The Cult of Personality! The Cult of Personality!
As WWE heads for TLC, what will the Voice of the Voiceless have to say about Seth Rollins, Rusev’s divorce, and Corbin VS Roman?
Renee Young runs down the schedule!
The panel will preview the final WWE PPV of 2019 in TLC, talk directly to King Baron Corbin, and hear everything CM Punk has to say about it!
Let’s get Just the Highlights!
The Revival survived a Fatal 4 Way Elimination Tag and now head for a rematch with the New Day! Will they bring an end to lucky number 7? Bray Wyatt is playing a dangerous mind game with The Miz, but he’s also winning it so far. Will The Miz settle the score on Sunday? Lacey Evans isn’t intimidated by bratty Banks and Bayley, but she was beat down by them. The Big Dog gets treated as less than human, but is the Lone Wolf’s bark worse than his bite?
On Raw, Rusev and Lana are no more, and so is the table they signed the papers on! Will the Bulgarian Brute break more tables using Bobby Lashley? #KabukiStrongStyle also wrecks tables as Asuka and Kairi Sane take bold action against The Man and The Queen. Will Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair use ever table, ladder and chair possible to get revenge and those WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships? And The Viper slithers in, but doesn’t bite, because Rey Mysterio retaining is more than enough damage done to AJ Styles! And while Kevin Owens was right all along, it didn’t stop Seth Rollins and the Authors of Pain dealing out damage of their own. What does this new alliance mean for all of the WWE?
Renee and the panel felt this coming, but that doesn’t lessen the impact, both physically and emotionally. What does everyone think of Rollins truly going bad? Booker T likes it. Rollins was riding that line, but now he’s pulled the trigger. AOP have been waiting, and now they’re in the game again. They are finally getting the opportunity and the rub they deserve. Punk feels this new trio is more a “wait and see.” It doesn’t need to be another Shield, but showing up in suits all the time, they might get stuck wearing those in a match. One kick splits the slacks! But we’ve seen Rollins have guys behind him when it was J&J Security, so hopefully it isn’t that either. Paige feels it’ll be different, but “big shocker,” she’s liking this role. Never trust someone sitting in the back of a van!
Where did this van even come from? Booker did like how it was used, though. The turn around made a great reveal moment. And then Rollins running down the fans, “What do you want from me?!” is a great move. Punk knows we all want Rollins to be entertaining, and sometimes wrestlers just aren’t good at being good guys. Rollins can be a great Heel so be the Heel. Ironically, this’ll probably get him over again. Paige had that in her notes, too, she feels this’ll just turn things back around.
Moving on: The Big Dog and the King of the Ring!
Friday brought the feud of Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin to a new level. Corbin and Dolph Ziggler smeared dog food all over Roman as the “humiliation” Corbin promised. Renee can still smell the dog food, and Punk smells a certain something else. But this scene was the most viewed video from SmackDown and on the Fox YouTube channel. Not more than CM Punk, though, right? But is this really the hottest thing? Punk isn’t so sure. Punk surprisingly didn’t hate this segment. He has a different perspective, and his thought was Carrie, the pigs blood scene and she goes crazy. This could be that for Roman! Bad guys do bad things to good guys and this over the top thing was what “wrassling” can have. Punk would complain about a huge collection of dog food under the ring, but then he realizes kendo sticks always seem to be under there for no reason.
Booker does agree the realism is a detail, but surely fans are already pointing that out. Booker remembers Bogeyman’s $5000 collection of worms. 5 grand?! Yes, and they were real, and he actually ate them! He made himself sick for the sake of his character! But Paige points out the mystery man under the ring, too. No one saw it in commentary. At the same time, it may not be commentary’s place to point it out, but Renee is happy to know fans are discussing it, too. Booker says it is all connected to King Corbin. The plan worked, Roman was caught. But they’ll be able to ask Corbin himself up next!
Hear ye, hear ye! King Corbin is here!
