From the get-go, Sheamus was set to become the nineteenth King of the Ring winner. But what made this particular 3-hour Raw so great, was despite knowing the inevitable outcome, the matches were so closely contested that the impossible seemed possible.
The King of the Ring First Round matches were poorly booked. How do they have their United States champion lose in the first round? Daniel Bryan, who has been strongly opening WWE Pay-per-views with spectacular matches, should not have been dealt a loss so early in the show. Not only that, Bryan and Alberto Del Rio should have been a match saved for a semi-final bout.
The second First Round match was John Morrison and Cody Rhodes, no problems there. The two did well for a First Round match. And much like the outcome of Morrison’s match with Sheamus at Survivor Series, the finish boiled down to the best finishing kick. In this case, The Flying Chuck prevailed over Rhodes’ Beautiful Disaster.
The third First Round match was a bitter pill to swallow, Drew McIntyre against Ezekiel Jackson. Was not a fan of either wrestler competing in the tournament, and from the double-count-out finish, neither was Creative. This however provided a bye for Sheamus, who won his First Round match against Kofi Kingston, to automatically advance to the finals.
If anything, the semi-final match should have been a Triple-threat match between Alberto Del Rio, John Morrison, and Sheamus. With the loser eliminated from the finals, thus granting every wrestler the same amount of in-ring action before competing in the finals. Instead, Morrison advanced to the finals after competing in two wrestling matches in the span of two hours. While Sheamus, receiving a bye thanks to the double-count-out, had only wrestled one match.
Up to this point the tournament meant nothing. Last week it was announced that Raw would hold KOTR, and two programs were governed by qualifying matches. But why was KOTR important? None of the wrestlers who qualified mentioned about competing in the tournament. Much less give a reason of why they wanted to be KOTR.
Throughout the course of the tournament, broadcast announcers Michael Cole and C.M. Punk provided some insight of the illustrious history of KOTR. Don Muraco was the first King of the Ring in 1985. The second King, Harley Race, is noted for parlaying his King of the Ring victory into his “King of Wrestling” gimmick. Other winners who did the same include Owen Hart (“King of Harts”), Mabel (“King Mabel” ), Triple-H (“King of Kings”), Booker T (“King Booker”), and most recently William Regal. Many of the KOTR winners have been inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame. But most importantly, King of the Ring has been a pinnacle push in the careers of these wrestlers. Edge in 2001, solidified himself as a solo-act after competing alongside Christian for years. Steve Austin’s 3:16 was born in 1996 when he won King of the Ring. And Hunter Hearst Helmsley shed his “Connecticut Blueblood” gimmick in 1997, later becoming known as: “The Cerebral Assassin,” “The Game,” and “The King of Kings” Triple-H.
King of the Ring 2010, unlike in 2008, would mean that either Sheamus or John Morrison would receive the push into main-event status. A victory for Morrison would have finally given him the much-needed push that he had been destined for since reviving tag team wrestling with Joey Mercury. Though failing to subdue the Celtic Warrior, Morrison had a strong showing with many close pinfalls, and displaying his parkour offense in his tilt-a-whirl DDT counter to Sheanus’ Irish Curse side-slam attempt. Then again, from the get-go, Sheamus was set to become the nineteenth King of the Ring winner. But for an instant, John Morrison appeared to have victory in his grasp after kicking out of Sheamus’s first Brogue Kick.
With Sheamus now a King, how will this fare with Triple-H when he makes his return? And will there be a rematch at this year’s WrestleMania?
Final Thoughts: Ezekiel Jackson and Drew McIntyre proved to be a waste of a tournament round. Instead, Tyson Kidd and Jack Swagger should have taken their places. With Tyson severing ties with David Hart Smith, and Swagger finally ridding himself of his silly mascot, the two would have showcased one hell of a grappling wrestling contest.
The theme throughout the King of the Ring tournament was a constant flow between Smackdown and Raw superstars. As it has been for the past several months stemming from Bragging Rights, and Smackdown vs Raw 2011 the video game. However, the final match amounted to nothing more than a rematch of a Survivor Series bout.