With this year’s tournament in full swing I decided to go back to the kings of the past to decide who was the real King of Kings.

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All images available at WWE.com

This list is only people that won the King of the Ring Tournament in WWE/WWF so as much as I love Lawler (and yeah I know he won that match over Bret but WWE doesn’t recognize it) he isn’t in here so don’t bother.

Also, we all love Macho King, King Duggan and King Haku etc. but if it’s not won in the TOURNAMENT it won’t be listed.

All of the ranking will be based on what they did after winning King and how much it affected their careers. Once again this is my OPINION so if you don’t agree leave me a comment in the section below. Believe it or not that apparently helps my ad rate go up.

 

We all good? Cool. Here we go.

Bad News Barrett - 2015
20: Bad News Barrett 2015

This poor bastard. He was always on the cusp of greatness but never really achieved what he could have due to a combination of poorly timed injuries and start and stop pushes. After defeating Neville for the crown he went on to um…lose to R-Truth a bunch. Not quite what I would call a mega push for the newly crowned King. He would eventually join the League of Nations for a bit before being kicked out as the “weak link”. Holy shit did this guy deserve better.

 

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19: Don Muraco 1985

Muraco won the first KOR tournament by defeating the Iron Sheik. He had previously held the Intercontinental title twice but after this tournament he was essentially a mid-card guy. Take your pick of either Fuji Vice or winning an early version of the
ECW as career highlights after that. The crown didn’t do shit for him.

 

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18: Mabel 1995

This was not a well thought out push. after winning the crown Mabel jobbed out consistently to both WWF Champion Diesel and The Undertaker before leaving the company for a couple of years. When he returned he only made a couple of appearances as Mabel before they repackaged him as Viscera. Big Vis would win a Hardcore title in this run but would be released again to come back as Big Daddy V. Other than awkward suspenders and a tag title with All Japan though he didn’t really accomplish much though. Wasted crown.

 

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17: Tito Santana 1989

Tito was as steady as you can get in the 1980’s WWF. He was a former Intercontinental and Tag team Champion. After winning the KOR though he became king of a jobber to the stars guy. He was always mostly over he just never really achieved much after the crown. He did make the finals of the IC title tournament that Mr. Perfect won but then he became El Matador and well…eh. He would win an early version of the ECW belt like our guy Muraco though so that’s something I guess.

 

The Million Dollar Man - 1988
16: Ted Dibiase 1988

This happened but I have zero recollection of it. Ted was a top heel in the Fed for several years but zero of that is because he won this tournament. In fact other than buying the WWE title the only belt he ever won (in WWE) was the tag belts with IRS. Still he is a slightly forgotten King.

 

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15: Harley Race 1986

Harley was already on the backside of his career after winning the crown. He never won any major championships after becoming King but he was still Harley and a legend. At least they played up him winning the crown on TV unlike some people.

 

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14: William Regal 2008

I loved the IDEA of Regal as King and he was fire at it. Unfortunately a wellness violation cut short what was reported to be a main event run. He did manage to win an Intercontinental Championship upon his return from suspension but this was a hug missed opportunity overall.

 

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13: Ken Shamrock 1998

They were pushing Shamrock to the moon for a minute there. The KOR was just another platform they used to attempt it. After taking the crown he would go on to win both the IC and tag belts. I am not sure how much winning the KOR caused this because he had already been an IC champ previously. He would eventually go on to become the first NWA Champion in TNA though so that’s not nothing.

 

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12: Billy Gunn 1999

I’ll take guff for not having him ranked lower but it be like that sometimes. Initially other than a high profile loss the the Rock his reign as King was an abject failure BUT after winning the crown the dude won a lot of belts. Multiple tag titles, a Hardcore and Intercontinental Championship would still be in his future after winning the crown. His reign is mostly considered a punchline but he still went on to have a very successful career.

 

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11: Owen Hart 1994

The Mother effing King of Harts y’all. Owen played this shit to the hilt and got a main event run out of it. He would rank higher but not winning the big belts puts a damper on his rating. He did go on to win multiple tag titles along with the European and Intercontinental belts. I’m sure Owen would have had a lot more in his future had he not met an untimely end.

 

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10: Booker T 2006

All hail King Bookah! Booker did a phenomenal job in his reign as King. He was also the first on this list where you can make the claim that winning the crown directly led to a World Championship reign. Booker was great before but winning the crown was the thing that put him over the top in the WWE. He had a magic character and probably could have kept it going longer had the Wellness Policy not struck yet again. He went to TNA and did some stuff but nothing equaled the time he spent as King.

