Baron Corbin is the best heel in WWE. Maybe the best heel in all of wrestling. The Chadster knows it. Baron Corbin knows it. But some pro wrestling fans haven't really caught on yet. Another person who recognizes the greatness of The Ratings King of Friday Nights is WWE Hall-of-Famer Mark Henry. So when King Corbin appeared on a recent episode of Busted Open Radio co-hosted by Henry, Henry grilled Corbin on the influences that helped him rise to the top of the wrestling business.
"I grew up in Kansas City, and my dad was a huge fan," said Corbin. "We talk about favorite heels of all time. One of mine growing up was Kamala. We would get to go to Memorial Hall in Kansas City, and you'd see Kamala get out with all his paint on, and he's just going crazy on people. I grew up watching Harley Race's territory, and you had great heels come through there. You had Ric [Flair] come through. Arn Anderson. You had these guys that were just incredible. That's where I tailor myself off of. They wanna talk about guys today, and I just think that when you break it down and take it old school, that's what frustrates and irritates people. The business is so fast right now. I think guys go in there and, I'm a psychology-based guy. I have a degree in psychology. I don't want people to react to a 12-move sequence. That's not what it's about to me. So if you look at Twitter after something, they're like, 'he's so boring, he's got three moves.' Dude, I just irritated you. That's my job. If I go out there and do 47 different things, you're gonna appreciate what I do a little more. So I go old school. All my favorite heels are old school. Especially guys like Paul Heyman and Bobby Heenan. They were simple. They weren't overly complex. They just made it easy to hate them. That's what I try to do."
"[Kevin Sullivan] was one of the first guys to bring darkness into it all," said Corbin, asked who he models his own work after, with two names suggested by Henry. "[Jake Roberts] is definitely one of the guys because he's very calculating with what he does. And then Arn Anderson. When you look at Arn Anderson, I've had countless conversations with him, and the wisdom he possesses for just being evil is just amazing. We got along instantly just because he's like, 'You don't just act like this. This is who you are. I can see if someone messes with you on the street you're gonna hurt somebody.' You just find the details from those guys and how to do it and how to convey it to millions of people. Eddie Guererro was awesome. The way he carried himself and you hated him the second he came out when his music hit because he'd walk out with the confidence. And even JBL. JBL is just incredible in how he could just stand there and smile, and a whole arena wanted to kill him. That's where I drew that stuff from."
"For me, just growing up, I watched guys like Bam Bam Bigelow," Corbin continued. "I'd be at football practice, and my dad would be like, 'you know how Bam Bam ran over this dude? That's what you gotta do at football today. Just think like him and be a big dude.' It's funny because you're a little kid playing football, but I'm out there acting like I'm Bam Bam Bigelow or Big Boss Man, just running people over. That's where I drew all my stuff from."
Aw, come on, King. I know you've got to heel it up, but can't you tell Mark Henry was hoping for a little reciprocation? You could have at least made Henry a runner up on the list.