The 2019 King of the Ring is Backstage, and even King Bookah is giving him praise. Anyone helping with the ropes? Renee does it as the host. CM Punk doesn’t remember getting that treatment when he first showed up. Corbin takes his seat and Renee asks how fun it is being one of the top bad guys right now. It’s a lot of fun. He is the top SmackDown Heel, and in the WWE. He loves irritating people, he’s great at it, it just comes natural sometimes. People have told him so since he was a kid. Corbin loves seeing what buttons he can push and hear about it on social media now.
Booker says not since Vickie Guerrero has a Heel gotten heat like Corbin. Corbin says he was with Ziggler and Ziggler said the same thing. How does Corbin stay on that? He just revels in it. When fans boo and spew hate, it makes Corbin feel like he’s doing his job. He loves every second of it. Booker says that is what is missing in the industry. That’s because some people can’t take the backlash. A lot of people want to be “cool.” Punk already knows the answer to this, but has Corbin ever been a Face? Nope! Punk says it’s easier to be a bad guy, especially when starting. Then if you’re good enough at being bad, the fans will find something to love. Is it getting there yet? Nope, still feels like pure hatred. The King of the Ring tournament started getting him some fans, but then he worked on getting them to dislike him again.
And Corbin does agree, it is hard to stay a consistently good bad guy that fans love to hate. But that’s Corbin’s job, making those good guys look great. Paige wants to know if there’s a specific time when a fan’s hate felt so good. Corbin can really see it on the faces in the crowd. After WrestleMania, Corbin beat Kurt Angle, this little kid gave him the middle finger! But that kid was really into the show, and sometimes kids cry. Sometimes older people freak out just from him looking at them. But those fans are the ones who really are fans. Now, “triggering” happens easy, but especially wrestling fans on social media.
Speaking of the internet, does Corbin find it easier or harder to maintain that persona? Corbin feels it goes back to just exaggerating a natural part of himself. He isn’t out there to be friends with everyone, from college to sports to pro-wrestling. This is a job that puts food on the table. It’s almost too easy, these people are too into it at times. Anything anyone comments on about not liking, like his “TGI Fridays waiter” suit, that just becomes what he does more of to further that irritation.
Corbin has very thick skin by Punk’s assessment. Punk was in the same boat with the Straightedge Society angle where it bordered on cult, especially in the Bible Belt region of the US. People were legitimately angry, like little old ladies. But Punk was also proud of getting that reaction. Bad guys do bad things, and again, the dog food. Punk’s instant analysis was Vince insisted on “real dog food.” It was 1000% real. Even Corbin got a taste of some, so he knows. And (in character) Roman deserved it, for getting spoon fed so much in his career, so Corbin decided to force feed him some dog food. The Big Dog was hungry, wasn’t he? Booker again brings up the real worms from Bogeyman, so fair is fair.
Booker also remembers back to his first match with The Undertaker, and how he was a big fan of his. Corbin had that with The Rock. What was that like? It was a special moment being in there with an icon. There is just something about The Rock that helps you understand he’s a star. Even if you somehow don’t know who The Rock is, you get that feeling. Taking a Rock Bottom, the People’s Elbow and having The Rock run him down, just great stuff from one of the greatest ever. Punk chuckles a bit, but Corbin knows people feel the same about Punk. #PipeBomb, remember? Corbin hung with Rock, but owes him one. Maybe through Roman on Sunday. Corbin is going to stick around, come up with some more dastardly things to do to good guys.
Backstage goes back in time to TLC 2017.
When Bray Wyatt was too ill to finish up his story with Finn Balor, in stepped a Phenomenal substitute in AJ Styles! And it was a night that was #JustTooSweet!
AJ Styles flew up from South America to be in the ring with Finn Balor. Their career paths paralleled each other, but this was the moment for the dream match everyone wanted! The Demon and the Phenomenal One already got “This is Awesome” chants, and that is what it was immediately. Finn knows their styles gelled together so well, and going out of the ring, avoiding that double count out and the back and forth, the electricity was in the air. “It was a pretty, pretty sweet moment. Too Sweet.” In the end, Finn wins, and got to Too Sweet with Styles in the ring. It was Styles’ idea, but it made for an iconic moment from that night. They more than delivered, and without even a build. It was just two guys at the peak of their careers, giving it everything they had.
The panel discusses Balor VS Styles.
