The road to Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman at WWE TLC 2018 was a weird one. After a heel run with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre against the Shield, Strowman became a babyface and started feuding with evil authority figure Corbin… just in time for a shoot elbow injury to be incorporated into the show so he could take some time off to recover.
The stakes for Corbin vs. Strowman at TLC, Corbin becomes permanent Raw GM vs. Corbin is removed from power and Strowman gets a match for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble, developed some wrinkles as the PPV approached:
- Bray Wyatt returned to the WWE ring at Starrcade when the scheduled Strowman was unable to compete and a rumor emerged that he could do the same at TLC
- Raw got extremely bad and had all its badness blamed on Corbin by Seth Rollins on an episode of the show
- We found out Vince McMahon himself will return to Raw the Monday after the show
- A match between Heath Slater and Rhyno resulted in Rhyno “retiring” and Slater being made a referee, and referee for this Corbin vs. Strowman at TLC
At TLC, it looked for a moment like Corbin vs. Strowman could be a normal TLC match, until Strowman entered the arena in a cast.
Strowman got on the microphone and reminded Corbin that since TLC matches have a No DQ rule, a participant in this type of match could have other people help him. On cue, Apollo Crews, then Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, and then Finn Balor, babyfaces who have been screwed over by Corbin on Raw recently, surrounded the ring with chairs. Slater took his referee shirt off and made the first move against Corbin.
The men drove Corbin out of the ring with chair shots, but he wasn’t safe on the entrance ramp. Kurt Angle, whose GM position Corbin usurped, returned to deliver some chair shots of his own. Everyone finished Corbin off with their finishing moves back in the ring, Slater put his officiator’s shirt back on, and Strowman pinned Corbin with a foot on his chest to win the match.
So, per the match stipulation, it looks like Corbin’s run as Raw General Manager is finally over, but with Mr. Mahon’s impending appearance to the red brand on Monday, anything is possible.