In a 16-man tournament, there are only so many spots for the talented wrestlers in WWE.
King of the Ring tournaments of the past has given mid-card wrestlers the opportunity to shine. Most of the names in the tournament this year make fans excited. Up-and-comers like Buddy Murphy and Ali, as well as established stars like Samoa Joe and The Miz, are in the running to be King of the Ring.
There are some wrestlers who should have been included in the field. Whether it is because of a different style they bring, or because they would benefit from a bigger stage, these five wrestlers should have been in the King of the Ring.
5. Rey Mysterio
Did you know that Rey Mysterio has never been in a King of the Ring before? Despite being part of WWE’s roster between 2002-2015, Mysterio never found himself into a King of the Ring tournament. Mysterio is a wrestler who can still put on amazing matches and consistently defies his age. Even in just a first-round exit, Mysterio could make a newer star look like a million bucks.
Mysterio is currently going through a career crisis. After losing to Andrade last week, he couldn’t muster up words about how he felt. Having Mysterio get eliminated in short order from the tournament could have continued his downward spiral. Plus, we would have witnessed at least one more stellar matchup with an up-and-comer.
4. Robert Roode
Yes, it is Robert instead of Bobby. Remember when he debuted a glorious moustache and changed his name? It was a while ago, but it looked like Roode was going to be getting another singles push. Instead, nothing has really come of his rechristening.
Roode’s gimmick would be perfect for a run as King. He is at his best as a smarmy, I’m-better-than-you heel. His first run in NXT and run as NXT Champion are proof that he is more than just a theme song. Roode would have been a great King, and would give him new life after an unsatisfactory main roster run so far.
3. Xavier Woods
The New Day’s Xavier Woods wants so badly to be in the King of the Ring. When the tournament was announced, Woods took to Twitter to ask to be in it. The bracket was announced and he was nowhere to be found. Woods did not take it very well.
The real question is, why not have Woods in the tournament? He is the most underrated member of the New Day, and has been given the fewest opportunities to shine of the trio. Kofi Kingston has been reigning as WWE Champion, and Big E has been an Intercontinental Champion before. Woods needs his time to shine, and a run in the King of the Ring should have been the start.
2. Daniel Bryan
If WWE wanted star power in the tournament, they missed an opportunity by not including Bryan. The former WWE Champion has been great in his current run with Rowan by his side. He’s a classic match machine, and would make for a formidable opponent for anyone else in the bracket. Lining up on the SmackDown Live side, he could have had a first round matchup with Chad Gable instead of Shelton Benjamin. Gable having a standout match against Bryan would be even more impressive than with Benjamin.
Bryan would also make a tremendous King. While he does not need the rub that a win would bring, Bryan could be the Earth’s King. He would be absolutely unbearable, rubbing it in the faces of fans and foes alike.
1. Pete Dunne
This is the wildcard pick for the tournament. Dunne exists as a roving free agent, impressing in both NXT and NXT: UK. The former WWE United Kingdom Champion even still impresses in Progress from time to time. Why not have him debut in the tournament and win as a hot start on the main roster.
After losing his NXT North American Championship shot at NXT TakeOver: Toronto II, he is free from storylines. Many hardcore fans are familiar with Dunne and the excellent work he does. His inclusion could be seen as a huge coup for either Raw or SmackDown, and a win would establish him in the eyes of casual fans. We know Dunne can shine in tournaments, much like he did in the first United Kingdom Championship tournament. Letting Pete Dunne come in and dominate a tournament like this could have made him an automatic star on the main roster.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @EvanGomes_. Thanks for reading!