Corey Graves revealed that Triple H tipped him off that Graves would not be cleared to wrestle again, before the officially scheduled meeting where WWE management would tell him the news.
Graves, who retired from in-ring action in 2014 due to concussions and then made a successful transition to commentary for WWE, discussed the circumstances surrounding the end of his wrestling career during an appearance on a recent episode of E&C's Podcast of Awesomeness with Edge and Christian.
"Hunter, to his credit—at the time I hated him for it—a few days earlier kind of gave me a head up in the nicest way he possibly could. I got the initial heartbreak out of the way that day," Graves recalled.
The official meeting happened prior to an NXT taping at Full Sail University, at which Graves was told WWE doctors would not clear him to return to the ring after multiple concussions, he quickly shifted gears determined to find a new role with the company, saying:
"I imagine it must be what people feel like at any job that they put their time into and have a happiness in their life. Even being hurt and banged up and frustrated in NXT … I was still getting paid by WWE to wrestle. It was literally a dream job. So to have that dashed in such a quick period of time, it was hard to deal with but I also looked at it as, I've got a family to take care of. I'm still here. I don't think they're mad at me, I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't screw up. This is a really unfortunate thing. I just started doing anything and everything I could. ... The Monday following, I started working with the guys on production and learning how to play music at live events. I started paying my dues all over again from the ground up. Before the shows, I was running the cables under the ring for the speakers at the NXT live events. ... It was desperation, it was fear but at least if I'm doing nothing but production here [at NXT], I'm still with WWE."
Graves then found his niche on commentary and now finds himself commentating both Raw and Smackdown every week -- the only WWE broadcaster currently pulling that double duty.
Another WWE competitor who worked with Graves during his time in NXT, Paige, got similar news recently when she was told last month that WWE doctors would not be clearing her to return to the ring.