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KotR: Breaking Down The RAW Field

WWE’s King Of The Ring starts in earnest tonight and has fans buzzing as the possibilities of what could happen over the next few weeks and gives sixteen Superstars a chance to be in the spotlight a bit and build some character development even if they lose a match in the early rounds.

Let’s look at not who is going to win – right now that question is wide open as you can easily make a case for half the field – but who should and shouldn’t win and why…

See ya Bye!

Cedric Alexander

Why he should win: If you’re going to claim that KotR is a tournament that helps “launch careers” then Cedric is a prime candidate to be the guy to win this whole thing. He fits the bill of a wrestler who needs something more than the announcers basically going “hey look, it’s noted wrestler Cedric Alexander!” when he comes out every week, and it’s not like winning four in a row against some of the best in WWE would be a stretch as he already has a win against Drew McIntyre…

Why he shouldn’t: … That win kind of came by the narrowest of margins and thanks to WWE’s 50-50 booking habit, has already been kind of muted thanks to Drew getting a win back last week. Cedric should look good in a win against Sami Zayn in the first round, but then WWE would have him just squeak out wins in every other round and what kind of king does that? Sorry, Cedric, it would be a good story, but it’s hard to see WWE making you into anything but a king that just barely earned his crown.

Sami Zayn

Why he should win: Because good grief Sami already loses enough on a weekly basis and he needs a strong showing here. That’s it. That’s the reason.

Why he shouldn’t: For the very reason, I just stated why he should win. If Cedric winning a tournament by beating four of WWE’s top stars would feel a bit of a stretch, then Sami – for whom I can’t recall the last time he won a legit one on one match-winning this thing would be asking fans to suspend disbelief on a level rarely seen for even WWE. Plus he already has the “critic of the critics” thing going and has always had an anti-establishment feel. Unless WWE wanted a complete 180 turn on the Sami character, winning KotR is kind of useless here.

 

Not fit to wear the crown.

The Miz

Why he should win: What is a king in 2019 if not just a strong upgrade from being an “A-lister”? The Miz could easily pull off a celebrity king persona that doesn’t have to be too heel-ish and as an added bonus, have cameos from his ‘princesses’ Maryse and Monroe Sky as you practically have a royal family that everyone actually enjoys watching. WWE could also lean more heavily into the fact that winning KotR for Miz is redemption for what happened in the “Best In The World” tournament, and it would be one more accomplishment added to what should by now be considered a very strong resume to be in the WWE Hall Of Fame someday.

Why he shouldn’t: At this point, if WWE is trying to build Miz as someone who is relatable to the fans, making him a royal won’t help. Unless the goal is to revert him back to arrogant “better than all of you” heel, it would be a little jarring to see Miz win the whole thing and then downplay the fact he’s earned the right to be king and not embrace the hell out of that which is something The Miz of a few years ago would absolutely do. A humble King Miz? That feels counterintuitive.

Ricochet

Why he should win: Much like The Miz, if they’re going to give Ricochet the crown then it feels like this would be more about him winning the tournament than winning the actual title and is yet another way to confirm him as someone that can hang week in and week out with the likes of AJ Styles and Seth Rollins. “King Ricochet” would only seem right for someone who was once “Prince Puma” in past wrestling life and is still known as king on various social media profiles.

Why he shouldn’t win: They already have a superhero gimmick carved out for him, so he really doesn’t need KotR even as a background title. You’ll notice as we go along that I personally feel the best way to use this tournament is to give the title of “king” to someone who doesn’t really have anything going on character-wise at the moment, and that’s where Ricochet is already taken care of. He also just had a run as US Champion and has wins over Samoa Joe and Styles, so it’s not like he needs the boost.

 

You have been found wanting.

Drew McIntyre

Why he should win: A phyco Scottish king? Who wouldn’t want to see that? The booking for Drew has been a bit spotty as he’s gone from NXT powerhouse to also-ran in a Baron Corbin led mini-stable, to a designated loser for Shane McMahon, and now in the aforementioned 50-50 battle with Cedric. Drew mowing through KotR and establishing himself as a badass king would be quite welcome.

Why he shouldn’t win: Meh, kind of feels like they’ve already done this bit with Sheamus and it really didn’t pan out. Drew not winning isn’t so much a slight on him, it’s just that there are better picks to make king and would probably have a more lasting impact. King McIntyre would be fun for a few weeks, then lose its appeal quickly.

Samoa Joe

Why he should win: If anyone could tear through four matches in convincing fashion, it’s Joe. If anyone could pull off an “angry king” gimmick, it’s Joe. Much like Drew McIntyre, fans would enjoy seeing him win the whole thing and then what his spin on being a wrestling king would look like. If anything, wouldn’t him winning make him “High Chief Samoa Joe”? That would be fun to see play out.

Why he shouldn’t win: Much like Drew, Joe winning would be nice for a little bit, but the novelty would wear out quicker than it would with other winners. Joe is already a pretty impressive sight in the arenas and on TV that adding the title of the king would be kind of pointless. It doesn’t really add anything to an already well-established character.

 

Prepare the throne!

Cesaro

Why he should win: Cesaro checks all the boxes for me when it comes to deciding who should win KotR. Would four wins help establish him as a force to be dealt with? Yes. Would you believe he could win four matches in a row? Absolutely. Does he have the whole “smug foreigner guy” bit that pairs so well with being a king? Yup. Does he have anything going on gimmick wise right now? Not really. Would fans actually embrace him winning? They’ve only been wanting to see him be given the ball to run with for the last four years, so of course, they would. King Cesaro makes far too much sense for it not to happen.

Why he shouldn’t win: Say what you want about how WWE has handled him in the past, but the fact is he has been given chances to take something good to go on a run with in the past and he just hasn’t. I never get the sense from him that even when WWE puts him in positions to succeed – think Andre The Giant Battle Royal or any of his title run – that he’s been proactive in his own end to make fans care. As talented as he is in the ring, you have to make fans give a damn about you as an actual person and I’d argue most fans beyond the fact that he’s a good worker don’t really care that much about Cesaro because he’s never given them a reason to. Maybe making him king would help that.

Baron Corbin

Why he should win: Now that he’s out of the program with Seth Rollins – and has subsequently been off of TV since – this feels like a great and natural spot to put him. You’ll notice that as I’ve gone along here I’ve leaned mostly towards heels winning the title of king and for good reason, as there is just something hateable with the concept of kings and royalty and people already love to hate Corbin. Looking past how hateable his character has been, Baron is legitimately one of WWE’s best workers and can have a solid match with anyone. (Quick, name the last “bad” Corbin match you saw. He’s come a long way the last two years)

Why he shouldn’t win: Outside of fans complaining that WWE keeps pushing Corbin – which outside of him hanging around the main event picture, they really haven’t given him much of a push at all as far as victories and titles go – there isn’t really any good reason for Corbin not to win. This is also a case where he could sneak out a couple of wins via heel treachery and it would totally fit in with his character. The only true argument against Corbin winning is that he is already hateable enough and over as a heel without the crown that it would feel like a missed opportunity for someone else, but giving it to Corbin would be a very safe play for WWE.