Baron Corbin unsuccessfully cashing in his Money In the Bank briefcase and then quickly losing to John Cena at WWE SummerSlam had a lot of fans speculating on if he had backstage heat with company officials. Word now is that Corbin likely picked up heat after an incident at a talent meeting during the first week of August, according to PWInsider. There had been speculation on Corbin getting heat over a Twitter incident but that is not the case as officials actually want their talents to be more interactive on social media.
Regarding the incident in early August, Dr. Joseph Maroon had been brought in to talk with the roster about the importance of concussion-related injuries and why talents should immediately report injuries to WWE officials. During the meeting, Maroon reportedly brought up a recent study on deceased NFL players who had been diagnosed with CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) post-mortem. The way Maroon talked about the study reportedly “downplayed” it as being solid proof that anyone who played football would then develop CTE.
Corbin, who played college football before a brief NFL career from 2009-2011, reportedly cut Maroon off and expressed an opinion that challenged the doctor. Multiple sources noted how Corbin argued that there would always be some form of head trauma as football helmets are constantly cracking against each other during every play. Corbin also mentioned how he is part of a concussion-related lawsuit against the NFL, and that he knew Maroon was against CTE. Corbin was apparently referring to how Maroon was portrayed in the 2015 “Concussion” movie starring Will Smith. This led to Maroon stating, during the meeting, that his depiction in that movie was incorrect. This would not be the first time that Maroon was forced to address his depiction in that movie. Maroon did agree with Corbin that CTE was a problem but he was trying to make the point that the study did not mean 99% of NFL players had CTE, noting that people have to put things into proper perspective. Corbin and Maroon ended up going back & forth for several minutes as Corbin disagreed with Moon’s opinion.
The incident between Corbin and Maroon was described as awkward, “time standing still” and “an awkward moment that led to awkward laughter.” It was also noted that this was not a case of Corbin being belligerent or yelling at Maroon, but a situation where he was expressions his opinions at “the wrong time and the wrong place.” There was a feeling among one source that Corbin would have been better off pulling Maroon to the side for a private discussion after the meeting so it would not take away from the matter at hand. There was also a feeling that Corbin hurt the flow of the meeting and took away from the importance of talent health by making the discussion about previous comments Maroon has made on the NFL, which put Maroon into a defensive position instead of educating.
With that said, there were a few talents who were impressed by Corbin speaking out.
While there’s no confirmation on this incident forcing officials to put the brakes on Corbin’s push, the feeling among multiple sources is that if anything led to the delayed push, this was it. PWInsider also points to Corbin remaining in the SmackDown main event scene, an indication that the Maroon incident isn’t bringing any long-lasting damage for Corbin.