I love tournaments.
There’s something about a bracket, be it for basketball, wrestling or anything else, that just makes me happy. When I was a child. . . An only child, I’ll have you know. . . I used to come up with epic tournaments, sometimes with over 500 (512, to be precise, so it would work out evenly) wrestlers. In order to do that, you’d have to include multiple gimmicks of the same wrestler, so sometimes you’d have Big Josh wrestling Doink (both Matt Borne) or Dude Love and Cactus Jack in the same bracket somehow. It was amazing.
I can hear you snickering. To paraphrase Teddy Long, stop drinking the hate-a-rade.
Being this particular form of uber-nerd, you can imagine how much I loved King of the Ring, and how overjoyed I was to hear that WWE was bringing it back in 2015. Sure, it’s only 8 men, most of which are the leftover guys from the IC tournament, and sure, it likely means next to nothing, but still. . . It’s happening, and I’m a fan!
Yet still, I want more.
The King of the Ring is an opportunity – the amount of talents you include and the stories you tell are limited solely by your creativity. With this roster, you could do so much more than WWE will inevitably do with these 8 guys. (Sheamus over Ziggler is my prediction)
With that in mind, I set off to create an “epic” (depending on how you look at it) 32 man tournament to crown the “DC Matthews Fantasy Booking King of the Ring”.
Here’s how I started.
First, I compiled a list of the eligible members of the WWE roster. Sorry, David Otunga, but I don’t buy you as an active wrestler. I came up with 40 names, which is a problem, as it wouldn’t make a perfect bracket. So I made a few changes.
New Day, as the tag champions, are not eligible, and that includes all 3, as I imagine there will be some sort of variation of the Freebird Rule with this group.
(I still won’t say I told you so. . . Though I totally did.)
The Ascension and Zack Ryder didn’t make the cut simply because I doubt WWE would use them, even if they could.
Randy Orton and Roman Reigns, on the other hand, are too talented for this tournament, and since I imagine we’re heading towards a Reigns / Rollins / Orton Triple Threat at Payback, I left them out as well.
That brought me down to 32 talents, a nice perfect number for a bracket. I’m actually doing 2 brackets, as I seeded the wrestlers in each one (1-16). Because, you know, I have that kind of time.
Thus, my friends, I present to you, the 2015 DC KOTR Extravaganza!
Bracket A Opening Round
Rusev (1) vs. Fernando (16)
Rusev gets the overall #1 seed for this tournament, and with absolutely no surprise at all, he destroys one half of Los Matadores. Rusev wins.
R-Truth (9) vs. Tyson Kidd (8)
As recent tag champion, Tyson gets the higher seed, and in an entertaining somewhat back and forth match, Kidd picks up the victory.
Kane (4) vs. Fandango (13)
Despite the size, experience and just about every other advantage that there is, Face-Fandango holds his own for a few minutes against the Director of Operations. Then reality sets in. Kane wins
Sin Cara (12) vs. Luke Harper (5)
Another solid match, another obvious result. Harper wins, setting up an intriguing round 2 match with Kane.
Bad News Barrett (2) vs. Diego (15)
What? Did you expect Los Matadores to run away with this? Barrett wins
Curtis Axel (10) vs. Stardust (7)
While Axelmania is certainly running wild on Earth, Stardust controls the cosmos. Cody wins.
Bray Wyatt (3) vs. Darren Young (14)
Young gets in a few good shots, but Bray wins easily.
Goldust (11) vs. Neville (6)
In what, if I had anything to say about it, would be the match of this bracket’s round, Neville wins a very close match over the future WWE Hall of Famer.
Bracket B Opening Round
Big Show (1) vs. Heath Slater (16)
The ATG Battle Royal winner gets the second #1 seed, squashing the One Man Band. Big Show wins.
Healthy Uso (9) vs. Damien Sandow (8)
Sandow wins over Jimmy. . .Jey. . .whichever, and we have a rematch of the ATG final in Round 2.
Sheamus (4) vs. Jack Swagger (13)
Swagger might not be an underdog, size wise, but it doesn’t stop the Celtic Warrior from treating him as such. Sheamus wins.
Kalisto (12) vs. Mark Henry (5)
In the biggest (and perhaps only) upset of the first round, Kalisto shocks the world by defeating Mark Henry. NOW there’s an underdog for Sheamus to fight. Kalisto wins.
Dean Ambrose (2) vs. Adam Rose (15)
Again, if I’m booking, Adam Rose puts up a decent fight, showing there might be more to him than meets the eyeliner. Still, Dean wins.
Erick Rowan (10) vs. Cesaro (7)
This is just an excuse to show off Cesaro’s strength, deadlifting Rowan from the second rope. Cesaro wins.
Dolph Ziggler (3) vs. Titus O’Neill (14)
Titus shows some strength, but Dolph wins.
Bo Dallas (11) vs. Ryback (6)
Presuming that Wyatt, as the Internet reports, is set to feud with Ryback (which I personally doubt, but it works for this booking), Bray comes out to distract / attack Ryback, and in another shock-a-ree-doo, Bo wins!
All in all, an exciting opening round. Some good matches, some squashes, just as you’d expect with any ranked tournament. On to Round 2!
Bracket A Round 2
Rusev vs. Tyson Kidd
I’ll discontinue listing the rankings, as they no longer matter much. Tyson and Rusev have a good match, but as you’d expect, Rusev wins.
Kane vs. Luke Harper
In what many would say would be a ‘passing of the torch’ match between the “consistently performing big men” of past and present, we have these two going at it.
