The JBL/Baron Corbin pairing is as underwhelming as expected

Jan 29, 2022; St. Louis, MO, USA; Baron Corbin (left) and Madcap Moss during the Royal Rumble The Dome at America's Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 29, 2022; St. Louis, MO, USA; Baron Corbin (left) and Madcap Moss during the Royal Rumble The Dome at America's Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the years, we have seen WWE invest way too much time and energy into wrestlers that the company was convinced would become big stars. In the deeper depths of these sunk costs, you will find Baron Corbin.

WWE has tried gimmick after gimmick after gimmick with Corbin hoping one of them would turn him into a mainstay at the top of the card. The fact that he’s undergone so many repackagings should tell you how well those attempts went.

The latest plan to push Corbin might the most listless of them all: bringing in John “Bradshaw” Layfield talk him up as a future world champion.

Two weeks in, the Baron Corbin/JBL paring is not working.

Setting aside whether or not you think Corbin is a future world champion, it’s hard to argue that JBL has effectively convinced anyone that it’s possible. Since his unwelcome return to WWE television, all Bradshaw has either cut some of the most copy-and-paste promos filled with local cheap heat (a task that even a semi-competent prelim wrestler could accomplish) and denigrating the wrestlers that Corbin beats by saying that they would’ve “carried [Bradshaw’s] bags” during the Attitude Era.

That’s right, the likes of Dolph Ziggler and Johnny Gargano would’ve carried the bags of a man who spent most of the Attitude Era playing poker with in a fake clubhouse.

We all understand that heels need to take shots at babyfaces for heat, that’s what makes them heels, but they still have to put them over to give their charge a boost in victory or defeat. Constantly hammering home that Corbin’s opponents wouldn’t have cut it in Bradshaw’s “era” does the opposite.

If the wrestlers Corbin faces are such a class below him, in Bradshaw’s words, then why should fans be impressed when he beats them like he’s supposed to? And if it’s true, then why did Bradshaw need to help Corbin beat Gargano on the Oct. 24 episode of WWE Raw?

Sure, they could simply be lying, and yes, that interference was sparked by Gargano mocking JBL (though Gargano was still in a position to win) but it would be easier — and more effective — to treat opponents on the main roster as real threats to give Bradshaw a reason to interfere beyond “he took my hat and did a dance”.

These are the sort of things you’d think a supposed shrewd wrestling ming like Bradshaw would get, but consecutive weeks of him overshadowing the guy he’s supposed to be helping suggests otherwise.

Of course, it’s debatable whether this would work even if JBL were successfully transferring his equity over to Corbin. While acknowledging how much this act has centered around Bradshaw — the man gets his own entrance to cut promos before Corbin comes out, for goodness sake — it’s not a good sign that Corbin’s two matches against two good workers were easily overshadowed by everything Bradshaw did.

They were perfectly ok outings from a perfectly ok worker. The problem is that Bradshaw is boasting that Corbin is better than that, and that disconnect from reality might be what ultimately forces WWE to cut the cord on Baron Corbin singles push: try number 2,405.

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Knowing WWE, though, it will give Corbin and JBL plenty of time to prove other wise. Hopefully, Bradshaw and Corbin do. Otherwise, they will have wasted everyone else’s, including their own.