It used to be so, so different. If World Wrestling Entertainment were to announce a King of the Ring tournament for 2016, the chances are most fans would roll their eyes and experience flashbacks of R-Truth in a cape, of Wade Barrett getting rolled up constantly and of Sheamus looking like a fancy dress party attendee. The King of the Ring crown and tournament has been somewhat sullied over the years, to say the very least.
But it wasn't always like that. Even the most cursory glance at the initial winners of the tournament reads like a 'who's who' of 80s and 90s WWE. Okay, so you can remove Mabel and Billy Gunn from that list, but you can't argue with such names as Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Harley Race, Randy Savage, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Triple H and Ted DiBiase. Great men won the crown, and wore it with pride.
The final annual King of the Ring took place in 2002, where Brock Lesnar defeated Rob Van Dam to become King. There have been a further four King of the Ring tournaments, but the muffled cries of fans wanting a return for the annual tournament generally fall on deaf ears.
Let's say the tournament was never stopped however. Who would have reigned as king throughout the 2000s? Allow me to get hypothetical, and fantasy book myself some King of the Rings for the first decade of the new millennium.
Born in the middle of Wales in the middle of the 1980's, John can't quite remember when he started watching wrestling but he has a terrible feeling that Dino Bravo was involved. Now living in Prague, John spends most of his time trying to work out how Tomohiro Ishii still stands upright. His favourite wrestler of all time is Dean Malenko, but really it is Repo Man. He is the author of 'An Illustrated History of Slavic Misery', the best book about the Slavic people that you haven't yet read. You can buy it at the link below...