Thomas Pestock (September 13, 1984) is an American professional wrestler, retired boxer and American football player currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Baron Corbin. He is a one-time WWE United States Champion.
He is a former offensive lineman for the National Football League's (NFL) Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals, as well as a three-time Golden Gloves champion and former grappling champion. Corbin is also the winner of the third annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, winning it at WrestleMania 32.
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. Pestock was named honorable mention all MIAA in 2007 and first team all-MIAA in 2008. Pestock was part of teams that went to four consecutive Division II National Championships.
Pestock signed with the Indianapolis Colts on April 27, 2009 after going undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was released by the Colts on August 13 and re-signed by the team on August 19. He was again released by the Colts on September 5.
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.
He was released by the Cardinals on September 3 and signed to the team's practice squad on September 6. He was again released by the Cardinals on September 2, 2011.
By 2007, Pestock was a two-time Amateur Kansas-Missouri Golden Gloves regional champion. Pestock participated at the 2008 Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions, defeating Chaen Chess and losing to Andrae Cathron.
Professional wrestling career
Pestock signed with WWE's developmental system NXT in August 2012. Using the ring name Baron Corbin, he made his in-ring debut on October 18 at a live event, losing to Dante Dash. Corbin made his televised debut on the May 8, 2013 episode of NXT in a losing effort against Damien Sandow. On the May 29 episode of NXT, Corbin unsuccessfully participated in a number one contendership battle royal for the NXT Championship, being eliminated early in the match by Mason Ryan. 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 re-debut.
After a long absence, a repackaged Corbin returned at NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way on September 11, where he defeated CJ Parker. Corbin defeated Parker in a rematch on the September 18 episode of NXT. Corbin would then win numerous singles matches against enhancement talents, each in a short amount of time, until crossing paths with Bull Dempsey, who was also winning his matches quickly, beginning a rivalry between the two to see who could one-up the other in having the least amount of time to win their matches. At NXT TakeOver: R Evolution on December 11, Corbin had a staredown with Dempsey after winning his match against Tye Dillinger. Their highly anticipated one-on-one match finally took place on the January 14, 2015 episode of NXT which Corbin won, breaking Dempsey's undefeated streak in the process. Corbin participated in a number one contender's tournament for the NXT Championship, defeating Bull Dempsey in the first round, but then being eliminated by Adrian Neville in the semi-final, ending Corbin's undefeated streak. At NXT TakeOver: Rival on February 11, Corbin defeated Dempsey in a no disqualification match to end their feud. He later competed in an André the Giant Memorial battle royal qualification tournament at WrestleMania 31 Axxess, but lost in the first round to Finn Bálor.
On the May 6 episode of NXT, Rhyno defeated Dempsey and then called out Corbin for a match at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable. The following week on NXT, Corbin defeated Solomon Crowe and turned into a villain character when showing a more cocky persona after the crowd turned on him and his short matches, which culminated in Corbin facing off with Rhyno and brawled with him. At Unstoppable on May 20, Corbin defeated Rhyno via pinfall to end the feud. 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. 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. At the event on August 22, Joe won after Corbin passed out to the Coquina Clutch.
Corbin then teamed up with his former rival Rhyno as a tag team to take place in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament. On the September 2 episode of NXT, they defeated The Ascension in the first round. They then defeated the team of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in the second round. 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. 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.
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. 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. On the April 13 episode of NXT, Corbin defeated Tucker Knight in his final NXT appearance.
Main roster (2016–present)
Corbin made his main roster debut at WrestleMania 32 on April 3, winning the André the Giant Memorial battle royal and by last eliminating Kane. Corbin then debuted on Raw the following night, battling to a double countout against Dolph Ziggler, but he continued his assault after the match, executing an End of Days on the arena floor on Ziggler. Corbin faced Ziggler at the Payback pre-show on May 1 in a losing effort after a roll-up, marking his first main roster loss. The next night on Raw, Ziggler eliminated Corbin from a battle royal to determine the number one contender to the United States Championship, immediately after which Corbin proceeded to viciously attack Ziggler, causing his elimination by Rusev. Corbin defeated Ziggler decisively on the May 9 episode of Raw, which evened the score between the two at 1-1. At the Extreme Rules pre-show on May 22, Corbin defeated Ziggler in a no disqualification match. The next night on Raw, Ziggler would confront Corbin and challenge him to a technical wrestling match on the May 30 episode of Raw which Corbin accepted. The match occurred the following week on Raw, with Corbin winning by disqualification after Ziggler hit him with a low blow at the start of the match. Corbin and Ziggler faced off at Money in the Bank on June 19, in which Corbin defeated Ziggler to end their feud.
