Since making his NXT debut last month at Takeover 2, everyone has had their eyes on the mysterious and rugged Baron Corbin. Standing in a six feet eight inches and destroying those that have stood in his path thus far, there is no doubt that the Kansas City native will be a highly valued and important name on the NXT roster. I had a great opportunity to speak to Baron earlier this week to learn more about his life and what being on the NXT roster means to him.
Alex Obert: You made your official NXT debut last month at Takeover 2, how were the finishing touches put on to fully prepare you and establish your character?
Baron Corbin: Billy Gunn, Bill DeMott and Dusty Rhodes all helped me find myself and how to express it to people so they understand. I know that I’ve played with a few other characters that I thought fit me. When I sat down with Bill and Billy and Dusty, as well as Corey Graves, they had conversations with me about what am I into and what are the things I do. They wanted to know how that would relate to what I’m gonna do in the ring and how to translate that so that people understand this is who I am. You look at me, you see the tattoos and I ride a motorcycle. So how do we fit those things into who I am? There’s past endeavors including being a three-time Golden Glove Champion, we want people to understand that when I punch somebody, it’s gonna hurt.
Alex Obert: Who on the roster have you been keeping an eye on?
Baron Corbin: I definitely enjoy guys like Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville, fast-paced guys, they’re guys that I look forward to working with and I want to try and stop them. They do a lot of fancy things and I’m not a fancy guy. I’m a meat and potatoes gonna punch you in the face kind of guy. I want to see how that would go together and if I can stop those guys from making this run that they’re making.
Alex Obert: When you faced CJ Parker last month, how did you prepare for your big debut that night?
Baron Corbin: The biggest preparation was mentally. Physically, I knew I was there. I put my time in the ring with Billy night and day to get everything I have ready. Before the match, I was definitely getting in the zone. I had my headphones in, I was outside running up and down the street. I was trying to find that place to go to do as much damage as I could. I felt like I did that and I did it in a very short period of time. And I think CJ Parker motivated me. You watch a guy like that, he has a lot of belief in things and he has a lot of things he wants to stand for. And I didn’t necessarily agree with all of them. Going into the match, he was more motivation for me to do my best and take my place where I want it here in NXT.
Alex Obert: And what was going through your head during the match?
Baron Corbin: It was kind of a blur when I look back on it. I was in the zone and when the bell rang, it’s go time. I was finally being unleashed and let go, allowing me to do my thing. When I look back and think, it’s all a blur. I don’t remember hearing anything or anything in particular, I had to rewatch the match to see how it went. When I go to that frame of mind, I just kind of go.
Alex Obert: With your finisher, End of Days, how was that developed?
Baron Corbin: I watched a lot of wrestling and I started to watch a lot of Japanese-style. They do things a little differently. A guy here named Solomon Crowe, we were trying to think of something that would be devastating and original and we mixed some things I’d seen from some of the Japanese footage I watched. It’s something that requires a lot of strength. I know a lot of people can’t do it and won’t try it. That allowed me to stand out. End of Days is a lot of impact, it makes people open their eyes. It makes a statement.
Alex Obert: What are some of your favorite matches throughout NXT history?
Baron Corbin: I definitely enjoyed the match at Takeover 2 with Breeze, Neville, Zayn and Tyson Kidd. I thought that was epic. Every one of those guys fought for everything. It really shows the drive that we have here at NXT, they put it all on the line and I don’t think it gets much better than that. That’s something I look forward to doing. I want to have the crowd chanting “This is awesome!” You look back at matches such as Sami Zayn versus Cesaro, they’re epic. I look at those and it motivates me to put myself in those same situations. It’s an opportunity to make a mark here.
Alex Obert: Though you are relatively new to the main roster, how has your time been competing at NXT live events?
Baron Corbin: I work pretty much every single live event. It gives me an opportunity to work with different people and see what they bring to the table. We want to put on an entertaining match and see who comes out the victor. I get to bounce around with different people and it keeps me on my toes because someone might surprise me with something. I want to know how I’m gonna react to that and it makes me always be prepared. That’s for sure. On recent live events, I’ve faced names such as Elias Sampson and Bull Dempsey. I’ve also faced CJ a few times. It kind of just varies all the time. I’ve been here for a little while now and I’ve had opportunities to work with Tyler Breeze and Sami at Wrestlemania Axxess. All of those opportunities just go into building me and my ability.
