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Fit to be Crowned

At Judgment Day, Booker T defeated Bobby Lashley to win the 2006 King of the Ring tournament. This Friday night on SmackDown, the new monarch will take the throne for his official coronation. And if history is any indication, it's going to be quite the spectacle.

You see, when it comes to coronations in WWE, things sometimes don't always go as planned. There are times, like in 1996, when a coronation sets the stage for the beginning of something huge. When Stone Cold Steve Austin won the King of the Ring tournament that year, his coronation speech spawned both a biblical phenomenon and one of the most notorious catchphrases in WWE history.

Addressing Jake Roberts, the man he defeated in the finals, Austin said, "You thump your bible, talk about your John 3:16…well Austin 3:16 says that I just whipped your ass. When I get the chance, you're looking at the next WWE Champion, and that's the bottom line, because Stone Cold said so."

Take that against 1993, when Bret Hart defeated Bam Bam Bigelow to win the King of the Ring tournament. Jerry Lawler, who considered himself to be the only true King in WWE, attacked the "Hit Man" as he received his royal rewards. Lawler blindsided Bret, breaking the royal scepter over the WWE Hall of Famer's back. The attack led to a huge rivalry between the two in the summer of 1993, which Bret eventually got the better of.

Even before his own coronation, Booker T has made his first royal decree: he shall now be known solely as "King Booker." Earlier this week, when I caught up with Booker to talk about his coronation, I made the mistake of addressing him as Booker. He quickly corrected me, saying "Excuse me, give me my just due and respect! From now on, to you and everyone else, I am King Booker!"

Once I addressed him correctly, I tried to find out what the fans can expect from King Booker's coronation this Friday night. "Oh man, it's going to be a spectacle, a real extravaganza," he said. "Friday night will be something to remember. There hasn't been a great King since Randy Savage and the lovely Queen Sherri walked that aisle. The fans have paved a path of gold for King Booker, and people will remember where they were when King Booker took his rightful throne."

Of course, just because you're the King in WWE, that doesn't always mean you get the respect you deserve. At WrestleMania III in 1987, Junkyard Dog took on then-King Harley Race. JYD lost, and the stipulation stated that he must bow in front of the King. Well, the Dog had other ideas, and ended up crowning Race with a chair to the head.

The "last great King" that King Booker mentioned, "Macho King" Randy Savage, felt the disrespect as well. However, he did something about it. In 1991, then-WWE Champion Ultimate Warrior refused to give Savage an opportunity at the gold. Taking matters into his own hands, Savage later smashed his scepter over Warrior's head, causing him to lose the WWE Championship to Sgt. Slaughter at the 1991 Royal Rumble. While that was obviously bad for Warrior, it ended up being good for the fans, because the incident led to the classic Retirement Match between Savage and Warrior at WrestleMania VII.

So if Savage was a great King, what kind of monarch will King Booker be? "The fans are my loyal subjects, so I must give them their respect," he said, "because that's the kind of King I am. I'm a gracious and passionate King, and don't you forget it….SUCKA!"

WATCH Bret Hart's coronation in 1993
WATCH a clip of Stone Cold's coronation in 1996
King of the Ring history section

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