What's Next for Baron Corbin After Winning WWE King of the Ring?

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2019

Credit: WWE.com

On WWE Raw, Baron Corbin defeated Chad Gable to win the 2019 King of the Ring tournament, much to the dismay of the audience in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the WWE Universe around the world.

It wasn't an undeserved victory, though. The Lone Wolf won fair and square, after surviving four grueling rounds of competition. He took down The Miz, Cedric Alexander, Samoa Joe and Ricochet just to reach the final.

Adding another accolade to his list, he appears destined for success no matter how many haters he gathers along the way.

But what can we expect from the latest Superstar to ascend the throne? Will King Corbin have a worthwhile reign of terror, or is doom in the future for the titleholder?

Our first taste of what's to come will take place on Tuesday's SmackDown Live with his official coronation.

Undoubtedly, Corbin will milk this for everything it's worth. The goal will be to receive nuclear heat from the crowd as everyone rejects him as champion.

He will ask for silence from the WWE Universe and talk about lording his new title over the ungrateful subjects beneath him. There's no way a heel with as much of an ego as The Lone Wolf won't cut a promo in that vein.

Hopefully, there will be more to this segment than just the promo, though. If it's nothing more than someone putting the royal garb on the former Raw general manager followed by a generic speech, it will be underwhelming.

After all, his post-win activities on the red brand were uneventful, as everything was quickly swept aside to allow for the gender-reveal party for Maria Kanellis' baby, which was up next on the show.

Another incident such as that will intimate winning King of the Ring is not a big deal, so it must be made to feel important.

Ideally, WWE will use this segment to start an angle. Someone on the babyface side of the roster should take umbrage with the way Corbin conducts himself and give him a reality check that holding the crown and scepter doesn't mean he's above everyone else.

This could be the perfect role for someone such as Ali, who often talks about respect in his promos. Aleister Black could also pick a fight with The Lone Wolf.

If WWE wants to keep the winning momentum with Corbin, perhaps a Superstar like Matt Hardy could make a surprise return to set up an eventual loss to help put over the tournament winner.

Figuring out who he should feud with depends on WWE's plans for the draft on October 11 and 14, the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and more, so it's hard to say for certain where everyone will go.

No matter who The Lone Wolf is paired to wrestle with, the company needs to use this King of the Ring win to upgrade Corbin's ring attire.

Wrestling in casual clothing worked when he was the constable of Raw, but that gimmick ended in December and his clothing never changed.

Those are some nice clothes and all for a constable, but not functional for a wrestler.
Those are some nice clothes and all for a constable, but not functional for a wrestler.Credit: WWE.com

To underline how the tournament win has gone to his head, Corbin's appearance should change and reflect how highly he thinks of himself as King of the Ring.

With that visual, it will be easier for him to get into character and not just be the same wrestler we've seen in recent years.

The pessimistic point of view is that this will only lead to more of the same for The Lone Wolf. After all, what does being King of the Ring entail that he hasn't already achieved in the past?

His previous gimmick was having Mike Rome announce his accolades and King of the Ring could end up being a mere addition to that list if not handled properly.

Winning the 2016 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal amounted to nothing, his Money in the Bank contract was squandered, and his United States Championship reign is better known for ending with Dolph Ziggler vacating the title than for anything Corbin did in his 70 days as champion.

Even retiring Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 35 wasn't fully capitalized on. With that track record, it's hard not to assume WWE will drop the ball before it even starts rolling.

Let's hope nobody gets lazy on the job and just sits around, waiting for King Corbin to work itself out.
Let's hope nobody gets lazy on the job and just sits around, waiting for King Corbin to work itself out.Credit: WWE.com

Perhaps Corbin will get a title shot out of the deal. We all hope that won't be against Seth Rollins, though, as the two have had enough matches this year.

Instead, it may be against Kofi Kingston if The Lone Wolf moves to SmackDown in the draft. Fighting for the WWE Championship on the blue brand may be the peak Corbin can hit with the King of the Ring gimmick.

He should fight for his brand or even lead the charge as team captain at Survivor Series in November. He could even be a big player in the Royal Rumble, but he likely won't win and will be in more of a midcard spot come WrestleMania 36.

In a world where King Corbin is a pet project WWE invests in, the sky's the limit, as he has a lot of the tools necessary to go far with the self-aggrandizing gimmick. But if his tournament win is already old news for WWE, he'll probably just feud with midcard talent for months in do-nothing storylines.

Let's hope he's more of a King Harley Race or King Booker T, who stepped up to a new level after winning the crown, than a King Billy Gunn or King Mabel, whose reigns fizzled out in no time.

               

Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.

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