Exclusive: Colby Corino Reveals Why He Didn’t Sign With WWE, Talks About His Future, NWA, Dojo Rumors, More

Colby Corino exclusively spoke with PWMania.com‘s Scott Mitchell (@ScottsScoop44) about a wide range of topics, including almost signing with WWE, what he’s been up to recently, his future, drawing inspiration from his father Steve Corino, his time in NWA, working with Ring of Honor, and much more.

You can check out the complete interview below:

What have you been up to recently?

“I’ve been doing really well. I’ve been doing a lot of training at the CWA, Carolina Wrestling Academy. I run a few classes a week there. Some work behind the scenes as well at PWF. I’ve been staying busy, maybe not in the public eye, but I’m not just sitting around.”

When and why did you decide you wanted to become a professional wrestler?

“I’ve been around wrestling my whole life. At three weeks old I went to my first show, at ECW. It wasn’t until I was 10 years old that I went to a Ring of Honor show with my dad. I saw Eddie Edwards take on Davey Richards. It was the most incredible match I’ve ever seen. I saw that and I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted.”

Your Dad [Steve Corino] was definitely a legend in the business. How much of an inspiration was he to you in setting out to become a professional wrestler yourself?

“He was a great inspiration for me, especially because he made his own career around the indies and New Japan and stuff. It’s not like he got signed to WWE when he was 25 and stuff. He didn’t have the so-called “easy” career in wrestling, and he really had to grind, which is really inspiring to me.”

With all of his experience, how much of an asset has he been to you, not just personally but to your career as well?

“It was funny because at the start he didn’t help me out that much. He let me learn from other people first. Now as I get older and present to him like wrestling or scenarios now, I find myself getting a lot more help not only in the in-ring sense but also the background behind the scenes stuff.”

A few months ago, the news broke, and rumors were running rampant that you signed with WWE. Can you tell us what your initial thoughts were, and if there was any truth to it? 

“At the time, I thought there was a lot of truth behind it. I was offered a deal, and everything looked good, contingent on the background check. So, I signed all the paperwork, and I wasn’t too worried about it because they did a background check on me when I went for my first tryout about two years prior. If anyone’s known me for a while, I don’t have the cleanest of history. This was always taken into consideration by WWE, so I didn’t think I had anything to worry about there. But they ran it and found something from the first time I was arrested seven years ago. They asked me to go handle that and we’d be good to go. I went to go handle that, and things changed on their end a little bit.”

Do you have any hopes for the future with signing with WWE, or another company?

“Maybe. Right now, I have a very specific vision in my mind of what I want to do for the next year. Unless someone is coming to me with a boatload of money, I don’t think I want to derail that. I’m not closed off to working anywhere. I want to work, everywhere that I can. But I also don’t want to limit myself either, which is why I don’t really want to sign a contract right now. I just want to keep my options open. The door to WWE I know isn’t shut, but there’s a lot I still want to do on the indies first. The indies are in a great spot.”

Did you have anyone in mind that you really want to go up against?

“Now that he’s shown up in AEW, I think my dream match is possible. I want to face Roderick Strong. He’s probably the one wrestler I most model myself after. I’ve grown up around him. It’s the one match I’ve always wanted, so now I think it’s possible. I don’t think I’ll go anywhere until I get that match.”

Three years ago, you got to appear as in WWE twice, working with Erik and Mansoor. What was it like getting to appear on a national level like WWE?

“I’ve always had such great experiences when I did the extra work for WWE. They treat us so well and pay us very well. I had so much fun doing the Raw Underground. Then, the match with Mansoor. I was one of the few people who got the chance to wrestle in the Thunderdome. It was an empty basketball arena with computer screens, and that in itself was just such an experience. This huge arena was just silent as we were doing it. They’d pipe in the crowd noise, but it just wasn’t the same as having a crowd. That’s the one feather I’ll always keep in my hat. It was hard to adjust to fans not being around. I wrestled shows with not many fans, so I’m used to wrestling in silence. It’s a big adjustment though. Not having crowd noise is like when you’re speaking with someone and they’re not talking back to you, so you have to keep talking to fill it up.”

