Corey Graves Takes Issue With WWE NXT 2.0's In-Ring Style

In 2021, "NXT" made a massive switch in its product, going from a show anchored by veteran independent wrestlers with a somewhat muted aesthetic, remembered today as "the Black and Gold brand," to a more colorful show featuring primarily developmental talent, the repackaged "NXT 2.0."

While on his podcast "After the Bell with Corey Graves," the "WWE Raw" commentator, who came up through "NXT" and is a former "NXT" Tag Team Champion, took issue with the wrestling style on the new version of the product.

"I've noticed this problem that once the bell rings, everybody wrestles the same way," Graves said. "I love the presentation of Giovanni Vinci. I think it's cool ... Ten seconds in, if I've never seen Giovanni Vinci before, I get it, I know who he is. But once the bell rings, Giovanni Vinci was no different to me than the guy in Imperium."

"Later on in the show you've got Roxanne Perez, who I think is going to be a big star," Graves continued. "She doesn't wrestle much different than a Jacy Jayne, or you an insert superstar here, and it's just a concern of mine that, to make a truly great WWE Superstar, character has to permeate every step of the match."

Perez and Jayne are two stars who have names for themselves during the brand changes, with both stars finding championship success in the tag team division. Perez, alongside partner Cora Jade — who turned on Perez this past Tuesday on "NXT" — defeated Jayne and Gigi Dolin of Toxic Attraction for the "NXT" Women's Tag Team Championships on last week's Great American Bash episode.

"Everybody in NXT, in my opinion, from my perspective, is a better wrestler than I ever was," Graves said. "They are better athletes than I am. They are better athletes than some of the guys and girls on the main roster ... Everybody's got it before the bell and after the bell ... I do not watch NXT 2.0 every week, I don't watch it religiously to where I'm up to date on all of the stories and all of the character developments. So, when I turn it on at 5:00 A.M. and I'm sipping on my coffee, you should be able to turn on a match mid-match and understand who is who, and what they're about, and what they bring to the table, and why they're different than their opponent."

Graves hasn't wrestled since April of 2014 at a WrestleMania 30 Axxess event against Troy McClain in a match that went to a contest. Graves has reportedly been cleared to compete in the ring recently, but hasn't stepped inside the squared circle since the news came out.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "After the Bell" with Corey Graves and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription