Baron Corbin is one of the pillars of WWE's Friday Night SmackDown, and he has been reigning as the King of the Ring for quite some time. There have been some remarks among fans over the length of this reign thus far as they are hoping for Corbin to move in a new direction soon, and ComicBook.com got a chance to speak with Corbin about his reign thus far. As he broke it down, his reign as the King of the Ring and being a heel without crowds led to a number of surprising difficulties. But this struggle also had Corbin re-assess how to make it all work.
First Corbin broke down what it was like working as a heel without crowds, "...[It] was definitely extremely difficult. You have to step back to kind of re-evaluate how to do things because now you're not getting that instant gratification. I like to, I said it earlier in an interview a couple of times that we almost became Hollywood actors where they're doing a movie and they don't know whether people are going to enjoy it until it comes out and that was kind of how we were. We were going with it, flying by the seat of our pants. We didn't know if what we were doing was working or if people were enjoying it. And that's hard because our entire industry is built around crowd reactions and that instant gratification."
But that's changed with WWE's recent shift to the Amway Center and Thunderdome, "[Now] it's a Thunderdome. We're bringing that back. We'll have these people there live on screen part of the show. They're part of it. They feel the energy. When people see themselves on camera, it really elevates their energy, which in turn elevates ours. It makes it a lot of fun to get those reactions. It makes things hurt a little bit less. Doing WrestleMania and a few weeks of performances, everything seemed to sting a lot more because you didn't have that adrenaline rush from the crowd. But now we're getting that back and I think it's special."
When asked about how he started his run as King Corbin up to now, "There's ups and downs, that's what we go through in the WWE, there are ups and downs. It is a roller coaster ride and winning the King of the Ring is absolutely amazing -- becoming the King. I feel like we were really rocking and rolling and then everything changed with the whole state of the US with the pandemic and things." Corbin then broke down how the pandemic even changed his King character, "I think really developing a character and putting it on display, as a king should be displayed with being carried to the ring, and those types of things became difficult because of the limitations with people that were allowed in the building. It was hard to go and really focus on where we needed to take things when you're trying to figure out as a company, as a whole, how do we continue the show, how do we make it interesting? What do we do?"
Elaborating further on this, Corbin stated, "It became more of a team effort for everything versus an individual thing. Now we're getting to a place where I think we can get back to focusing on individuals and I want to elevate the King. If you don't evolve you die, and so we want to find how to evolve the King, how to make him more ruthless, how to irritate more people, how to just take it to the next level. I think I've got a few great ideas on the table of where we want to go with it, but it has been a fun ride."
Teasing how he might take King Corbin to the next level, "This whole thing with the pandemic has opened people's eyes, and I think it's allowed people to step back and look at what they're doing and how do they want to evolve it. It's allowed me to come up with some really awesome ideas that I think can take the King to the next level, and where to evolve after that and so on. It's really been exciting and I think it's another amazing thing to have in my list of accomplishments. I'm trying to see where I can take it now that we're back in an arena, back in the Thunderdome, back with a live audience in a sense. And hopefully we're not too far off from an actual live audience and just rocking and rolling from there."
What do you think of Baron Corbin's run as the King of the Ring so far? How have you felt about it during the pandemic? Has it changed with the debut of Thunderdome? Let us know all of your thoughts in the comments, and check out the first part of our interview with Baron Corbin here, and the second part here!