Crowning A New King
February 8, 2006 by Ryab Kennaby

It was 2002. A match highly anticipated (but not up to the hype in which it was promised) took place that would change one mans life forever. Brock Lesnar defeated Test and Rob Van Dam in one night to become the 2002 King of the Ring Champion. Lesnar would then go on to win the Royal Rumble in 2003 and become a three time WWE champion. But the King of the Ring tournament didn't just make Brock Lesnar a star; it made various stars of today prospects for major titles and storylines.

The King of the Ring was a stepping stone; a place for a super star to break out of his shell, and was an equivalent to the Royal Rumble (minus the title shot). But that fateful night in 2002, would mark the final King of the Ring, as it never returned afterwards.

I, personally, enjoyed the King of the Ring each and every year. Although I only started watching wrestling a month before the 2000 King of the Ring, I was very into guys like Kurt Angle and the Hardy Boys. To my surprise, Kurt Angle won the King of the Ring tournament that year and made me the happiest eight year old ever. I was so disappointed after I found out Kurt Angle had two of the biggest titles around his waist and lost them in one night. But WWF(E) made quite the storyline for angle, and gave him the covenanted title of 2000 King of the Ring. Angle then went on to defeat the Rock for the WWF(E) title and has been a HUGE superstar in the WWE since. Before King of the Ring, Kurt Angle was just known as sort of a "good" wrestler, or a great midcarder. But the King of the Ring established him as being able to hang with guys like the Rock and Stone Cold.

A year later, one of the biggest shocks between me (this was before I realized various news sites that gave away things like this; which now sort of ruin wrestling) and my love of wrestling happened. Adam Copeland, better known as Edge, won the 2001 King of the Ring. As I tuned in, I could have sworn Angle was to become a back to back King of the Ring Champion. But to see Shane McMahon (who helped Angle win earlier in the night) screw Angle out of his consecutive title reign was a huge shock to a 9 year old like me who had no clue what was going on. After my parents some what explained it to me, I was so pissed. I wanted Angle to win. Being a wrestler myself (for my township), this angered me greatly. But when I realize it now as a varsity high school wrestler (who still loves Kurt Angle), that WWF(E) intended for this to push Edge to the caliber in which he is today. To see one half of one of the greatest tag teams of my time win a singles tournament, I just didn't get it. But Edge became a European, Intercontinental, and just recently a (former) WWE Champion. This has established Edge as a highly viewed and greatly decorated WWE superstar. Now I know I only know Billy Gunn was the 1999 King of the Ring, but after that I really couldn't tell you too much. Other then the fact that Bret Hart is the only consecutive champ and is just one of his many accomplishments that will probably propel him into the Hall of Fame. But with all this, I ask but one question.

What in God's name happened to one of the most prestige tournaments in wrestling history"

Was it because of the brand split" Was it losing its popularity" I can't really remember back when I was 10 how well or how "talked of" the 2002 King of the Ring was. All I know is that Brock Lesnar is one of the only ones to win both of the Royal Rumble and the King of the Ring, and after that it never returned. If it had to do with the brand split, why is the Royal Rumble still hear" They have fifteen superstar's from each brand go into a huge Battle Royal type match for a shot at immortality. Along with the shot, you go down as one of few to actually win the Royal Rumble. So what happened to the King of the Ring" Why is it now that 8 superstars from RAW and 8 superstars from Smackdown do not square off on the weekly shows until only 4 remain from each show" Then, at the King of the Ring pay per view, seven matches take place (along with other WWE story lined match's) and the unanimous winner will be declared the new King of the Ring" I just do not understand what happened to my favorite PPV. Is there something I'm missing"

Is there just not enough good talent (just a thought, in my view there's plenty)" If the King of the Ring were to happen in 2006, who would be in it" Who would win" How would WWE play off its almost 4 year absence" Do YOU want the King of the Ring to return, why or why not" So many questions could be answered but I only have one thing to conclude.

If there were to be a 2006 King of the Ring, it would be Matt Hardy. The most under-rated WWE superstar of today who needs that certain kick to get him to that main eventer status that his brother currently is in with TNA. Without a doubt a 2006 King of the Ring candidate, were it ever to return.

