Baron Corbin Ready to Thrive as King of the Ring and More WWE Raw Fallout

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2019

Baron Corbin Ready to Thrive as King of the Ring and More WWE Raw Fallout

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    All hail King Corbin!

    The Lone Wolf emerged victorious from the 2019 King of the Ring final Monday night, defeating Chad Gable in a great match to earn the crown and embark on another significant push in a string of them this year.

    His win was just one of the big takeaways from this week's flagship show, which also saw the return of a once-dominant tag team and Mike and Maria Kanellis' baby drama.

    Dive deeper into each of those topics with this recap of the September 16 edition of the USA Network presentation.

Baron Corbin Will Roll as King of the Ring

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    Baron Corbin has quietly amassed one of the best 2019s of any Superstar on the WWE roster.

    He has developed the finest heel persona in the company, retired Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 35, challenged for the Universal Championship at consecutive pay-per-views and been a general thorn in the side of the WWE Universe. 

    His incredible run culminated Monday night with a show-stealing, television match-of-the-year candidate against Chad Gable in which he defeated the former Olympian to win the 2019 King of the Ring.

    Corbin's victory in the tournament was brilliant in that he adds to his already nuclear heat by defeating an underdog babyface fans had emotionally invested in. They bought into Gable's journey and wanted desperately to see him emerge as the winner.

    The former Raw general manager snuffed out those dreams, though, adding a title that will spawn the latest chapter of his push to his resume.

    Corbin thrived in his position of power, becoming more over and despised by fans than he had ever been to that point. Throwing around power suited him well and made him the megaheel he developed into.

    As King of the Ring, expect a delusional Lone Wolf to entice fans into louder boos and more passionate jeers by talking down to them, denouncing them and trying to spawn his newfound royalty into opportunities further up the card.

    The "King" gimmick is one that worked for Randy Savage and Harley Race once upon a time, and earned Booker T one of his greatest runs in WWE. Hopefully, it can do the same for the corrupt and dastardly Corbin, who will thrive with the crown.

What's Next for Chad Gable?

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    The most significant story to come from the King of the Ring tournament was Chad Gable's underdog run. Knocking off Shelton Benjamin, Andrade and Shane McMahon, he gained momentum and popularity with every passing upset win.

    So much so that the fans in Charlotte were completely behind him in his quest to defeat Baron Corbin on Raw. It is that desire that will enhance the hatred fans have for the new king, but what does the defeat mean for Gable?

    One would assume he will remain a significant part of the SmackDown roster and ride the wave of momentum he has created for himself to a push of sorts on the blue brand. We have seen in recent months, though, that inspiring in-ring performances mean nothing in relation to sustained pushes.

    Ali was one of the hottest young stars on SmackDown earlier this year, but injury halted a massive push while inexplicable booking removed him from the intercontinental title picture and left him to wander aimlessly.

    Ditto Buddy Murphy, whose matches with Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan made the Aussie one of the most buzzed-about Superstars on the roster for two weeks before a loss to the aforementioned Ali in the King of the Ring's opening round led to another disappearance from television.

    There is no guarantee Gable will parlay his string of wins and inspirational performances into the push he probably deserves, and that is an indictment on the creative process within WWE.

    One can only hope, come Tuesday night, the mat marvel is prominently featured on a show already lacking quality midcard babyfaces.

Impending AOP Return Bolsters Tag Team Division Desperately in Need of It

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    The Raw tag team division lacks depth, a regular issue given the fact two thrown-together singles stars comprise the last two championship-winning duos.

    With The Revival winning the SmackDown tag team titles at Sunday's Clash of Champions, and The Viking Raiders engaged in a secondary feud with The OC's Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, there are few options to challenge Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode for the top prize in tag wrestling.

    Enter, AOP.

    Akam and Rezar had been missing in action for months due to injury but returned Monday night in a pre-taped interview in which they denounced the division as weak and soft.

    Gone was the tactical gear the team formerly sported and in its place? Suits. The former NXT tag team champions looked like professional badasses and spoke in their native tongues. The boring graphics notwithstanding, AOP looked ready to dominate and destroy the competition.

    And they could not be returning at a more opportune time.

    Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins are not defeating Ziggler and Roode to win the titles. The makeshift tandem of Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman is not reuniting to go on another title-winning run. With The Usos unavailable and The Lucha House Party posing no real threat to anyone, AOP is a welcome addition to a tag team division in desperate need of legitimacy.

    Transitioning the gold to a babyface team that AOP can roll over and return to the same dominance they enjoyed in NXT is exactly what should, and hopefully will, happen.

Mike and Maria Kanellis Saga Hurt by Inconsistent Appearances, Creative

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    Two months ago, Maria and Mike Kanellis became the first two Superstars to really benefit from Paul Heyman's influence over Raw from a creative standpoint.

    They emerged from the obscurity of 205 Live to become a force on the red brand, thanks to the former's pregnancy announcement and her emasculating treatment of her husband.

    There were some who took issue with the story, but it at least put a talented duo back on television and let them showcase their skills on WWE's flagship show.

    However, creative inconsistencies and a lack of television time over the last two months significantly hurt how over they were allowed to be and made their sudden re-emergence on Monday's broadcast that much more curious.

    Maria revealed the gender of her unborn child to be a boy, then suggested Mike was not the father, insinuating he was not man enough to impregnate her. She teased it was Ricochet, who proceeded to defeat Mike in a quick singles match.

    She then introduced the returning Rusev as the father of her child. The Bulgarian Brute brutalized her husband, leaving him lying. More importantly, the former United States champion never said he wasn't the father of Maria's baby.

    This, despite the commentary team reminding audiences at home Rusev is already married to Lana.

    Unless the goal is to create a soap-opera storyline that ultimately pits Rusev against Mike, Maria against Lana, the thrown-together nature of this angle is only proving a laughable blemish on a show whose storylines have become tighter and easier to follow in recent weeks.

    But hey, at least Rusev's back.