Rawley added: “It’s been a pretty unreal experience to go from buddies in the NFL to buddies here.”
Corbin continued: “It has been something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a little kid [like Rawley]. My path in life took me to college. I played football in college. That was what I did, but I always wanted to be a professional wrestler. I didn’t know if I was going to go into it in high school or college or what. Then the opportunity arose where I got to come out for a tryout. I had a tryout and did really well and enjoyed it. They offered me a contract.”
The budding grappler believes training for football and pro wrestling is similar, which has helped the learning curve.
“There is a lot of repetition and conditioning,” Corbin said. “It’s about getting your body right, hitting the gym and staying strong. It was a little bit of a transition for me was I was an offensive lineman. I was 323 pounds. It was a business where it didn’t matter what you looked like. If you had a gut hanging out, as you long as you did your job you were fine. Now you have to be aesthetically pleasing.”
Corbin’s challenged himself to get his body in shape for action. He changed the way he ate and the way he trained.
“I would eat, but now I diet,” Corbin said. “There are things I can and can’t eat. It’s difficult at times because when I was playing football if I wanted to eat a large pizza for dinner and again the next day for breakfast I could. Now I can’t do that. As far as the physicality and emotion and all that, it’s about the same.
“When you are in there, you want to win. It’s a fight to win. You’re going to be sore afterwards with all the impact. It’s a good feeling. To me, that is why I played football. I loved the physicality of it, and now with this, it’s the same type of thing. I train during the day, and I’m excited to go to practice.”
The driven performer likes how every week is a different adventure. He learns something new with every experience.
“It doesn’t get boring,” Corbin said.
“Typically, we train Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, some Thursdays and some Fridays. It all depends when you have shows. Sometimes we have four shows, three shows, two shows in a week. We are traveling to different cities. I’m getting to experience everything.
“I’m getting to perform before people when I’m not protected by a helmet and a facemask. I’m out there in the open and have to connect with them. So that is a big difference. Here you are out there and vulnerable. You’re job is to make the people want to see you, and that is exciting.”
The NXT standout believes in keeping his persona true to who himself, but turned up. This mindset has worked for others in the past. For Corbin, it has been a work in progress.
“My goal is to be who I am, but conveying emotion for me can be an issue,” Corbin said. “When you hide behind a facemask, you want people to feel what you are talking about and the things that you doing. Sometimes you have to open yourself up to that. That has been a difficult thing for me is to have to allow people in and experience these emotions.
“I can tell you all day long that I love being physical and I love all of that stuff. I live by never giving up and pushing it to the edge. People have to believe that, and if you don’t show them through your emotions, you won’t.”