The King of the Ring is a lost fertile crescent of wrestling, and I pray to God in 2006 or sometime soon, it is found.

Feel free to post your comment and your dream King of the Ring for 2006 and comment on any part of the column. The feedback and corrective criticism is appreciated

by Ryab Kennaby..

[See What People Are Saying About This Column on the Forums]

Matthue Okarmus wrote:
Man, I totally agree with you. I loved the tournament. I remember seeing the first one and watching Bret Hart defeat Bam Bam, I loved it. I've thought about this too. With all the nostalgia that the WWE did the past few years, they should definitely bring this back. My dream KOTR for 2006 would be something like...

RVD vs Masters and Carlito vs Benjamin | Lashley vs Matt Hardy and Orlando Jordan vs Mysterio
RVD vs Carlito | Lashley vs Mysterio
RVD vs Mysterio -- RVD winning it
Chris Eaton wrote:
I belive that The King Of the Ring was an excelent ppv n i think if anyone was to win it if it returned it should be the Boogeyman or a young popular talent. I also think that they should have the 1/4 finals on the ppv card like they used to aswell because it makes the winner a rightfull winner good collom though
LanceCrucifix wrote:
I personally would like to see, Muhammad Hassan come back and take the King of The Ring crown. Hassan was a good worker, his character was entertaining, and I liked the terrorist angle! Yes I said it, but aside from that. I'd like to see a return of the KOTR Tourney.
Michael Sears wrote:
Well with the WWE pushing new, young stars, some obvious choices should be Chris Masters, Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, Bobby Lashley, Ken Kennedy, Matt Hardy, Paul London, Chavo Guerrero, and Paul Burchill. All are either former or potential IC and U.S. champs, and capable of being placed in the upper echelon of stars. With Batista, Randy Orton, and John Cena already leading the new generation, these superstars could fill in the gap of low to mid carders while still giving veterans a good run for their money and fresh new opponents. Masters should be the next IC champ, with Lashley going over JBL and taking the U.S. gold from Booker T, setting up a Lashley-Kennedy feud when Kennedy returns from injury. Burchill needs to be given more of an opportunity to showcase his athletic ability along with his array of unique moves. And for those of you unfamiliar with ROH, Paul London is one of the best in the world, just underutilized because he is a Cruiserweight. Chavo can be just as good as Eddie, at least in the charisma department. Instead of Randy Orton and Triple H using Eddie remarks for cheap heel heat, it would be better served to give pushes to guys like Rey and Chavo, albeit a sympathy push. What was the point of even letting Rey win the Rumble if he were to lose his shot"" Now who is he gonna work with at WM22" It should've been Edge (the hottest heel in recent history) vs. Rey at WM22, with Angle, Orton, and Undertaker in a Triple Threat. Taker could still work a good match ,and not necessarily be involved in the finish, thus staying undefeated. With Taker's impending retirement, it's time for the young guys to be established, and a renewed KOTR tournament is just the step needed to right the WWE ship.
George Kneller wrote:
I totally agree with almost everything of what you said. King of the Ring should defiantly come back. It was my third most anticipated Pay Per View of the year (trailing closely behind Wrestlemania and Royal Rumble) and I really don't see why WWF felt the need to remove it. I know that I wasn't the only wrestling fan that loved the King of the Ring. As for your suggestion that Matt Hardy should win the KOTR - if it were to return - it's a great one, although I can think of a superstar that might also be up for the top spot. Shelton Benjamin, I'm talking about. He is, in my opinion, too underrated.
Scott Hurley wrote:
I really liked the King of the Ring tourny. I'm big on tournements and battle royals. I remember it when it was a really big deal and fun to watch. From Harley Race, Randy Savage, and Haku to Bret Hart, Owen Hart, and Mabel. Those two eras of the King of the Ring were the best. Anything anfter 1999 wasnt really the best. I've been wanting them to bring it back ever since I realized that there wasnt going to be one in 2003. All they have to do to make that happen is do what they do for the rumble. Take half of the competitors from RAW the other half from Smackdown!

