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Thomas Pestock[1][6] (born September 13, 1984)[1] is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Baron Corbin. Corbin is a one-time United States Champion, the winner of the third annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32 and the 2017 Money in the Bank men's ladder match. He is also a former offensive lineman for the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL), as well as a three-time Golden Gloves champion and former grappling champion.[7]

Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin WrestleMania 32 Axxess.jpg
Corbin in April 2016
Birth nameThomas Pestock
Born (1984-09-13) September 13, 1984 (age 34)[1]
Lenexa, Kansas, United States[2]
ResidenceTampa, Florida, United States[3]
Alma materNorthwest Missouri State University[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Baron Corbin[4]
Billed height6 ft 8 in (203 cm)[4]
Billed weight285 lb (129 kg)[4]
Billed fromKansas City[4]
Trained byWWE Performance Center
DebutOctober 18, 2012[5]
Thomas Pestock
No. 68
Position:Offensive guard
Personal information
Born: (1984-09-13) September 13, 1984 (age 34)
Lenexa, Kansas
Height:6 ft 6[1] in (1.98 m)
Weight:317[1] lb (144 kg)
Career information
College:Northwest Missouri State
Undrafted:2009
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
  • First Team All-MIAA (2008)
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Contents

Early life

Pestock was born in Lenexa, Kansas. By 2007, Pestock was a two-time Kansas-Missouri Golden Gloves regional champion in amateur boxing.[8] Pestock participated at the 2008 Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions in the super heavyweight division, defeating Chaen Chess in the preliminaries and losing to Andrae Cathron in the quarter-finals.[7][dead link][9]

Football career

College

Pestock attended NCAA Division II college Northwest Missouri State University, where he played offensive guard, and he became a starter his junior year in 2007.[10] Pestock was named honorable mention all-MIAA in 2007 and first team all-MIAA in 2008.[11][12][13] He was part of teams that went to four consecutive Division II National Championships and lost each time.[14]

Professional

Pestock signed with the Indianapolis Colts on April 27, 2009, after going undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft.[15] He was released by the Colts on August 13 and re-signed by the team on August 19.[15][16] He was again released by the Colts on September 5.[15]

Pestock signed a futures contract with the Arizona Cardinals on January 18, 2010, and he was noted for throwing uppercuts in a team scuffle in training camp.[15][17][18] He was released by the Cardinals on September 3 and signed to the team's practice squad on September 6.[15][19] On January 4, 2011, he was again signed to a futures contract with the Cardinals.[15] He was again released on September 2, 2011.[15]

Professional wrestling career

WWE

NXT (2012–2016)

Pestock signed with WWE's developmental system NXT in August 2012.[20] Using the ring name Baron Corbin, he made his in-ring debut on October 18 at a house show, losing to Dante Dash.[5] On the May 8, 2013 episode of NXT, he lost to Damien Sandow.[21] On the May 29 episode of NXT, Corbin unsuccessfully participated in a battle royal for the NXT Championship title opportunity, being eliminated early in the match by Mason Ryan.[22] He then made several appearances as an enhancement talent, with a battle royal to determine the number one contender to the NXT Championship on May 8, 2014 being his last televised match prior to his repackaging.[23]

 
Corbin facing Rhyno during the WrestleMania 31 weekend

After a long absence, Corbin returned at NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way with a new look and ring character, to defeat CJ Parker.[24] Corbin then won numerous singles matches against enhancement talents, each in a short amount of time,[25][26][27] until crossing paths with Bull Dempsey, who was also winning his matches quickly, beginning a feud between the two.[28][29] After a staredown at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution,[30] Corbin won their highly anticipated one-on-one match on the January 14, 2015 episode of NXT, breaking Dempsey's undefeated streak in the process.[31] Corbin again defeated Dempsey in the first round of a number one contender's tournament for the NXT Championship, but then was eliminated by Adrian Neville in the semi-final, ending Corbin's undefeated streak.[32] At NXT TakeOver: Rival on February 11, Corbin defeated Dempsey in a no disqualification match to end their feud.[33] He failed to qualify for the André the Giant Memorial at WrestleMania 31 Axxess, losing to Finn Bálor in the first round of a tournament.[34]

On the May 6 episode of NXT, Rhyno defeated Bull Dempsey and then called out Corbin for a match at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable.[35] The following week on NXT, Corbin defeated Solomon Crowe, turned a heel when showing a more banterous persona after the crowd turned on him and his short matches, which culminated in Corbin facing off with Rhyno and brawled with him.[36] At NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable on May 20, Corbin defeated Rhyno to end the feud.[37] On the August 12 episode of NXT, Corbin defeated Axel Tischer and then subdued Steve Cutler, executing the End of Days on the two, until Samoa Joe came out to challenge Corbin and began a brawl, applying the Coquina Clutch on Corbin.[38] The following week on NXT, Corbin attacked Joe after his match, executed the End of Days and set up a match for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.[39] At the event on August 22, Joe won after Corbin passed out to the Coquina Clutch.[40] Corbin then teamed up with his former rival Rhyno as a tag team to take place in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament.[41] On the September 2 episode of NXT, they defeated The Ascension in the first round.[42] They then defeated the team of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in the second round.[43] At NXT TakeOver: Respect on October 7, Corbin and Rhyno defeated Chad Gable and Jason Jordan to advance to the finals of the tournament, where they lost to Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe.[44] After the event, a battle royal was held to determine the number one contender for the NXT Championship, which saw Corbin being lastly eliminated by Apollo Crews, who Corbin attacked during his title match to cost him the title, thus igniting a feud between the two that culminated at NXT TakeOver: London on December 16, where Corbin defeated Crews.[45]

