WWE’s King of the Ring is back for the first time since 2015, and we’ve got more first round matches in the four week, sixteen man tournament coming our way on SmackDown tonight (Aug. 20).
It shouldn’t be surprising that these matches will feature SmackDown Superstars competing on a side of the bracket dedicated to the SmackDown roster. The brand extension’s been in place for a couple years, but we the “Wild Card Rule” made a comeback on last night’s Raw, so it wasn’t a guarantee the tourney wouldn’t pit Team Red against Team Blue in each of its four rounds.
But it won’t, which gives us a nice reminder of who is technically on which show. And it gives us a chance to look at the field in two groups.
Now, these are just, like, my opinions (and anyone who keeps track of our PPV predictions should know not to put a whole lot of stock into those - although I was right on both of last night’s Raw matches). But they’re a jumping off point for discussion, and there’s a poll where you can weigh in with your pick - irrespective of my amateur bookmaking.
- Kevin Owens
Rumors of a push for the gorgeous Mexican Superstar pop up every month like clockwork, and this feels like a perfect opportunity for Cien to add a crown to match his novia’s. It would be chronologically out of order, but WWE may also want to give Stone Cold KO a chance to cut his 3:16 promo next to the throne.
- Buddy Murphy
Like Raw’s Cedric Alexander, this would be a good time to further establish Ali as the blue brand’s high-flying fighting underdog babyface, so if he survives his first round dream match, another win or two wouldn’t shock me. Neither would a first round loss, though, as building on the excitement Murphy’s generated the last couple weeks would make sense, too. The 24/7 champ probably isn’t getting out of round one, but his alliance with Shane McMahon means I can’t rule it out.
- Apollo Crews
- Chad Gable
- Shelton Benjamin
At least we should get some good matches out of these guys in their quadrant of the bracket. But that Andrade is part of that foursome also telegraphs El Ídolo as a frontrunner.
Tell us who you’ve got with a click in the poll, and why I’m wrong with a comment. And be sure to join us at 8PM Eastern in the live blog to see how Andrade/Crews and Owens/Elias keep things going on SmackDown tonight!