WWE History Vol. 3: The Kings of Wrestling
These days, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a WWE championship.
SmackDown and Raw both have their own 'big belt' titles, the WWE Championship and the Universal Championship, respectively. Then there are the mid-card titles for both brands, the Intercontinental and United States titles. Add in two sets of tag team belts – not counting NXT – and women's titles for both brands, and the 24/7 title, and there are a veritable plethora of title belts floating around.
But during the WWE's Classic Era, there were only two singles championships; The World Heavyweight Championship and the Intercontinental championship.
Vince McMahon was reluctant at the time to have too many champions in the promotion for fears it would be confusing to the fans, especially children. However, there was one accolade that sometimes changed hands between wrestlers; The crown of the King of Wrestling.
Many legendary wrestlers have held the designation as King in WWE, most recently King Wade Barrett. However, the crown was originally intended to be a gimmick, not something to be put up and won or lost.
Thus we begin the colorful and rich history of WWE's kings of wrestling. Enjoy!
Honorable Mention: Jerry "The King" Lawler
Out of all the strange ways one can enter the world of pro wrestling, Jerry Lawler takes the cake. He was working as Disc Jockey for a Memphis radio station when his gift of gab attracted the attention of promoter Aubrey Griffith. Lawler was offered free wrestling training in exchange for promoting wrestling events on his radio show.
Lawler quickly became a major star, working both as a wrestler and a promoter. He dubbed himself the King and even entered a feud with comedian Andy Kaufman, which blurred the lines between kayfabe and reality.
He also brought a lawsuit against WWE over their use of the King gimmick during Harley Race's reign. It was decided in court that the King gimmick was too general to copyright, thus Lawler lost the case.
As an olive branch, WWE offered Lawler a contract. He would act mostly as an announcer, but also feuded with WWE champion Bret Hart for a long time.
Though Lawler never won the crown officially in WWE, we would be remiss to not mention him in our list of monarchs.