WWE is Building Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin as Mainstay Stars


These two NXT alumni look to have secured their place in the WWE for the foreseeable future.

While Darren Young walked away with the victory in Monday night’s battle royale to determine the No. 1 Contender for The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship, it was Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin who shined.

The pair of recent NXT alum, both called up the weekend of WrestleMania 32 this past April, lasted the entire match before Crews inadvertently got himself eliminated when he was tangled up with Corbin, who he threw over the top rope in what turned out to be the closing moments of the match.

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The two stars looked great during the match, each notching eliminations and impressive moments throughout, especially when Crews emphatically eliminated Bo Dallas with a full body toss out onto the ringside mat and when Corbin delivered a devastating spinning power bomb to Young, which led to the now No. 1 Contender recovering in the corner while the other two eliminated themselves.

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Neither Crews nor Corbin needed the immediate title shot like Young did, who now carries a heap of momentum into Battleground against The Miz. Young being paired with Bob Backlund in vignettes over the past month has built up a lot of hype that needed a payoff – a loss there would have immediately killed any momentum Young gained by returning to WWE television.

Crews got the initial rub by having his music open up Monday Night RAW, as he came down to the ring as the final entrant into the night’s battle royale. It’s a battle royale spot typically reserved for one of the favorites to win the match and Crews not only was put in the spot, but showed why with another athletic performance throughout the match that saw him dominate in the ring, only being eliminated by his own mistake.

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Corbin, however, already had the opportunity for the commentators to tout his Andre the Giant Battle Royale victory at WrestleMania 32, the night he debuted on the WWE’s main roster. With that, Corbin again was placed in a spot to be put over. By making it into the final three of the competition, Corbin found himself against boosted by the WWE’s booking in that segment and continued to reinforce the idea that the “Lone Wolf” was a dominant and legitimate force in the WWE’s mid-card at the moment, and potentially much more down the road.

The impending WWE Draft opens up a lot of need for guys to fill in roles that were seemingly out of reach just a few weeks ago. Most guys on the WWE roster will be getting a boost up in some way, just by the sheer mathematics of spots to fill on both Monday Night RAW and SmackDown. But Crews and Corbin are looking like they’ll be in the mid-card title scene for the time being – a spot they didn’t necessarily have in their immediate future before the brand split was announced last month.

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While Crews looks like the guy with more potential in both fans getting behind him and in-ring ability, both him and Corbin look to have their spots locked in for the foreseeable future in the WWE. And really, for two guys that debuted just two months ago, that’s the best you could ask for.