Corey Graves can thank his Raw broadcast partner Michael Cole for inspiring Graves to become a commentator for WWE.
Graves recalled the discussion, and how he worked at commentary, during an appearance on a recent episode of Edge and Christian's podcast, E&C's Podcast of Awesomeness.
Graves said it all started at a bar during WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans. Graves had been injured during that weekend working a match at an Axxess event and mentioned to Cole that Graves had a brief radio career back in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
"Apparently that was enough to him, enough broadcast experience," Graves recalled with a chuckle. "I've learned now that commentators are hard to come by. Anybody can talk about wrestling but to actually do what we do, even I didn't realize it's as hard as it is. Cole, it didn't happen immediately but a few weeks down the road he's like, hey, listen why don't you give commentary a shot? And there's a room in the Performance Center that's set up for that."
After subsequently learning he would not be cleared by WWE to return to the ring after multiple concussions, Graves started working on honing his commentary sklils for five days a week at the Performance Center while also helping out however he could around the PC. Graves noted that Rich Brennan and Byron Saxton would sit in and join him from time to time.
"Much like everybody that does it for the first time, it was hard and I was not good. But to Cole's credit he believed in me and fought for me. Hunter [Triple H] and everybody gave me the opportunity. There was no rush on it, know what I mean?"
Graves, who helped out on various aspects of production at NXT after being told his in-ring career was through, said the most satisfying aspect of that duty was getting to help out Dusty Rhodes.
"When I wasn't sitting in the commentary booth I would literally sit in Dusty's office and he would go 'what do you think about this kid? Let's give him a character' and I would help teach promo classes," Graves recalled. "That to this day is one of the proudest things that I have ever experienced in this business. Dusty trusted me enough to sometimes run his promo classes or gave me responsibilities on his behalf."