The WWE announced during Monday Night Raw this week that the prestigious King of the Ring tournament will make its return starting with the Aug. 19 episode of Raw. Details have slowly started to trickle out since the original announcement — we now know how big the tournament will be this time (16) and who will be in it — but the announcement didn't make it clear how long the tournament would actually last given how some previous versions took place only in one night while others were stretched out over weeks.
According to Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer, the WWE is currently planning on the latter this time around. The tournament will start on Monday then span the next few weeks of both Raw and Smackdown before the final round takes place a the next pay-per-view, Clash of Champions, on Sept. 15.
This year's participants include Ali, Andrade, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Buddy Murphy, Cedric Alexander, Cesaro, Chad Gable, Drew McIntyre Elias, The Miz, Kevin Owens, Ricochet, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe and Shelton Benjamin. Despite having a few veterans on the list like Miz and Benjamin, only McIntyre has previously competed in the tournament.
Previous winners include Harley Rave, Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Edge, Brock Lesnar, Booker T, William Regal and Sheamus. After being a consistent part of WWE's schedule from 1993-2002, the tournament has since popped up at random intervals — 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2015, with the last winner being Bad New Barrett.
In a recent episode of his The Hall of Fame Podcast, Booker T gave his prediction on who will win the tournament.
"I was watching Drew McIntyre earlier when they announced The King of the Ring tournament," Booker said (h/t WrestlingInc for transcription). "I see Drew McIntyre as The King: The Scottish King coming out with the robe, which is my opinion. There are a lot of guys in the tournament, but I see Drew McIntyre ascending to another level which is why I say that the fans are going to win at the end of the day, because the locker room is about turning it up right now and seeing how far we can push ourselves, and how far we can really go as far as a unit. That is the love of the game that I love and miss so much."