All hail the King! WWE made a major announcement on the August 12 episode of RAW and revealed they will be bringing back the King Of The Ring tournament. The following names are being have been confirmed for the 2019 tournament:
- The Miz
- Cedric Alexander
- Samoa Joe
- Drew McIntyre
- Baron Corbin
- Sami Zayn
- Kevin Owens
- Apollo Crews
- Chad Gable
- Buddy Murphy
- Shelton Benjamin
The bracket has since been confirmed; here are the opening round matchups:
This marks the first time since 2015 that WWE will host a King Of The Ring tournament; the last reigning King was Bad News Barrett, who defeated Neville to take the crown.
The opening round will start on next week’s set of television tapings, and Madison Square Garden has confirmed the semifinal round will take place when they host RAW on Monday, September 9 and SmackDown Live on Tuesday, September 10. Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com is also reporting WWE plans on hosting the tournament finals at this year’s Clash Of Champions pay-per-view next month.
The following names have all been recognized as ‘King’ in WWF / WWE, winning the honor at live events, RAW, pay-per-view and on WWE Network.
Live Event Era
1985 — Don Muraco
1986 — Harley Race
1987 — Randy Savage
1988 — Ted DiBiase
1989 — Tito Santana
1991 — Bret Hart
1993 — Bret Hart
1994 — Owen Hart
1995 — Mabel
1996 — ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin
1997 — Hunter Hearst Helmsley
1998 — Ken Shamrock
1999 — Billy Gunn
2000 — Kurt Angle
2001 — Edge
2002 — Brock Lesnar
2006 — Booker T (SmackDown exclusive tournament, final round took place at the WWE Judgment Day PPV)
2008 — William Regal (One night tournament on RAW; Talent from RAW, SmackDown and ECW were eligible)
2010 — Sheamus (One night tournament on RAW; Talent from RAW and SmackDown were eligible)
2015 — Bad News Barrett (Opening round matches on RAW, Semifinals, finals aired live on WWE Network)
Notable Facts About KOTR
The tournament returns in 2019 after a four-year hiatus
Bret Hart is the only two-time winner of the tournament
Randy Savage and Kurt Angle are the only participants to win the KOTR tournament and make it back to the final round in consecutive years. Savage won in 1987 (beating King Kong Bundy) and lost to Ted DiBiase in the 1988 final, while Kurt Angle won in 2000 (beating Rikishi) before losing to Edge in 2001. Bret Hart is a two-time winner (1991 and 1993), but there was no tournament in 1992.
Despite not winning the tournament, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Haku had the honor of being recognized as King and competed in matches where the crown was on the line. Haku was awarded the crown in 1988 after King Harley—who still competed and defended the ‘title’ despite two more winners—went down with an injury. Duggan later beat Haku for the crown, and Duggan was later defeated by Randy Savage, who already won the tournament in 1987.
Some of the Kings had their own ‘Queens’ at their side—The Fabulous Moolah (w/ Harley Race), Queen Sherri Martel (w/ ‘Macho King’ Randy Savage) and Queen Sharmell (w/ King Bookah). King Mabel ended up knighting his Men On A Mission stablemate as ‘Sir Mo.’
Brock Lesnar earned a shot at the WWE Undisputed Championship by winning the 2002 tournament, and went on to defeat The Rock for the title at SummerSlam. King Mabel also received a title shot for winning the 1995 tournament, but he was unsuccessful in winning his match against Diesel at SummerSlam 1995.
The tournament is mostly remembered as taking place in June when it was an annual pay-per-view from 1993-2002, but it has also been held in April, May, July, September, October and November. This year’s tournament would mark the first time it has been held in August.
The King Of The Ring winner has provided some memorable moments, including Edge vowing not to ‘Billy Gunn’ his reign as King, William Regal’s tyrannical reign after his win, and perhaps most famous of all, Steve Austin’s coming out party with his ‘Austin 3:16’ speech:
Who do you think is going to be the 2019 winner? Let us know in the comments section below!