Booker was on commentary then, and seeing the fans said it all. That standing ovation was well deserved. Styles showing up without any preparation, but he was surely ready to steal the show and have a moment. When you get a moment, that’s the chance you get. Styles and Balor gave the fans what they wanted, showed the respect of the craft and created magic. Paige and CM Punk are lucky to have moments like those in their careers. Paige remembers The Rock telling her the day before WrestleMania that she would debut the day after, and we all know now that it was against AJ Lee to win the Diva’s Championship. Paige loves AJ Lee for helping her with that moment, because AJ was just so relaxed. The promo was the only thing planned, but AJ helped Paige keep calm for the rest of it. Punk can attest AJ does that.
Punk remembers his shot for the WWE ECW Championship. There was almost no one there because of weather. It was just Ricky Steamboat, The Undertaker, MVP, Chavo Guerrero (who was champion at the time), and Punk. Ricky just figured they could go there for the 60 minutes, then Taker VS MVP as the main event. They did 2-out-of-3, 55 minutes hit and Ricky had them wrap. But those special moments makes pro-wrestling so great. Punk just wished that after the Too Sweet, it would’ve been a kiss, too. It was a missed opportunity. But will this year’s TLC match that phenomenal dream match?
Brandon Williams gets Savage.
Randy Savage, that is. The Ravens DT is a big fan of the Macho Man, and rightfully so. OOH YEAH~! Big Baby Brandon loved him some Macho Man.
Renee joins Baron Corbin and Matt Leinart to talk football.
Corbin was on the Arizona Cardinals with Leinart, and the Fox debut helped them reconnect. Leinart saw Corbin, Becky and The Rock, and then afterwards, they all met up later. Corbin looked a lot different when he played. Fuller face and fuller head of hair. He was 335 lbs, now he’s a lean, mean 270. He doesn’t have to hold his breath to tie his shoes anymore. Leinart is proud of what Corbin’s doing now. Corbin talks about being the midseason transfer, he walks in and Leinart welcomed him and invited him to a party. Leinart kept things fun and loose but still a good training atmosphere. And this was back when Kurt Warner was the starter. Leinart got cut, “good stuff,” but the football locker room atmosphere is a great place. When you’re on the field, it’s a great bond.
Corbin says it is still competitive. You could get into real fights over wanting your spot on the line-up. But Corbin was previously on the Colts, and that was a different tone. Arizona was looser, Corbin got in a fight, worried about getting fined, but he just got an “atta boy!” Then it’s like nothing happened, everyone let it go. Renee has some dirt on Corbin now. But more to come from the Lone Wolf King as Backstage digs deeper into TLC.
TLC has a Raw Tag Team Championship OPEN CHALLENGE! The Viking Raiders are ready for anyone, but who steps up to go after the gold?
Time to Pay It Off!
The Fiend has been doing what he wants, when he wants, and things got personal with The Miz. Paige says the dads should get involved, Papa Miz and the one and only IRS. But it is going to be exciting to see that this is Firefly Fun House Bray, not The Fiend. No red lights is a bonus, obviously. An exciting switch-up really.
The Rusev-Lana-Lashley triangle brought about a divorce. Lana blamed the WWE Universe for making the marriage “FAAAAAIL~!” Yikes, yet also perfect. This Tables Match, Punk could go into it forever. Punk is glad he’s not the one behind this story, it means he’s still sane. But he says the match, the blow-off, Rusev wants away from Lana. Lana and Lashley do go on to be the on-screen couple, but then guess what? Lana grinds Lashley’s gears, too. Lashley leaves Lana for another “divorce” or whatever. Lana gets another two men, they go after Lashley and Rusev who have bonded over Lana being crazy, and we have a great WrestleMania “Lana in a Shark Cage” match. The new team is even sick of her, the losers get stuck with Lana! It can go forever, to Saudi Arabia special #5!
It’s time to Smarten Up!
The WWE’s influence spreads further than you think! Even Jeopardy got into it recently! The WWE Slammy Awards was a category! For $200: “New sensation of the ring in 1997 was this guy who now dabbles in action films, and TV, and basically, world domination.” How obvious. Who is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? Slammy Awards for $800, “No winner for 1987’s Song of the Year–Sika ate the envelope–but this WWE head honcho was nominated & did perform ‘Stand Back.'” How did they not get this one? Who is Vince McMahon?
