Corey Graves recently had his engagement to fellow WWE superstar Carmella announced on social media. Since hanging up his wrestling boots and joining the WWE commentary team, he’s also been extremely opinionated.
During a recent episode of Raw, Graves threw some serious shade at WWE wrestler Dana Brooke. He delivered a harsh criticism that caused Brooke to respond. Graves fired back with even more heat. Corey talked about the incident in a recent appearance on Out of Character with Ryan Satin.
“99.9% of the time, everybody realizes that it’s just me doing what I do. I love walking the line and being provocative. I also make sure, and I try to take great care, that I don’t ever harm anybody from a character perspective. I always want to make people better. For instance, the Dana Brooke issue, I actually sent her a text message the next morning saying, ‘Hey, no hard feelings, it wasn’t personal.’ Full disclosure, I don’t know what’s going to happen on these shows. I am reacting. That’s my choice. There have been times where I sat in production meetings and I have ideas, but I prefer to not know what’s happening because I like to think my reactions are more genuine, I get to use my wit a little bit better.”
Throughout his life as a commentator, Graves has played a Bobby Heenan-like heel. He’s tried to adapt the old-school work he admires to fit a modern-day audience. Sometimes, he misses the mark.
Graves also talked about the importance of commentators as a tool for the wrestlers. He says some advice from William Regal during Graves’ time on the NXT brand really stuck with him.
“William Regal actually used to instill in us, back in the NXT day, that commentators are a great tool for a superstar. We can tell your story better than you can. Oftentimes, if something goes wrong, I’m the last line of defense and can clean things up sometimes or explain why something didn’t go so perfectly.”
“Regal used to tell us all the time, ‘if you don’t utilize the commentators, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.’ He would tell the story, ‘Hey, I want to convey this emotion, this storyline we’re trying to get across or this is what we’re trying to tell in the ring,’ he would go out of his way to enhance that as a commentator, which is the same goal I have. He would also be very open that if you don’t utilize us and you don’t talk to us or tell us what your character is attempting to accomplish, a lot of times, we’re just flying blind and we’re going to do what we want with it or just entertain yourself. If you don’t tell me anything and something goes wrong, maybe I’m having a bad day or I just flew halfway across the earth and my brain is not as sharp or I’m in a bad mood, you never actually know what you’re going to get. There’s never any actual malice because I would be doing myself a disservice because my job, ultimately, is to enhance everything.”
“I do it in a very unique way because it’s unique to my perspective as a ‘bad guy,’ but I’m trying to achieve sympathy for the devil from a viewer’s perspective like, ‘here’s why this person did this underhand thing.’ It’s no unique because a lot of people think in 2021 that the full-blown heel commentator are passe. I think, to an extent, it is. Could you imagine Bobby Heenan? He wouldn’t exist in 2021. He would be fired, canceled, tarred and feather publicly because that’s the way the world has changed. I try to be a little more villainous mean than full-blown bad guy, justifying and only rooting for the bad guys and the good guys are wrong. I try to adapt, but I grew up on Bobby Heenan and Jesse Venture. Deep inside me, that’s who I’m a fan of, so when it comes time to do what I’m doing, I just fall back on what I was a fan of. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.”
Corey Graves joined the main roster commentary team in 2016 after a series of injuries ended his in-ring career. The transition from in-ring performer to television announcer was covered by ESPN for an E:60 documentary.
Thanks to Fightful for the quotes!
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