12 Days of WWE’s Best: Baron Corbin Was WWE’s Most Effective Heel


Today on my list of WWE’s Best of 2018, I take the potentially (mildly) controversial stance that Baron Corbin, while boundlessly annoying, was low-key WWE’s best heel this year.

I can just hear some of you right now while taking in that first sentence: “You think Baron Corbin was WWE’s best heel? What about Tommasso Ciampa? What about Drew McIntyre? What about Samoa Joe?”

You may have a point; yes, 2018 definitely seemed to be the Year of the Heel in WWE. With the huge successes of, yeah, Tommasso Ciampa’s return to NXT and subsequent NXT Championship reign, and yeah, the tremendous impact Drew McIntyre had upon his main roster debut, it certainly seemed like 2018 was as good of a time to play the bad guy as any.

Heck, even babyface extraordinaires Daniel Bryan and Johnny Gargano pulled off heel turns this year. Shinsuke Nakamura low-blowed AJ Styles more times than I can recall, and we laughed it up. It was gold for us.

What Baron Corbin did with his time as the Interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw was a totally different beast. There were many a Monday nights where you and I both wanted to pull our hair out whenever Corbin was on screen, screaming at our television, “oh my god, shut up!”

Now, here’s where we get mildly controversial – that’s the real sign of what it means to be a true heel in WWE, and guys like the Drew McIntyre’s and the Samoa Joe’s of the wrestling world have wrongfully made you forget about that.

You’re not supposed to root for the heels. They’re the bad guys.

I’m not going to say we have it backwards – we see good characters, we see phenomenally talented performers, and yeah, sometimes they kick someone in the face unwarranted or back-stab their partners. We love wrestling, we love good wrestlers, and we want to see them perform, so we cheer for them whatever the circumstances may be.

I think that mentality has taken away the value of the heel’s purpose, a little. Again, you’re not supposed to root for the heel. I won’t get into the whole “is the face vs. heel/good vs. evil motif in wrestling outdated” argument right now, because that’s not really what we’re mulling over here.

For what his purpose was supposed to be, Baron Corbin served his role as the cheating, whining, entitled, undeserving authority figure exactly as he was supposed to. He was supposed to ruin your favorite wrestlers’ chances at success, and he was supposed to make you absolutely hate him, and that he did.

As a matter of fact, Corbin’s heel work was part of the reason why last week’s TLC PPV was so gosh darn satisfying! We got to watch the Raw roster turn him into Julius Caesar, for crying out loud! His role in the story was to tear down the Finn Balors and the Chad Gables of Raw, so that we could be so relieved when they overcame everything and gave him what he had coming.

Baron Corbin’s run as GM of Raw goes down as one of my favorite things about WWE this year because it was one of the best traditional heel runs we’ve had since before we caught on to the fact that we all loved The Miz.

It’s not to say the heels we root for aren’t doing their job correctly, but I see it as a breath of fresh air when WWE allows you to have those highs with the face performers by giving them an adversary you want to see lose more than anything.

Nobody was ever rooting for Baron Corbin. Nobody wanted Baron Corbin to succeed, and we were all livid when he did, and for a heel to have that kind of effect on you seems to be something a little special in WWE these days.

Next. WWE; Baron Corbin is the Most Improved Wrestler of 2018. dark

So, Baron, congratulations – you aggravated me so much that I could no longer deny how vital you were and how much I respected the role you played in 2018. What a concept, right?