Corey Graves, who currently serves as a commentator on Monday Night Raw, has revealed how he feels legendary commentator Bobby “The Brain” Heenan would be cancelled in modern wrestling.
Bobby Heenan managed some of the biggest names in wrestling history including, Andre The Giant, Harley Race, The Brainbusters and Mr Perfect after his own full-time in-ring career ended. His ‘Heenan Family’ spent plenty of time going after WWE icon at the time, Hulk Hogan.
In the mid-1980’s Bobby Heenan moved to the commentary desk, where he would take on the villainous role of supporting the bad guys whilst making witty yet derogatory remarks about the heroes.
In conversation with Ryan Satin on his Out of Character podcast, current WWE commentator Corey Graves talked about how the role is very different now to when “The Brain” was in the hotseat, and that whilst Heenan was one of the greatest at his job, he doesn’t think it would translate to 2021.
A lot of people think in 2021 the days of the full blown heel commentator are passé and I definitely think to an extent it is. Could you imagine Bobby Heenan? He wouldn’t exist in 2021. He would be fired, cancelled, hard and feathered publicly just because that’s how the world has changed. I try to be a little more villainous leaning then full blown bad guy justify, always root for the bad guys, good guys are in the wrong. I try to adapt but again, I grew up on Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura. Some of the greatest of all time, so deep inside me that’s what I’m still a fan of.
When it comes to do what I’m doing now and find myself in this role, I just fall back on what I was a fan of and maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.
Graves went on to explain the differences he has when he’s on and off camera.
I love comedy, when I try to insult something it’s never with malice. Even if it’s on television, it’s more to just get a laugh. I’m busting chops, that’s what I do. You can ask anybody that I’m friends with, that’s just my sense of humour and I like to joke around with people. Most of what I say on the air comes from my own brain and it’s in the moment.
You’re getting a visceral reaction from time to time or even if it’s a joke, that’s what I’m thinking and sometimes it comes out and a lot of times I have to be careful to not let it come out because it can get us all in a whole bunch of trouble. I’m a lifelong fan and I’ve been in the ring and I do know most of the talent on RAW or SmackDown, I’ve come up with a lot of them and competed with a lot of them so there’s definitely an element of truth to what I do behind the character.
In reality, I’m kind of introverted. I don’t like being in large crowds of people, I don’t like being the centre of attention, I’m not the show off and I’m not the one who shows up to the party and wants everyone talking about me. I’m the guy in the corner holding my drink waiting for somebody to make their way over and have some small talk. I think that’s the most drastic difference.
An example of being a different person on screen to off, Graves recently spoke about controversy which ensued after comments he made about Dana Brooke.
Corey Graves originally signed for WWE as a wrestling, competing in Florida Championship Wrestling and later NXT. A series of concussions curtailed his wrestling career, and it was this point that he made the move to the announce desk.
With thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.