WWE, especially since creating their own network of online programming, should know by now that the key to getting people watching week after week is by creating must-see shows that fans would rather sell their own teeth than miss. The return of the King of the Ring was just such an event. A special show that Monday Night Raw teased and that aired the next night. Unfortunately, despite being a WWE Network special, it wasn’t given as royal a treatment as many fans would have wished. Here are the ways WWE could have upped its game to bring us a truly memorable tournament.
Needs more hype.
For something so connected to royalty its return was revealed rather unceremoniously. The cyclical nature of the WWE hype machine means that only the very next PPV may be mentioned at any time. This is a rule only broken for WrestleMania and WrestleMania alone. So the timing of the new King of the Ring tournament could have done better to increase its anticipation. WWE felt like they were being very cagy around this one. One the one hand, they used the prestige of the KOTR tourney to make people think that these one-off live specials were going to be something WWE fans couldn’t miss. On the other, the fact that they never told us about it until the day before means they might not have had much confidence in this new venture. This would be a shame seeing as how it was filled with worthy and talented competitors.
Make it a PPV
The most obvious way to answer the hype problem is to give KOTR its own PPV again. This would give KOTR the focus of the company for an entire month, and make it almost unavoidable for the casual fan. A Pay Per View event, available to all instead of just the internet viewers, would also make the bracket, and the title, mean much more. You would get the added bonus of services like Sky being happier to promote it for you (I get the feeling that Sky not wishing to give a rival provider too much promotion had a lot to do with their relative silence). You wouldn’t even lose the interest it creates in the Network. Making KOTR a PPV might bring back old school fans who have been hedging their bets on laying down £9.99 a month. These are the guys who don’t have the internet experience necessary to keep up with the latest in Network happenings, and many of them didn’t even know that KOTR was being decided in its own show online, leaving many of them frustrated after watching some real doozies on Raw. But if there were proper storylines being built up around it, with constant mentions on Raw and Smackdown, it would create interest for the faithful and the cynical alike. At the moment, with it being Network only (especially with the lack of build-up) it’s like they’re preaching to the choir, when they could be doing more to get subscribers who they haven’t converted yet. At the very least, make the build up to the final last a little more than 24 hours.
Use it to shatter the Glass Ceiling.
The greatest thing that the KOTR tournament ever achieved was making certain Superstars main event players. Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Edge, all won the event and went on to become champions. Unfortunately, because of WWE’s desperate lack of mid card talent in the 2000’s, there was an absence of exciting candidates to be made King and it contributed heavily to the event being rendered obsolete. It was trotted out from time to time, but only to give egotistical heels a new lease of life with a half decent gimmick (it did wonders for Booker T). But this isn’t the PG era. It’s the NXT era, and that institution is making sure that there will never be a lack of talent waiting in the wings ever again. In fact, one of this year’s finalists was an NXT member not two months. And following him are at least a half dozen decent candidates who could all be catapulted to the main event thanks to that prestigious title. Even doing something as small as participating can be a great boon for a NXT talent looking to make the leap to the main roster. WWE did well to include Neville but it could have done more, and an extra tier in the bracket could have helped promote the participants and their worth.
Gold and Red Velvet are so 1994
OK WWE, so you made a theme for the show that echoed the iconic Game of Thrones soundtrack. That was a good start but again, you didn’t go far enough. You stuck too much to the old look of fur lined cloak, red velvet chair, and garish sceptre. It’s 2015 guys, and right now iron is all the rage. Imagine, if you will a throne, made of steel chairs and barbed wire. Now that is a seat fit for a mad, heel king. Perfect for our new liege Bad News Barrett. Also, lose the ruby wand and make a mean looking staff made from oak with a raven on top. You know, because no British King of the Ring is going to appear in a match with nothing to hit his opponent over the head with. Behind the ref’s back of course. He’s a heel, not a savage. And if we are going that route, well then, we need some proper intrigue. Have Neville make an alliance with Stardust, only to be betrayed when he is in most need. Ambrose needs to be mysteriously taken out just before his toughest challenge. And Harper needs to marry Ziggler to align their kingdoms to take on the might of King Barrett. I mean let’s face it, Game of Thrones is essentially the Attitude Era with less violence and nudity.