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 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.