Corey Graves Talks About The Commentary Process With Vince McMahon

During an appearance on Lilian Garcia’s podcast, Corey Graves talked about working with Vince McMahon through the commentary process. Here are the highlights:

On doing commentary with Vince McMahon listening in: “A lot of people think, ‘Oh, you’re a talking head. It’s the same no matter what you do. Commentary vs. hosting vs. ring announcing vs. live event hosting. I mean, there’s so many different aspects of the business, where people are just ‘Oh, you talk about wrestling.’ I talk about wrestling under the very watchful eye of a seventy-three year-old billionaire who has a very particular set of rules and ways he likes things done. And I have to try and keep all of that intact while also being entertaining. Or at least, try to be entertaining. [laughs] It’s a tough spot.”

On Vince McMahon speaking to the commentating team over the headsets: “My favorite is when Vince decides to do it when you’re on camera. I think sometimes — I know he does it to Cole to mess with him, but I remember the first time it happened to me. We were on camera and I can’t remember what the actual information was, but I was speaking. I’m on camera, I knew very particularly what I was supposed to say or where I was going. He doesn’t speak to you a lot but it’s like the voice of God coming in your head, and I swear you could probably see the panic in my eyes, on camera. I think I just stopped in the middle of my sentence and was like, ‘Uhh’, and then I just parroted whatever he said and I don’t think it made any sense. But it was absolutely terrifying … It’s one thing when you’re not on camera, you can write a note down to yourself or something. But when you’re standing there and everything is on you and then [you] go, ‘Oh God. What’s happening right now?’ That’s a real interesting time.”

On being able to be himself on commentary: “I feel like I get to be more Matt [himself] as an announcer than as Corey Graves the wrestler, because you’re kind of put in a finite mold where it’s like, ‘Okay, this is who Corey Graves the wrestler is.’ A lot of guys go, ‘My character would never do that,’ which is fine, and a lot of times that’s why some people become greats, because they know that character inside and out. But they’re kind of put in that box. I’m Matt. It’s cliche, but I get to be me with the volume cranked to eleven. I’m sarcastic, I like to make fun of things. I want to make people laugh, like that’s what really makes me happy. I get enjoyment out of being able to crack [Michael] Cole on the air. If I can make Michael Cole laugh on the air, I feel like it’s definitely a successful joke. [Because] he’s such a pro … so for me to just say something ridiculous, half the time the point is just to make him or Renee [Young] laugh.”