My dream 2006 King of the Ring" Bobby Lashley of course.
ChiChi Cardiel wrote:
Great Article!, i am as many wanting the King of the Ring tournament back. I mean, speak of the dream Matches, Randy Orton vs John Cena to really see who IS the future of the WWE,Lashley vs Masters or Shelton Benjamin vs Rey Mysterio..the return of would be a real boost to the wrestlers in that tournament. I would personally like to see Shelton Benjamin win the King of the Ring tourny without his "momma" Orton and Cena are already main-eventers and already considered WWEs backbone of New Generation...Bring King of the Ring Back!, thats my opinion.I would like to see the SmackDown! and Raw tension...
Taz23JS wrote:
I feel a little robbed with the loss of the KOTR tournament The WWE has in a way spoiled their wrestler bye ending this great event TNA wrestlers sometimes compete in more then one match in a single night and the wrestlers of old sure as hell did it so what makes the new bunch any different as far as I'm concerned it would be a break from the same old story lines every week is it me or is the WWE roster shrinking buy the year I mean maybe Vince should get some knew writing talent we don't need another great depression of wrestling.
Scott A. Williams wrote:
I definitely agree, though I see the necessary sacrifice and why KOTR got the axe. Tournaments always generate interest (even the recent RAW Wrestlemania tourney with its seemingly obvious Triple H victory conclusion,) and the winner usually proves himself to be a durable superstar... look at Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Kurt Angle... but when it failed, it failed bad, with Mabel's 1995 victory (Shawn Michaels, Yokozuna and the Undertaker were in the tourney - but it was Savio Vega in the finals"") epitomizing this. KOTR had to go because they wanted to budget the number of crossbrand PPVs to an even 4. Now, if it were up to me, I would have axed Survivor Series, but that has seniority and brings up the drudgery between SummerSlam and Royal Rumble, whereas KOTR comes quite soon after WrestleMania. I guess in the end, they found that KOTR wasn't as necessary for bringing up young stars as it once was... Brock and Kurt would have blown up even without KOTR, and Edge didn't break all the way through until years later.

Still though, I'd have been up for King Rey Mysterio (or Eddie Guerrero perhaps) in 2005... and maybe even would have bought King JBL in 2004. The company is loaded with superstars who could have been future Kings of the Ring, like Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, RVD, or(though i'm not personally a fan,) Bobby Lashley.

It would increase interest in WWE product during those long early summer months, but sadly the logistics of a tournament combined with its superfluous position really did the PPV in.

Good article, well written and argued, although it ended a bit quickly. Well done though!
in regards to bringing back kotr i totally agree even with the split brands it would make it better they could start a knockout tournement on each show then the last four off each show get thrown into a hat on the night of kotr so you get the chance to see interpromotional matches. > PPVS of late are just all the same we need wwe to spice things up a bit if they are going to bring the crowds back to the arenas give more ring time to the lower carded stars allow them to do what they do best in the ring not restrict them to do certain moves HELL YEAH even use WCW old idea of lethal lottery tag matches leading to kings of the ring which would boost the defluncked tag division. THE same goes for the survivor series take back to the 1988 1989 ppvs by using teams of five matches over the entire event and possible ultimate survival matches like 1990. the wwf of mid to late 80s and early 90s ruled and the ppvs where so hyped up you could not wait to see them now 99 percent of the time i just record them and watch a few days later and somtimes fast forward through certain matches. Come on vince listen to your fans not your sidekicks that dont know anything
Steven P. wrote:
The King Of the Ring will always be remembered and wanted because the fans loved it so much. I just want to say two things. One, Scott Hurley, you liked the KOR when Mabel won in '95. Wow, you must be a hardcore wrestling fan. And number two, to CRAIG LAWRENCE, thank you so much for remembering the Lethal Lottery from the days of WCW. It was so much fun to watch tag team partners possibly have to wrestle each other. It was really cool and I think that if you're interested enough, you should write an article about it here at OWW. Also, Ryab, Edge was never the European Champion. Gret job on this article though. Personally, I think Lashley should be the King Of the Ring if it returned.


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