Welcome to part 3 of “What If: King of the Ring 2019”, breaking down the hypothetical fantasy booking of an alternative to the King of the Ring tournament created by WWE to feature other parts of the roster.
Part 1 dove into the Queen of the Ring concept for the women’s division and part 2 revolved around NXT/NXT UK, so it’s time to wrap things up with the redheaded stepchild (or rather, purple-headed stepchild) of WWE with the 205 Live brand and the cruiserweights.
How would this play out, who would be involved and what could WWE do with the idea? Let’s try to answer the question “What if there was an NXT King of the Ring 2019 tournament?”
Let’s be honest, this would never happen. 205 Live is only not the bottom of the barrel in terms of importance to WWE because Main Event still exists, somehow. They haven’t ever gotten a TakeOver event or something of an equivalent, and it’s a miracle if the cruiserweight title is ever defended on a pay-per-view in something other than the kickoff, which in itself is sometimes a blessing.
Also, the brand runs mini tournaments all the time to follow suit with arguably the most successful thing 205 Live has ever been part of, which was the Cruiserweight Classic tournament to birth the division.
But ignoring how it will never be a thing, here is how I see the lineup breaking down…
List of Competitors
There aren’t 16 men available on 205 Live, especially if you take out Drew Gulak for being champion and someone else to challenge him for the title at Clash of Champions. You’re left with 12 options, meaning 4 more need to be brought in from elsewhere.
For the sake of moving on, I’ll take Oney Lorcan off this list (he wouldn’t win anyway) and go with him as the challenger for Clash of Champions, which means these are the 205 Live competitors:
- Akira Tozawa — Major contender.
- Ariya Daivari — Major contender.
- The Brian Kendrick — As a veteran, his role here is to lose at some point.
- Gentleman Jack Gallagher — A win would get in the way of the Gentleman idea, but he could be a finalist.
- Gran Metalik — First-round elimination.
- Humberto Carrillo — Major contender.
- Kalisto — Major contender.
- Lince Dorado — Round 2 elimination, probably, but I think he’s underrated and I’m glad they’re using him more lately.
- Mike Kanellis — Absolutely not. His gimmick can’t withstand winning too many times.
- Samir Singh — Not a chance, as it conflicts with the Bollywood Boyz stuff.
- Sunil Singh — See Samir Singh.
- Tony Nese — This would be useful if he were to turn heel, but I also feel like it would be a waste.
You could do a smaller version of this by having just 8 and cutting the tournament in half, which could certainly play out easier. In that case, I think it would be worth it to nix both of The Singh Brothers and two members of The Lucha House Party, probably saving Kalisto. But if this needed to be 16, here are my suggestions for the remaining 4 names to fill out the bracket.
- Chad Gable — Major contender.
- Lio Rush or Ligero — WWE is paying Rush to sit at home and have no value. Ignoring how he might have heat that would get in the way of this, I could see him being a major contender. Instead, he’s seemingly waiting for a release. If that’s a total no-go, I could see a spot for Ligero opening up. Of course, anyone from Tyler Bate to Kyle O’Reilly to even a random guest appearance by Colin Delaney could fill the void.
- Raul Mendoza — He’s wrestled for the brand before and could easily take up a random spot.
- Sin Cara — He’s doing literally nothing, too. Have him show up and lose in the first round. At least then, he’s serving a purpose.
There are others who are under the 205 lbs weight limit, like Finn Balor and Xavier Woods, but I cannot see WWE wanting to put them in this kind of a position.
Winner and Plans
Ariya Daivari would be a wash. He plays a trashier version of this type of gimmick, so it would be a bit of a waste to make him King of the Ring and go with the same thing, especially because his ceiling is below the title with a heel Gulak as champion.
Gentleman Jack Gallagher could totally use something to give him a shot of adrenaline, however, since he’s never won the title and they keep pulling the rug out from under him, as much as I’d be down for him being victorious, I think he’d ultimately fail.
I’m really hoping Chad Gable is the one who can beat Drew Gulak for the title at WrestleMania 36 and crossing my fingers WWE goes in that direction. Since I can’t get past that scenario, I’m imagining he’d make it far here, but lose, as King Gable would run the risk of turning him heel.
I would not be shocked in the absolute slightest bit if they gave something like this to Akira Tozawa. He’s always got something going on, he’s a great performer, and a former champion. There’s no particular reason why he would win, other than that he has a very solid track record, and sometimes, babyfaces do win this tournament.
But Humberto Carrillo is a pet project that WWE wants to get over. They don’t have the machine behind him like they did someone like Sheamus back in the day, but he’s clearly being built up on 205 Live. If I had to bet my chips on anyone, it would be for him to win the crown and for WWE to use the tournament victory as a catapult so he could challenge for the Cruiserweight Championship and either take the title, or lose in a way that they would feel doesn’t hurt him because he’s still King of the Ring, kind of like what they’ve done with Mr. Money in the Bank in the past.
Those are my thoughts on the issue, but how would you imagine WWE would do this if it were to happen? Tell us your fantasy booking scenario in the comments section below!