Edge & Christian’s Pod of Awesomeness Recap
with Guest, Corey Graves
Release Date: January 26, 2018
Recap By: Jeff Indelicato
“For The Benefit of Those with No Time” (Top Stories)
- Christian had a good time at Raw 25, and played a little game with Stone Cold Steve Austin backstage.
- Michael Cole was originally responsible for suggesting Graves trying commentary.
- Commentary can be very difficult in trying to tell a story, as you also have several folks backstage in your headset while you’re live.
- Graves prefers commentating on Raw over Smackdown, as the additional hour gives him and the commentators more time to tell a story.
“5 Second Pose of Timestamps”
0:00: Show Introduction/Raw 25
25:00: Sponsored Ad
26:00: Beginning of Corey Graves Interview
36:00: Being at Raw 25
42:00: End of his wrestling career/moving to commentary
59:00: Differences between Raw & Smackdown
1:26:30: Thanks and Close
“You Think You Know Them” (Recap)
Show Introduction/Raw 25 0:00-25:00
The show opens with the boys talking about Raw 25, and Christian’s experience at the event. He talks about how it had been at least a year and a half since he was backstage at a show, but it immediately felt like no time had passed. It was cool to catch up with the wrestlers, and everyone seemed happy. He then talks about how this event gave him some closure, as the Barclays Center was the same place that he had his last match. He enjoyed being out there, and was happy with his segment.
He then tells a quick story about running into his buddy Stone Cold Steve Austin at the show, and them playing an old favorite: “Don’t Look at Me.” For those unaware, this is a game they used to play where one would tell the other to not look at him for a certain amount of time, and if he did, he lost. It turns out that Christian pulled this one out during the infamous Undertaker/Cross Angle back in the Attitude Era, and good ol’ Steve couldn’t look at Christian as he was hanging above the Titan Tron.
Moving on, Edge is back in Ireland filming his show, which is the reason that he was unable to appear at Raw 25. He loves being there, but the one thing missing is his family. He mentions how friendly the people are, and how popular WWE is over there.
Sponsored Ad 25:00-26:00
Interview with Corey Graves 26:00-1:26:00
We jump into our chat with Corey Graves, and they discuss his frantic life, which includes a family that includes three kids, traveling, and being on two shows (Raw & Smackdown) along with providing additional work in the WWE studios. While the schedule is busy, his kids were born after he was already a wrestler, so they are used to him not being around. In addition, if home for too long, he tends to get a bit stir crazy, so the work helps provide a delicate balance. With that said, he misses his family when he’s gone, and can’t believe that generations before us didn’t have FaceTime.
The boys want to get his thoughts on being at Raw 25. Growing up as a fan, he immediately felt like a kid again. It was weird being at ringside, since they have become used to having the commentators desk up on the stage, but it was fun. Austin’s appearance in the opening segment may have been the loudest he’d ever heard the fans get, which then made him question “Where do we go from here?”
Edge talks about how Corey is slowly becoming the Jesse Ventura/Bobby Heenan type commentator for this generation. It gives Graves goosebumps just hearing it, and while he tries to live it, he doesn’t look at himself in that regard, because he’s still new to the game. He remains focused, and never wants to get comfortable or complacent; however, to even be included in that type of comparison is an honor.
We then move on to the concussion history that forced him to end his wrestling career. It was similar to Christian, who also retired due to concussions, but the difference was that he was just getting started. He remembers having to process the news and was given a heads up about the issue prior to receiving the final word, which helped. He remembers Bill DeMott coming up to him afterward, and letting him know that it was okay if he needed to go home for a while, but for Corey, that was not an option. So he stayed, and began paying his dues all over again by doing things like setting up the stage for the shows and advising others.
The night after WrestleMania 30, he was out with Michael Cole and happened to mention that he had done radio in the past. A few weeks later, Cole presented Corey with the thought of giving commentary a try. It was intriguing, so he began using the commentary room at the Performance Center, and would practice five days a week for several hours a day in an effort to build up his experience. It was difficult, but Cole believed in him. While doing that, he’d also teach promo classes to the other performers. Edge talks how that’s a testament to Corey’s hard work, and that it got him noticed. He adds that commentary is very difficult, and when people like Graves make it seem easy it shows how truly good they are.
