Welcome to part 2 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 this one will revolve around NXT, combined with NXT UK.
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?”
It wouldn’t be worth it to do two tournaments by separating NXT and NXT UK, despite how it could technically be done. There are enough people on both rosters to make it possible, but that would have to include a lot of competitors who everyone would know would stand no chance whatsoever.
Plus, I think I’m in the majority in saying that NXT and NXT UK crossing over with each other keeps things fresh and makes things more interesting than if it were just separate all the time. Having this play out over the course of the two shows, similar to how Raw and SmackDown will share time, makes for a good equivalent.
The only downside to this would be that as these are pre-taped, everyone would know the results ahead of time, but that hasn’t stopped WWE from doing the NXT Breakout Tournament and the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and assume the same would apply here with this.
List of Competitors
Narrowing down this list was the hardest part of these three parts, as there are just so many options to choose from which make sense.
A lot could be eliminated that just aren’t high enough priorities. Nobody would expect The Hunt to be in this, or Riddick Moss. But as far as some other bigger names, here’s my thought process on them:
We can ignore all champions, which means Adam Cole, Velveteen Dream, WALTER, Street Profits and Grizzled Young Veterans.
Johnny Gargano could be taking time off and I feel like this would be a step down for him.
Damian Priest strikes me as an odd fit for this, and I don’t think he should lose, so it’s better to keep him out of the tournament entirely. However, he’s a backup for Dominik Dijakovic.
Mansoor hasn’t done anything since Super ShowDown. Sorry, pal.
I almost gave a spot to Jaxson Ryker, but I decided The Forgotten Sons should be forgotten about.
The NXT Breakout wrestlers should not be in another tournament this fast, particularly without establishing themselves more.
Eddie Dennis is injured, Imperium should stand alone away from this. I wanted to give a spot to Flash Morgan Webster, Kenny Williams, Ligero, Mark Andrews and Trent Seven, but cuts just had to be made. So on and so forth.
- Dominik Dijakovic / Damian Priest — I’d lean toward Dijakovic, but if he’s not rarin’ to go, Priest can go in there. Dijakovic would be a potential winner, but Priest wouldn’t.
- Fandango or Tyler Breeze — Either one works and would fill the same role. They wouldn’t win.
- Keith Lee — Major contender.
- Killian Dain — Absolutely cannot win. It doesn’t suit him.
- Kushida — He could go far, but he’d have to lose. King Kushida in that outfit doesn’t work.
- Matt Riddle — He’s the King of Bros…
- Pete Dunne — There’s no way he shouldn’t be in this tournament.
- Roderick Strong — I forced myself to go with only one member of The Undisputed ERA and figured Strong stands on his own much better than Kyle O’Reilly or Bobby Fish, and he could be a great semifinalist.
From NXT UK:
- Dave Mastiff — Not a chance to win this sort of gimmick, but he’s a big part of NXT UK.
- Ilja Dragunov — Too eccentric, but another big enough part of the brand to not be ignored.
- Joe Coffey — Gallus should only have one representative and he’s the leader and the one that would stand the best chance of being a believable winner.
- Jordan Devlin — The Ace is a major contender.
- Kassius Ohno — He would fill the Fandango/Breeze role in being a veteran who loses.
- Noam Dar — Major contender.
- Travis Banks — Good person to root for, but nope.
- Tyler Bate — Major contender…if it weren’t for Moustache Mountain working well enough without him needing this.
Winner and Plans
My top picks boil down to Dominik Dijakovic, Jordan Devlin, Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, Noam Dar, and Pete Dunne.
All of them make sense, but I think I’d have to first take Matt Riddle out of the running because he doesn’t need it and I don’t believe WWE would want to get in the way of his progression of getting over naturally by himself. He has enough of a persona as it is.
Noam Dar is great, but wouldn’t it make more sense for him to just up a bit short here, rather than to simply add a crown, robe and scepter to his already douchey behavior? He can accomplish everything like that without the mantle.
Jordan Devlin could use that bump. However, he’s just shy of important enough to give that spot to, if I’m judging based on what I think WWE would do. I think he would be a semifinalist, possibly, but someone who a guy like Pete Dunne would take out.
Speaking of Dunne, he would legitimize this, and it would work. He’s not the United Kingdom champion anymore, but they value him a lot, and this would make up for it. With that being said, I don’t think he’d wear the gear or have a ton of fun with the gimmick or anything that would go along with it, and they could have him lose by some sort of distraction with someone he’s feuding with at the time to write him out of the bracket without looking weak.
Or, he could just lose to a beast like Dominik Dijakovic, and the only two reasons I don’t have him as my top pick and I’d go with Keith Lee as my winner are because Dijakovic could potentially not be in the tournament at all, and a win for Lee would get him back on track and provide him a boost to be able to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Championship down the line, and Cole needs contenders.
At the end of the day, Limitless King Lee would be my pick to win, and even though he’d come up short against Cole, it could make for one hell of a match and a renewed push for the big man.