Baron Corbin’s unexpected and unsuccessful Money In The Bank cash in against Jinder Mahal on this past Tuesday night’s edition of SmackDown Live sent out a confusing and ominous message.
Granted, all cash ins are unexpected by virtue of the MITB concept. All cash ins can’t be successful either. Like Cena and Damien Sandow before him, there has to be an exception to the rule otherwise it becomes all too predictable. Pity poor Mr Kennedy who didn’t even get the opportunity at all.
Allow a brief aside for some trivia: John Cena has been involved in all three unsuccessful cash ins. His own, beating Sandow and interfering in Corbin’s. The man gets about.
But back to Corbin, and as his SummerSlam bout with Cena looms large, talk persists that his rushed and botched attempt is indicative of wider problems he faces with his employer both in ring and backstage.
Corbin is said to be sat alongside Enzo Amore in the Nuclear Heat Dog House, which is presumably some kind of fallout shelter. A slew of lax performances, embarrassing Twitter shenanigans and attitude problems is alleged to have combined to make management think twice about who their new boy is going to be.
Management won’t have been best pleased over Corbin’s social media activity over the past seven days. Apparently blurring the lines between tough guy kayfabe and real world decorum a little too much, the Lone Wolf howled into the digital abyss and snarled at Dave Meltzer.
Seeming to reel from criticism from pro-wrestling’s leading journalist that his push was simply down to WWE’s obsession with tall guys, Corbin called Meltzer “an old man” who “never took a bump” before admitting he’d blocked him on Twitter while earning his stripes at NXT.
While WWE may not sweat too much over the impact of the brief spat, it shows Corbin may be of thinner skin. Not the right temperament a world champion – supposedly the leading visual representation of the company – could cart around with him.
Recent back and forths with Finn Bálor and Mojo Rawley seem to indicate a little real=life tension too. His huff-and-puff replies to provocative fan tweets don’t help either. Corbin’s character is supposed to be a flat-track bully who dishes it out just fine. Like any bully though, he can’t seem to take it in return.
Corbin’s time at NXT was rumoured to be mired in unpopularity; a number of wrestling writers peddling the line that his time in the developmental division was spotted by bad temper and disassociation.
After all, there must be some reason for the stop-start boom-and-bust cycle he has endured in WWE thus far. The momentum garnered from winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, being booked as a hardline bully and doing it well sputtered and finally died at Wrestlemania 2017.
His match against Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship, one many expected him to win, was bumped to the pre-show at the last minute and subject to a fairly routine bout which Corbin lost.
Twice now Corbin has been on the brink of pushing past a glass ceiling only to be brought back down to Earth with a bump and on his back. He needs a convincing win against Cena this Sunday at SummerSlam so unforgiving fans don’t lose sight of him altogether. Maybe he should delete Twitter first.