Alex Obert: At the next NXT special, who do you hope to face?
Baron Corbin: Whoever’s holding the title. That’s my ultimate goal here is to get my hands on that. I want to make my mark here, so getting that title in my hands is very important to me. I don’t really care who I have to run over to get it, but that’s what I want. And then I have ultimate goals to be on RAW and face a guy like Randy Orton. That, for me, is a dream match. I think he is unbelievable in what he does and it would be a dream come true to get an opportunity to step in the ring with a guy like that.
Alex Obert: What do you think of the debuts of NXT talent on RAW and Smackdown over the past year?
Baron Corbin: Simply impactful. I think that we’re here at NXT to build ourselves and make a statement. I know the Wyatts have done that and the Shield has done that, they are making their mark and they’re making us look good down here because of what they bring to the table there. I hope to do exactly the same thing.
Alex Obert: You mentioned earlier that you put your headphones on and listen to music before matches, who you listen to during that time?
Baron Corbin: Before matches I listen to a lot of In This Moment, Slipknot, Lamb of God and Manson. Those are my go-tos prior to a match, it helps me get into the zone.
Alex Obert: Who have you seen lately?
Baron Corbin: I went to see Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch earlier this week with Billy Gunn. That was a pretty good show. Going to live shows is really important to me. I think we have to have something outside of work to keep us leveled. For me, it’s going to shows. I go to everything from shows in little dive bars to see people like Kaleigh Baker and Brown Bird. Amigo the Devil’s one of my favorite bands in the world. Going to these shows in little venues is really important to me, as well as going to bigger shows. I really enjoyed that too.
Alex Obert: I understand you bond with Corey Graves over music.
Baron Corbin: Yeah, we definitely do. We’re often in the same frame of mind when we’re trying to pick up music to listen to whether it’s metal or blues or folk or rock. We have a similar bond of how we find music. We want to find music that connects to us and tells a story that’s important to us, describing what we’ve been through. We go to a lot of shows together. On Tuesday we’re going to the Kaleigh Baker show in a little dive bar. She’s a bluesy folk singer and she’s out of this world. We can go to that and a couple weeks later, we’re gonna go see Sevendust. It’s a different side of the spectrum. But we just click when it comes to that stuff all.
Alex Obert: I feel as though there’s a new wave of exciting and memorable entrance themes, especially on NXT. A lot of that has to do with CFO$ recently composing a lot of the newer themes. What do you think of some of the themes lately?
Baron Corbin: I think they’re awesome. I know they put together mine and I’m more than happy with it. The response I’ve been getting from it is awesome. I know a lot of people are downloading it on iTunes. They’ll listen to it when they go to the gym or when they wake up to get ’em going. It’s the same thing for me, I know when the motorcycle hits, I get that feeling inside. I’m about to walk out the curtain and cause destruction. I think my music says that.
Alex Obert: Since not much is known about you yet, what do you have to say to those who are interested in you?
Baron Corbin: Hold on tight. I think that I’m gonna make an impact that will open a lot of eyes. And I’ve only started. I’m gonna make a lot of people really question what they just saw. I don’t get paid by the hour, I go out there and get it done and get out. That’s the way I want it to be. Just hold on tight because this is gonna be a killer ride.
Alex Obert: For those about to order the network, what can they expect while watching NXT for the first time?
Baron Corbin: It’s exciting when you go to a little club and you hear a new band for the first time and nobody really knows them. And as time passes, they’re all of a sudden playing arenas. You can tell your friends and your family and the people around you that you saw that band with twelve other people in a really low-key club and you got to watch them grow. I think that here at NXT, we are the future. I know that when you tune in and watch, there will be certain people that you gravitate towards to. Six months from now or next year, say me for example, you see me on NXT and you tell your friends, “Hey, this guy Baron Corbin, you gotta check him out!” And then all of a sudden I’m on RAW and you can tell your friends, “I found this guy. I told you about him. I told you he’s gonna be good” That’s a great way to compare those two in my book.
Alex Obert: That is amazingly accurate and profound. I’d love to thank you so much for your time and a great interview.
Baron Corbin: Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time out of your day speak with me.