There has been a lot of criticism in recent weeks over Monday Night RAW’s three-hour format, but it should be noted that SmackDown Live extends beyond two hours with its weekly wrap-up show, Talking Smack. Many of the brand’s stars have benefited from the shoot-style nature of the program, including The Miz, Alexa Bliss, John Cena, AJ Styles, and Baron Corbin, just to name a few.
And as it relates to Baron Corbin, his segments on both Talking Smack and SmackDown Live have blurred the lines between Baron Corbin the person and Baron Corbin the sports entertainer. You often hear that a WWE character is extremely reflective of the person playing the role, just simply turned up several notches. That’s certainly applicable to The Lone Wolf.
Corbin, along with Bliss, American Alpha, Apollo Crews, Carmella, The Vaudevillains, and Mojo Rawley are all still in their first full year on the WWE main roster, all on the SmackDown brand. Baron was the highest draft pick among them, selected 19th overall in the brand extension draft and eighth by Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan of the blue brand. Jordan, Gable, and Bliss are all champions on Tuesday nights, despite early expectations being tempered based on draft positioning alone.
There may have been somewhat lofty plans in the works for Baron Corbin upon his promotion due to the fact that he won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in his first night on the main roster. But his momentum fizzled out during his debut program with Dolph Ziggler. As we now know, Ziggler even admitted to “checking out” prior to putting his career on the line in his feud with The Miz after the brand split, so that certainly could have played a part in Corbin’s early struggles.
Even after the roster was divided, Corbin was in an uphill battle for relevance, engaging in insignificant angles with the likes of Crews, Jack Swagger, and, more recently, Kalisto. An injury to the latter stalled any progress he and Baron had been making together, but WWE creative remained committed to their feud when Kalisto returned.
As the Inquisitr pointed out roughly one month ago, Corbin’s Talking Smack segment on the SmackDown following his TLC victory over Kalisto was used as a launching pad for an upcoming push. His big break almost came when he was booked to compete in the marquee elimination match at Survivor Series but was replaced at the last minute because WWE officials thought Shane McMahon would help sell more tickets, subscriptions, and pay-per-view buys.
But it appears that Ziggler, Kalisto, and Shane McMahon won’t derail the push WWE officials have been planning for Baron Corbin after all. And we can look to both TV and the house show circuit for evidence. As reported by Ringside News, Corbin has been wrestling in the main event of the SmackDown live events recently, working with AJ Styles and John Cena in triple threat matches.
That spot was being occupied at times by Dean Ambrose, but he was moved to work with Dolph Ziggler or The Miz. The interesting part about the triple threat is that Styles has been pinning Cena in the match, and not Baron Corbin. This is WWE’s way of protecting Corbin as he ascends up the ladder. And if you recall, Dolph Ziggler took the pin in the SmackDown triple threat title match with Styles and Corbin to close out 2016.
Corbin is set to square off with Cena on this week’s episode of SmackDown, so the finish will certainly be something to keep an eye on. It’s highly unlikely either star will go over in the match clean, as Cena is in line for a title shot at the Royal Rumble and Corbin’s true push is currently in motion.
Baron Corbin won’t truly realize the full push until sometime in late spring or early summer as the championship will likely run through Cena, Styles, and the Undertaker until then. But if Corbin can maintain his current momentum, he’ll be on his way to the next in line once WrestleMania season is over.
[Featured Image by WWE]