With regards to his commentating approach, he uses his wrestling background and experience. To elaborate, when he wrestled, he thought like a heel who just had a twisted logic. So when he came over to the booth, he used that type of theory to get into the mindset of the wrestlers and explain their actions. Christian remembers doing guest commentary back in the day and thinking he could probably be good at it until actually trying after he retired. This leads into a discussion about the differences between wrestlers doing guest commentary and full time commentating. With guest commentating, you’re trying to just get yourself and the feud over. When doing it full time, your job is to put the focus on everything else, and not to make it about you.
We dive further into the difficulties of commentary with Graves talking about the multiple people that can be talking to him at once, including: his broadcast partners, the producers, anyone that could be sitting in the Gorilla position, and the boss. And when the boss tells you to say something, you’d better say it. Edge puts over how seamless Corey makes it because in normal life, when you have someone talking in your ear, you have a tendency to stop talking, which the commentary team cannot obviously do. He explains that it took time to get used to, but equates it to having an audio teleprompter.
What happens when the live audience reacts to something unexpected? It depends on the situation, as the headsets are well insulated with the volume turned up, and in reality, his job is to play to the viewers watching at home. If it’s good though, the boss wants to put it over, and will tell the team to acknowledge it. He mentions that there are general rules about what they can and can’t acknowledge, which can change from week to week, using an example of when they were told to not speak for a few beats after a backstage segment. After such an instance, the team let the segment “breathe”, and Vince asked them “Why isn’t anyone saying anything?” Back to the original question, he lives by the rule that if it shows up on his monitor, then it’s fair game.
Due to the fact that he’s a commentator on both Raw & Smackdown, how different do the shows feel? At only two hours, Smackdown is incredibly fast paced and fun, but also difficult. He discusses how a three hour show and a two hour show are completely different in that with Raw, they never struggle for time to tell the story. Smackdown can almost feel like an infomercial, due to the fast paced nature. In his opinion, it’s more fun on Raw because he is allowed the time to delve into the story and the characters.
Edge understands his reasoning, but questions the thoughts of the audience, because three hours is a long time to sit and watch a show. Graves completely understands, and agrees with that thought. He mentions how from a personal perspective, a friend may tell him that a three hour movie is great, but it’s going to be difficult for him to sit that long and watch it all the way through.
We then get to the hardest hitting question of the show. When does Corey find the time to use the restroom? It’s actually not something he thinks about, and since his diet is incredibly poor, it’s not too much trouble. Other guys like Booker T, have a hard cutoff, and won’t drink anything after 3:00.
Going back to his past, while he didn’t wrestle too long for the WWE, he did have several years of previous independent experience. Was there ever a time that he didn’t think that he’d get to the big leagues? After wrestling for so long, and having a wife that was pregnant with their second child, Corey definitely started to have his doubts. He got a job as a dispatcher, and would wrestle on the side. It really got crazy when his younger brother, also an independent wrestler, got signed by the WWE after a tryout. He finally gave it one final shot when he was hired as an extra for an episode of Raw and was offered a job with the company a week later. In an interesting story, his brother was then released right after Graves was hired, leading some to speculate that the company may have hired the wrong Graves in the first place…..With that said, the younger Graves is still doing his thing, and has a successful wrestling career in Mexico.
Wrapping up the chat, Corey finishes up by stating that his goal is to be the voice of a generation, and hopefully have his voice played along some legendary moments in the future. E & C compliment him on his work thus far, and have no doubt that this goal will be accomplished.
The boys talk about what a good dude Corey is, and put over his work again on commentary.
Christian then closes out the show by talking about his encounter with the great Michael Hayes backstage at Raw 25. As listeners and readers of this recap know, the boys like to say, “Heeeere we go” as it was a frequent quote by the Fabulous Freebird. Mr. Hayes confronted the Jay Bird and wanted to know why he has become such a fixture on the show, leading to Christian telling him that they were just trying to get him over, and inviting him on the pod. Hayes originally refused, until Christian told him to do it for Edge, which prompted a “Maybe” response……
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Jeff’s Take: 8 Kazoos out of 10
Great episode this week. I am a fan of Corey Graves in general, and after learning about his dedication and hard work, I’m even more of a fan. It’s good to get his perspective on commentary, and how difficult it can be. We’ve all heard backstage stories about what it’s like, so I found it very interesting. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @the_Indel or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next week!
About the Author
Jeff has been a fan of professional wrestling since he was knee high to a grasshopper (little kid), after coming across the Wrestling Challenge episode after WrestleMania 7, and has not looked back. His passion has led him to winning wrestling trivia contests in his city, and even won him his Senior Talent Show by dancing to Shawn Michaels theme song. When not annoying others with wrestling talk, he loves spending time with his family and friends, and focuses on his other passion: movies.