WWE brought back the King of the Ring Tournament after a four-year absence. As a matter of fact, there has only been a tournament for this prestigious crown four times since Brock Lesnar won it in 2002. Out of those four events, the only one that held any real significance was when King Booker won it in 2006.
However, the WWE King of the Ring Tournament has presented the WWE Universe with amazing moments, and some of the best winners used it to catapult their career to unbelievable heights. Macho King Randy Savage led to a reunion with Miss Elizabeth. King Harley Race gave an NWA legend a new life in WWE, and Stone Cold Steve Austin introduced Austin 3:16 at the King of the Ring Tournament. However, some of the winners just sucked.
10 BROCK LESNAR
Someone has to be ranked 10th on this list, and honestly, Brock Lesnar wasn't that bad of a King of the Ring winner. It was one step in his fast rise to the top of WWE. The reason Brock ranks here over someone like Edge is that Lesnar didn't care about the tournament one way or the other.
Lesnar won the tournament in 2002 shortly after his debut on the main roster. However, all he cared about was beating the hell out of anyone in his way. He won by beating Rob Van Dam in the finals and then moved on to win his first world title as a rookie.
9 MILLION DOLLAR MAN
The Million Dollar Man was the fourth man to win the King of the Ring tournament, and it seemed like such a waste. Ted DiBiase beat the previous winner Macho King Randy Savage in the finals after getting past Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, Ken Patera, and Ron Bass.
What made this win rough was that DiBiase won by count-out. Not only could DiBiase not win a world title from Randy Savage, but he couldn't even win the King of the Ring cleanly. DiBiase was best as the Million Dollar Champion and never needed the crown.
In 2010, WWE brought back King of the Ring and this time Sheamus won the tournament by beating John Morrison in the finals. Now, it looked great seeing Sheamus with the crown and cape, and he looked like someone straight out of Game of Thrones.
However, Sheamus did not need to win this tournament. He was already a two-time world champion, so he didn't need the push. It was like an attempt to re-kickstart his push, and it backfired. WWE wanted Sheamus to be their next major heel, and the fans didn't.
7 KEN SHAMROCK
Ken Shamrock was great. He was better than his opportunities, although it was his choice to return to the UFC just when it looked like WWE wanted to push him into a world title feud. Shamrock won the King of the Ring Tournament in 1998 by beating The Rock in the finals.
That is one hell of a push. Then to follow it up, Shamrock feuded with Mabel and then turned heel and joined the Corporation. His tournament win never led to anything major outside of the IC title, and then he was gone in 1999.
6 DON MURACO
Maybe Don "The Magnificent" Muraco should not be ranked this low. He was the winner of the first King of the Ring Tournament. However, being first does not mean you were great. Hacksaw Jim Duggan won the first Royal Rumble.
Magnificent Muraco was a great Intercontinental Champion in his day, but when the King of the Ring Tournament came around in 1985, he was slowing down, and his push was ending. Instead of relaunching his career, his win in the tournament led back to the mid-card and his release in 1988.
5 BAD NEWS BARRETT
It had been five years since Sheamus won the last King of the Ring Tournament in 2010. WWE announced they were bringing it back and it ended up similar to this year's with the matches on TV. The finals saw Wade "Bad News" Barrett beat Neville to win the tournament.
Bad News Barrett became King Barrett, and while he sure carried himself like a king, Barrett was always great at whatever gimmick WWE threw at him. Sadly, he moved from the tournament into a tag team followed by The League of Nations and then he asked for his release the next year.
4 WILLIAM REGAL
William Regal is awesome. First of all, this is not really about anything Regal did in the tournament, but his actions afterward. Regal won the crown in 2008, and he could have been simply amazing in the role as King of the Ring.
However, he was General Manager at the time and ended up in a "loser gets fired feud" with Mr. Kennedy—and lost. The King of the Ring was gone. It turned out that Regal served a wellness suspension and it made his tournament win worthless.
3 TITO SANTANA
Tito Santana was a solid mid-card WWE superstar, but he was never someone that the company could use in the main event scene. For a time, he was a solid hand as the Intercontinental Champion, and then later he became a tag team specialist when he teamed with Rick Martel.
The 1989 King of the Ring Tournament was not there to push someone to the main event. Instead, Tito Santana roared through Bad News Brown, The Warlord, and Akeem—three super heavyweights—before he faced and beat his tag team partner Rick Martel. Yes, this tournament was a story to split up their tag team.
2 BILLY GUNN
WWE wanted Billy Gunn to be a major singles star. While he had the body and attitude for the main event, there was always something missing. Instead, Gunn settled into a great tag team wrestler, first in the Smoking Guns and then in the New Age Outlaws and DX.
That didn't stop WWE from sending Billy after the Intercontinental title and Hardcore title, as well as having him in the King of the Ring Tournament in 1999. At that time, King of the Ring was about building stars. It worked for Stone Cold and Triple H. It was just another pitstop for Gunn before The Rock buried him and sent him back to the tag team division.
There is no question that the worst King of the Ring Tournament winner of all time was Mabel. The big man was a member of Men on a Mission, and then WWE decided to push him as a monster singles star. They wanted him to be the next massive heel, but all fans saw was an enormous disappointment.
He actually beat Undertaker in the second round of the tournament before winning by beating Savio Vega. Mabel won the tournament and got a world title shot against Diesel. He lost and then injured Undertaker in a feud, so WWE released him in 1996.