Corey Graves was joined by his WWE broadcasting friend and colleague Vic Joseph on WWE After The Bell where the two talked about Joseph’s WWE journey. Joseph recalled contacting Michael Cole multiple times for a WWE job, and he recalled the circumstances around his WWE tryout.
“So I actually had been emailing Michael Cole probably every three months for two years,” Joseph revealed. “I don’t even think he probably has told anybody that, and it was trying to stay fresh in your mind if something opens up because that’s another thing that I was taught, if you don’t keep reaching out, you’re going to be forgotten about. It’s not that they don’t want to reach back out to. It’s just, dude, there’s so many things going on every given day in this company that they just forget. They lose track.
“So in between doing NBA and radio shows and the NFL and college football and bowl games, when the seasons change, an email got sent out, and I was in Chicago, July 2016, at Guns N’ Roses at Soldier Field when I got a message from Tom Phillips. And he said, ‘call me Monday,’ and Tom worked on July 4. Credit to Tom because he’s always in the office. He’s always working at emails and texts, and he calls me and we have a conversation and he goes ‘well, we want to bring you in for a tryout.’ Awesome. So I fly to Orlando. It was the Cruiserweight Classic weekend, and ironically, it was also Johnny Gargano’s wedding weekend. So Johnny was there working having to fly out to Los Angeles.
“I had to do the tryout, fly to Los Angeles for the wedding and then I had to fly to Philly for an indie date and then jump in a car after the Philly indie date drive to Cleveland to do a Browns game on that Sunday. It was a big weekend for me, and I remember the tryout. It was cool. I walked in the Performance Center, was just absolutely blown away by it, and Tom was great. Greg Hamilton was there, actually was the color person I’ve ever worked with, me as the lead him and him as the analyst.”
Joseph said his tryout went well, and he revealed that he generally does not like to answer phone calls right away. However, he talked about how that did not make Cole too happy, but he got the job, and he talked about getting hired at the same time as current RAW Superstar Ruby Riott who have known each other for long time on the indies.
“Greg was there as the color analyst and got through it. Did the ring announcing, went to the show [and] got back in the car,” Joseph recalled. “I think I talked to Cole and heard, ‘yeah, we’ll call you,’ and I went, ‘aw, alright.’ I think Kayla [Braxton] got signed in October and then October turned into November, and December rolls around and my phone rings and if anyone knows me well enough, I don’t answer the phone. I just set a precedent that I’m never going to answer on the first ring because then you are going to get used to me answering on the first ring.
“So I’m always going to call you back, and I look down on my phone and I go, ‘Michael Cole called me three times.’ And I checked it. ‘Call me back!’ And I’m like, ‘oh my God. Oh no,’ so I call him, he’s on the treadmill and he’s running, and he goes, I can’t actually say what he said to me, he goes ‘why didn’t you pick up the phone!’ And I said, ‘I’m so sorry Mr. Cole. I’m so sorry.’ He goes, ‘well, this isn’t going to be romantic. Do you want to come here and work?’ I said, ‘yep.’ He goes, ‘great, your information is in the mail.’ Hung up the phone and so I just waited for this paperwork to come in which took two weeks.
“They came. I read it. I signed it. I said I couldn’t start till after the Browns season, and the final Browns game was against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They lost. They were 0-16. I took my headset off and said, ‘guys, it was great working with you. I’m never coming back to the Cleveland Browns,’ and I walked out the door and said goodbye to Ken Carmen and all those guys. Started January 9 and I walked in the door, and back to your question about friends, I started on the same day Ruby Riott started. We were from AIW in Turner’s Hall in Cleveland, OH, and there we are starting together. So that was cool for us.”
In September of 2019, Joseph was named on the RAW announce team along with Dio Madden and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Joseph said that while his time was short, he called it the pinnacle of his career along with calling WrestleMania.
“It was an experience I’ll never forget,” Joseph admitted. “To be able to put myself in a small group of Cole and the others that have called that show officially and to be sitting next to Jerry Lawler, who I guess you could say was the voice of my childhood because I always watched wrestling, and to be able to pick his brain and get to know him and jump in a car with him for a few loops, it to me looking back, it was short, but it’s something that I’ll never speak ill on because not many people can say that they got to do Monday Night RAW.
“And the first RAW I did was with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, calling them to the ring, and I’m sitting there going, ‘what is this? This is unbelievable,’ and then Rey Mysterio is in WWE Championship stories, and I’m calling a main event at Hell in a Cell and now I’m doing Survivor series and I’m sitting next to you actually for Survivor Series and Nigel [McGuinness]. All these superstars of this generation like Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins and it was so cool to look back on [it], and I still have the photo [of] the first night. I’m looking up at the stage. Like wow, this is the show I grew up watching.
“This is the pinnacle for me, and anything we ran through earlier, World Series and NBA Finals and the Olympics, none of that compares to doing Monday Night RAW and none of that compares to calling a match at WrestleMania. Those two overtake everything I’ve ever done in my career, and the time was short, but looking back at it, it got me to learn more while I was gone. It got me to respect what I had more while I was gone and has led me to NXT on Wednesdays on the USA Network.”
Joseph is now the play-by-play commentator on NXT, and Joseph said he has learned a lot from his RAW experience. He said is now taking each segment moment by moment to take in everything going on in the show without having to worry about what’s coming up next.
“My time on Monday Night RAW was really a learning experience of what to do, what not to do, and for me when it came to Monday Night RAW, I almost feel sometimes that I was moving too fast,” Joseph said. “My brain was just going and going and going. I wasn’t taking the moments as they came because the moments in the ring really are what separate the cool moments from the great moments, and it’s how we word them and how we bring them to life.
“And that’s something I really learned over the last four or five months was we don’t need to talk right there because let that moment speak for itself. I didn’t have that feeling. As much as as much as guys were like, ‘feel it, feel it.’ I just wasn’t because I was just thinking so much about what’s coming up in segment 16. Oh, we’re only in segment 1. In my own mind, like it’s three hours from now Vic.
“So when it comes to NXT now, I take it segment by segment. And to work with Wade Barrett now and because of the pandemic that we’re, to have to work with somebody who’s not there physically in Beth Phoenix who is physically in another state. She’s not even in the building. It’s definitely a learning curve, but it’s also don’t get frustrated. Understand it’s gonna get done segment by segment and enjoy it.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.