You were supposed to go over and train at the New Japan Dojo. What happened there?

“I actually never got over to the Dojo. I wanted to, but what happened was as soon as I was going to, I got in trouble the first time and was arrested so they revoked my deal. I would love to go over there. I feel like I’m a lot more experienced than going to the Dojo now. I think I’d be able to fit in any promotion over there.”

What was your favorite memory from your time in Ring of Honor?

“Probably the funniest one. The IWGP champion gave me a German suplex on the floor. Evil gave me a German suplex on the floor in Ring of Honor. May not be my favorite memory in Ring of Honor, but it’s definitely one of the funniest. Getting to work with so many talents at Ring of Honor, like before every show I’d get in the ring and whoever wanted to join me could. I got to learn from so many guys there. So many guys opened themselves up to me. Guys like Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Roderick Strong, and Cedric Alexander, I got to learn from so many great wrestlers. That’s probably my favorite memory.”

Have you been keeping up with the current Ring of Honor, or are you more of an old-school Ring of Honor fan?

“I’m a big Ring of Honor 2010 guy. That’s probably my favorite year of it. I try to keep up and read spoilers, but I haven’t actually watched an episode yet. There’s so much wrestling to digest, and you have to pick and choose what you have time for. I wish I could just sit around and watch wrestling, but obviously, I have other responsibilities as well.”

More recently, you got to work for the NWA. What was your time like there?

“I loved my time in the NWA. I got to work with some of my best friends there. The locker room was a great environment. It felt like everyone was on the same page, for the most part. Probably like 99% of the people there were on the same page. You always get a bad apple once in a while. Everyone there just wanted to focus on putting on a good wrestling product. It seems like there was a lot of ego that got removed in other places where it is there. It was such a great time for me. I learned so much there, and I got to teach a lot of people there too, so it was a great dynamic.”

Obviously, your time there has come to an end. Was there a specific reason as to why you didn’t want to re-sign, or was it more of a mutual doing?

“We had a great relationship. I didn’t re-sign because I was trying to go to WWE. I wanted to get the process started there. I was under contract, so legally I couldn’t do that while signed to NWA. Everything was all good though, no bridges were burned or anything on the way out. NWA is one of the few places building up people that weren’t established anywhere else. That’s something we need more.”

You also help run Premier Wrestling Federation and Carolina Wrestling Academy. Can you tell us about that and what your role is there?

“So, I’m a coach at CWA and run classes. We have a great school. We have 20-25 students, and we have some really great students. I see a lot of people with so much potential, passion, and drive. Just this year we had six people make their debut already, I don’t think we had six people debut in the whole year last year, and we’re at six already this year and only in May. PWF, I just help backstage. I do whatever needs to be done and help as much as possible. My dad started the PWF back in 2002 and sold it, and since then we’ve just been trying to do whatever, we can. We want to make a great environment for people to come and have a safe space who want to learn wrestling, and not have to have to worry about being in a bad environment and being trained by someone they don’t trust. We just want to build these kids up to success, and push them off into the world, not have a wrestling school to keep someone at forever. You can see all our shows on IWTV and YouTube.”

What are your hopes for the future?

“My goal has always been to just make enough money through wrestling. It’s what I love to do. It doesn’t matter where, as long as I can put food on the table, then I’m happy. I have a good thing going with CWA, I love coaching, and I just love the freedom of indie wrestling too. I have some really cool stuff that I can’t really share right now, but I’m going to have a very cool year.”

Is there any message that you want to send to your fans?

“If you have been invested in my journey up to this point, everything you see now is about to get turned up. We are going to go crazy from here on out. I’m on a whole other level, in the best shape of my life, and we’re going to have a really fun time soon.”