Corey Graves was interviewed on "Out of Character with Ryan Satin." Here are some highlights from the interview.
Corey Graves was asked if any of the wrestlers are ever offended by his commentary:
“99.9% of the time, everybody realizes that it’s just me doing what I do and I love walking the line. I love being provocative, but I also make sure, and I try to take great care that I don’t ever harm anybody as far as from a character perspective. I always want to make people better. As far as the instance with the Dana Brooke issue, I actually sent her a text message the next morning saying, ‘Hey, just so you know, no hard feelings. That was not personal.’
Full disclosure, I don’t know what’s going to happen in these shows. I am reacting. That’s by choice. There’s been times I sat in the production meetings and I have an idea what's what. I prefer to not know what’s happening because I like to think my reactions are a little more genuine. I get to use my wit a little bit better than saying, ‘Hey, I got this great line for so and so.’ William Regal actually used to instill in us back in the NXT days that commentators are a great tool for a superstar in that we can tell your story sometimes better than you can. Oftentimes if something goes wrong, I’m almost the last line of defense where I can clean things up sometimes or explain why something didn’t go so perfectly. Regal used to tell us all the time that if you as a talent don’t utilize the commentators, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Regal used to tell the story that if you tell me, ‘Hey, I want to convey this emotion, this is the storyline that I want to get across, or this is the story we’re trying to tell in the ring’, he would go out of his way to enhance that on color as a color commentator which is the same goal that I have.
Regal would also be very open that if you don’t utilize us, you don’t talk to us, or tell us what your character is attempting to accomplish in this instance, a lot of time we’re just flying blind, so to speak, and we’re going to try to do what we want to do with it or sometimes you’re just trying to entertain yourself. If you go out there, you don’t tell me anything, and something goes wrong, and maybe I’m just having a bad day, maybe I just flew halfway across the earth and my brain isn’t as sharp as yours, or I’m in a bad mood, you never actually know what you’re going to get. But no, there is never any sort of 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 that is unique to my perspective as the ‘bad guy’ on the show, but I’m basically trying to achieve sympathy for the devil from a viewer’s perspective where maybe here is why this person did this underhanded thing. It’s so unique. A lot of people think that in 2021, the days of the full blown heel commentator are passe, and I definitely think to an extent it is. Can you imagine Bobby Heenan? He wouldn’t exist in 2021. He would be fired, canceled, tarred and feathered publicly just because that’s just the way the world has changed. I try to be a little more villainous leaning than a full-blown bad guy, justify always rooting for the bad guys, always root for the bad guys, good guys are wrong. I try to adapt, but then again, I grew up on Bobby Heenan and Jesse Ventura, some of the greatest of all time, the greatest of all times. Deep inside me, that’s still what I’m a fan of, so when it comes time to do what I’m doing now and find myself in this role, I kind of fall back on what I was a fan of. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.”
Graves was asked what his most memorable moment was on commentary:
“My first WrestleMania just because I think that was when it first became real to me. When I was doing commentary, I was sitting at ringside. It was when the jets flew over the stadium. I had watched every WrestleMania my entire life. I had been the kid watching, saying, ‘Man, someday I’m going to be there.’ I remember going as a fan thinking, ‘Oh my God. I’m at least in the building. I need to be in the ring. It needs to be about me.’
Finally, when I stood there, I think we already called the kickoff match. Tom Phillips and I had called the opening matchup that night, and then the actual official broadcast for WrestleMania began. The stadium started shaking. The Air Force jets flew over. That moment was when I went, ‘Oh my God. I’m about to call WrestleMania.’ I got a lump in my throat. I got a little emotional for about 10 seconds until the countdown in my headset hit 1, and then I’m like, ‘Ok, time to go. We’re calling WrestleMania.’ There wasn’t a whole lot of time to enjoy it, but that site I will never forget. That moment, that feeling of all of these thousands of people, and the Air Force jets flying over was just like, ‘Wow, I’m here.’ I hope I never lose that feeling. I’m always trying to replicate that one.”