Corey Graves recently spoke with Justin LaBar for TRIBLive. The interview heard from Graves on how difficult commentating is and how long it took WWE officials to trust him at the booth. He also discussed Daniel Bryan’s in-ring return and if he’d ever leave the booth to wrestle if he got medically cleared again.
On what he’s learned since becoming a commentator for WWE:
How difficult commentating is. The speed everything happens. Part of me always wants to look at things like a wrestling fan, I want to do right by the fans, but at same point there is so much being fed to us, happening and you don’t even realize what you’re saying half the time. There is so much business to do. People are like, “this guys sucks.” Michael Cole takes an inordinate amount of crap and is incredible. The amount of information he can process. Monday Night Raw is changing as it’s on the air. It’s crazy. Not all the time. But we don’t have show sheets. We call them bar napkin shows where you write your notes down and try to get through the segment. It’s nuts. The best, it’s fun, because you have no idea what’s next and just rolling with it. I love that. Whole new appreciation for it and anyone who has been on that side just realizes how amazing our production team is.
On how long it took for WWE officials to trust him as a commentator:
It took a few weeks. Depends on the mood of everybody that day. A lot of times I’ll go 3 hours and not hear anyone except the producer counting me in. There are others where I can’t go 35 seconds without hearing every phrase. It depends on mood, story we are trying to convey. Maybe I don’t see something the same way. I usually have a leeway where I can be funny or give my point of view. Once in a while I will see something obvious to me but it’s not the goal and I’ll get the, “hey, why did you say this” or “you left this out.” It’s a never-ending evolution. Took a few weeks but they gave me enough trust.
On Daniel Bryan being cleared to wrestle again:
That day was tough for me. I didn’t know about it. Nobody gave me a heads up. For Bryan, I was stoked. He’s a friend. He’s incredible in the ring. That’s where he belongs. It caught me off guard. I started asking questions to myself, Should I? What if? I had a few conversations with few people [in WWE] who put it out there. If you want to pursue this maybe we can look into it. So I spent about a week and a half weighing the options. It was, do I become a wrestler again and what happens?
On if he’d want to leave his current position to try wrestling again:
Again, this is all potential of would this work out, do I end up on the sidelines. I talked to my wife, talked to some friends. I think as much as I don’t believe in fate, this all kind of worked itself out so I think this is where I belong so why step out of it?
Graves became arguably to most popular commentator for WWE in relatively short order. He can be argumentative, crass, funny and also insightful; everything a WWE commentator should be. His style hearkens the commentators of old who, rather than acting like legitimate sports broadcasters, were committed to the entertainment side of things as well. It is a distinct possibility that Graves will have far more success at the booth than he would have in the ring. He can either be the best at one thing, or mid-range (at best) at the other.