of the Ring may be what gets him into the proper main event scene even better than the Intercontinental or United States Championships could, as this wouldn't limit him from challenging Rollins or Kofi Kingston for their titles.
He is at least a guaranteed semifinalist, and only one man stands a better chance.
No. 1: Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre has been on the cusp of becoming a world champion since coming to Raw in the 2018 Superstar Shake-up, and it's about time he gets put back on track.
The Scot's path to success has taken detours for too long, such as teaming up with Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Lashley or having random side feuds in the midcard with the likes of Cedric Alexander.
The aesthetic of The Scottish Psychopath decked out in a King of the Ring outfit could be the missing element needed to win fans over on the idea of him as a future universal champion.
Winning this tournament would legitimize him as a threat who can get the job done. He fits the bill as a heel and a serious contender who wouldn't need to change his gimmick.
McIntyre is the top contender to be the next King of the Ring, and that journey starts on Monday.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.