The 2019 edition of King of the Ring kicks off Monday, but WWE's blockbuster tournament is hardly the only high-profile happening on the USA Network broadcast.
United States champion AJ Styles facing a monstrous challenge to his title, the fallout from Sasha Banks' shocking return a week ago and the latest for universal champion Seth Rollins are all on-tap for what should be a noteworthy edition of WWE's flagship.
- King of the Ring Opening Round Match: Samoa Joe vs. Cesaro
- King of the Ring Opening Round Match: Cedric Alexander vs. Sami Zayn
- United States Championship Match: Braun Strowman vs. AJ Styles
A Monstrous Challenger
The closing moments of last week's show saw Braun Strowman rush the ring, making the save for both Ricochet and universal champion Seth Rollins as they endured a beatdown at the hands of The OC.
The fallout? AJ Styles voluntarily putting his United States Championship on the line against The Monster Among Men in the main event of this week's episode.
Why would Styles willingly take on Strowman with his own title up for grabs? All signs point to some sort of premeditated plot to pay the big man back for his actions a week ago.
With Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson ready to pounce, it will be interesting to see how long the match goes before The Good Brothers make their presence felt.
The bigger question: Will Ricochet and Rollins look out for the monster in the same way he did for them, or will he be left on his own to suffer a crushing three-on-one beatdown?
The storyline potential is great, but this match, the one non-King of the Ring tournament bout announced for the broadcast, feels more like a plot device than a genuine attempt to bring a barn-burner to the main event of the show.
Crowning a King
The 2019 King of the Ring tournament kicks off Monday with two potentially superb matches.
Samoa Joe and Cesaro are two of the most celebrated in-ring competitors of their generation. They have battled across the globe, delivering classic encounters with every major name and main event star in the world.
They have not, to this point, had a significant match of any kind in WWE.
Monday, they battle for the right to advance to the next round in a bout that will be tasked with setting the tone for the tournament.
Another such match will see Cedric Alexander battle Sami Zayn.
The latter is on a losing streak of sorts, while Alexander is riding a wave of momentum following outstanding work with Drew McIntyre in a series of matches.
It seems most likely that Alexander would pull off the victory, but these are the types of situations in which WWE chairman Vince McMahon intentionally cools someone down to make their eventual victory appear less obvious.
Do not be surprised to see Zayn pull off the win.
King of the Ring action will continue on SmackDown Live Tuesday with Kevin Owens vs. Elias and Apollo Crews vs. Andrade.
The Boss Comes Around
Sasha Banks made a shocking return a week ago, brutally assaulting Natalya before turning a steel chair on Becky Lynch. It was The Boss' first appearance of any kind on WWE TV since losing the tag team titles to The IIconics at WrestleMania 35 last April.
The shedding of a purple wig and the revelation of a new, blue shade of hair not only signified the beginning of a new stylistic direction, but it also represented her shedding the old babyface persona that she had spent years wrapped up in and the birth of a new, edgier and nastier attitude.
By coming back to reclaim gold, doing so by stepping up to The Man, she has interjected herself in the Raw Women's Championship picture and injected life into a division lacking credible challengers to Lynch's throne.
Monday's show should feature an explanation for her actions, giving fans a deeper, more complex look into the psyche of Banks.
And if the above tweet by Lynch is any indication, expect retribution from The Man.