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WHAT LED TO BARON CORBIN BEING BOOKED THE WAY HE WAS THE LAST MONTH

By Mike Johnson on 2017-09-04 10:16:00

Coming out of last month's Summerslam, one of the most asked questions to PWInsider.com has been why Baron Corbin, who appeared to be ear-marked to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase for a potential WWE championship title reign, was instead booked to look like a fool by cashing it in and losing quickly and was then quickly pinned by John Cena at Summerslam.

One theory that was making the rounds was that Corbin had embarrassed himself and the company in a recent series of back and forth Twitter battles, including one where he insulted a fan for liking independent wrestling, only to have that fan respond with a photo of himself and Vince McMahon from a Tribute to the Troops visit, leading to Corbin apologizing.  PWInsider.com has been told that the Twitter battles were not the issue as the company saw that as Corbin being a heel.  In fact, if anything, the company wants their talents more interactive on social media.

Instead, PWInsider.com has been told by multiple sources that in actuality, WWE management was likely down on Corbin following an incident that took place at a talent meeting the first week of August.  Dr.Joseph Maroon, who heads the company's Wellness Policy, had been brought in by the company to discuss the importance of concussion-related injuries to the talents and why they should report them to WWE management ASAP.  

During that meeting, we are told that Maroon brought up a recent study about deceased NFL players who had been diagnosed, post-mortem with CTE, in a way that we are told "downplayed" the study as being concrete proof that anyone who played football would then develop CTE.

PWInsider was told by multiple sources that Corbin, a former NFL player, cut off Maroon and expressed an opinion, as a former NFL football player, that challenged Maroon.  We are told that Corbin argued that there would be some form of head trauma with every play as football helmets are always cracking against each other.  During the exchange, Corbin noted he is part of a concussion-related lawsuit against the NFL and said that he knew Maroon was against CTE, leading to Maroon to state that his depiction in a film about that as incorrect.

That was likely was a reference to the Will Smith drama Concussion, where Smith played Dr. Bennet Omalu, who is credited with discovering CTE and then does battle with the NFL, which attempts to discount the discovery.  In Concussion, Maroon is depicted as portrayed as a pro-NFL doctor who tries to deny any relationship between football concussions and the existence of CTE in former NFL players.    It should be noted that Maroon was quoted in March 2015 as believing the link between the two was "exaggerated", but it should be pointed that whether Maroon still feels that way several years later is unknown.

We are told that Maroon did agree with Corbin that CTE was a problem, but was trying to make the point that the study did not mean 99% of NFL players actually had CTE and that everyone has to put things into a proper perspective.    Corbin, obviously, disagreed with Maroon's stance, and for several minutes, the two went back and forth.

The entire scene was described to PWInsider.com as "awkward", "time standing still" and "an awkward moment that led to awkward laughter" by three different sources who were at the meeting. A fourth source pointed out that it wasn't a case that Corbin was yelling or being belligerent, but was perhaps expressing his opinions in "the wrong time and the wrong place" to truly have that discussion.  The fourth source noted their feeling that Corbin would have been better served by pulling Maroon over privately after the meeting, as that wouldn't have taken the attention away from the matter at hand.

The feeling among those we spoke with was that Corbin, by voicing himself in front of the assembled locker room as opposed to privately trying to speak to Maroon, hurt the flow of the meeting and took the attention away from the importance of the talents' health by making it about Maroon's past NFL comments.  It put Maroon into a position of defending, instead of educating.    It should also be noted there were a few wrestlers who were impressed by Corbin speaking out, because it's not the type of thing many will do, in regard to anything that is brought up to them in meetings, in front of management.

So, the belief among those we spoke with is that if anything led to the company pulling back on Corbin's push, that was it.  

It should be noted that Corbin has remained in the mix and was involved in the main event of Smackdown the week after Summerslam as a guest referee for Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles. The following week, Corbin was involved in an angle with AJ Styles and worked the United States championship matches at the live events this past weekend.  So, there does not appear to be any obvious long-lasting damage due to the Maroon incident as Corbin remains in a featured position on the Smackdown brand.  
 

 

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