WWE commentator Corey Graves drew a lot of criticism due to the comments he made about Dana Brooke on the October 4 episode of WWE RAW. He bluntly stated that Brook “has not accomplished much of anything” and questioned whether she’d ever realize her potential.
During a recent appearance on Out of Character with Ryan Satin, Graves discussed the comments he made about Brooke; he stated that, as a commentator, he likes to stir the pot and provoke people, but his goal is to help the talent however he can. He noted that he personally reached out to Brooke after this incident to let her know that his comments weren’t personal; instead, he was just playing his role as the heelish commentator on the broadcast team.
“99.9% of the time, everybody realizes that it’s just me doing what I do,” said Graves. “And I try to, 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. For the instance of the Dana Brooke issue, I actually sent her a text message the next morning, just saying, ‘Hey, just so you know, no hard feelings, that was not personal.’”
Graves went on to recall the way William Regal taught him that commentators can help wrestlers tell their stories, but it’s important for the two sides to communicate; otherwise, the broadcasters are just flying blind and trying to make the most of it.
“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, or oftentimes, if something goes wrong, I’m almost the last line of defense, where I can kind of clean things up sometimes or explain why something didn’t go so perfectly,” said Graves. “But 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.
“Because Regal used to tell the story about how 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, to add color as a color commentator. Same goal that I have. But Regal would also be very open that if you don’t utilize us and you don’t talk to us or tell us what your character is attempting to accomplish in this instance, a lot of times we’re just kind of flying blind, so to speak, and we’re gonna try to what we want to do with it or sometimes you just try to entertain yourself.”
Even as a heel commentator, Graves emphasized that it’s his job to make the product better by adding color to story. He then described how, with his own character, he tries to tip his cap to the heel broadcasters he grew up watching, though he knows the days of Bobby Heenan’s style of villainous broadcasting are in the past.
“There’s never any sort of malice or anything because I would be doing myself a disservice, because my job ultimately is to enhance everything,” said Graves. “I do it in a very unique way that is unique to my perspective as the quote-on-quote bad guy on the show, but I’m basically trying to achieve sympathy from a viewer’s perspective, where here’s maybe why this person did this underhanded thing
“I try to be a little more villainous leaning than full-blown bad guy, justify, always rooting for the bad guys, only the bad guys, good guys are [in] the wrong. I try to adapt, but again I grew up on Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura, on some of the greatest of all time, the greatest of all time, so 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 just kind of fall back on what I was a fan of, and maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.”