Those of us who frequently discuss WWE have long sense accepted it as a fundamental truth that the problem with Main Roster WWE commentary is that Vince is constantly shouting at them over their headsets, which would obviously make it hard for anyone to concentrate or really say much of anything besides repeating Vince’s talking points. However true or exaggerated that take may be, it still leaves the question open: What’s it like to be that person? To be trying to do your job on live national television while your boss is aggressively talking in your ear? In a recent podcast interview, Raw and Smackdon commentator Corey Graves offered his perspective.
On the Prime Time With Sean Mooney podcast (thanks to 411Mania for the transcript), Graves went into detail about the whole “voice in your ear” aspect of his job.
First of all, it’s not just Vince in your ear, it’s often several people at once, and that’s while you’re talking:
That’s the one thing I think that nobody can ever truly appreciate until you’ve been at that desk and had that headset on. All the different things that are happening. Yes, we’re trying to call the match and yes, we’re talking about what’s happening on the show. But then you’ve got Kevin Dunn, you’ve got sometimes the match producer, you’ve got Vince [in your ear]. That was the most jarring thing for me when I first made the transition from NXT to Monday Night Raw.
Corey knew Vince’s reputation for yelling at commentators just as well as anybody else when he took the job:
And at first, you know, I’d heard the horror stories. “Just wait, it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen.” He was pretty easy on me when I first got called up. I didn’t really feel the wrath ever. That’s not to say to this point, I haven’t felt it quite a few times. And no matter what’s happening or where you think you’re going, it stops you dead in your tracks. And he’s got this habit of chiming in when I’m on camera. And I don’t know if he does it intentionally, or if it’s just because he’s looking at the screen and he sees me, and he’s all of a sudden paying attention to what I’m saying.
Still, there’s no way not to be a little shaken when your boss is yelling in your ear while you’re on live TV:
I remember the first time he did it. The first time he reprimanded me for anything, I was on camera. And you know, it’s different when you’re not on camera, you can kinda just play it naturally and acknowledge it. But when you’re staring at the lights, and all of a sudden Vince is yelling at you in your ear, it’s like really hard to keep your composure, and keep your train of thought. And I’m pretty sure when it happened, I just locked up in the middle of a sentence. Because it was like “Oh no, I’m dead! What’s happening?” It just trumps everything that’s going on in the world.
Nevertheless, these days Corey feels pretty good about his relationship with Vince these days:
But I think I’ve been doing it long enough now with him that he’s comfortable with me. And I think I have sorta earned his trust, and a lot of times he gives me plenty of rope to kind of work with, and do my own thing. I think he gets that I generally understand the story, even if I don’t know where we’re going with it — which I try not to know. So I think I’ve earned his trust to a point. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still moments where I’ll say something and he’ll, you know — I can’t necessarily repeat what he says to me all the time. But it’s definitely an experience. It was definitely hard to get used to, but now I think I am as used to it as I will ever get.