WWE’s Corey Graves feels that he and the rest of the RAW commentary team are rounding into form as WrestleMania draws near. But he says it hasn’t been an easy process.

Jimmy Smith joined the RAW commentary team last May. He replaced Adnan Virk, who parted ways with WWE after less than two months on the job.

Corey Graves admits both Smith and Virk were put in tough spots, being brought into WWE as relative outsiders but said Smith has exceeded the expectations of some fans. Graves talked about what he’s done to try to improve his on-air chemistry with Smith.

“I’ve been riding in cars from town to town, when available, with Jimmy just to chat, just to kind of get to know each other and it takes time to develop chemistry,” Graves told the Dallas Morning News. “Especially with our job, and Michael Cole and I have worked together so long and so many times that we can finish each other’s sentences effortlessly. We don’t even have to think, or, I know exactly where he’s going, or if I stumble over my words, he knows where I wanted to go and that takes time, sometimes years to develop. And it’s still a work in progress with Jimmy.”

Corey Graves pointed to Byron Saxton as a key member of the RAW commentary team. Graves says both of them have had to do a little extra to help Jimmy Smith grow into his role.

“Byron is always just reliable,” Graves said. “Byron is always there if you needed something, he’s a failsafe and I mean that in the best possible way. Byron is just kind of, you can count on him to be where he needs to be, to say what he needs to say what needs to be said and it’s all a work in progress, man. And Jimmy’s still learning. I’m learning.

“I’ve had to carry more weight than I used to. I’m ordinarily a color guy. I make jokes and tell stories and I find myself doing more of the traffic and throwing to packagers and a lot of things to sort of help Jimmy sort of ease into this, this new role. So I think it’s really forced all of us to step our game up.”

Outsiders may view WrestleMania as the ultimate challenge for a WWE commentator but Corey Graves says, in some ways, it’s actually easier than the typical weekly broadcast.

RAW is hectic,” Graves explained. “There is a lot of traffic going on. There are ads, there are packages you have to throw to. WrestleMania in particular is, I don’t want to say easy to call, but it’s fun because you just get lost in it. I get to sit down and despite me being Corey Graves, color commentator, 15-year-old me gets to come out and, you know, lend that fandom to where I’m at in life.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Dallas Morning News with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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