Just like Mauro Ranallo would say, “Mama Mia!”
With news breaking about an injury to Baron Corbin that would keep him out of Survivor Series and would press Shane McMahon into action, the deficiencies of both the SmackDown Live and Raw rosters were revealed.
A lack of depth and quality is hurting the both brands and will now have a major impact on the 5-on-5 traditional Survivor Series main event involving Superstars from both sides of WWE’s fence. It was only a matter of time before this type of situation would expose itself.
As Nick Paglino on wrestlezone.com wrote, “It was just announced that Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon will be replacing Corbin in the match, which will feature Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles as McMahon’s partners.”
This is the kind of gut shot neither brand needed. Survivor Series had the makings of becoming the signature pay-per-view event since the brand split on July 19. Now, a team that is already missing John Cena due to time off from wrestling, has to regroup by including Shane into the fold.
In years past, WWE has been able to go to its bullpen and bring in a performer to fill the gap. There have been times when the McMahons would summon someone from the NXT roster to make their grand appearance. Bayley was brought up to replace Sasha Banks because of an injury.
This, however, does not appear to be one of those times. If there was ever a need for WWE to consider giving Samoa Joe a call and telling him to find his way to Canada, this could be one of those situations.
Although it doesn’t come close in terms of impact on the wrestling business, I am reminded of how a car accident in 1986 ended the career of Magnum TA and forced Dusty Rhodes, then the booker of Jim Crockett Promotions in the NWA, to take a step back before he took a step forward.
It led to a babyface turn for Nikita Koloff and an eventual heel turn for Barry Windham. Corbin isn’t there yet in terms of his ability in the ring or his bearing on the future of this promotion. What he is, however, is a bit of a throwback performer.
A loner who told Daniel Bryan and Renee Young on “Talking Smack” he had no friends in the locker room and his sole purpose for becoming a professional wrestler was to make money and win titles.
Other loners, like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and JBL went on to redefine this business.
This also isn’t the first time a major star has been hurt and has not been able to compete in the 11th hour. Seth Rollins blowing out his knee last November before Survivor Series led to Roman Reigns winning his first WWE World Title.
Now, WWE has a decision to make. What does it do with McMahon? As the Commissioner of SmackDown Live, does this become a one-off deal where he once again gets in the ring and helps his team win in less than two weeks?
Will it mean McMahon becomes the go-to guy when there is an injury or another huge pay-per-view?
McMahon shockingly gave fans and Undertaker quite a match inside Hell in a Cell, at WrestleMania 32. The fact he will work simultaneously with four other wrestlers in this elimination match helps him.
You can be sure the creative teams for both Raw and SmackDown Live are recreating a situation where McMahon has to have some stake in the ending of the match.
Maybe this also leads to an appearance by Triple H, who somehow either helps Team Raw win or helps Team SmackDown Live by taking Seth Rollins out of the match. Whatever the situation, the injury to Corbin’s injury, which is overshadowed by the return of McMahon to the ring, will have a greater impact on both brands as the current year ends and 2017 begins.
It was only a matter of time before either brand was faced with this kind of dilemma. WWE now must find a way to carry on with the excitement of Survivor Series and hope McMahon’s addition to the main event doesn’t diminish what the company is trying to accomplish.
It must also decide how the commissioner will play a role in the outcome – either as a winner or a loser.