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WWE Deserves Credit for its King and Queen of the Ring Booking

The semi-finals of the King and Queen of the Ring tournaments include bouts with high-stakes, long-term implications.

The cynical, jaded pro wrestling fan in me expected “more of the same.”

I’m happy to be wrong.

On the Men’s Side

Earlier this week, I suggested that The Bloodline and/or Imperium would interfere in the Ilja Dragunov vs. Jey Uso quarter-final match on Raw. Instead, Uso won clean. In hindsight, it seems like the right decision.

Smackdown saw slight interference during the Tama Tonga vs. LA Knight match, but the victory sets up an interesting set of potential clashes for the finals.

On Raw, Jey Uso will face off against Gunther. The latter seems perfect for the “King of the Ring” moniker – König des Rings, perhaps? A first-time showdown between Der Ringgeneral and The Viper would make for an excellent match that sets the winner up for a strong summer.

If Gunther wins, he completes his transition from “mid-card champion” to full-fledged main eventer. Orton’s victory would be his most significant in a couple of years. Both scenarios likely lead to a showdown with Cody Rhodes at SummerSlam.

In this case, an Orton victory may be the only chance to shoehorn in a match that likely needs to happen for both his and Cody’s legacy (pun slightly intended).

The counter is that Uso and Tonga meet in the finals, both upsetting more decorated singles stars in the process. A Jey Uso victory would mark his first major singles triumph, helping shed the stigma that he “can’t win the big one.” The victory could also set up the inevitable continuation of the Bloodline saga.

A Tonga victory, while perhaps the most unlikely scenario unless they 41-year-old will be Cody’s first Bloodline-affiliated challenger – solidifies his role as an absolute monster.

Either way, next week’s tournament semi-finals have become must-watch television.

On the Women’s Side

WWE had the opportunity to hotshot a high-profile contest between Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill next week on Smackdown. Instead, long-term booking seems to be prevailing.

Belair was successful in dispatching Tiffany Stratton in a solid quarter-final match. Cargill suffered her first single’s loss in WWE, however, dropping a disqualification to Nia Jax. The heated post-match brawl between Cargill and Jax worked well as the two will have the opportunity to settle their issue at a later date.

On Raw, Lyra Valkyria is poised as a reasonable winner (and eventual challenger to fellow Irishwoman Becky Lynch), though Iyo Sky’s momentum likely leads to the former WWE Women’s Champion making her way to the finals.

Likewise, a win over Jax would send Belair to the finals, leading to tension with her partner Cargill. Ultimately, an Iyo Sky win could set up a fresh singles feud with Lynch on Raw.

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