A new king reigns supreme on SmackDown after Shinsuke Nakamura officially defeated King Corbin for his King Of The Ring crown on Friday’s show.
The two men have been embroiled in a rivalry for several weeks on the blue brand with the men trading wins. Nakamura angered Corbin when he began wearing a crown with Corbin saying he was the one true king of SmackDown after winning the last King Of The Ring tournament in 2019. On his way to the crown, Corbin defeated The Miz, Cedric Alexander, Samoa Joe, Ricochet, and Chad Gable in that tournament.
Nakamura has refreshed his character in recent weeks and now has NXT talent Rick Boogs playing electric guitar along with his entrance. After meeting Corbin in the ring for four weeks out of the previous five, this fifth match was dubbed the ‘Battle For The Crown.’ In a back and forth encounter, the Japanese superstar was able to land his deadly Kinshasa to end the reign of King Corbin.
After the match, the now-former King Corbin appeared tearful while the ‘One True King of SmackDown’ Shinsuke Nakamura celebrated with Boogs on his way to the back.
The King Of The Ring has made headlines recently with Corbin speaking on WWE’s The Bump, discussing the prestige of being King Of The Ring and how it is something every other WWE Superstar has their eye on. Corbin noted Nakamura’s antics and responded to fellow competitor that has made no secret in the past of his desire to sit on WWE’s throne, Xavier Woods.
“I think everyone has had their eye on it, just like they do with a Championship title. They want an opportunity, a chance, and they want to earn it. That’s what the crown does to people. Then you have people who are cowards like Shinsuke who want to steal it.”
“At least Xavier Woods wants to earn an opportunity to wear the crown. It’s important to him and his career. I’m happy to make it a disappointment and a regret in his long career, that he came up short in something he really wanted. A tournament is what’s necessary to wear the crown. If you want a shot, talk to somebody, cry to people, and get it set up. Xavier Woods, I would love to face him in the tournament. His dream will be cut short, but I’m happy to do it and defend it in the right circumstances.”
This drew a response from on-screen WWE official and backstage producer, Adam Pearce. Taking to social media Pearce warned fans to “stay tuned.”
The King Of The Ring concept in WWE dates back to 1985 when Don Muraco defeated The Iron Sheik to be crowned the inaugural king. In 1993 the tournament was the basis for WWE’s annual June pay-per-view with Bret Hart winning the first of those crowns, defeating Bam Bam Bigelow in that year’s final.
Memorable moments from King Of The Ring history include Stone Cold Steve Austin coining “Austin 3:16” in 1996, Owen Hart becoming the King of Harts in 1994, and in 2006 Booker T dropped the T and encouraged everyone to “All hail King Booker” after winning that year’s crown.