It looked like Baron Corbin was getting a fresh coat of paint in late 2020, but it wasn't to be.
Corbin's creative direction has been halted as of press time, but that was looking to be the case well ahead of that. He was given the former Forgotten Sons duo of Steve Cutler (now Steve Maclin) and Wesley Blake, both of whom have since been released. However, before that, it was months of not being used for the new Knights of the Lone Wolf. Speaking to Fightful, Maclin looked back at the process of trying to get back on television after some controversial tweets from former partner Jaxson Ryker caught he and Blake heat for no fault of their own.
"We went through a creative process in that too. Actually, Chelsea was just on here and talking about sitting in front of Vince’s office. We were there with her. So, it was just funny like, yeah we’re there. We started going to the Amway. After a while I was just like, ‘Alright. I need to make face value. I’m sick of sending e-mails. We want to work. That’s all we want to do is come back to TV.’ Then, when we did, first person we saw was Big E. He’s just like, ‘Hey, how you brothers doing?’ ‘We’re good.’ ‘Alright,’ he’s like, ‘You guys are doing the right thing. Just get there. Hopefully everything works out.’ Even Bayley was there, ‘You’re sitting at the right spot, just do what you have to do.’ Again, it’s just funny ‘cause everyone in the locker room knows. You’re fighting for spots. It’s a TV show. That’s what it is. Once you can find that niche or role that you fit on the television show, that’s where it’s at. We just want to do our craft to the best of our ability and that’s what we wanted to do, so that’s why we would go at the Amway," said Maclin.
Eventually the long wait paid off....kind of.
"Then, after a while, we were told, ‘Hey, don’t sit in front of Vince’s office no more. Just go wait in catering and once he’s ready, we can come and talk to you.’ Ehh, that doesn’t sound about right. But, okay. But, we had packets made of different character ideas that we wanted to try to go to. We sat down with Bruce Prichard and we had our conversation. He just wanted to get to know more about us, of who we were individually, and Cory’s a guy from Texas, I’m a guy from New Jersey. Which most people look at me and go, ‘Oh, wow. You’re from Jersey?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah. From Jersey.’ But, yeah, just to get to know each other that way. Maybe two or three weeks after was when we were told, ‘Hey, we’re going to bring you guys back in. We have this idea with Corbin.’ Corbin hit us up to give us his idea of we were going to be henchmen. Hitmen almost. Not such henchmen, but hitman-esque. So, we started brainstorming ideas and getting ideas for looks. Two of the looks we showed up to TV once we were there, once was a suit with the hoodies, the other was polo shirt, tight, nice looking like the Hitman character in the video games. Of course we go in there, we’re still long hair, full beard. It was great ‘cause it’s Bruce Prichard, Vince McMahon and then you hear Vince go, ‘Bruce, what do you like?’ He goes, ‘I like that one,’ and of course it’s not the one that I’m wearing, which is the Hitman outfit we liked and we thought was cool, which was the suit and the hoodie. Today’s generation of the NBA dressing of how NBA players were dressing up to games. Alright, whatever, we’ll make it work."
Changing up a look wasn't anything new to Maclin, as he'd went through several during his time in NXT. He was about to to undergo a really significant one that he ended up loving.
"Then he’s goes, ‘The beard’s. Gone.’ I’m like, ‘Alright.’ Yeah. Changed completely. I like it because I look ten years younger again. But, it’s just funny how you show up, we’re fully haired and beard and Cesaro’s the first one to see us, laughing. ‘Oh, my God.’ We’re like, ‘Yeah.’ I think it was cool for us ‘cause it gave us something new, completely different from where we were going and I was excited for it. Okay, now it’s got me brainstorming, creating. It was fun ‘cause now I’m sitting there, getting creative again. My juices are flowing and everything, and you know. COVID hit me," Maclin noted.
Maclin getting COVID sidelined the trio from television, as we've recently covered. Despite it ending in less than optimal fashion, Maclin has great things to say about Baron Corbin, who he'd also worked with in NXT years prior.
"He’s very good," Maclin said. "He’s very smart and intelligent about how to protect himself. Especially even his finish with the End of Days. He’s very smart. He was always very good in NXT that way, too. He was always meant for main roster on that end. But, he was just fun to bounce ideas off of and just try to go to for things. We were supposed to go into the storyline with the Mysterios and Murphy, and we were excited for that because now it gave that Blake that little kind of an inkling to go to Murphy and then it gives us the Mysterios and I get to work with Rey Mysterio. I got to beat up Rey Mysterio a little bit, which was fun. I got done, I was just like, ‘Wow. I threw Rey Mysterio into a guard rail, not even thinking about that moment until just now,’ when we got done. But, it was fun.
Things didn't end up working out for Maclin and Blake, and the two never returned to WWE TV. Maclin still spoke highly of New Day in particular about how helpful and generous they were during the run.
"We kind of saw the writing on the wall, where the story was going. Then once Big E messaged me just to stay in touch. We kept in touch the whole time. Again, he’s one of the first people to reach out to me when I got let go. He’s just an awesome dude. I respect him so much. Just for him and Kofi to be so caring and giving when we first got there, because they’ve been in that spot and now they know they have to elevate us. That’s something that was a fresh air for Blake and I, because we never really had that in NXT. We were always the ones that elevated everybody else, but then we always oh-this-isn’t-for-you type thing. So, it was the first time we got the taste of that and I was like, ‘God, this is wrestling. This is so cool. This is how business is done and we can all make money together.’ We were slated, we saw how after Cesaro and Shinsuke won the tag titles we were like, ‘Oh, wow. That’s gonna be us.’ But, now you look at it, you learn from it and you’re moving on."
You can see our full interview with Steve Maclin at the top of the page