With the WWE brand split now in place, WWE has confirmed that there will be eight new PPVs every year that will be for the different brands. This does not include WWE NXT of course. The idea is that there will be two PPVs per month, one for RAW and one for SmackDown. The two will then meet and share the big four PPVs in The Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, SummerSlam, and WrestleMania. Meanwhile, every other month outside of these will be brand exclusive.
WWE already announced that Backlash will return in September as a SmackDown Live exclusive, and more will be announced as we move along. One that has been rumored to return for some time is the King of the Ring PPV. WWE did bring it back about a year ago as a WWE Network event and it was not really housed as a “PPV” event like the others are. That said, the KOTR is useful and obviously something WWE would like to use again if possible.
Now, it appears that will be bringing it back. According to Ringside News, WWE applied for the “King of the Ring” trademark back on July 28, which would mean to most that WWE was planning on having the tournament return. Of course, this would be a reapply, as they did own the name previously, but this is most likely being done as an official thing due to the possibility of the KOTR event returning on a regular basis.
For those unaware, the KOTR event was based on a single elimination tournament that would usually help an up-and-coming WWE Superstar get noticed. Eventually it became known as a platform to get a WWE Championship opportunity. In fact, Brock Lesnar took full advantage of this after he debuted during the night of the original WWE Draft and found himself drafted to WWE RAW by Ric Flair. He would be added to the KOTR tournament, as it was inter-brand, and would go on to beat everyone in his way to win the whole thing.
He then went on to face The Rock for the WWE Championship at the 2002 WWE SummerSlam event and would beat The Great One for the championship. All of this would happen in the span of about six months, giving Lesnar a clear path to the top of WWE where he would stay until he would leave the WWE about two years later. This event was also helpful to the career of Edge, who would not get a title match but rather a trophy that he would carry around with him everywhere — or his “brother” Christian would for him.
Possibly the biggest career to be launched through the event was the career of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He would beat Jake “The Snake” Roberts to win the entire thing and go on to deliver his infamous Austin 3:16 promo that catapulted him into big time stardom. Funny enough, Triple H was actually penciled in to win the event that year, but the “Curtain Call Incident” caused him to job for a number of months, resulting in Austin getting his spot and running with it.
How different would WWE have been if Austin didn’t win the King of the Ring that year? Would the the Hall of Fame career of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin ever get started?
The tournament has made stars and helped further storylines, which makes it a very useful event. One thing that also makes it quite big is the added stipulation of the winner getting a shot at the World Title. With one brand most likely getting the Money in the Bank PPV, another would have to be its equivalent on the other brand. Considering the KOTR is virtually the same thing, barring the random cash-in part, it would be quite useful to bring back now more than ever before.
The King of the Ring tournament was beloved by WWE fans for years. However, when it returned back in 2008 and random years following after not taking place since 2002, fans soured on the event. Fans were excited when it returned in 2015, only to be disappointed with it yet again. If done right, this event can and should be a yearly event that is big for a certain brand. The issue with it currently is that the company has not used the World Title opportunity stipulation since 2002. This would need to be brought back in order to make it a useful event once again.
[Image via WWE]