WWE color commentator Corey Graves caught up with Edge and Christian on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness last week before Jonathan Coachman replaced Booker T on commentary on WWE Monday Night RAW. Among many other things, Graves discussed his transition from NXT commentary to WWE main roster programming, the infamous list of banned words in WWE, the differences in calling RAW and SmackDown Live, and whether RAW is too long with its three-hour runtime per episode.
According to Graves the most difficult adjustment in going from the black and yellow brand to the main roster was getting accustomed to all of the voices in his headset now, including one unnamed "wacky 71 year old billionaire".
"Oh, that's a whole different ballgame!" Graves exclaimed. "It was a bit of an adjustment because I went from NXT where it was obviously a taped show, so I had my producer in my ear and I heard my partner. That was basically the only two voices I had to worry about. Every once in a while, [Michael] Cole would jump in and say something, but generally it was very easy. You didn't have to worry about live counts to commercial breaks or anything like that, so fast forward to RAW, now I've got Booker, I've got Cole, I've got Kevin Dunn, I've got any number of people sitting in gorilla who have information that they want to pass on to me, and then, we've got the wacky 71 year old billionaire who decides to spew things out when he feels like it, and when he says it, you'd better say it! Yeah, and so, it's weird. That was the hardest thing because I think on a human level, when you have someone talking in your ear, you stop, you stop talking, and that's your instinct."
'Gravy' joked that while this is a list of prohibited terms for WWE commentators, this list is constantly changing.
"Even though there's a list of things you're not supposed to say or you're not supposed to do," Graves explained, "that changes on an hourly basis. Yeah, it happened on back-to-back weeks! We had this edict in a production meeting a couple of weeks ago where, after a backstage pretape, there's a wide shot of the crowd, and just let everything breathe. Don't talk over it. Don't react to it. Just kind of let everyone digest what they just saw. Makes sense. That's perfectly logical. Last night, something happens, there's a live shot [of the audience]. The three of us [on commentary] shut up. 'Why didn't anyone say anything?' 'I don't know. I don't know. I'm sorry. Clearly, I made up this idea in my head that we weren't supposed to say anything. I don't know.'"
With respect to the differences between calling RAW and SmackDown, Graves likened the latter to an infomercial. At its worst, the blue brand is splashy, superficial, and fast.
"SmackDown, to me, is incredibly fast-paced, which sometimes is fun and other times can be kind of difficult," Graves admitted. "Three hours versus to two doesn't seem like it would be that huge of a world of difference, but I mean it absolutely is. Monday, we never struggle for time to tell the stories and you get a lot more two [segment] matches or just plenty of time to do whatever business you need to do. SmackDown, to me, feels more like an informercial where it's bam, bam, bam. Here's this. Here's that. Plug this. Let's throw to break. Let's throw to this package. And you've got to two rosters that are roughly the same size, so, obviously, everyone needs their airtime to have their stories told. I just feel like SmackDown is so… I don't want to say 'rushed' because it's just fast."
Graves indicated that he prefers working RAW to SmackDown.
"I have more fun on Mondays because I can really help delve into a story or a character with some layers, some depth, because that's what's fun to me." Graves added, "I make most of this stuff up. Some guys will come up to me and give me little tidbits here and there, but usually I'll just go into business for myself and try to make myself laugh."
As a commentator, Graves prefers having more time to tell the stories; however, 'The Savior Of Misbehavior' claimed he could understand how some fans prefer SmackDown's two-hour format.
"I completely understand and I look at it this way. And I actually agree with you. Three hours is a really long time. From a personal perspective, I enjoy getting to do what I do longer. I don't feel rushed." Graves continued, "it's a lot of an investment to ask for anybody's time for anything! Three hours is a long, long time, so I get that. I think the pacing of SmackDown, from a fan's perspective, I could see that actually being a little more enjoyable and from the best of my recollection, RAW used to be like that. When it was two hours, it was a lot more, bang, bang, bang, here's this match, here's that match, boom, boom, boom, constantly moving."
Here we go! If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness