Before there was Lyra Valkyria, before there was Bianca Belair, before there was Nia Jax, and before there was even Zelina Vega, there was Queen Sharmell, the real life wife of Booker T who he added to his royal court after becoming the King of the Ring in 2006, thus making her the first-ever Queen of the Ring even if she isn't recognized in the Tournament's official liniedge.

Now granted, Booker wasn't the first man to win the tournament – that was Don Muraco – and multiple performers have won the prize after him, but he did treat the title like a true honor and was able to add some serious weight to his legacy within the WWE based on his creativity.

So naturally, with King and Queen of the Ring 2024 rapidly approaching, it made sense that Booker would use his Hall of Fame podcast platform to weigh in on the current sextet of challengers looking to add their name to the Tournament's royal legacy, specifically on the woman's side, where Valkyria and either Belair or Jax will duke it out in Saudi Arabia for the crown. While there's a lot of star power potentially on display this weekend, in Booker's opinion, WWE would be wise to give the rub to the youngest performer in the match, Valkyria, as he feels like such an honor would be a “no-brainer” way to launch her main roster career.

“No-brainer, man. I feel the same way. Lyra, if she wins it, just getting up to the main roster, that's putting the rocket on her. That's putting the rocket on her and sending her straight to the moon,” Booker T revealed via Fightful. “You know what I always talk about as far as the King of the Ring and the Queen of the Ring tournament, it's cool being in the tournament. Winning it is something totally different. But I do feel like Lyra Valkyria, she's different. There's something about her, and watching her in NXT for just about a year and five months, six months, and then she's on the main roster, she's moving at an astronomical pace. To watch her in the ring, her performance is on-point. She knows exactly what she's doing in the ring at such a young age. So for her to have that mantle, Queen of the Ring, it would be awesome for that young lady.”

Would it be a massive upset victory for Valkyria to defeat either Belair or Jax in arguably the second-biggest match of her WWE career? You bet, but hey, Valkyria did defeat Becky Lynch for the NXT Woman's Championship last fall and was able to stay on top of the division for months until she took an L to Roxanne Perez in a Stand & Deliver battle on WrestleMania weekend. If Valkyria can pull off the win one way or another this weekend, Booker is largely on the money, as the 27-year-old Dublin native would instantly be elevated to new heights on RAW, completely divorced from just being Lynch's friend.

Matt Hardy has a different pick than Booker T for Queen of the Ring.

Speaking of King and Queen of the Ring, Matt Hardy also weighed in on the forthcoming tournament finale and gave his picks on who he wants to see hold the crowns moving forward.

While Booker was all-in on the underdog Valkyria, Hardy just doesn't see it, as on his Extreme Life podcast, he revealed that he believes the favorites, Gunther and Bianca Belair, will leave the show with the crowns, as they are both dominant former champions who could thrive with this new opportunity.

“I think Gunther ends up winning on the men's side,” Matt Hardy explained on Extreme Life via Fightful. “I'd be perfect for him, I could see him really making the absolute most out of that, that gets him back hot again after having such a dominant reign with the IC title and I think it pushes him into the world title picture. If you're going with a heel on the [men's side], I'd say Bianca Belair on the other side. She's one of the girls that's going to lead the women's division for the next few years so I could see that happening too.”

In 2021, WWE tried to create new stars in the King and Queen of the Ring Tournament by giving the crowns to Zelina Vega and Xavier Woods in an effort that probably didn't work as well as they initially hoped. In 2024, however, WWE decided to put some heavy hitters in the tournament and could have a multi-time champion hold either crown when it's all said and done, especially if Hardy's prediction comes true.