Power Ranking Who Needs WWE King of the Ring Win the Most
The 2019 WWE King of the Ring tournament has been nothing short of spectacular thus far, with almost every match delivering in one way or another. They have easily been the best parts of SmackDown Live and Raw in recent weeks and have handed several stars the opportunity to shine.
This week will feature the semifinals with Ricochet, Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin clashing in a Triple Threat on Raw and Chad Gable battling Elias on SmackDown. The winners of those two matches will meet in the finals this Sunday at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view.
Although it has been many years since King of the Ring last elevated anyone, the way it's been handled so far has given fans hope that WWE intends to take it seriously this time around. Plus, most of the competitors in the 2019 tourney are fresh faces and could use something such as the coveted crown to get them to that next level.
It seems to be more difficult than ever nowadays for wrestlers to maintain a consistent presence on WWE TV, which is exactly why winning King of the Ring can be career-changing for one of these fortunate five athletes.
They may not be immediately contending for a world title, but to be in the same company as past winners such as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Edge and Brock Lesnar will greatly boost their stock.
WWE must ensure the eventual victor doesn't fall by the wayside a la King Barrett, King Sheamus, and King Mabel.
Here's the order of Superstars who would benefit the most from becoming King of the Ring this year.
5. Baron Corbin
WWE has done everything in its power to convince viewers that Baron Corbin is main event material. Unfortunately, their efforts have been unsuccessful.
Corbin won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal immediately upon his arrival on the main roster in 2016. The following year, he became Mr. Money in the Bank before capturing the United States Championship soon after.
He went on to run Raw as its general manager in the second half of 2018 and even ended the in-ring career of Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 35. Despite all that, The Lone Wolf never felt like a true threat to Seth Rollins' Universal Championship during their lengthy feud this past summer.
Of course, that could change if he comes out on top in King of the Ring, but the crown should be saved for someone who hasn't had a chance at superstardom yet. Corbin can enter the main event scene whenever he wants, meaning he doesn't need the victory as much as the other remaining competitors.
Sure, he would generate a great deal of heat from fans for winning the whole thing, but in reality, it'd simply be a waste of what has been a tremendous tourney so far.
Corbin would be better off remaining in the midcard for the time being and continuing to work with smaller Superstars as he has been lately.
King of the Ring has had its fair share of underwhelming winners over the years, and Elias would most definitely be among those infamous few if he ends up taking home the crown at Clash of Champions.
That's not meant to be a knock against Elias' talent, but it has become clear since his WWE debut two years ago that he is not destined for world championship glory.
As entertaining as he has been on both Raw and SmackDown Live, he simply isn't a believable contender to either the WWE or universal title.
Twenty years ago, WWE made the mistake of having Billy Gunn emerge victorious in the King of the Ring tournament. Similar to Elias, he was a great hand to have in the ring and often mixed it up with main event stars, but giving him the crown proved to be a waste because of how he didn't amount to much in WWE on his own.
The same would happen to Elias if WWE had him go all the way and take home the cape and crown. Proclaiming himself as the king of the the company would keep him busy for a bit, but beyond the first few weeks, he'd be right back to where he was before.
Elias has already gone as far as he can with his current character. He'd be no different to any of the other one-dimensional kings of the past and would fade off into obscurity if he were to win on Sunday.
Unlike Corbin, though, at least it would give him his first major accomplishment in WWE. He's slightly favored over The Lone Wolf in that respect, but not by much.
If King Ricochet sounds like it has a nice ring to it, that's because the aerial artist previously used that as one of his many monikers during his time on the independent scene earlier in his career.
He ditched the nickname upon coming to WWE at the onset of 2018, but perhaps it's time he reclaimed the crown now that the King of the Ring tournament has returned. He knocked off Drew McIntyre in the first round before wrestling Samoa Joe to a draw in the quarterfinals.
A Triple Threat in the semifinals is practically unprecedented, but it would be a perfect opportunity for him to advance without pinning Joe. He has been riding a wave of momentum since SummerSlam, so a spot in the King of the Ring finals would be fitting for him.
Lest we forget, Ricochet fell short of beating AJ Styles at back-to-back pay-per-views and failed to regain the United States Championship. He needs something to get him back on track, and a title win on Sunday could be just that.
He possesses all the tools necessary to be a big star in WWE. He's had a fairly decent main roster run up to this point, but becoming the next King of the Ring would instantly cement him as one of Raw's top babyfaces.
2. Samoa Joe
In the near-three years he has been a part of WWE's main roster, Samoa Joe hasn't racked up many accolades. Although he's held the United States Championship on two separate occasions, neither reign was terribly memorable or treated with any real reverence.
He has been afforded countless shots at the WWE and Universal Championships but has come up short every single time. There's no denying he should have held one of those two titles at least once by now, but hope may not be lost just yet.
The Samoan Submission Specialist promised fans at the start of the tournament that no one would stand his way of taking home the crown. So far, he has squashed Sami Zayn, decimated Cesaro and pushed Ricochet to his limit, so it finally feels like he's the dominant one-man wrecking crew he should have been this entire time.
King of the Ring would make Joe more than another stepping stone on the roster and position him as as a top talent on Raw. He wouldn't be one to constantly don the crown and would instead cut cutting-edge promos the same way Steve Austin did after claiming the title in 1996.
WWE desperately needs credible competition for Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston at the moment and Joe is the perfect person to fill that void. In order to earn another shot at the strap, he must first run through the remaining competitors in King of the Ring and reestablish himself as a force to be reckoned with.
1. Chad Gable
Very few fans expected Chad Gable to go all the way when the King of the Ring kicked off, but there's a decent chance he could (and should) win it all if he can come out on top in his next two matches.
At this time one month ago, he was hardly featured on WWE TV and wasn't being given a chance to showcase his skills outside of 205 Live. His first-round win over Shelton Benjamin wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but he did turn heads with his phenomenal performance against Andrade.
That match reminded fans that Gable is one of the best pure wrestlers on the roster right now. There are way more similarities between him and Kurt Angle than many may realize, and considering the Olympian once won the tournament, there's no reason Gable shouldn't follow in his footsteps.
More showings like the one he had on Tuesday will only help his cause and winning King of the Ring would put to rest the nonsensical idea he can't be successful because of his height. It wouldn't be enough for him to look good in defeat in the finals; he has to shock the world by wining the whole thing.
If nothing else, it'd be a refreshing to have a babyface King of the Ring for a change, and to see him slowly ascend to superstardom would be gratifying.
Similar to Samoa Joe, he doesn't need the corny cape and crown in order to feel powerful. After all, once that bell rings, it isn't hard to see what makes him the king of that squared circle.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.