In January 2016, Corbin was involved in a triple threat match between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe on the January 27 episode of NXT to determine the number contender for Finn Bálor's NXT Championship, but Corbin lost after Zayn and Joe both applied their submission holds on Corbin at the same time, with Corbin submitting.[46] NXT General Manager William Regal did not give Corbin another title opportunity, leading to Corbin stating Regal would "regret" his decision, which culminated on the March 2 episode of NXT, Corbin attacked Austin Aries from behind after Regal introduced him, beginning a feud between the two that culminated at NXT TakeOver: Dallas on April 1, where Corbin lost to Aries.[47] On the April 13 episode of NXT, Corbin defeated Tucker Knight in his final NXT appearance.[48][49]

Main roster beginnings (2016–2017)

 
Corbin after attacking Dolph Ziggler in December 2016

Corbin made his main roster debut at WrestleMania 32 on April 3, winning the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal by last eliminating Kane.[50] The following night on Raw assaulted Dolph Ziggler after their match, beginning a feud.[51] Corbin lost to Ziggler at the Payback pre-show[52] and was eliminated by him from a battle royal on Raw.[53] Corbin defeated Ziggler on the May 9 episode of Raw[54] and in a no disqualification match at the Extreme Rules pre-show.[55] Ziggler then challenged Corbin to a technical wrestling match[56], which ended in a disqualification when Ziggler hit Corbin with a low blow.[57] At Money in the Bank, Corbin defeated Ziggler to end their feud.[58]

At the 2016 WWE draft on July 19, Corbin was drafted to the SmackDown brand.[59] After Apollo Crews earned a match for the Intercontinental Championship by defeating Corbin and Kalisto in a triple threat match[60] Corbin repeatedly assaulted Kalisto (who had been pinned in the match), eventually putting him out of action with a (kayfabe) injury.[61] Corbin then defeated Apollo Crews on the Backlash pre-show[62] and Jack Swagger at No Mercy[63] and on the October 18 episode of SmackDown.[64] On the November 8 episode of SmackDown, the returning Kalisto attacked Corbin, causing a (kayfabe) injury and forcing Corbin to drop out of SmackDown's Survivor Series team.[65] Corbin retaliated by costing Kalisto the Cruiserweight Championship at Survivor Series.[66] Kalisto attacked Corbin with a chair during a match on the November 22 episode of SmackDown,[67], leading to a chairs match between the two at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 4,[68], which Corbin won.[69]

On the December 20 episode of SmackDown, Corbin confronted Dolph Ziggler, who had just earned a title match against WWE Champion AJ Styles. A match between the two, with Ziggler's title opportunity on the line, ended in a double countout; as a result, Corbin was added to the title match, giving Corbin his first world title opportunity in WWE.[70] On the December 27 episode, Styles won the match by pinning Ziggler.[71] At the Royal Rumble event on January 29, Corbin entered the Royal Rumble match at number 13, notably eliminating Braun Strowman and lasting over 32 minutes before being eliminated by The Undertaker.[72][73]

At Elimination Chamber, Corbin competed in the namesake match for the WWE Championship. Immediately after being eliminated by Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, Corbin attacked Ambrose, causing the latter's elimination.[74] Corbin attacked Ambrose on the March 7 episode of SmackDown with metal pipe and tried to crush him under the work truck. On March 21, Ambrose retaliated by distracting Corbin in a match against Randy Orton. Corbin unsuccessfuly challenged Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship at the WrestleMania 33 pre-show[75] but defeated Amrbose in a non-title Street Fight on SmackDown.[76]

Money In the Bank and United States Champion (2017–2018)

On the April 17 episode, Corbin failed to win a title opportunity for the United States Championship in a triple threat match against AJ Styles and Sami Zayn.[77] After the show, Corbin attacked Zayn and also shoved an official, for which he was suspended and fined by SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon.[78] At Backlash, Corbin was defeated by Zayn.[citation needed]

