When Baron Corbin cashed in his Money In The Bank Contract at the most inopportune moment, and was made to look like an utter fool as he was distracted by John Cena and rolled up by Jinder Mahal, then lost his grudge match against Cena at SummerSlam a few days later, some fans wondered if Corbin was being "buried."
The scuttlebutt was that Corbin's heel act on Twitter had gone off the rails and gotten him into hot water, or that perhaps there was a backstage incident between Corbin and Cena that led to Cena convincing Vince McMahon to abandon his push. Fightful's sources told us that Corbin had blocked a lot of WWE personnel on Twitter and that was considered bad form. But there was no definitive answer as to what was the inciting incident that caused Corbin to be cooled off by the bookers.
Now we might have the answer. According to a report in PWInsider, this whole situation stems from a talent meeting during the first week of August, when Dr. Joseph Maroon, the head of WWE's Wellness Policy, was brought in to speak to the boys about the seriousness of concussions. He told them that they should learn to recognize the symptoms of concussions and report them to medical staff as soon as they feel anything out of the ordinary.
During that meeting, Corbin, a former NFL player whose real name is Thomas Pestock, apparently interrupted Maroon's presentation and gave his own thoughts. He talked about the things that he knew about concussions and brain injuries, learned from his time in the NFL. He brought up a concussion-related lawsuit against the NFL, of which Corbin is a part, and said that Maroon was initially a non-believer in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE.
CTE is a hot button issue in the National Football league. Repeated blows to the head, which are common in a high contact sport like professional football, can lead to serious brain damage over time. CTE can only be detected post-mortem, and many former NFL players have donated their brains to science to find out why exactly they had been exhibiting symptoms such as depression, memory loss, light sensitivity, rage-filled mood swings, and suicidal thoughts or actions. Notable retired players have committed suicide by shooting themselves in the chest so that their damaged brain may be studied to determine if they have CTE. In one study, 99% of former NFL players' brains showed signs of CTE.
Before the science was settled, Maroon spoke out, saying there was no connection between football-related concussions and CTE. But in a study published by Maroon, he failed to disclose his 30-year relationship with the NFL, which is nothing if not a conflict of interest.
Corbin cited that Maroon was depicted as a pro-NFL doctor in the film "Concussion" about Dr. Bennet Omalu's crusade to force the NFL to acknowledge the danger of concussions. Corbin also mentioned the earlier linked "99%" study that was in the news at the time of the meeting.
Maroon apparently agreed with Corbin that CTE was a problem, but downplayed how severe and common the cases are, disagreeing with the "99%" study, and reportedly said that people needed to keep things in a "proper perspective."
Corbin and Maroon argued back and forth in the middle of the talent meeting. It was said to be "awkward" and described as "like time standing still." One source said that while Corbin was not yelling or acting belligerent, it was seen as Corbin expressing his opinions at "the wrong time and the wrong place," and that Corbin would have been better served by speaking to Maroon about his concerns one on one.
The report states that some wrestlers in attendance at the meeting were impressed by Corbin speaking his mind, as he was essentially going to bat for his fellow performers against a voice that he felt did not have their best interests at heart.
But because he spoke out of turn, interrupted the meeting and was perceived to have made it about himself rather than let Maroon speak, it led to him being punished with the loss of his Money In The Bank cash-in opportunity.
The report states that while he did suffer two embarrassing losses back to back, WWE creative still has long-term plans for Baron Corbin.
UPDATE: Fightful reached out to several talents and employees regarding the report, which was confirmed. Two wrestlers that we spoke to also said that Corbin was more educated on the matter than most of the other talent, and it showed when he spoke out on the situation. Corbin was said to have conveyed his point in an eloquent manner, and it didn't appear there was any heat right off the bat.