On July 19 at the 2016 WWE draft, Corbin was drafted to the SmackDown brand. On the August 2 episode of SmackDown, Corbin lost to Apollo Crews in a triple threat match also featuring Kalisto with the winner receiving an Intercontinental Championship match against The Miz at SummerSlam on August 21. Corbin would then go on to assault Kalisto backstage in the proceeding weeks after blaming him for his loss as he was pinned, Kalisto was eventually injured at the hands of Corbin and was out of action for several months. At Backlash on September 11, Corbin defeated Apollo Crews on the pre-show. Corbin then started a feud with Jack Swagger, who defeated Corbin when the referee believed Corbin to tap out when he was reaching for the rope while in the Patriot Lock. Corbin would defeat Swagger at No Mercy on October 9 and on the October 18 episode of SmackDown to end their feud. On the November 1 episode of SmackDown, Corbin joined Team SmackDown for Survivor Series. However, the following week he was (kayfabe) injured by the returning Kalisto and was removed from Team SmackDown. Corbin retaliated by costing Kalisto the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at Survivor Series when he attacked both Brian Kendrick and Kalisto, resulting in a disqualification victory for Kendrick. On the November 22 episode of SmackDown, Corbin defeated Kane via disqualification when Kalisto interfered and attacked Corbin with a chair. This led to a chairs match between the two at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 4, which Corbin won. Corbin again defeated Kalisto in a rematch on the following episode of SmackDown to end their feud.
On the December 20 episode of SmackDown, Corbin confronted Dolph Ziggler, who had just become the number one contender for AJ Styles' WWE Championship, and the two had a match with Ziggler's number one contender's spot on the line, but the match ended in a double countout and SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan made the December 27 episode's WWE Championship match a triple threat between Styles, Ziggler and Corbin. The match, Corbin's first world title opportunity in WWE, was won by Styles who pinned Ziggler. On the January 10 episode of SmackDown, Corbin suffered his first pinfall loss in the roster against John Cena since July 2016. At the Royal Rumble event on January 29, Corbin entered the Royal Rumble match at number 13, notably eliminated Raw's Braun Strowman and lasted over 32 minutes before being eliminated by The Undertaker. On the February 7 episode of SmackDown, Corbin defeated AJ Styles, Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose and The Miz in a fatal four-way match, but at Elimination Chamber on February 12 he was the first man eliminated in the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match by Ambrose using a roll-up pin, whom he attacked immediately afterwards, which also resulted in Ambrose's elimination. On the March 7 episode of SmackDown, Corbin attacked Dean Ambrose from behind with metal pipe and tried to crush him under the work truck. On the March 21 episode of SmackDown, Corbin was defeated by Randy Orton after Dean Ambrose distracted him in the match, setting up a match at WrestleMania 33 for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The match was later moved to the Kickoff Show where Corbin was unsuccessful in winning the Championship. On the April 4 episode of Smackdown, Corbin defeated the Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose in a Street Fight possibly earning a title shot in the future. Next week, Corbin failed to become the #1 contender for the US title after he was unable to win a triple threat match involving AJ Styles and Sami Zayn.
On October 8, 2017 at Hell In A Cell Corbin defeated AJ Styles and Tye Dillinger in a Triple Threat match to win the United States Championship. On the October 10th episode of SmackDown Live, Corbin successfully defended the title in a rematch against the former champion Styles. On the November 14th episode of Smackdown Live, Corbin won his second title match defense against Sin Cara. At Clash Of Champions, Corbin lost the US title to Dolph Ziggler in a triple threat match involving Bobby Roode. During the December 19th episode of Smackdown Live, Ziggler vacated the title. On the following week, on December 26, Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan announced a Championship Tournament to be held as a result of Ziggler's departure and relinquishment of the title. Corbin faced Bobby Roode in the first round and was eliminated from the tournament. Afterwards, Corbin turned his sights towards the 2018 Royal Rumble, cutting segments declaring his bid to win the rumble match and headline WrestleMania. He picked a fight with Shinsuke Nakamura during a backstage interview on the January 23rd episode of Smackdown Live. Their match ended with both men receiving a surprise RKO from Randy Orton, a fan favorite to win Royal Rumble. On January 28 at the Royal Rumble, Corbin entered the match at Number Four and was eliminated in under a minute of the match by the Number Two entrant Finn Balor.
Pestock's father died in 2008 due to complications from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. 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, as well as tattoos memorializing his friends, Jackass star Ryan Dunn and Jackass producer Zachary Hartwell, both of whom died in a car crash in June 2011.
- Finishing move
- End of Days (Modified lifting reverse STO)
- Signature moves
- "The Lone Wolf"
- "The Big Breakfast"
- "Mr. Money In The Bank"
- "The Shortcut King"
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Most Metal Athlete (2016)