Two weeks ago, “King Corbin” was a joke, a boast, a braggadocious dress-up play by a man who remains so utterly loathed by the WWE Universe that they simply did not allow themselves to believe it could come true. Now, it’s one match away from becoming a reality: Baron Corbin is in the King of the Ring Final, having won the first Triple Threat in tournament history to leave Ricochet and Samoa Joe in his dust, and the throne just inches from his grasp.
Corbin’s victory was unlikely, and not just because of his crowd support. In the final stretch of a match that had been, for the most part, a dead heat, The Lone Wolf found himself locked in Joe’s Coquina Clutch and fading fast before Ricochet took out both his opponents at once with a moonsault off the apron. With The Lone Wolf seemingly dispatched, Ricochet escaped a Clutch of his own to hit Joe with the 630, but unbeknownst to him, Corbin had recovered and picked his moment to strike: The former Constable threw Ricochet over the barricade and brazenly stole the pin, earning — or rather, taking — his spot in the tournament final, where he’ll face either Elias or Chad Gable for the throne.
Perhaps we should have seen this coming: For all the disdain heaped on Baron Corbin by the WWE Universe, the man has assembled some truly impressive honorifics. Should he prevail, history won’t look back on him as the Superstar whose reign nobody saw coming, but as the one who perhaps should have been the favorite all along.