 

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9: Bret Hart 1991

This was another one of those things that wasn’t really mentioned on TV. He was already Intercontinental Champion at the time but you have to see this reign helped set up this next thing…

 

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8: Bret Hart 1993

Sure he had already been Tag, IC and WWF champ by this point but winning the crown here felt more like thew Fed actually treating Bret as a big deal that needed to be protected. His feud with Lawler kept the crown in the spotlight and he oviously would go on to bigger things. The Hitman would go on to hold 6 more World Titles, a Royal Rumble and a couple of United States Championships after being crowned King and a made man in the WWF. Sadly his career would be cut short due to injury but it’s hard to deny how great Bret was.

 

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7: Sheamus 2010

OK ,so here me out. I know he has had weird pushes at time but the guy has been consistently in the championship scene since he won the crown. Admittedly he was WWE Champion before winning the KOR but that was more treated as a fluke than an actual sustained push. After winning the crown though the dude went off. United States title (twice), Royal Rumble winner, multiple tag team championships, and of course the World Championship and WWE Championship. That’s a hell of a resume for anyone.

 

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6: Edge 2001

Yeah he was a legendary tag performer before this but after winning the crown? This brother went off. Intercontinental, United States, more tag belts, first Money in the bank winner,Royal Rumble winner and of course 11 World Championships. I can’t imagine what else this dude could have accomplished had he not injured his neck beyond repair. He went from a goofy fake vampire dude to the “Ultimate Opportunist” and Hall of Fame member. Plus he ranks this highly because he OWNED Billy Gun on the mic after winning the crown. That alone was good enough for me.

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5: Kurt Angle 2000

Bruh. I know he was the first “Eurocontinental Champion” but after winning the crown he became one of the greatest of all time in a flash. WWE Champ, WCW Champ (I know…) World Champ, TNA Champ and IWGP Champion. All of that while being one of the best to ever lace up the boots and doing it AFTER he broke his neck (in some cases he had a broken neck while doing it). Kurt should be top five on any list to be honest.

 

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4: “Macho Man” Randy Savage 1987

Randy had already been IC champ and had what many would call the greatest match of all time by the time he won KOR but after? Jeeze. Two WWF titles and 4 WCW titles are just the tip of the iceberg for Macho. The man was one of the greatest to ever do it and a constant main event force almost immediately after he won the crown. The funny thing was everyone remembers the “Macho King” but he didn’t claim that after his tournament win but after he defeated “King Duggan” for the crown. So the one we all remember technically doesn’t matter on this list. Doesn’t matter, if I have to tell you why savage is one of the GOATS then this isn’t the list for you.

 

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3: Brock Lesnar 2002

I know people don’t like Brock but damn man, you can’t overlook this dude. He constantly brings it in the ring and his KOR crown directly led to him being pushed to the moon until the sun explodes or he retires. On his first tour with WWE the guy won the Royal Rumble and THREE WWE championships which is still impressive today where they hand out the belt at random. The guy then left and used that stardom to head to Japan and win the IWGP Championship. From there the guy won the UFC title with a disease that could have killed him had he been hit the wrong way at any point. Then he came back and has done nothing but dominate. He ended the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania, won the WWE title again and then won the Universal title on three separate occasions. To say he has been a successful King is an understatement. Whatever you think about his “work ethic” the brother is an all time great. Also he can definitely kick your ass.

 

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2: Triple H 1997

Do we really have to talk about why The Game is this high? After winning KOR the Fed got behind this dude in a HUGE way. He was put with Shawn Michaels a little bit after to create some group that you may have heard of and never looked back. Since becoming the King he has won literally everything ever. Two Royal Rumbles, European Championship, 4 IC belts (he has 5 total counting the one before his KOR crown), 2 Tag team Championships and of course a total of 14 World Championships make up one of the most impressive resumes in wrestling history. Oh, and the guy has closed out WrestleMania an impressive SEVEN times. I don’t care who’s son in law he is, Vince McMahon loves money and damn sure wouldn’t have put the dude in that position if he wasn’t a top draw. Maybe even more important than all his in ring accomplishments is his work with turning NXT into a promotion that everyone can get behind.

 

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1: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin 1996

It took a couple months and a Bret Hart feud but when this King got hot NO ONE was hotter. Steve Austin was the biggest draw in wrestling history, full stop. Vince McMahon called him the greatest superstar of all time. Read that back and take it in. Steve Austin was a phenomenon in every single sense of the word. Three Royal Rumble wins, 2 IC titles, 4 tag team titles and 6 World titles are a hell of a resume on top of his tremendous popularity. People throw around GOAT an awful lot now days but my God if anyone fits the description it’s this guy. He’s my number 1, he’s the Rattlesnake, he’s Stone Cold Steve Austin. Then there is this.

 

 

There we go folks. Did I get them wrong? Right? A little of both? Thanks to all of you for reading, I appreciate it.

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