Stakes immediately elevate both the King and Queen of the Ring Tournaments

Title shots are on the line for the winners of the King and Queen of the Ring Tournaments, giving value to these matches heading into SummerSlam.
WWE King and Queen of the Ring - Press Event
WWE King and Queen of the Ring - Press Event / WWE/GettyImages

For years, the King and Queen of the Ring Tournaments were about pomp and circumstance. Actually, they were more about Vince McMahon booking a performer to talk with a stereotypical royalty accent for his own entertainment. But that’s changed, as Triple H announced that the winner of both tournaments will get a title shot at SummerSlam on August 3. That’s a big move, because adding stakes makes it much more difficult to predict who is going to win on both sides of the bracket.

Beginning with the men, Gunther has carved his way to the final where he will face either Randy Orton or Tama Tonga. Expectations are that Orton is going to pick up the win, but WWE has done a great job with surprise outcomes as of late. Gunther, with a championship title shot in his back pocket, makes him an ultimate threat to whoever is the champion. And that’s the question to ask.

With approximately three months between now and SummerSlam, there are a few different ways the World Heavyweight Championship can play out. Damian Priest has the belt, but few expect him to be a long-term holder. He’s supposedly giving Drew McIntyre a title shot, but there’s no telling when. Clash at the Castle Scotland is scheduled for Saturday, June 15 and if the bout happens there, then expectations are that McIntyre wins. But what about CM Punk? If he’s not quite prepared for in-ring action, what impact does that have on McIntyre? That’s a big angle and doesn’t need a championship, but it seems inevitable that they will battle for the title at some point.

Flash forward to August 31. That is WWE Bash in Berlin. That would be the perfect time to feature Gunther in a major title defense. That opponent should be none other than Ilja Dragunov. Give those two men the spotlight on a show in their neck of the woods to close out the trilogy affair they’ve had since NXT UK.

Yet, you can’t count out Randy Orton. An Orton victory over Gunther would be very believable. But not only that, it sets up Randy Orton versus Cody Rhodes for SummerSlam. That’s a huge angle that could easily headline not only that show but draw in a lot of attention to SmackDown for weeks to come.

Lyra Valkyria is in the finals for Monday Night Raw, and she’ll face either Bianca Belair or Nia Jax. This seems like a push to build Valkyria up as a major name for the brand. Expectations are for her to face and defeat Jax in the finals, hopefully carrying that momentum to a major babyface run. If Liv Morgan comes out of the PLE as the Women’s World Champion, Valkyria would work as a top contender until Rhea Ripley is cleared to make her return. The real interest is what WWE has planned for Valkyria and Becky Lynch. If the latter re-signs and doesn’t take time off, expect an angle between those two either as foes or teammates to play out.

Professional wrestling is fun when promotions walk a fine line between predictability and surprise outcomes. Adding stakes to the finals of the King and Queen of the Ring Tournaments elevates the matches and creates some interesting potential outcomes for both brackets.