WWE Superstar Baron Corbin Opens Up Ahead of the 'Greatest Royal Rumble'

Scott Fishman

WWE

The WWE Superstars are making history as they travel to Saudi Arabia for the Greatest Royal Rumble event in King Abdullah International Stadium on April 27.

Baron Corbin is among the 50 performers who will participate in the 50-man Rumble match. The 33-year-old doesn’t know what to expect, and that’s exciting to him. "We’ll see what happens,” he says. “I know that if they did every two minutes, then the match would be two hours. I hope I’m not number one then.”

The sports entertainment company heads to Saudi Arabia for the live WWE Network special, coming off the heels of news that the country ended a 35-year ban on movie theaters with a screening of Black Panther. Corbin feels WWE hosting a major show there can build on the progress being made there.

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“WWE really likes to connect with all walks of life from all over the world,” he reasons. “I think that is what is special about WWE is that it doesn’t pick sides or anything. It’s the simple story of good versus evil, your journey to overcome the villain. I think no matter what language you speak or religion or color of the skin, none of that matters. I think people can connect to the simple story of good versus evil and the characters we offer. Going over there is such a cool thing because it brings people together.”

Corbin will go into the Royal Rumble representing Raw after moving over from SmackDown Live, due to the recent Superstar Shakeup. Even though he found out about his fate like viewers when a vignette aired, the “Lone Wolf” had a gut feeling about it.

“I was kind of hoping it was going to happen,” he admits. “I definitely want to prove myself. I feel I’ve done extremely well on SmackDown with superstars like AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. But there is another level of guys that you have to get through to prove yourself. You have to go to Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman. Those guys are running the show over there.

“So, I’m looking to make my mark heavy and loud over there sooner than later. I want them to go, ‘I didn’t expect this from Baron Corbin. I didn’t expect this from someone coming from SmackDown to make this much noise on Raw.” That’s my plan.”

And one of the first steps for the past Money in the Bank and Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner to make a solid first impression is to emerge last man standing in the Rumble. Corbin is confident in his abilities, unphased by the haters on social media. However, he is always looking to grow, believing he found his stride and stands out with an old school style.

“I don’t need 47 moves to put a guy down,” Corbin explains. “I take a lot of pride in that. If I punch you with my right hand, you’re going to feel it for the next 20, 30 minutes. It’s just the way I roll... Improvement also comes with the work you are putting in. The superstars you are talking to, the meetings I’m having with Triple H and Vince McMahon, those guys have been around a long time and have seen a lot of superstars have a lot of success. So they help pass that torch on, and I think when you get an opportunity to speak with either one of those guys, if you don’t soak up every word, it’s your own fault.”

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Before Corbin heads to the airport from his home in Lutz, Florida, for his big journey to Saudi Arabia, he sits down with TV Insider and reveals that the big man is more than meets the eye.

What are your three must-have items for getting you through a long travel day?

Baron Corbin: My iPad and headphones are number one and two because I load it with movies, TV shows, and music. I take a TENS machine that helps with muscle stimulation. When you get on those long flights, six or seven hours or more, where my knees will start to ache, I put that on. It helps me relax and it pumps blood through my legs and back if I need it.

I saw on social media you were looking for recommendations for shows to watch on a flight. What show have you binged recently? Any you're planning to watch next?

I’m watching Into the Badlands right now. It’s pretty awesome. I like martial arts movies, especially terrible '80s ones and all the old Bruce Lee ones. I like the idea that there are no guns, and there are swords and knives, and the colors are awesome. There are some intense fight scenes. It reminds me of old school Steven Seagal, where he would break everyone’s arm when they try to punch him. Sunny doesn’t just cut everybody up with swords. He is snapping arms and legs. It’s wild. I’m getting ready to get into Requiem and Troy: Fall of the City, Glitch is another one I want to get into a little bit. So, we will see where those take me on that 12-hour flight there.

Daniel Wu as Sunny in 'Into the Badlands'

The Greatest Royal Rumble takes place on April 27, which is the same day as Avengers: Infinity War opens. Is there a superhero you identify with? Or maybe a villain?

I like Wolverine. He is a Marvel guy who usually runs alone. He does his own thing. He doesn’t really work well with other people. He is indestructible, which I feel like I am sometimes — but I feel it the next day. I’d say he was the guy I connect with.

You are the “Lone Wolf,” but is there anyone on the WWE roster that is your go-to travel partner when you are on the road?

Believe it or not, and it’s probably one of the most odd combos ever, but I ride with Tyler Breeze a lot. I have no idea how it happened. He needed someone to ride with, and our schedules fit well together with gym and food and all of that. It’s kind of a funny little pairing, but I can tolerate him, and he can tolerate me, so it works.

WWE Network has the show Table for 3. If you can sit down for a meal with any two people, who would it be?

I would love to sit down with ‘Taker [The Undertaker], just because I enjoy every opportunity I have to talk to him. I think it’s such a cool thing to be in his presence because you just feel his presence. There is just something special about who he is and what he has created with WWE and this legacy. It would add a lot of value to what I do. I learn a lot every time I sit with him.

Outside of the WWE, I would like to talk to Mike Tyson. The 'Baddest Man on the Planet.' Who wouldn’t want to have a conversation with a guy who knocked people out in 15 seconds?

Mike Tyson

What’s one thing about yourself that you think fans would be surprised to know?

I love my heavy metal and my rock 'n' roll. I love all that, but I listen to a lot of Spanish music. Nobody can ever believe I listen to Spanish music. My wife is from Puerto Rico. I am into Spanish music and big into art and making ceramics. People find that super interested that I’m into making ceramic vases and bowls and all that kind of stuff.

So, 'Despacito' is playing while you’re working on a sculpture?

Well, not that song but [singer Luis Fonsi] has brought it over to the U.S. for sure and opened people’s eyes to Spanish music. I love it. I do like traditional Spanish music to Mexican. Jose Jose’s 'El Triste' is one of my favorite songs, and its super old.

The Greatest Royal Rumble streams live 12/11c on WWE Network. A special kickoff show will air at 11/10c. Catch Baron Corbin on Monday Night Raw each week at 8/7c on USA Network.

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