Chris Fitzpatrick takes a look at the odds each of the 8 participants in tonight’s King of the Ring tournament have to win the returning distinction.
Hola! My llamo Chris Fitzpatrick, y yo soy un ventilador de Juan Cena!
So, yeah…let’s move on.
I want to thank all of my readers for logging on and posting in my "Of John Cena, Tim Tebow, and Tim Duncan" editorial last week. Shockingly, I got more backlash from including Tim Duncan with Cena and Tebow than I did for defending the leader of the Cenation. Maybe the IWC is softening their stance? Hey, we can hope. I also want to thank the great Kevin Kelly for an entertaining peice on the ‘wisdom’ of Kevin Nash. Mark Madden had equally good points, but I fall on Kevin’s side in that a guy in his 50’s (Nash) who hasn’t been relevant for WELL over a decade shouldn’t be hanging his hat on something he did in 1996 and telling other organizations how they should develop talent.
And speaking of developing talent (in the ‘biz’ we call that a segue), tonight’s 3-hour Monday Night Raw brings us yet another installment of the King of the Ring! Yes, that venerable institution of professional wrestling that has made ‘kings’ out of such men as Bret and Owen Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and…Billy Gunn? Whoops.
Despite how much I used to enjoy the pay per view King of the Ring, I am happy that WWE is devoting 3 hours and requiring the winner to win 3 matches in one night. I always appreciated the test of endurance the tournament provided and the instant respectability the ‘king’ would get. Tonight is no different, and there are 8 solid competitors vying for the latest title. Here, I handicap the participants based on whom I feel would have the best chance to win, all the way to the biggest long shot.
Alberto del Rio, 4-1
Aside from Jerry Lawler, the moniker "King of the Ring" has never been so befitting of anyone more than Del Rio. He enters the ring in lavish luxury, from a custom Rolls or Bentley to the silk scarf he seems to refuse to remove the way Linus would clutch his blanket. In his debut, he made Rey Mysterio look pedestrian. He’s quite possibly the most natural heel who has debuted in some time, and the KOTR tournament generally works better with a heel winner than a face winner, much like Money in the Bank.
Nobody else in the tournament is a former WWE Champion, and Seamus has been that twice. Plus, as a good friend pointed out to me via text message the other day, having Seamus call himself "The King of the Ring" sets up a massive feud with a returning "King of Kings" in Triple H. His odds drop to 6-1 as he is off a big PPV loss to John Morrison in a match he dominated. It may just serve to make him mad.
On a side note – in every KOTR tournament, I look for a "DQ Risk." That is the guy who has the best chance of being disqualified and hurting / injuring his opponent, who then has to advance and wrestle again despite being hurt. Seamus could feasibly get DQ’ed against John Morrison if he can’t keep his temper, setting up JoMo to have to wrestle a heel in the following round while hurt. It’s a common WWE tournament technique.
Drew McIntyre, 10-1
It seems as though Drew’s push was taken away from him and given to Del Rio, but he still has a great look and fantastic physical tools. He’s also still a Shawn Michaels protege, so you can never count him out. He’s a smug heel, which is perfect for the KOTR role, and this would give him some instant heat. I just don’t see any momentum at all for the big Scotsman, aside from his girlfriend Taryn Terrell being released recently. Perhaps he benefits from enhanced focus and less drama.
Ezekiel Jackson, 12-1
I’m sorry, but this man reminds me so much of Ahmed Johnson it’s scary. Johnson was a ball of fire when he started out, winning the IC Title and bodyslamming Yokozuna at 600 lbs more convincingly than Lex Luger did when the late sumo was 550 lbs. Jackson is JACKED. He’s got a sick look and a charismatic style. I really think the fans will buy into him. If he doesn’t win this tournament, I’d love to see him team up with Mark Henry to form "The Worlds Strongest Men" and just run roughshod over the tag division. Just don’t sleep on the smiling monster in this tourney.
The Long Shots
John Morrison, 18-1
JoMo is probably the best babyface choice for this title. He seems to be getting another push that he is making very little out of. He seems lost on the mic. His former tag team partner has just won the WWE Title. It may be now or never for Morrison. I just see too much going against him, especially since he has a bullseye on his chest courtesy of Seamus. I would worry that giving the KOTR to him would be like the time it went to Billy Gunn – giving it to a guy with a great look who just can’t carry the momentum into something meaningful. I know I don’t sound like it, but I am a Morrison fan, and I’m rooting for him to prove me wrong.
Kofi Kingston, 20-1
Kingston is the prototypical guy to make the semi-finals and get the crowd excited, only to come up short to the dastardly heel and eventual winner. Kofi’s push has fizzled out, the he’s not been able to recreate the magic he had when he feuded with Randy Orton. The KOTR title would give him that push back, but like with McIntyre, I see very little momentum.
Daniel Bryan, 30-1
Bryan has been on an absolute tear for months now. Feels like he hasn’t lost yet, even though I know he has. The biggest thing keeping him out of the running is the US Title – there is no need for the WWE to push a mid-card champion with another mid-card distinction. It would be a double up and a waste. Furthermore, I see Bryan on a collission course with one of three men – Alex Reilly (seeking revenge for Miz), Wade Barrett (for kicking him out of Nexus) or Dolph Ziggler (both mid card champs have been on a winning streak lately.)
Cody Rhodes, 35-1
Nobody in the tournament has less momentum. Nothing about "The Dashing One" says to me "here’s a future champ / King of the Ring winner." He’ll contend someday for the IC Title, but aside from that, he’s peaking roughly where he is. He has no where NEAR the heat of his Smackdown counterparts such as Alberto Del Rio, and would be fed to guys like Jackson and Seamus for lunch. I still say he needs to be on Raw and do a series of vignette’s with Seamus when Rhodes takes Seamus to a tanning salon, gets his eyebrows waxed, and even bleaches a patch of Seamus’s hair. If that’s what direction I think the character should go in, then kiss King of the Ring goodbye.
If you would like to discuss the participants in tonight’s tournament and even offer your own odds and explanations, please join us on the Wrestlezone Forums. For this topic in particular, follow this link: http://forums.wrestlezone.com/showthread.php?t=142457
All the best,
Chris "IrishCanadian25" Fitzpatrick
Wrestlezone Forums Moderator