The subject of Raw’s quality has come up quite a bit lately, because almost everyone agrees it’s not been good.
It came up on Heated Conversations when Booker T spoke to Baron Corbin while WWE was in Houston last Monday (Dec. 3), and it quickly took on a familiar tone. Pro wrestling may be evolving past its carnie roots in a lot of ways, but the old adversarial relationship with its fans persists. Probably because while that relationship isn’t completely based on conning “marks” any longer, it is primarily carried out in the toxic cesspool which is social media.
Social media, and in particular Twitter, did come up frequently while Booker and Baron chatted the heat Raw’s taken lately during “General Manager Elect” Corbin’s time as the show’s centerpiece.
On social media and its current role in the business:
“It [social media] gives a bunch of idiots in reality an opinion that they think is valid, and they don’t know how to express it appropriately. You know, the language, the insults, all of those things - and it just makes the world seem so unhappy. If you read the Twitter feed, it just seems like everyone in the entire world is just beyond miserable. But, I think now, unfortunately, it’s a necessity. It’s a form of exposure and advertisement. My Instagram, my Twitter, is a form of advertisement for me, my business and what I do... my brand, yeah. It is, but it is crazy how negative it is to everything!
Like, I was talking about it in the car, you know. I could have 20 people go, ‘Baron Corbin should wear a red shirt tonight on Raw!’ and if I wore a red shirt, those same 20 people are like, ‘Nah, he looks terrible! It should’ve been blue!’ Like, it’s unbeliev - There’s no pleasing it and I think that Twitter gives these people a place to say whatever they want because there’s no repercussions for their actions. If you took all these people that said these things to me [online] and put them in front of me, their attitude changes so fast.”
On his present role as acting GM:
“They’re letting me have fun with it and do it my way and do it as me and Vince loves it. For the last four weeks I’ve been the first 15 minutes of Monday Night Raw which is, you know, crazy -that’s a John Cena spot and that’s a Roman Reigns spot and I’m doing it and it’s a great opportunity that I love the challenge. I want to be able to do that every single week and fill it. And right now, people hate me for it and I love it. They despise that I’m on their TV six or seven times a night, and that’s the best thing for me, because then they’re following everything I’m doing. If they hate me that much they’re following everything I do.”
On the reviews of the Nov. 26 episode being the worst Raw ever:
“Twitter needs to understand that just because they’re the loudest, they’re not the majority... it’s good that people do speak their minds a little bit, but it’s my show and if you want to change it, come and try. That’s what I say, like ‘come and get it, if you want it’. I’m in charge, but tonight we’re going to step it up and put something fresh out there. We’re always out there... to put on the best show possible. I want tonight to be better than last week. I want it to be better than the week before. I want next week to be better than this week. Like, if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”
There’s a lot to digest there, and because of the unique nature of wrestling, some of it involves discerning when he’s in character and when he isn’t. The most fan-friendly part of the interview might be the last quote where he seems to start by pretending he actually has control over the content of Raw.
Twitter often is horrible. I’m someone with like 1/1000000th of the exposure a WWE Superstar has and almost all of my occassional mentions are about how I suck at my job, so I can’t imagine what Baron or Xavier Woods see when they pull up their notifications. But I don’t know of any other business - including the big entertainment ones wrestlers want to be compared to - where the standard response is “the customer is not only wrong, but is a [insert insult here].”
Discuss below, Cagesiders. And ignore those declining television viewership and ratings numbers, which clearly don’t capture all the idiots Baron Corbin says are following everything he does.