Baron Corbin has already been crowned the King of the Ring and has won the Money in the Bank Ladder match. On Saturday, he’ll be looking to add another prize to his impressive resume — Royal Rumble champion.
Corbin will be one of the 30 wrestlers looking to earn a shot at Roman Reigns’ championships. To do that, he must be the last man standing in the ring in the famed Royal Rumble match. Twenty-nine other opponents will have to be thrown over the top rope for him to win.
For a former United States Champion like Corbin, it might seem like an easy feat. First, he has experience in battle royals, winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32.
Plus, he’s 6-foot-8 and 285 pounds and a former NFL offensive lineman. He’s not the easiest person to throw out of the ring.
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Corbin told Fox News Digital in an interview ahead of the pay-per-view event the toughest part is not knowing who is going to come out next. Two men start out in the ring and then the rest come down the aisle in intervals of 90 seconds or two minutes. Even the wrestlers don’t know who’s coming next.
“There’s no way to really train for it because you don’t know who’s coming out next,” Corbin said. “You don’t know what opponent you’re going to see next. Let’s say you’re fourth and you have Ricochet come out. You better have your speed shoes on because you’re gonna have to go. Ricochet is gonna move. You’re gonna have to duck, duck, dip, dive — all that. Then, all of a sudden, you see giant Omos is coming out, and then you got to adjust your game plan. And then Brock Lesnar could come out. You just don’t know who’s coming down the aisle.
“I like the philosophy of you have to have your head on a swivel and be prepared for anything. I’m in the Rumble on Saturday, and I have no clue what number I come out. I could be one, I could be 29. I have no idea. It’s just be in peak physical condition, have your mental game ready, get a good night’s sleep and be ready to have a fistfight in the phone booth.”
Edge, whose real name is Adam Copeland, recalled to Fox News Digital last year how incredible it was for him to hear fans roar when he made his surprise appearance at last year’s Rumble.
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Corbin can attest, though, the reaction he gets is much different.
“Mine’s usually a lot of booing,” Corbin explained. “It’s pretty awesome though, because I think a lot of people have to work hard to get booed, or they have to do something. And the second my music hits, the people are booing. And I think that’s a pretty special thing. I can walk out to that, and it’s awesome. It just gets my blood going and my blood pumping, and it makes me ready for battle.”
Corbin has appeared in a handful of Royal Rumble matches since he was elevated to the main roster in 2016. He said his favorite moment came in 2017 when he squared off with the legendary Undertaker.
“For me, here in San Antonio, we had the Rumble, and I came to blows with The Undertaker. And I thought that was my first encounter with him. I think I was in the Rumble for like 25 minutes, but Taker’s the one that eliminated me,” Corbin said. “So, if you’re going to get eliminated, I think doing it by one of the most iconic superstars of all time is pretty awesome.
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“You know, I don’t want to have someone like Johnny Gargano throw me out because I like to punch him in his little head. But getting eliminated by Take, I think, is pretty cool and just throwing punches with him. Because I think he’s one of he best punchers in the game. It was a cool experience.”
Corbin will enter the match with the experience and some veteran leadership behind him. He’s been working with WWE Hall of Famer John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) in recent weeks. He said the former Acolyte has been a tremendous help.
“Every day he gives me advice, it’s amazing,” Corbin told Fox News Digital. “He’s such a good person to be around because we have very similar personalities. We’re both sometimes intolerable to most people, and we irritate people. And we don’t really care about people’s feelings, so it’s good to have that.
“But he’s also just helping me evolve my game, how I am in the ring, how I’m carrying myself outside of the ring. How to inflict punishment on my opponents. When to just gas it and go. And he’s just the best at that, in my opinion. He’s one of the best bad guys of all time, and he’s going to help give me some advice for the Rumble. How to raise my stock and how to give myself the best chance to go out and win. And — who knows? — he may help me.”
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The winner of the Royal Rumble will get to headline one night of WrestleMania in Los Angeles in April. Last year, Brock Lesnar won the event after he lost the WWE championship to Bobby Lashley earlier in the night. Lesnar, however, lost to Reigns in his WrestleMania match.
Corbin said headlining WrestleMania is the reason “why I’m here.”
“That’s why I’m here in WWE. I want to main event a WrestleMania,” Corbin said. “I want to be a world champion. There’s no ifs, ands or buts to that. I’ve spent a lot of time in the main event. I spent a lot of time with world champions in matches, and I’ve never accomplished and overcome to become world champion. And this guarantees me a spot like that. Winning the Rumble would be amazing.
“I couldn’t think of a better story for me to win this and go on to face Roman Reigns, if he gets past Kevin Owens this weekend at WrestleMania in the main event. And, to me, being who I am in the ring, a lot of people hate me, hate what I do.
“And going on and winning the Rumble and accomplishing that and then becoming world champion, to me, is me giving the middle finger to all those people that say I’m not good or they don’t like what I do or they can’t get into it or that I’m just whatever. To me, that’s the best possible way to go, ‘Suck on that, buddy!’”
The 2023 Royal Rumble will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. It’s the fourth Royal Rumble in San Antonio.
The event can be seen Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on Peacock.