Baron Corbin won the King of the Ring tournament in September 2019 with a victory over Chad Gable on Raw. King Corbin has had an incredible run with the crown since then, including a breathtaking “Loser Eats Dog Food” war against Roman Reigns, and losing to Elias in only the second most forgettable match of empty warehouse WrestleMania 36.
Corbin’s crown was recently stolen by Shinsuke Nakamura and his hype man, Rick Boogs. Tomorrow night (June 18) on SmackDown, Corbin and Nakamura will have a singles match for the fifth time across a span of eight episodes of SmackDown. This time there are actual stakes - the winner of the match gets to officially keep the crown.
While promoting this match on WWE’s The Bump, Corbin said that he’s happy to defend the crown, but it should only be done through a tournament:
“I think that everybody’s kind of had their eye on it, just like people do with championship titles. They want an opportunity at that. They want a chance. They want to earn it. They want to own it. I think that’s what the crown does to people. And then you have people who are cowards like Shinsuke who want to steal it.”
“The tournament is what’s necessary to wear that crown. And I won it. If you want a shot, you talk to somebody, maybe cry to a few people, and try to get another tournament set up. And Xavier Woods, I would love to face him in that tournament, absolutely. It could be in the finals. It could be first round. I mean, his dream will be cut short, but I’m happy to do it. I’m happy to defend it in the right circumstances.”
Corbin’s logic about a required tournament seems correct to me, but unfortunately for him, the other way to apparently earn a shot at the crown is to steal it until WWE authority figures grant you a match for the right to keep it. Nakamura is a smart man, because that route to the crown is much easier than winning three or four consecutive matches in a tournament.
WWE Official Adam Pearce responded to the idea of the King of the Ring tournament coming back by saying “Stay tuned.”
Should a #KOTR Tournament come to pass, it wouldn’t just be for you. It’d be for us all, my friend.— Adam Pearce (@ScrapDaddyAP) June 16, 2021
If the King of the Ring tournament returns in 2021, which wrestler would you like to see win the crown?