On the latest episode of Corey Graves After the Bell podcast, the Friday Night SmackDown commentator said that Baron Corbin rubbed several WWE superstars the wrong way during his days in the developmental system. As quoted by Sportskeeda, Graves revealed that Seth Rollins had an issue with the 2019 King of the Ring winner and that several superstars gave Corbin a condescending nickname.
However, during the podcast, Graves also recalled being one of the first people to come forward in support of Corbin, which led to some disagreements with his fellow developmental superstars at the time.
“I remember going, ‘Guys, I think Football Tom… he might not be so bad.’ ‘Wait, what are you talking about?’ Rollins going, ‘What, no way?’ ‘No, he was asking about how we survived in the indies,’ and that was kind of all any of us wanted.”
The nickname is a reference to Corbin’s days in the NFL, where he played as an offensive lineman for the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals. According to Corbin — who joined Graves on the episode — his colleagues supposedly didn’t like him because he had more money than them as a result of his previous career, which led to him running it in their faces by showing up to a promo class with $20,000 in cash.
Graves also told the story about how he and Corbin became friends with each other and Dean Ambrose. During their car rides together, Graves discovered that Corbin was serious about making it in the wrestling business, even though he, Rollins, and other talents thought the Friday Night Superstar was arrogant and dismissive of the business.
— WWE (@WWE) July 15, 2019
During their conversation, Graves also remembered sharing an apartment with Corbin and watching Japanese wrestling together. Most of Corbin’s colleagues assumed that he had no respect for the business and he didn’t to himself any favors convincing them otherwise, but according to Graves, he was a long-term fan prior to signing with WWE.
As noted by Sportskeeda, Corbin also revealed that it was Roman Reigns who convinced him to see the error of his ways, as his future rival took time out to help him, informing him that he only had to impress the people who made the big decisions.
“Roman pulled me aside at a show and he was like, ‘Hey, you gotta do this, this, this,’ because those are the guys who look at someone and go, ‘Oh, he can be successful, he can help us, let’s do this.'”
Reigns and Corbin recently had a polarizing feud with each other, proving that “The Big Dog’s” advice for Corbin had a positive effect.