But now, Renee is taking credit that being Canadian makes you a fantastic host. That includes game shows! And so Renee is going a Triple Threat Trivia match! To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man! Booker puts up some “long green duckets!” First, CM Punk! Then, Paige! And of course, Baron Corbin! The levels are $100, $300, and $600, all in the case. They will write their answers, the correct answers get the cash, but of course there is Final Smarten Up, where you can go big or go home.
First question: This WWE superstar beat Hulk Hogan for the WWE World Title at WrestleMania VI. Booker knows, but do the contestants know? The answers are in, Paige says Ultimate Warrior. KACHING! Punk says Sergeant Slaughter. BUZZ! Corbin says Ultimate Warrior. KACHING! Well keep eyes on who is writing when, just in case. Punk was always more an NWA guy, not WWF, “brother.”
Second question: This future WWE Hall of Famer made his debut as The Ring Master. Another easy one, right? Paige says STONE COLD! KACHING! So does Punk! And Corbin… Wait, wait did he do that last minute again? It looks like he put “Stone Cob” on there… Well anyway, Corbin and Paige are tied with 400, Punk’s on the board with 300.
Third question: This man was the first to win the WWE world title by winning the Royal Rumble. $600 on the line, who gets it? Corbin blanks. Paige says Ric Flair! KACHING! Paigepedia! Punk says Flair, too. Corbin puts “WOO,” that shouldn’t count. So Paige has $1000, Punk has $900, Corbin is stuck at $400. But now, the Final Smarten Up is for all the beans!
Final question: This former WWE world champion once held the title for 2138 days, then shocked the world in 1994 when he won it again at the age of 45! All or nothing! Paige says Harley Race, but NOPE. She lost it all! Punk put Flair, but NOPE. Corbin says he’s getting paid to fight, not do trivia. No one wins, it was BOB BACKLUND! Booker keeps his cash, hahaha. But speaking of future Hall of Famers, we’re already learning about some big names. Backstage will be back to talk about them and those that could be joining the 2020 class!
The WWE Hall of Fame gets Too Sweet!
That’s because the nWo is in the Class of 2020! Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and X-Pac are in! But so is the Animal, Dave Batista! Social media posts vote for Christian to be in! The panel feels that’s fair. Well, except for CM Punk. The WWE Hall of Fame is illegitimate unless they put in EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the nWo at its peak! Wallstreet needs rings!
Social media has also found the fight Corbin got in on the practice field. Corbin is proud he punched that helmet off. Social media also has “Stone Cob,” a big ear of corn, hanging out with Kenan Thompson to show Corbin. But with that, WWE Backstage signs off! What happens between now and next week that will make the headlines?
A pretty good episode, though it does lean more towards shoot than kayfabe compared to previous episodes. This episode was basically what fan sites like ours talk about, but on TV. I’m actually surprised Punk didn’t hate on the dog food stuff, but I suppose there is merit to going over the top in a somewhat logical way. Hearing Corbin talk about enjoying being a legit Heel was great, we really do need more of those, and especially in the WWE. Corbin is definitely one of those guys that can make an entire career out of getting Heel heat, but sometimes what Vince writes for him to do does border “go away heat.” I’m moderately disappointed they didn’t bring up how Corbin’s match with Roman is a TLC and the implications of that decision, i.e. was this really the match for them to have? But it was still a good amount of material from Corbin. That quiz show stuff was pretty funny, too. It seems Corbin’s weakness is trivia.
Again, I do wish this episode would’ve talked more about how TLC’s build has gone, but I suppose since this is a WWE show, they weren’t going to go that hard on criticizing Vince’s decisions, as much as I’m sure CM Punk would love to. But again, that’s why sites like ours exist. I did like that they chose the Balor VS Styles match to reminisce about, and I realize that was before we were “The Chairshot,” or else I would’ve linked to it here. And one point that’s true is that if TLC (as a whole) is even half as good as that match, we’ll be alright despite the lack of announced matches.