Baron Corbin, who recently stepped into his new role as WWE Raw General Manager, stopped by the WWE Performance Center today to play the new WWE 2K19 and chat with Cultaholic.com's Adam Pacitti.
Pacitti noted that the Performance Center is where a lot of wrestlers from the independent circuits come to train, and that Corbin himself did not come from an independent promotion. Corbin was asked if he felt he was treated differently because of his wrestling upbringing.
"Yeah, you definitely come in with...a target on your back. I came from the NFL, so people didn't like that, or they just try to make assumptions, and I think when you assume, you look stupid," Corbin stated.
The GM elaborated, claiming it's not just the fans that misjudged him.
"People assume, 'He doesn't know anything about wrestling, they're bringing him here because he was an NFL guy, or a big guy.' People give that misconception when you walk in, especially guys who have been doing it for 10 or 15 years, all over the world. They have a bit of jealousy or whatever it may be. You just got to prove them wrong. [You] got to prove why you're here, and who you want to become. I think that prevails over everything, because I've made it and [I'm] finding myself to be very successful in WWE."
Despite differences in training and experience, Corbin touches briefly on how superstars on the main rosters still support each other in and outside of the ring.
"I think everybody wants everybody to be successful. There is that competitive nature, in a sense that everybody wants to be the best, but if A.J. Styles is more successful, and Braun Strowman is more successful, that makes the company more successful," Corbin discloses. He goes on to add, "It makes a guy like me more successful, because I step in the ring with those guys...they immediately associate you with that level."
Inside the locker room might be supportive professionals, but Pacitti notes that Corbin is hated by many different types of wrestling fans. Corbin was asked what the secret is to being hated.
"You know what? I haven't figured it out," answers Corbin. "Sometimes I just go, 'Is it me? Am I really just not that likeable?' The cool thing is, when you go out there and see a lady get mad, or a guy get mad, or they hate you because you didn't come from the independents, or whatever, what I like to do is just pour kerosene on that fire."
Corbin elaborated on the point by telling a story of a time he was in Mississippi for a live show, and an elderly man was in the crowd, visibly irritated by Corbin.
"He was giving me the finger and yelling at me. He was probably 85, and I'm not kidding on 85. So, of course, what do I have to do? I have to agitate him more. It got to the point where his wife, who was sitting behind him, was holding on to his overalls, because he was trying to come after me."
He finished by driving home his philosophy on creating a strong heel persona.
"I just like to pour kerosene on fires."