How High is Baron Corbin’s WWE Ceiling?


Can Baron Corbin be another NXT call-up to make an impact?

In this modern era of WWE, there are two ways to get to the top. A fast-tracked tier we’ve seen with Roman Reigns and AJ Styles where their solo careers almost immediately put them in WWE title positioning. The other is a lot trickier. It’s the Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn, Cesaro route. These stars have to put in serious work before they’re considered stars. Baron Corbin isn’t in either tier suggesting he’ll have to be content as a mid-card star and nothing more.

At best, Corbin will be in that space we’ve seen The Big Show and Kane occupy recently. The big, towering giant who can physically overwhelm his opponents and give the eventual #1 contender a tough challenge, but never being a contender themselves.

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Being stuck in a directionless feud with Dolph Ziggler isn’t exactly plotting a course to face off against Dean Ambrose for the WWE title anytime soon. That’s probably not that big a stretch to picture for fans who watched Corbin in NXT. For months, he got the whack a jobber treatment where he battered overmatched opponents and looked like a world beater. Against higher-caliber opponents like Rhyno and Samoa Joe, Corbin was OK, but not a clear-cut star. It was probably telling that his NXT tenure ended without any titles.

So let’s consider Corbin’s ceiling and how far he can climb in the WWE. In his favor, Corbin has that big man look Vince McMahon seems to favor. Corbin has bought into his character and on that front, he’s already ahead of some of his fellow NXT call-ups with the exception of Big Cass and Enzo Amore.

Going 50/50 in a feud with a fading star like Ziggler hasn’t helped Corbin much since few fans take Ziggler seriously at this point. Still, beating a former WWE champion is a decent notch for any rising star.

For Corbin’s sake, he should be rooting for Dean Ambrose to emerge from the Shield feud as the WWE champ. Ambrose is the one top-tier star that could make Corbin look like a viable threat to the title. And a Corbin/Ambrose feud would present Ambrose with a new type of challenger.

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Corbin probably has one big main event program in him and it needs to be against someone WWE can play the David vs. Goliath card. Looking at the roster, the obvious candidates are AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Ambrose and Finn Balor, assuming he ever gets called up. Corbin can play the role of an old school Hulk Hogan opponent where he’s the big bad monster that needs to be vanquished.

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Long-term, Corbin’s best bet for a lengthy WWE career is as the roadblock U.S. or Intercontinental champion a face has to overcome en route to bigger and better things. Think John Cena when he beat Big Show for the U.S. title at Wrestlemania 20 and won the WWE title at Wrestlemania 21.

Ultimately, Corbin’s biggest career success likely won’t come in WWE. Corbin seems like one of those guys who’ll be discarded in the latest roster purge 4-5 years from now. The good news is he’s got a unique enough look to stand out in New Japan and fill the slot of the American giant spot on the NJPW roster.

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How far do you think Baron Corbin can go in the WWE?