King of the Ring is one of the old wrestling traditions which died out as wrestling entered its modern phase. While the King of the Ring was once used to crown the future stars of the company before they had their first big title wins, the King of the Ring started to become a gimmick which just led the winner to call himself King. While when the likes of Brock Lesnar won it, they got their rightful title shot as it was meant to be but that tradition was seemingly discontinued by the time we saw Booker T, William Regal, Sheamus and Wade Barrett win it. Considering how most of the steam around the competitions as gone, WWE started holding it infrequently, holding one in 2002 then 2006 followed by three kings in the next 9 years. They were crowned in 2008, 2010 and 2015. WWE announcing it’s comeback after 4 years is intriguing to say the least, but the reasons seem pretty obvious. So, let’s take a look at Why WWE Brought King of the Ring Back.
WWE made an announcement on Raw that the fan favorite tournament will be making a comeback next week, as the pre-elimination rounds for the competition will begin on Raw. King of the Ring has been won by competitors like Triple H, Stone Cold, Bret Hart, Edge, Brock Lesnar etc. before and all of them ended up winning world championships after their wins. Only Sheamus and Booker T were wrestlers that had first won a world championship and then the King of the Ring. King of the Ring was a WWE Network Exclusive the last time it happened in 2015. Only the quarter final matches took place on Raw, while the semis and the finals saw an entire show dedicated to it.
The reason for the return of this tournament is obvious. Ratings. WWE are trying to plug their ratings by announcing stuff with actual stakes in it. The only problem is that the last few tournaments haven’t seen any top stars be a part of the competition, thus fan interest is always limited. Along with the point about how fans enjoy watching things which have stakes, KOTR doesn’t have any real stakes outside the fact that you will become the King. In the olden times, the winner would get a title shot and this tournament was used to anoint young stars for the future and see if they can do well under the spotlight. This is why some of the biggest superstars of the Attitude Era and some from the Ruthless Aggression Era first won King of the Ring, thus proving that they can succeed with the spotlight. It may bring back some jaded viewers who’ll be excited for the tournament, but without any long term implications on storyline, WWE are just putting a temporary plug in the ratings which won’t have any long term change.
WWE has confirmed the competitors for the King Of The Ring tournament. Baron Corbin, Cesaro, Cedric Alexander, Drew McIntyre, Ricochet, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, and The Miz are the eight competitors from RAW. The other eight are from SmackDown and they are Ali, Andrade, Apollo Crews, Buddy Murphy, Chad Gable, Elias, Kevin Owens, and Shelton Benjamin.