At Money in the Bank, Corbin won the namesake match, earning him a world title match at the time of his choosing.[79] After this, Corbin feuded with Shinsuke Nakamura, whom he had attacked before the Money in the Bank match. Corbin lost to Nakamura by disqualifcation at Battleground[80] and again on the following episode of SmackDown.[citation needed] On August 1 episode of SmackDown, Corbin attacked Nakamura, who had just become number one contender for the WWE Championship, only to be attacked by Cena.[81] On the August 15 episode of SmackDown, Corbin interrupted a match between John Cena and WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and then cashed in his Money in the Bank contract. He was pinned by Mahal after being sidetracked by Cena, becoming the third wrestler to fail winning the title in a cash-in.[82] At SummerSlam, Corbin lost to Cena.[83]

On the August 22 episode of SmackDown, Corbin was approached by Kevin Owens to officiate his title match against United States Champion AJ Styles, with the promise of a future championship match if Owens were to win the title.[84] Corbin abandoned the match towards the end after heavy criticism from Shane McMahon, leaving the officiating duty to Shane instead. The following week, both Corbin and Tye Dillinger wanted to answer an open challenge issued by Styles; Dillinger was quicker but was then attacked by Corbin.[85] Corbin defeated Dillinger the following week[citation needed] and, on September 19, challenged Styles to a match at Hell in a Cell. When Corbin lost to Dillinger the following week on SmackDown, Dillinger was added to the match. In the subsequent Triple Threat match at Hell in a Cell, Corbin pinned Dillinger to win the title.[citation needed] Corbin retained the title against Styles on SmackDown and defeated Intercontinental Champion The Miz in an interbrand Champion vs Champion match at Survivor Series. At Clash of Champions, Corbin lost his title to Dolph Ziggler in a triple threat match also involving Bobby Roode, ending his reign at 70 days.[86]

At Royal Rumble on January 28, 2018, Corbin competed in the Royal Rumble match, entering at number 4, until he was eliminated by Finn Bálor. On the February 13 episode of SmackDown, Corbin earned a spot in Six-Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship match by defeating Kevin Owens, who had previously attacked him. At Fastlane, Styles won the Six-Pack Challenge by pinning Owens.[87] Corbin competed in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on the WrestleMania 34 pre-show; he made it to the final two before being eliminated by Matt Hardy.[88]

Raw authority figure and various feuds (2018–present)

Corbin performing the Deep Six on Seth Rollins.

On April 16, Corbin moved to Raw as part of the Superstar Shake-up.[89] On the June 4 episode of Raw, he became Stephanie McMahon's representative as the Constable of Raw.[90] The following week, Corbin debuted a new look, wearing a suit and a shaved head.[91] He feuded with Finn Bálor, to whom he lost at Extreme Rules[92] and at SummerSlam. The next night on Raw, Stephanie McMahon sent General Manager Kurt Angle on vacation and made Corbin Acting General Manager. On the September 17 episode of Raw, Corbin booked himself against Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship, but was unsuccessful to win the title despite interference from Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.[93]

By the end of 2018, Corbin - now styling himself General Manager-elect - had earned the enmity of several wrestlers. Among others, he forced Heath Slater to become a referee and cost Braun Strowman the Universal Championship at Crown Jewel. A TLC match between the two at the namesake pay-per-view was scheduled; if Corbin won, he would become a full-time General Manager of Raw; but if Corbin lost, he would be stripped of his authoritative powers. When Strowman suffered a legit elbow injury, Corbin stated he would accept the victory by forfeit. However, at the event, Strowman enlisted the help of Apollo Crews, Finn Bálor, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable along with a returning Kurt Angle and referee Heath Slater to defeat Corbin. The next night on Raw, The McMahons (Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H) took control of Raw and SmackDown without any general manangers.[citation needed] Corbin later started a feud with Elias.[citation needed]

At the Royal Rumble on January 27, 2019, he participated in the Royal Rumble match, but was eliminated by Braun Strowman. At Elimination Chamber, Corbin defeated Strowman with the help of Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre in a No Disqualification match. At the Fastlane, Corbin teamed with Lashley and McIntyre against the recently reunited The Shield in a losing effort.[94] Corbin defeated Angle at WrestleMania 35 in what was Angle's farewell match. Corbin failed to win the Universal title from Rollins twice at Super ShowDown and Stomping Grounds respectively despite having the advantage of biased guest referee Lacey Evans by his side which he himself chose at the latter event. Corbin teamed up with Evans in a losing effort against Rollins and Lynch at Extreme Rules in a Winner Takes All Mixed Tag Team match.

Personal life

Pestock's father died in 2008 due to complications from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.[95] Pestock wears his father's wedding ring on a necklace as a tribute, while he also has tattoos of his father and grandfather on his leg. He also has tattoos memorializing his friends, Jackass star Ryan Dunn and Jackass producer Zachary Hartwell, both of whom died in a car crash in June 2011.[96]

Pestock has credited Billy Gunn, Bill DeMott, Corey Graves, Kane and Dusty Rhodes with helping him develop his wrestling character and personality.[97]

Other media

Corbin made his video game debut in Madden NFL 12 under his real name of Thomas Pestock and later appeared in WWE 2K16, WWE 2K17, WWE 2K18 and WWE 2K19 as a playable character.[citation needed]

Championships and accomplishments

 
Corbin is a former United States Champion

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