I was in the building for WWE Raw outside Chicago on Monday night, and it’s just impossible to describe the extent to which the energy was sucked out of the room when Kurt Angle announced his retirement match opponent at WrestleMania would be Baron Corbin.
Legendary announcer Jim Ross tweeted that the choice was “underwhelming”; Angle’s wife Giovanna responded “very” to him before ultimately deleting the tweet.
Maybe, please sir Vince McMahon, it’s a swerve? What are John Cena’s plans?
Corbin is one of those people that WWE insists on running out there in prominent spots despite the fans’ protestations. In the surreal world of pro wrestling, this represents several layers of storytelling. The archetypical heel is someone who you want to see get their ass whipped, and Corbin certainly fits that bill. Any reaction, the thought goes, is good.
However, this was a circumstance where there was an initial boo, but then the fans’ collective emotion became apathy towards the rest of the product for the night. There’s no way to convince me this served the greater good.
On a personal microeconomic level, WWE is spending four nights back in the Allstate Arena for Survivor Series weekend in November. If last night’s show had knocked my socks off, which WWE has certainly done before and will almost certainly do again, I would’ve been mighty tempted to buy tickets to all four nights. Now, I will do Smackdown and NXT, and wait and see if WWE presents stories and a card that make it worth it to pull the trigger on Survivor Series and Raw.
Anyways, you always gotta wonder if Vince McMahon has something up his sleeve, or maybe just sees how people responded to this Baron Corbin news like a lead balloon and changes his mind. The Chicagoland fans chanted “WE WANT CENA WE WANT CENA” in hopes that he, not Corbin, would be Angle’s WrestleMania opponent.
What’s funny is that if WWE had presented Cena as Angle’s opponent in the first place, I’m honestly not sure how excited for it I would’ve been. It would’ve been somewhat predictable. But now, given the alternative, if this winds up being the case the WWE universe would be ecstatic with the swerve.
As always, wrestling is an odd thing to get caught up in emotionally. Hopefully this is one of the times there will be a payoff.