My booking would have Rollins come out to watch the match, giving Kane enough of a distraction for Luke Harper to win. Not too much distraction, as Harper would need the clean win for momentum. Mainly, this is to set up the Rollins / Harper alliance I’ve been preaching for MONTHS!
Plus, a Rusev / Harper match in the quarterfinals? Sign me up!
Bad News Barrett vs. Stardust
I’m slipping way too far down the fantasy booking rabbit hole here, but I’d like to see Stardust become a little. . .I apologize for using the word, but schizophrenic, as if the Cody and Stardust personalities are battling inside his head.
Not that BNB needs that to win, but I think it’d be fun. Barrett wins.
Bray Wyatt vs. Neville
Remember how Wyatt came out to interfere with Ryback? Mr. “Feed Me More” returns the favor here, and the shameful booking of Bray Wyatt continues. Hey, at least he (Lord willing) would beat Ryback in a feud! Neville wins.
Bracket B Round 2
Big Show vs. Damien Sandow
In an epic moment of retribution, setting the wrestling world right once more, Sandow wins over Big Show, giving him the biggest (literally and figuratively) push since he held the MITB briefcase.
Sheamus vs. Kalisto
Goliath and David do battle here, and while Kalisto comes close to beating Sheamus, he can’t overcome the power and size advantage. Sheamus wins.
Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro
Match of the round, if not the tournament so far? Probably.
In my perfect world, Cesaro would be winning this match. In fact, in my perfect world, Cesaro wouldn’t even be in this tournament because he’d be fighting Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship!
While I’m doing fantasy booking galore here, I will also try to keep things mostly realistic, so Ambrose wins.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bo Dallas
This would be the match where Bo Dallas goes from being a joke. . . to a joke who can wrestle. He and Ziggler would have a good-to-great match and people would walk away with some bo-lief in their hearts.
Ziggler wins, though. Come on, I’m not crazy!
Rusev vs. Luke Harper
These two represent the future of ‘big men’ in WWE, so this would be fun to watch. Both men have their moments to shine, both men come close to victory and in the end, Rusev comes out on top. We’re all left to wonder what would have happened had this been a no DQ match.
Bad News Barrett vs. Neville
The rematch from the Extreme Rules pre-show has the same result, as Neville wins, further cementing himself as a WWE fixture, something that I have to admit, I never saw coming.
Damien Sandow vs. Sheamus
The meteoric rise of Sandow continues as Damien wins a hard fought match over the Celtic Warrior. Sheamus, as expected, doesn’t take it well, beating down Sandow after the bell. Sandow is saved, coincidentally, by the next two combatants!
Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
Another fantastic matchup between two of WWE’s most popular and talented superstars. In the end, though, crazy always triumphs. Ambrose wins.
Rusev vs. Neville
We all knew these two were going to tangle at some point, we just didn’t expect it to be with so much on the line! Rusev is desperate at this point – he’s done well in the tournament so far but he’s been pushed harder than he expected to be, plus he’s got a bit of a slump to contend with. Meanwhile, Neville just keeps getting better.
Rusev, in an act of cowardice we come to expect from him, cheats like crazy in this match, and while Neville fights valiantly to the bitter end, Rusev wins.
Damien Sandow vs. Dean Ambrose
Again, were this the World According to DC Matthews, Sandow would win hands down here. Guys like Sandow, Cesaro, Harper and New Day, these are the guys I’d be building around, which might be why its a good idea that I don’t own a major (or minor, really) wrestling company.
Another tough, back-and-forth match, another super hard fought victory by Ambrose. This is the tournament when Dean becomes a true main event guy, have you noticed that yet?
As for Sandow, he’s a shoo-in for IC and US title contention after this performance, which right now is where he belongs.
The Finals of the 2015 DC KOTR
Rusev vs. Dean Ambrose
In one corner, you have Rusev, who is basically acting like the proverbial wounded animal, so desperate to win and regain face that he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
On the other hand, you have Ambrose, who truly would be a wounded animal by this point. Super tough matches with Cesaro, Ziggler and Sandow (even Adam Rose, really) have left him injured and in pain.
On the surface, the outcome seems inevitable, no? Surely Dean can’t overcome the odds of the Bulgarian Brute, especially when he’ll cheat his Russian tail off to win?
Well, that’s entirely up to you.
Perhaps this is anti-climactic, but being that there are a couple different ways to go with this, I thought I’d let the fans decide. Here are your options for KOTR conclusions.
Rusev wins, as the obstacles are just too high to overcome. Most likely, Ambrose passes out to The Accolade, continuing to signify his toughness while letting Rusev reign supreme.
Ambrose wins, putting his body on the line over and over and over again, doing whatever it takes, absorbing whatever punishment Rusev throws at him to win. In the end, both men are down, suffering from some crazy dive by Ambrose, surely, and Dean barely manages to drape an arm over Rusev.
Neville finds his way into this match somehow, trying to pay Rusev back for the cheating in the semi-final. Sure, he could come out and attack Rusev when his back is turned, but there’s a better way – Lana.
Rusev is dominating the match, looking to be seconds away from victory when the cameras cut to Neville in the back with Lana, the two of them obviously very into each other. Rusev, as any man should, is distracted by this, first yelling at the Titantron, then beginning to leave the ring, being stopped by the referee.
While the ref is distracted, Ambrose, not one to obey the rules entirely himself, slips a pair of brass knuckles on, nailing Rusev in the head with them as he’s arguing with the ref. Three seconds later, Ambrose has won the King of the Ring, and we’ve got a full-blown war going on with Neville and Rusev, with Lana stuck in the middle.
The choice, my friends, is yours. How do YOU want to see this end? Or do you have a different ending altogether? What would your ideal KOTR be?