Why does WWE refuse to give us another King of the Ring tournament? You'd be hard-pressed to find a fan who genuinely doesn't like the concept. It's genius, really: a set of matches used to build the next WWE star, and no one would even question that wrestler's rise to the top. If anything, WWE should run multiple kinds of these tournaments a year because they lack star power.
Before this turns into a WWE witch hunt, let's focus on the task at hand: crowning a new King within the WWE landscape. The Brand Split has made this easy for us (yet another reason this tournament should return): we have chosen 8 Raw and 8 SmackDown superstars who will compete against each other, with the finals of the King of the Ring tournament ending with one competitor form each brand facing off against each the other for the crown.
For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on current storylines and feuds - it's just that much easier to accomplish. Furthermore, don't try and situate this on a WWE timeline of real events - this is fantasy booking after all! Let's just say it was a one-night special on the WWE Network. We've included established stars, newcomers, members of tag teams, and people who are one step away from breaking that glass ceiling. Let the King of the Ring tournament commence!
15 Raw Quarter Finals
15. CESARO VS SHEAMUS
The tag team partners who don't like each other! Since we're currently being treated to this mashup of thrown-together competitors who are trying to win the Tag Team Titles, why not have them face off in the first round of the King of the Ring tournament?
Cesaro and Sheamus had a series of awesome matches that led to (almost) nothing, so this match would truly give us a winner of that feud, rectifying that weird decision of not having someone come out on top. Sheamus can play off the fact he's aready won the tournament, while Cesaro can use it as motivation to take that next step that's alluded him so far during his time in the WWE (even though he won the inaugural Andre the Giant Battle Royal...).
It would be a hard-hitting affair, with Cesaro coming out on top, because no one wants to see Sheamus win it again.
14 Cedric Alexander vs Jericho
One of the biggest complaints fans have had about the Cruiserweight Division is the segregation of the talent. The color purple being used excessively (title, lights, ring ropes) doesn't help, but that's far from the biggest issue: why don't these wrestlers interact with any other member of the main roster?
Enter Cedric Alexander, arguably the most over Cruiserweight competitor besides TJ Perkins. He expresses interest in participating in the tournament, and out comes Jericho to belittle him, adding him to The List.
The two would meet in what would undeniably be a great match, with Y2J putting over the young gun. Not only is Jericho not hurt by the loss, but Alexander's win would prove that the Cruiserweight competitors are to be taken seriously, showing how they are on par with the rest of the main roster.
13 Big Cass vs Big E
Who is the better "Big"? The two more sizeable members of fan-favorite tag teams, this match could lead to a potnetial feud between the two most groups in the company. But for now, we have New Day's Big E facing off against Big Cass (of Cass and Enzo fame) in the quest for the King of the Ring crown.
In order to decide which member would represent their respective group in the tourney, some sort of fun shenanigans would take place between both teams who have a knack for entertaining the crowd. We're not here to book the how and the why of that, so let's just go with a harmless game of Rock, Paper, Scissors both big guys would win.
As for who would win the match, we couldn't go against Big Cass, who seems to be in line for a massive push once he's done teaming with his little buddy Enzo.
12 Sami Zayn vs Rusev
If you don't like Sami Zayn, you have no soul (that's not a comment towards his orangey hair, just to be clear). He is the quintessential baby face you can't help but root for. If that wasn't enough, he's a phenomenal wrestler who could hang with anyone - even the mammoth Rusev.
Since WWE loves David vs Goliath storylines and matches, we thought we'd present one here as the Underdog From The Underground would take the fight to the Bulgarian Brute. Unfortunately, we're giving the win to Rusev after a closer-than-it-should-have-been fight, with Sami Zayn making himself and his opponent look like a million bucks in defeat - as he always does.
11 SmackDown Quarter Finals
11. JOHN CENA VS RANDY ORTON
Yes, you read that right. Two of the biggest superstars to ever grace the ring face off in the first round of the King of the Ring tournament. Not only have John Cena and Randy Orton not won the prestigious tournament, Cena hasn't even competed in one!
The reasoning is simple: both guys have a loooong history with each other, but now in their later years have come to respect one another. So what better way to add some star power to the tourney than by having a competitve yet "friendly" matchup between these two long-time rivals? The whole thing instantly gets more credibility, and we don't have to suffer from these two beating out their competition since they face each other in the first round.
As for the winner, let's give it to Cena, who is on his quest to add one of the major accomplishments he hasn't achieved on his resume.
10 Kane vs Baron Corbin
The Baron Corbin experiment is quickly dying out, and he needs something big to keep him afloat on the main roster. Kane, the grizzled veteran who shouldn't be winning any kind of meaningful match at this point of his career, is the perfect first round opponent for the Baron Corbin revival push.
While the outcome shouldn't be in doubt, Corbin would still get a win over someone who is still seen as a semi big deal because of his history with the company. This shouldn't be a competitive match; Corbin should bulldozer his way through Kane, establishing the young star as a force to be reckoned with.
9 Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz
The Battle of Cleveland Ohio, Part 37! But in all seriousness, a match between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz in the first round makes perfect sense. Both competitors have a history with each other, and both would make ideal Kings of the Ring. They've both been world champions and have sniffed the main event scene (The Miz moreso for actually headlining a WrestleMania) but have never had a long, established role at the top. This would be the perfect platform to launch either of these veterans to the promised land - and keep them there.
So the question now becomes... who would win? While The Miz would make for a great obnoxious King alongside his Queen Maryse, Dolph may need it more in order to stay afloat because of his history of always losing when it counts the most. Ziggler gets the win after a failed Maryse-ference - the best kind of interference!
