It's a WWE Triple Threat!
INKED: You are one of the most tattooed personalities in WWE, when did you get your first tattoo?
COREY GRAVES: I was 15 years old and my parents used it as a bargaining tool to get my grades up. It worked I got straight A’s and a tattoo right on the outside of my calf. It’s a cross, and I have known at least 10 different people that have the exact same one.
How was your transition from Superstar to commentator? It was tough, but I had no choice. If I wanted to survive here I had to make my way and fully embrace it. It was a long and difficult transition, but now I love it, and I can’t think of doing anything else.
What is your favorite part about hosting WWE Superstar Ink? I love getting to hear the back stories about the tattoos from the guys and ladies on the show. I love the tattoo industry and I have spent a lot of my time in that world and it’s always interesting to find out the meaning behind why people get the tattoos they get.
You worked in a tattoo shop. Were you a wrestler during that time? Yes, I was a wrestler during that time. I worked in a tattoo shop as a piercer for about seven years to support my wrestling habit. It was a great job, and the people I met during that time are some of my best friends to this day.
Describe your personality in three words. Eclectic, sarcastic and nonsensical.
How do your fans motivate you? I try to never lose sight that I was once a fan. I followed this dream to be a superstar and that’s why I am still in this business— because I love it. I try to be respectful and to never forget what makes me a fan.
Do you feel like you’re living your dream? Yes, 100 percent. I am employed by WWE and I love WWE. Hopefully one day I will be the voice of WWE, and I feel like I am this generation’s voice of WWE.
How was the transition from commentator on NXT to being a commentator on Raw and SmackDown? NXT prepared me tremendously for Monday Night Raw, but the main difference is that you are live. The live element is really exciting to me because what people don’t realize is Raw and SmackDown change constantly during the day. We can have a meeting at the beginning of the day and by the time we go on the air the show can be completely different.
So, tell me what really motivates you professionally.
I’ve been in the sports entertainment industry for more than half of my life. Being in WWE is so great, and I love that I have finally settled into a role that I am good at. Now, I just want to go down in history as one of the greats: like Bobby Heenan, or Jessie “The Body” Ventura or Gorilla Monsoon.
How do you define success?
In my personal life, I have a beautiful wife and three amazing children, and we have a beautiful home and life together. As far as my career, I have succeeded because I never think of myself as successful. I keep grinding so I can keep getting better and keep evolving. I never want to settle.
What’s next for Corey Graves?
I would love to try something outside of WWE in the entertainment world. I’m not exactly sure what that entails but it could be hosting a show or doing stand-up comedy or being in a movie. I never got into this business to be famous, but I really enjoy entertaining and the entertainment business.
INKED: You were not the high school girl jock, correct?
RUBY RIOTT: I wasn’t very good at most sports growing up. I wasn’t into cheerleading or volleyball or track. I was mostly into theater. Although I am very athletic, I think the reason I didn’t play sports in high school was because there were so many rules.
Music played a big part in your life as an adolescent.
Can you tell us about that?
I struggled with a bit of an identity crisis when I was young. I came from a broken home because my parents divorced when I was young. So, music became my outlet and my escape.
How does music influence your life today?
It’s a huge part of my life, it’s part of my creative process on a daily basis. I am constantly listening to music and I have a few songs that I listen to before every match that really put me in the mind space that I need to be in.
You took your name in WWE from the band Rancid’s “Ruby Soho.” What other elements of punk rock do you bring in the ring with you? Pretty much everything. My entrance is very UK punk-based. Our Riott Squad T-shirts are influenced by a Sex Pistols album.
What do the fans mean to you?
They are the reason I strive to do my best each time I get in the ring. SO many amazing female Superstars have come before me blazing the trail, and I feel like it’s my responsibility to show girls who may not necessarily fit in or don’t feel like they belong that they don’t have to change.
Who are some of the female superstars you looked up to when you first got into the game? When I was younger I used to watch Lita and Molly Holly and Jazz. All three of them in their own way were my favorites. I was drawn to them because they were trailblazers. They looked different, they acted different, and I was hooked.
You worked so hard to get to this point. Are you living your dream right now? One hundred percent, every day! I never want to take this for granted. Being able to wake up every day and have a career that I don’t even consider to be work is such a blessing.
Where did you get your first tattoo?
I got my first tattoo at this small hole-in-the wall tattoo shop in Mishawaka, Indiana. It’s the music notes to “What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong. It’s not very well done, but it has so much meaning because my dad used to sing that song to me when I was very young.
When did your love for tattoos begin?
It was around the same time that I discovered punk rock and fell in love with music. Tattoos were another way for me to express myself. I remember the first time I saw Kat Von D; I saw how much amazing artwork she had all over her body, and I knew it was something that I could relate to and wanted to get into.
How many tattoos do you have?
I believe I have about 26. I think! A lot of them are blended together so it may be more than that. Probably over 40 hours of work due to some of the detail.
What’s next for Ruby Riott?
One day I will become SmackDown Women’s Champion, and one day I will be in the grandest stage of all: WrestleMania.
INKED: When did your love for wrestling begin?
BARON CORBIN: Believe it or not, tattoos kind of drew me in to wrestling because as a kid in Kansas City where I’m from, wrestling has such a rich history. Me and my dad would go to shows at Memorial Hall, and we would watch wrestling on TV. I was exposed to guys that were big and athletic like Bam Bam Bigelow. He had flames tattooed on his head and I thought he was just awesome and the definition of a tough guy.
You mentioned your father as a big influencer. Tell me about that. He definitely was. My dad was an iron worker, he was tough as nails. He pushed me to be the best. I always tell the story about when I was in a karate tournament and I took 4th place. They gave me a trophy and he told me people in 4th place didn’t get a trophy and he tossed it out the car window [laughing]. He helped me become very mentally tough and he pushed me to be the best person and athlete I can be.
When did know you wanted to be a professional wrestler?
Definitely as a kid. At my dad’s funeral, we told the story about my mom coming home and my dad and I were having a wrestling match and the house was shaking. She said she could see it from outside. We had these big living room brawls with my brother and my dad and it was the best time ever.
Who were some of your heros in the ring when you were growing up?
It goes back to Bam Bam Bigelow and Big Boss Man, and just these big guys who could really move.
When did you start getting tattoos?
When I was 18 I got my very first tattoo. It’s a horrible tattoo, it’s a Japanese or Chinese symbol for strength with two weird Celtic knots. I keep thinking I’m going to get it covered up with a big back piece or something but in that moment, it stirred the pot and I just kept getting covered. Then I got a giant dragon on my thigh, and a giant tree on the back of my leg, then I started getting my chest done and then I got portraits of my grandfather and my dad. My mom hates every single one of them.
Are there any tattoos inspired by your wrestling career?
Yes. The one I just got, actually. I got lobo on the back of my head/ear area and it means “wolf” in Spanish. My wife is Spanish, and I want my children to speak Spanish, and I am the Lone Wolf in WWE. Corey Graves actually gave me that name. My character rides the line of that darker world and I have a bunch of horror movie tattoos, as well as Jack the Ripper.
Tell us about Liars Club.
Liars Club is my clothing line. And I have a couple of tattoo artists that help me with designs. It’s about that vibe of even though our appearance may not be acceptable we can still take over the world.
What’s next for Baron Corbin?
WWE Championship all the way. That’s why I came to WWE, I want to be the WWE Champion, and I feel like everybody should want that, and if they don’t they don’t belong here.
Corey Graves Advertisement Photo by Jeff Forney INKED: You are one of the most tattooed personalities in WWE, when did you get your first tattoo? COREY GRAVES: I was 15 years old and my parents […]