“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” — Matthew 12:25 NIV
King Corbin might claim to be the leader that SmackDown needs, but tensions on his team had risen so high that Friday night saw them fighting against themselves on the go-home show! Corbin proved then that winning—even by cheating—was more important to him than anything else. He might have carried it further if it were not for Roman. The loyalty Roman showed Ali was returned when NXT invaded; he and Shorty G decided to stand by their true captain.
By Sunday, that dynamic had not changed. Backstage, Corbin and Roman argued strategy, and that carried over to the beginning of their match. Despite the increased stakes, things went more or less as we’d seen them go previously: Corbin berating the boys while Roman encouraged them. When Corbin finally took it too far with Ali, Roman did the unthinkable—he set Corbin up to be eliminated by Ciampa, effectively all but eliminating the king, himself.
There’s no denying this was a risk; Roman and Corbin were the only two remaining members of their team, and SmackDown needed the win to keep from being shut out of Survivor Series entirely. I think Roman knew they would never get that win with Corbin still on the team; that he would let his personal feelings about Roman interfere with the match. To that end, Roman removed the threat and took the burden of the win upon himself, even though it meant facing his former Shield brother, Seth Rollins, as well as NXT up-and-comer Keith Lee.
Roman’s gamble paid off; not only did he secure the win for Team SmackDown, he earned the respect of Keith Lee by way of a bow, and returned it with a gesture of his own. No doubt there will be repercussions for his actions, but Corbin was already his enemy. Luckily, Roman still has friends on the roster too, as tonight showed. He’ll keep doing what’s best for his brand, and for his boys.