8 Bray Wyatt vs Apollo Crews
Can you imagine Bray Wyatt as the King of the Ring? Not sure about you, but I'd LOVE to see some kind of twisted Dark King of the WWE storyline that leads him to the top of the card with a much-deserved World Title reign. If Wyatt won the tournament, it would almost make up for all the bad booking he has suffered through - almost.
Wyatt would go on and on about becoming their King, with his subjects doing his evil bidding - not unlike what he's doing now, actually. Enter squeaky clean baby face Apollo Crews, come to stop the Dark King from becoming a thing. Crews would be the first victim of the Dark King's reign, as Wyatt would beat him with a kiss - oh, and a Sister Abigail.
7 Raw Semi Finals
7. CESARO VS CEDRIC ALEXANDER
This match would be all sorts of fun. Just imagine how long Cesaro's big swing could last! Building on what we said earlier about the Cruiserweight Division, Cedric would command respect from Cesaro, who is actually very familiar with wrestling lighter, more athletic competitors from his days in Ring of Honor (as Claudio Castagnoli).
Ultimately though, Alexander would lose, as Cesaro would be too much for him to handle. It would be a hard-fought match from both competitors, with Cedric proving he belongs with the big boys as Cesaro would show him respect with a handshake after the match.
The Swiss Superman would be a finalist on Raw's side of the tournament, but who would he face? Well, let's find out!
6 Big Cass vs Rusev
This would be an intersting match because a vast majority of the time, Rusev is so dominant because he has the size advantage over his opponents. Not this time around!Big Cass would be a perfect foil for the Bulgarian Brute, as the two would engage in a tough fight with power moves galore.
Let's not forget about who would be at ringside for each competitor: we can see Enzo pulling a "How you doin'?" on an uninterested Lana, that would most likely cause a distraction for Rusev. We can just imagine him screaming at the top of his lungs: "DON'T TOUCH MY WIFE YOU PUNY LITTLE MAN!"
Rusev would ultimately walk out as the victor, since it's a little too soon for Big Cass to reach that high point as a singles competitor.
5 SmackDown Semi Finals
5. JOHN CENA VS BARON CORBIN
I'm sure this is a feud we will definitely see at some point down the line if the faith in Corbin remains. It's just what Cena does: overcome big, imposing heels. And frankly, we're going to go with a Cena win here in a very tightly contested match, with Corbin even kicking out of the Attitude Adjustment, ultimately losing to the STF by passing out, making him look strong in the process.
Cena continues his quest of adding another feather in his very feathery hat, and Corbin looks great in defeat. See? Is it that hard WWE? You still give Super Cena a win, and his opponents don't look like complete crud in the process.
4 Dolph Ziggler vs Bray Wyatt
The Eater of Worlds vs The Showoff. These two have never really had an extended program together, so it would be a fresh enough match that would pit a fan-favorite babyface against an evil cult leader out to become some sort of Demon King (copyright Finn Balor).
Although both men need the victory to re-establish themselves as serious competitors in the WWE, Wyatt has the higher upside of the two and would benefit more from getting one step closer to the crown. Mind games and creepy tomfoolery would be enough to get under Ziggler's skin, which would ultimately cost him the match.
3 Raw Finals
3. CESARO VS RUSEV
As good ol' Jim Ross would say, "THIS IS GOING TO BE A SLOBBERKNOCKER!" What that means, we're not entirely sure, but some slobs would definitely be knocked in this fight that's sure to be stiff and hard-hitting. Cesaro is big enough to contend with Rusev's immense strength, and he has the added advantage of being much more agile and quick.
Although a King Rusev storyline would be amazing ("BOW DOWN TO YOUR KING AND QUEEN, PEASANTS!") we're going with Cesaro to reach the finals and represent team red. Why? He simply needs it more. It would allow him to finally break through and reach that main event level he deserves to be in.
2 SmackDown Finals
2. JOHN CENA VS BRAY WYATT
Bray Wyatt was unstoppable. He had a mystique about him that spelled "star" and "future world champion." And then he seemed to hit a wall.
AND THAT WALL'S NAME WAS JOOOOOOOHN CENAAAAAA!
Ever since their feud and matchup at WrestleMania XXX, Bray Wyatt has been the guy who's good, but not good enough, as he lost the match (and overall feud) to Super Cena. Well, we're rectifying that mistake with a huge CLEAN win for Bray as he would kick out of everything that Cena shot at him, showing his resilience on his quest for a Dark Kingdom.
Plus, Cena really doesn't need the win. It was a nice story for him to try and win it, but that elusive King of he Ring crown will remain far away from his reach.
1 King Of The Ring Finals
1. CESARO VS BRAY WYATT
This would be a hell of a final match. If Super Cena couldn't defeat The Eater of Worlds, perhaps the Swiss Superman can overcome the evil threat and prevent the Dark King from rising. Corner uppercuts, big swings, creepy spider walks, Sister Abigails - this match would have it all.
But in the end, who would want it more? Do you go with the feel-good story of Cesaro winning the crown and going on to bigger, better things - like a Universal Title reign? Or do you go with a Bray Wyatt win that would lead to a reign of terror the likes of which we haven't seen since The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness days?
The time has come to crown a Dark King, ladies and gentlemen, ushering in a new era of fear that would lead to the biggest, most unstoppable heel the WWE has seen in years. Or, you know, you could give the win to R-Truth and treat it like a joke.