Corey Graves On Learning He Couldn’t Wrestle Anymore, Finding A Balance In Being Famous

Corey Graves was this week’s guest on the Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia podcast. Graves opened up about being famous, and finding balance in being an on-air talent.

“I never consider myself a celebrity. I see The Rock or other Hollywood types, and I say “they make so much money, they must have the best life.” But The Rock can’t go to the supermarket. The Rock can’t go to McDonald’s with his kids and have a meal. It’s all balance.

Being in the commentary role is the perfect blend for me. I’m only famous to WWE fans, and that’s cool. I can still go to places and be relatively normal while taking my kids out. I wouldn’t want more visibility than I already have.”

Graves also talked about his emotional state after learning he could no longer wrestle in NXT. Graves said the situation was mostly frustrating, but he ended up turning it into a positive by trying anything to improve his situation. He went on to explain that it was a lot to handle at the time, but he ended up learning more that year from Dusty Rhodes outside of the ring than he ever did inside of the squared circle.

“It was mostly just frustrating. I had gotten to the point where I was pretty successful in NXT winning the tag championships. I came up at the same time as The Shield and Bray Wyatt, a who’s who of people in WWE now. It was frustrating that these injuries were taking me out. But I also didn’t know how serious concussions were. I had four diagnosed in WWE in a year, and I have no idea how many I had before then in Japan and other places.

It was annoying because I was right on the cusp. I was doing live tours with the main roster, I had conversations about entrance music being written up, I was right there, at least to my knowledge. I was shocked the day they told me I couldn’t wrestle again. It blew my mind and broke my heart all at once.

I would argue that it was the worst moment of my life. I was at the Performance Center, Triple H was there, I was talking to the doctors and couldn’t get a straight answer. I walked up to Triple H and asked for an update. I don’t think he was prepared to tell me at that moment, but he also didn’t want to sugarcoat anything. He just kind of blurted it out in a way, I caught him off guard. It was like the whole world came crashing down on me. I made a beeline to the locker room and broke down. William Regal was there and I told him and he just hugged me. By that point, I was panicked, I had worked my whole life to get to this point. What was I going to do? I had a family to support, I was right on the cusp and then it’s gone. That’s a lot to fathom in one moment.

After a few weeks, they basically gave me the keys to the kingdom. They told me to figure something out. They weren’t going to release me, I didn’t do anything wrong, it was just a crappy situation. So I went and tried any and everything. I ran the music at NXT Live events, I ran promo classes alongside Dusty Rhodes. That proved to be the best part of it all because for a year straight, I got to be side by side with Dusty. I got to know him as a person and I learned more in that year than I did inside the ring for sure.”

Related: Dean Ambrose Says He’s ‘Cashing Out’ Of WWE, Corey Graves On His Denim Jacket During Shield Final Chapter

Listen to “Corey Graves – Turning Shattered Dreams Into Opportunity” on Spreaker.