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All wail King Booker

In this, the year 2006, the Superstar once known as Booker T officially became a royal pain in the you-know-where, reigning supreme as WWE's King of the Ring. Booker founded his monarchy last May at Judgment Day, where the prestigious tournament—returning in all its glory after a four-year absence—was decided in a heated final-round contest between him and Lashley. With help from Sharmell and Finlay, Booker defeated Lashley, dropped the "T" and gave his name a majestic makeover.

After Lashley speared him through his very throne that same night, many predicted Booker's rise to power would be short-lived, that the crown would quickly weigh heavy on the newly-christened SmackDown Superstar. Instead, he strengthened his empire by making Sharmell his queen, and knighting loyal subjects Finlay and William Regal as members of his Royal Court. Then, exactly two months after placing gold on his head, Booker added more to his waist—with an unexpected assist from Chavo Guerrero, he bested Rey Mysterio at The Great American Bash, and claimed the World Heavyweight Championship. Truly, King Booker had become King of the World.

Fending off opposition from so-called "rogues" and "scoundrels" like Lashley, Batista, and even Finlay, Booker added one more jewel to his already sizable crown at last November's Cyber Sunday. Though the "peasants" (i.e., WWE fans) voted to put his World Heavyweight Championship up for grabs, his Majesty conquered overwhelming odds, defeating ECW World Champion Big Show and WWE Champion John Cena to become the first-ever Champion of Champions. In fact, had he not finally relinquished his gold to Batista at Survivor Series, King Booker might have sat atop the nine remaining carcasses that constitute WWE's top stories for 2006, instead of being hailed as No. 10.

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