The reign of Regal begins

The reign of Regal begins

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The 2008 King of the Ring Tournament saw the rise to prominence of William Regal, who used his role as General Manager and his patented Regal Stretch in three submission victories to set the path to the throne, ultimately defeating CM Punk to take the crown on Raw and become King of all WWE. See the King of the Ring Brackets

Regal had to get through Mr. Money in the Bank, Punk, in the finals of the eight-man tournament -- a match that saw the resilience of Punk up against the physically punishing style of the GM. CM Punk was able to withstand the Englishman's physical in-ring style in the finals for a short time, but the odds were too much to overcome with a fairly fresh William Regal stealing the victory and the crown.

Earlier, Regal's first step on the way to his royal crowning was the revelation that Hornswoggle would compete in the King of the Ring Tournament. After quickly defeating the pint-sized Superstar, Regal's path to the throne then continued on to his semifinal opponent, and Hornswoggle's father, Finlay. The Irishman hobbled into the semifinals after earning his spot with a physically pained disqualification victory over The Great Khali in the opening round.

The Punjabi warrior destroyed the left knee of Finlay as the referee warned him to take things into the ring, orders that Khali ignored as he pummeled the Irishman. Finlay also endured an attack by Regal after trying to protect Hornswoggle in the quarterfinals.

The only thing that kept Khali from continuing the assault was the arrival of Big Show -- the Punjabi giant's Backlash opponent -- whose glares sent the behemoth up the aisle. The damage was already done, however, and Regal zeroed in on Finlay's ravaged knee prior to their semifinal confrontation.

While Regal was securing his spot in the finals with his General Manager power and cunning maneuvers, the Straightedge Superstar was fighting his way through the prestigious tournament. Punk's first round opponent, Matt Hardy, hoped to earn the King of the Ring crown, but he would lose to runner-up CM Punk.

In the next round, Punk faced another Superstar looking for that dare-to-be-great moment in the semifinals in Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho. Y2J, who has held every accolade a Superstar could dream of in WWE except King of the Ring, hoped to inscribe his name into WWE history books once again, but it was not his night. Though the Intercontinental Champion Y2J seized a huge win over United States Champion MVP with his Walls of Jericho in the opening round, Jericho's momentum came to a halt against Mr. Money in the Bank.

With wins over two top WWE Superstars -- at 100 percent -- CM Punk fought his way to the finals, nearly taking home the King of the Ring crown to add to his Money in the Bank briefcase. But the ECW Superstar couldn't overcome the seemingly perfect plot of William Regal. And regardless of how Raw's majestic man-in-charge got to the crown, he did. Like it or not, the General Manager is the one wearing the Regal robes now, and the monarchy has never been stronger.

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