Powell's Blog: WWE King of the Ring meets March Madness
Thursday, December 2 – 12:15 P.M. (CT)
By Jason Powell
Although I was not blown away by the 2010 version of the King of the Ring tournament, I would love to see WWE move the concept back to pay-per-view. Rather than make it the typical eight-man tournament, it would be great if WWE expanded the tournament field to 64 men. Yes, just like the NCAA Basketball tournament (minus the silly play-in game).
There are over 50 active wrestlers on the current WWE roster, plus the eight new wrestlers that make up the NXT season four cast. WWE could easily complete the field of 64 by using legends or, better yet, by bringing in some talented indy wrestlers and/or international stars for one or two match appearances. Regardless of how they get there, the point is that WWE could.
The first three rounds of the tournament could play out on WWE Raw, WWE Smackdown, and even WWE Superstars over four weeks (work in a three-hour Raw if that's not enough time). I would not make the matches brand specific, as the idea would be to finally generate some legitimate synergy between the Raw and Smackdown television shows, and to let people know that WWE Superstars actually exists.
The tournament could easily be structured in a manner that provides the television shows with suitable main events. I would include all the champions in the tournament, as the company could create some future matchups by having champions lose non-title matches to existing rivals or even undercard wrestlers to set up future matches. They could even have a champion go all the way and win a tournament if they wanted to make that person look stronger than ever.
March Madness generally features incredible drama and great upsets, and every year I watch the games the idea of WWE doing something similar creeps into my head. As a scripted product, there's no reason WWE couldn't replicate some of the NCAA tournament drama.
Imagine the fun of someone such as Evan Bourne or Kaval playing the Cinderella role by upsetting one or two of the bigger and going deep in the tournament. Or how about a legend such as Jerry Lawler entering the tournament and surprising viewers by winning a couple of matches and qualifying the sweet 16. There are so many great stories that could be told and wrestlers who could be elevated if WWE creative took it seriously.
Ultimately, the tournament could play out with the final eight wrestlers competing at the actual King of the Ring pay-per-view. WWE lost faith in King of the Ring as a pay-per-view long ago, but I believe that using this approach could revitalize the concept. It would be an ambitious task for the already overworked creative team to take on, yet it would also present them and viewers with a break from the usual show formats for a full month.
If booked properly, the company could make the weeks of television leading up to King of the Ring among the most eagerly anticipated shows of the year. Furthermore, those early round matches playing out on the television shows would provide one hell of a build for the actual King of the Ring pay-per-view.
As much as I doubt that WWE would actually take this approach because it strays from their formula, I am curious whether you would like to see King of the Ring back on the pay-per-view schedule in place of the Bragging Rights or Fatal Four Way clunkers. I definitely would like to see it back, but you can let me know your feelings on the matter by voting in our latest poll.
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