Cleat Geeks

Mid-Card Monday: Baron Corbin

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After two weeks have passed since the WWE brand-split, mid-card wrestlers have seen much more air time.  This exposure is the opportunity that many have been waiting for their whole careers, catapulting them into (hopeful) stardom.  Unfortunately, in some cases, it may only shed light upon why they had not been pushed into the spotlight.  In the case of Baron Corbin the wins vs. losses aren’t what tell the story, it’s the “Lone Wolf” tactics outside of the ring that will set him apart.

Baron Corbin comes the WWE via NXT but is a complete athlete.  A former professional football player with the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals, Corbin understands the mental and physical toughness that comes along with being a professional athlete.  It seems as though, despite winning four consecutive Division II championships with his college football team at Northwest Missouri State University, he proved to be just as successful as an individual when he won three Golden Gloves championships.  His individualistic tendencies aren’t anything new. In fact, while a member of the Arizona Cardinals, it was noted that he participated in a physical altercation, throwing punches and uppercuts.

Since making his NXT TV debut on May 8, 2013, and then re-debut on September 11, 2014, Corbin has been literally fighting to make a name for himself.  He’s been highlighted as the brute who isn’t interested in winning fans or touting catchphrases; he’s here to beat people up and do so in as little time as possible. For awhile, that’s exactly what he did in NXT, and it became the expectation that his matches would last seconds, but unfortunately, that didn’t earn him any favors. Without any true successful runs in NXT or WWE thus far, he can really only claim to have ended Bull Dempsey’s undefeated streak, and win the 3rd annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale at WrestleMania 32.  Sadly and anticlimactically, he would go onto a draw the next night on Monday Night Raw when both he and Dolph Ziggler were counted out.

After the double count out, Corbin would continue his attack on Dolph Ziggler.  The same thing happened after losing a triple threat match that included Apollo Crews and Kalisto on last week’s SmackDown Live; attacking opponents after the final bell rings seems to be his calling card.  But is that enough to encourage WWE fans to cheer or boo Corbin?

The problem with starting over for many of these mid-card superstars on the new Raw or SmackDown is that they already have established that they weren’t strong enough to stand out before the brand split.  It’s up to GMs to help their rosters become as strong as possible.  The natural rivalry between the two brands will always help, and Corbin does have the physical foundation to deserve a push.  It will greatly depend on how savage he becomes in his Lone Wolf character as to how far he can go in the WWE.


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(Mid-Card Monday: Apollo Crews)

As previously mentioned, last week on SmackDown Live, Apollo Crews was a participant in a triple-threat match whose prize granted the winner a title shot at the Intercontinental Champion at Summer Slam, the Miz.  It was a great opportunity for all three participants, Crews, Corbin, and Kalisto, to show off their in-ring skills, and despite taking losses, Kalisto and Corbin were able to get some valuable and much-needed exposure.  I was pleased to see this trio featured in the IC title hunt, but even more, so that it was Apollo Crews who went on to win it.  It’s an even bigger push and greater opportunity that he deserves.  Let’s wait and see how he is able to respond to the Miz’s attacks.  He’s no match verbally, at least not from what we have witnessed thus far, but then again, who is against the Miz?

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