Baron Corbin did not appear on SmackDown Live this week because of the babyface pop he would have received from his hometown crowd in Kansas City.
Although many of us complain that three hours of Raw is too long it certainly shows that the red brand has so much more time than their Tuesday night counterparts. Some segments and matches on SmackDown Live can feel a little rushed with as many of the show's Superstars as possible being crammed into their two-hour slot.
What that means is not everyone can be on every show. When a bigger star is missing then it can be pretty notable, and this past Tuesday night there was no Baron Corbin. It may have gone unnoticed by most if WWE had not shown a graphic informing us that he would be on the show next week taking on Dolph Ziggler. This week though there was no Lone Wolf.
Some will have naturally jumped to conclusions considering the rumors that surrounded Corbin allegedly being punished by WWE for various reasons during the second half of 2017, but there was nothing sinister about his absence this week. SmackDown Live took place in the former Mr. Money In The Bank's hometown Kansas City. According to Brad Shepard on Twitter, WWE simply didn't want an out and out heel getting cheered in front of the SmackDown Live cameras.
A fan in attendance at #SDLive said Baron Corbin received the loudest pop of the night. He was intentionally kept off TV because Smackdown Live was held at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO. He wrestled in a dark match, teaming with Jinder, and losing to AJ and Shinsuke. #WEE— Brad Shepard 🤘🏻 (@TheBradShepard) February 7, 2018
The Kansas City fans did get the chance to see their hometown hero though as he teamed with Jinder Mahal to take on AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in a dark match after the show. WWE were right to keep him off TV as well since according to fans who were in attendance at the show he got the loudest pop of the night. Even though it wasn't televised, WWE still kept with tradition and had the hometown wrestler lose the match.
In a world where certain higher-ups at WWE claim that faces and heels don't really exist anymore, it's nice to see that deep down they know that not to be the case. There are a lot of Superstars on the roster right now that do fall into the grey area between good guy and bad guy but The Lone Wolf is not one of them. He is a heel through and through and hearing him get a raucous reception on live television would not have done good things for his character.