WWE's Corey Graves Opens Up On Transitioning From Color Commentary To Play By Play

"WWE SmackDown" commentator Corey Graves has discussed his transition from being a color commentator to a play-by-play announcer in WWE and the difficulties he's faced in his new role.

Graves was a recent guest on Awful Announcing's "Short and to the Point" podcast, where he was asked about his new role in WWE.


"I think overall the most exciting aspect is it's something new. I'm comfortable with it to an extent, having worked alongside Michael Cole for all these years. Cole really had me from day one as far as what he would like me to become as a broadcaster. Even back as an analyst I learned everything sort of the Michael Cole style — the outlines, the X's and O's," said Graves.

The "SmackDown" announcer said that he never envisioned being a commentator when he started his WWE career over a decade ago, but is excited about his new role. He added that he has to do a lot more preparation than before to add some backstory to WWE storylines.

"I got so comfortable as an analyst that I did very little to zero prep before the shows. Every once in a while, if it was a big premium live event or for the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, etc., I would do a little homework, maybe drum up some backstories that people hadn't been so familiar with. But now I actually have a lot of work to do. My workday begins when I get to the building on Fridays and that's weirdly enough exciting for me," revealed the former "WWE NXT" star.


Graves on the hardest part of his new role

Later in the podcast, Corey Graves discussed the toughest aspect of his new role on "WWE SmackDown" and how he has adapted to it.

"The hardest thing about making this transition so far is keeping my wit in check because as a human being, if there's a joke to be made, I'm there. It's just kind of ... it's a curse and a blessing," stated Graves. "But I've been able to still maintain a little bit of that flavor."


Graves also revealed that he was told by WWE management to be himself and find his voice, rather than be another Michael Cole. He believes that his chemistry with fellow commentator Wade Barrett is growing constantly, and feels that they have evolved together. 

"I was told right up front when I was offered this opportunity, 'We don't want you to be Michael Cole 2.0. We already have Michael Cole,'" recalled Graves. "I'm still finding my voice and Wade Barrett is a new partner for me. He's a guy I've developed chemistry with and been friendly with over the years, but as far as from a broadcast perspective, it's all brand new. So I'm learning on the job, on the fly, as he is. But I think the beautiful part is we can sort of gel and tweak one another together and evolve as a team and sort of be a little bit more complete while also being something fresh, something new that's never really been done before."


Barrett and Graves were paired together following the return of Pat McAfee to WWE, who is now alongside Cole on "WWE Raw."