Corey Graves latest "After The Bell" podcast is up and he doesn't pull any punches with his thoughts on the travel issues in Saudi Arabia.
Graves specifically called out WWE stars for "crying" on Twitter and fueling "conspiracy theories" about what went down in Saudi Arabia. Graves noted that Randy Orton did not complain on social media.
Graves contradicted WWE's statement about the second charter that included the wrestlers who were scheduled for SmackDown. Graves said that it was the company or maybe the network who arranged a second charter to try to get 20 Superstars to SmackDown.
In WWE's statement that was sent out last Friday, they claimed that "several Superstars felt so strongly that they arranged for their own separate charter in order to make it back to the U.S. for the show."
Graves did not say anything about the money issues between Vince McMahon and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salmon or the live broadcast being delayed by 40 minutes in Saudi Arabia. The story that was making the rounds among the wrestlers was that McMahon cut off the feed but something was apparently worked out because the show eventually went on the air in Saudi Arabia on delay. Many of the wrestlers believed that the issues between McMahon and the Crown Prince may have led to the Crown Prince causing the travel issues.
You can hear a clip of what he said about the situation by clicking below:
h/t to dogryan100 on reddit for these notes from the podcast:
- Guests are Tyson Fury, Cesaro, and Adam Cole.
- Corey starts straight into the Saudi plane controversy. He says that some rumors are true and some rumors are false. Says this isn't him towing the company line, this is him speaking as a human being who lived through it first hand as he was there.
- Says that when he first visited Saudi (GRR) he had his reservations about the country the same as many others have, but the people there have been nothing but gracious, the food, the hotels etc.
- Immediately after the end of Crown Jewel, everybody went straight to the airport. From the moment they got to the airport there were delays, but it was very hard for anybody to get concrete reasons as to why.
- They heard everything from the fuel truck was parked on the runway and the guy who drove it wasn't there, there were literally 10-15 different reasons why they couldn't get on the plane.
- Corey reiterates that this was his personal experience and what he heard, but they got on the plane. In their seats, ready to take off, the flight crew (gives a shoutout to them saying they were awesome people) came around and took their food orders for the flight, the pilots had been going back on forth (Corey was seated right outside the cockpit), they were speaking about some sort of mechanical issue. They sat for a while, pilots shut the plane down, then did a "restart" to see if that fixed the issue, it didn't. In the time it took to do these tests the flight crew had timed out of their shifts and everybody was informed that they would not be taking off.
- They deplaned, at some point people from Management came and said hey, if we could get a group of you to SmackDown, would you be willing to do it.
- Corey talks about the so-called "Top 20" and how there are people that seem to think that they were the "Top 20 in the company", but the people on that plane were the people advertised for SmackDown. Corbin, Roman Reigns, Revival, New Day, guys that had advertised matches on SmackDown who did not want to let anybody down. It had nothing to do with "Who was more important"
- Corey talks about the "Vince McMahon left everybody behind" rumor. That's not true. If you work here, you know that every single week, as soon as the final bell rings and everybody is all good, Vince goes on his jet and goes home or to the next city because the guy is busy running WWE. Vince did exactly what he has done every single week without fail, this was no special night in terms of what Vince did.
- Corey is annoyed that half of the rumors came from "The boys" on the plane. Says if you feel so insecure and you feel so strongly that you're gonna get on Twitter and complain because our flight got screwed, what's Twitter going to do? All it does is give fuel to these journalists so to speak, and then everybody puts their 2 cents in and starts coming up with their conspiracies. Says that sh*t happens.
- Explicitly says that one of the people NOT annoyed was Randy Orton. If anybody has the right to speak his mind it would be Randy, but Randy understood that sh*t happens and Randy knew from his huge amount of experience that there was no point complaining.
- It might be fun to speculate, but speculation isn't the truth.
- Speaks Natalya vs Lacey Evans, says that as a father of 2 girls this was a huge moment for him and feels positive about the long-term change this could make.
- Felt that Brock vs Cain was a little bit of fun and in a way resembled an MMA fight more than a wrestling match.
- First guest Tyson Fury.
- Tyson Fury says he enjoyed every minute, was a life dream.
- Says that the entrance was his own idea.
- He didn't realize the amount of commitment you had to put in to be a WWE Superstar, the amount of work ethic. Makes him appreciate it even more.
- The hardest part was the amount of traveling.
- Says he wants to fight Brock Lesnar in Tokyo (probably a joke).
- Second guest, Cesaro.
- Cesaro opens with saying that any male out there suffering from hair loss to just shave it off, it looks better.
- His goal going into his match with Mansoor was to put on a good show and to help get more eyes on Mansoor.
- Talking Finn Balor's NXT return, Cesaro says that he wants to succeed on Raw and SmackDown. He knows he could excel on NXT but would rather Raw/SmackDown.
- Cesaro says he just isn't a fan of long promos, rather does his talking in the ring.
- Asked if there is something about him that nobody knows, he used to make his own ring gear, including when he first started in WWE. Also says he is incredibly humble and hates calling into podcasts.
- Sheamus made a bet with himself that at WrestleMania 35 he wanted to be lighter that Cesaro. In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, he kept on asking Cesaro how much he weighs, and said "Idk 225-230" and he was grinning ear to ear every single time. Finally, by WrestleMania, he goes "I almost caught you!" and Cesaro said that if he knew about the game he would have dieted as well, they both found it hilarious.
- Cesaro says that he loves to make people laugh, a good way to bring people up.
- "We travel around the world fake fighting people in our underwear." Cesaro, 2019.
- Speaking The Fiend winning the Universal Title. He is now curious to see what happens now with him as the Champion, wonders if this means we have a part-time Champion because The Fiend doesn't show up every week. He says he doesn't want to see The Fiend every week because he needs to stay special.
- Corey hates the red light during The Fiend matches.
- Onto Raw, Corey is disappointed that Brock is now on Raw because he loves calling Brock matches.
- As a wrestling fan, Corey is stoked about Brock vs Rey, and says that Brock vs smaller opponents almost always leads to magic.
- Corey isn't a big fan of the Rusev/Lana/Lashley storyline. He doesn't feel bad for Rusev, he thinks Rusev looks ridiculous. Has a smokeshow of a wife, bailed on him for, uh, reasons, but good on Bobby Lashley for putting in that work to the point where he "Injured" himself which is an accomplishment.
- Says that this storyline is like it's written from the perspective of somebody who has never been in a relationship thinking about what a romance scandal might be. Very hard for him to get into.
- On NXT's invasion on SmackDown/Raw, says it provided some good excitement.
- Final guest, Adam Cole.
- The time that he found out he was main-eventing SmackDown and Raw were both very last minute.
- Corey's response: "Welcome to WWE"
- Adam was super excited about the change from pre-taped to live TV as this puts more eyes on the product and more people to fall in love with wrestling. There is a certain kind of excitement when it comes to NXT.
- Cole said that one of the big changes that took him getting used to was trying to work into a specific time-slot, pre-tape you have much more leeway. There have been a few times where he has had to rush things because he isn't used to running out of time.
- Says it's really cool that Finn Balor is in NXT. Says it's good for NXT and good for Finn Balor.
- Adam Cole says that at NXT Takeovers the entire roster sits and watches the entire show. When somebody has a good match, everybody is thrilled and everybody is like "Oh my god you did great".
- Onto the SmackDown appearance, he got a text message at about 2:15PM saying there's a chance he might be needed for SD and 2 minutes later he got another text saying he is needed for SD and a plane leaves in an hour and a half.
- The plane from Orlando was late.
- Says they landed in Buffalo at 7:30PM, because there is a decent trip from the airport they walked into the arena at about 8:15-8:20PM. The craziest day of his career.
- It all happened so fast it didn't feel real.
- Corey says the "Top 20" plane landed in at the same time that Adam Cole vs Daniel Bryan was starting.
- Found it crazy that he had never wrestled Bryan before and the very first time was a last minute main event of SmackDown.
- The Raw main event vs Seth was only decided 24 hours before.
- The same day that Adam Cole signed his first ever wrestling contract was the same day that Seth Rollins/Tyler Black had his farewell match with ROH.
- Seth Rollins was very high on the list of people that Adam Cole wanted to wrestle but never had.
- If it was up to him, alongside the Women's match he wants the Undisputed Era to have a War Games match.
- Having Shawn Michaels as a mentor is priceless. Shawn puts just as much effort into being a coach as he did as a performer, seeing Shawn get all "giddy" when someone has a good show is cool.
- The night before Raw, Shawn gave Adam a pep talk for the match against Seth.