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KotR: Breaking Down The Smackdown Field

Monday night saw the kick-off of the 2019 King Of The Ring tournament on RAW and tonight we continue the shenanigans over on Smackdown. As I did yesterday, I’ll look over the field on the Smackdown side of the bracket and go over each individual and why he should and shouldn’t be the last man standing once the final match happens at Clash Of Champions.

Seeya Bye!

Kevin Owens

Why he should win: If WWE really wants to make The KO Show a top draw as it heads over to FOX this fall, then establishing Kevin in the KotR is a great way to do it. It worked wonders for Steve Austin and you’ve already let Owens have the Stunner… so why not this as well?

Why he shouldn’t: It’s much easier to “screw” Owens out of a win in the tournament – perhaps as early as tonight as he faces Elias who he’s had recent issues with – and continue to build Owens as a bit of a sympathetic babyface who continues to fight despite the odds. Plus as I established yesterday, the title of king lends itself to more of a heel-ish, evil nature and if WWE is trying to get Owens over as a fighting every-man type, then King Owens isn’t the best option.

Shelton Benjamin

Why he should win:

Why he shouldn’t:

 

Not fit to wear the crown.

Chad Gable

Why he should win: The King Of The Ring tournament should be a great showcase for a talent like Chad Gable and while I don’t see him winning it, he should make a run into the semi-finals at least to at least help establish himself as a top talent on Smackdown, but the one thing an outright tournament victory would give him is a gimmick. Something other than “Chad Gable: Super good wrestler”

Why he shouldn’t: Because with those couple of wins in this tournament, he can then parlay that into a nice run with the cruiserweight division which he’s been seen dipping his toe into the last handful of weeks. One of the things WWE needs to start doing more of to get fans invested in 205 Live is to get those guys fighting the bigger main roster guys and while not winning every single fight, put up great matches. Seeing guys like Buddy Murphy hang with Roman Reigns or Cedric Alexander beat Drew McIntyre is a pretty good way to establish the 205 division as weekly must-see TV and having Gable lead that after a strong KotR run without winning it would sure help.

Elias

Why he should win: Recent 24/7 championship win notwithstanding, Elias hasn’t had anything in terms of a title victory or championship run since his main roster debut in 2017. That seems a bit crazy for someone who is consistently entertaining on the mic (and guitar) as well as a strong performer in the ring. You’d think there would at least be a short stint with a secondary title in there somewhere. WWE could make up for that shortfall by giving him a KOTR victory. Besides, who wouldn’t want a singing king?

Why he shouldn’t win: He’s already well established on the main roster – despite the lack of titles – and on top of having one of the best gimmicks in the company that people just have yet to get tired of even two years after it debuted, there are things like being Shane McMahon’s latest sidekick that keep him relevant. King Elias would be cool and all, but it’s not really needed.

 

You have been found wanting.

Buddy Murphy & Ali

Why he should win: I’m going to give the same reasons for why both of these guys because they have the same kind of background both being from 205 Live and now working the main roster. They are both talented as all get out and if WWE wants to stay true to this “KOTR is a launching pad for stars” then Murphy and Ali are two very strong picks to give that kind of push to. I would maybe lean toward Buddy needing it a bit more than Ali because…

Why Ali shouldn’t win: … At this point because as I’ve already kind of established, the role of a wrestling king should fall more to the heel side of things and Ali is positioned well as an inspiring babyface already and outside of being able to say he won the tournament and spinning that into an “it doesn’t matter who you are” message, there really is no gain to him winning.

Why Buddy shouldn’t win: He’s been a consistently good match on 205 Live and his match against Roman was good, but it was also carried a bit by Roman as well, so we still don’t know how well Buddy will fit in on the main roster. Also even winning the tournament I have a hard time seeing him as someone that can be “launched” into upper mid-card status let alone main event tier. One thing that I feel could help him is if WWE does give him the nod, surround him with a stable of sorts with Murphy of course as king in the lead. What better way to use King Of The Ring than to have it help elevate the status of a handful of wrestlers instead of just one?

 

Prepare the throne!

Apollo Crews

Why he should win: Firstly, “King Crews” is a fantastic name and that alone earns him points in his favor. Beyond that though, Apollo has all the tools and the look to be a superstar, but desperately needs character development beyond “guy who smiles a lot.” I’m still astonished that even with a run in Titus Worldwide where we had Titus who has all kinds of charisma and personality and even got to see Dana Brooke develop as a character, Apollo still came out of that as just plain ol’ Apollo. Someone who performs as well as he does in the ring shouldn’t be so generic out of it. Maybe he wins KOTR, is still happy-go-lucky for a while and then a classic arrogant heel side comes out where he starts to embrace his true royalty.

Why he shouldn’t win: Yeah, about that last part? I have zero confidence he could pull that off.

Andrade

Why he should win: WWE is starting to make Andrade feel pretty important thanks to his convincing feud victory over Rey Mysterio and even in losses he still has great showings. That all said, he hasn’t won a title on the main roster and it feels like he’s overdue for something big. KOTR can been that big something. Added bonus, you get Zelina Vega as queen… even though they aren’t romantically linked in either real life or kayfabe.. but would Vega settle for “princess” or “hand of the king” or some sort of title like that? Sherry Martel was queen when Randy Savage was king and we know they weren’t “linked” right, so why not Andrade and Vega? I’d want to see Andrade win just to see how WWE handles that.

Why he shouldn’t win: I have thought about this for a full week since it was announced and I honestly can’t think of a good reason why he shouldn’t win. At least, not any reason attached to the man himself. WWE might give the nod to someone else who maybe needs the push a little more (Crews or Murphy) because Andrade is well on his way to establishing himself as the main event talent without the accolade, but if WWE wanted to ramp up his rising star status, handing him the crown would be a huge boost.