Few wrestlers in WWE can say they've had a better 2017 that Baron Corbin. Roman Reigns has enjoyed his typical steady rise and Jinder Mahal benefited from a drastic spike in relevance. But Corbin's 2017 nestled itself the middle ground between rapid and gradual.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer believes that WWE is indeed grooming Corbin to become champion by year's end. However, he staunchly disagrees with the idea of Corbin holding the big belt:
"I'm not saying Baron Corbin should never get pushed down the line or anything like that if he improves, that's fine. But him as World Champion now… at least with Jinder, there's an excuse but Baron Corbin it's just like it's their freaking fetish with tall guys. It's like, what has he done? What great matches has Baron Corbin had with anybody? You know, nothing. What great promos has he done?"
It's been well documented that WWE favors bigger competitors - look no further than the SummerSlam's Fatal 4-Way. But Meltzer didn't stop there:
"His promos suck. Has he improved? Yes, he's improved a lot. Yes, he can be in a tag team main event when he's in there with AJ Styles and Sami Zayn and do his part? Yes, yes he's okay there with Kevin Owens as a partner. Can he be a bully to Sami Zayn in an undercard match and have an average undercard match? Yes, he can. That's not a world champion"
Meltzer's barbed opinion actually made it to Corbin's door step and the two shared a heated Twitter exchange. Meltzer brought up several points against Corbin, but how many of them have merit?
We fall in the middle ground. It's a little harsh to say his promos "suck" because he really hasn't had the opportunity to really go on the mic. And, counter to Meltzer's argument, Corbin has had a couple great matches - a Chairs Match with Kalisto and a recent Smackdown contest against Shinsuke Nakamura come to mind. While that's only 2 reference points, that's double that amount of great matches former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt has had.
With all of that said, we may be getting ahead of ourselves. Because in about 10 days, Corbin will face John Cena. Soon enough we'll know how serious WWE is about Corbin. If he manages to pin Cena cleanly, an anomaly by today's standards, then get ready for the Corbin era. Actually, he may even lose and it won't matter. As Mr. Money in the Bank, Corbin could cash-in on either the RAW or SmackDown Champion.