The King of the Ring tournament is set to return next Monday on Raw, featuring 8 Superstars from Raw and 8 from SmackDown.
Per my ongoing series of fantasy booking scenarios for alternative Elimination Chamber, Money in the Bank and Survivor Series setups, this got me thinking about other tournaments WWE could do to parallel King of the Ring this year—in a hypothetical sense.
This three-part breakdown will dive into tournaments for the women’s division, NXT (along with NXT UK) and 205 Live, starting first with the question: What if there was a Queen of the Ring 2019 tournament?
One of the reasons this doesn’t work at this particular moment is that Clash of Champions already has far too many matches on the card that need to take place with all the titles being defended and the King of the Ring final. That puts it at 12 (potentially, depending on the state of the 24/7 Championship) matches on a card’s time frame that is less than a Big 4 event like SummerSlam.
Another issue is that it somewhat negates the Mae Young Classic. Granted, that tournament is for up and comers from the WWE Performance Center and outside the company, rather than main roster talent, but they’re similar enough that it would be repetitive to do both in the span of these remaining months in the year.
Also, let’s be frank: Queen of the Ring doesn’t have the pizazz of the name King of the Ring. WWE has worked with worse (cough*Great Balls of Fire*cough) but it’s a negative nevertheless.
List of Competitors
It’s actually not quite possible to do an exact replica of the King of the Ring tournament wherein 8 women are from Raw and 8 women are from SmackDown, as the rosters don’t have enough availability for that. Raw is one short, so the blue brand has to step it up with another competitor.
This is because of injuries, pregnancies and other factors keeping Superstars off television in some capacity. This rules out Lana (MIA), Liv Morgan (more on her below), Maria Kanellis (pregnant), Maryse (pregnant), Mickie James (injured), Nia Jax (injured), Ronda Rousey (injured/pregnant?), Ruby Riott (injured), Tamina Snuka (injured)
Also, we’d have to remove Becky Lynch and Bayley from the running, as they are champions, along with who I assume their challengers at Clash of Champions will be, which rules out Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair (despite how obvious it would be for her to win, given her moniker).
That leaves the following 16 women on the main roster who could compete in the tournament:
- Alexa Bliss — She’s a champion and should defend her tag team title at Clash of Champions, but that wouldn’t stop her from being eliminated in a round prior to the final, and she’s too big of a presence not to include in something like this.
- Asuka — The Empress of Tomorrow. It’s already in her name.
- Billie Kay — Good lord, the amount of shrieks with her royal decrees…
- Carmella — Queen Carmella could oddly work.
- Dana Brooke — Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, Brooke would at least be in the first round.
- Ember Moon — After coming up short at SummerSlam, I think a lot of people would get behind the idea of this win making up for it and root for her.
- Kairi Sane — The Pirate Princess. Again, it’s in her name.
- Lacey Evans — A major, major contender to win.
- Mandy Rose — Another major contender to win.
- Naomi — There’s no reason why Naomi wouldn’t be a great addition to this tournament.
- Natalya — Copy/paste from Naomi. They just wouldn’t have done the injured arm angle for The Queen of Harts.
- Nikki Cross — A first-round elimination could help set up a potential tag title defense.
- Peyton Royce — She’s worn a crown of flowers, but she’d come up short and just fill out the ranks here.
- Sarah Logan — Just think about the idea of having a Viking Queen type character refresh her. It could be what saves her career, even if it wouldn’t be very likely here.
- Sonya Deville — A potential bracket-buster.
- Zelina Vega — With her love of cosplay, imagine what she’d be able to do with queen outfits.
* Technically, Liv Morgan is available, but it wouldn’t make sense. She was last seen saying she would take time off, and if she will be repackaged, it shouldn’t happen here. If she wins, she’d be negating whatever gimmick changes she’d make by becoming queen, and if she lost, it would hurt her newfound push. It’s better for her not to be involved in this and to come back after. However, if need be, she could act as an alternate.
Winner and Plans
I’d have to narrow down my top five picks to be Lacey Evans, Mandy Rose, Naomi, Natalya and Sonya Deville, with Carmella just barely being knocked out of the running because it would interfere with her 24/7 Championship antics. Maybe next year.
The argument for Naomi and Natalya would be that it would give them something to do and be a pat on the back and a thank you for their careers at this stage in the game without putting an actual championship on either one and having to invest in them drawing houses. Ultimately, those aren’t good enough reasons to give them the crown, but they’re better options than most.
Lacey Evans makes a ton of sense and would be an easy pick. She has the attitude to pull off the bitchy heel queen character and could use this sort of victory to get back on track after having lose three title opportunities in a row to Becky Lynch. But where would it lead? She’s already playing that role and I doubt anyone would want to see her get another shot at the belt, so it would have a ceiling on it already.
I would love to see Sonya Deville get something like this. She’s underutilized, I think, and it would be a good change of character to allow her to do something different for once and show some range. But compared to giving the win to Mandy Rose, Deville is outclassed, as it makes so much more sense overall to have Rose strut around as a queen.
Ultimately, I think if WWE were to book this tournament to go alongside the King of the Ring, the winner would end up being Mandy Rose, so they could deck her out with some kind of sexy gear and have her do an even more heightened version of what she’s already doing, but with some actual spotlight behind it and with Deville still by her side acting as the equivalent of her Fit Finlay or Sharmell to her King Booker T.