Editorial

NXT Showcase: Corey Graves

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Hello everyone, this is Vaude Influence.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to do something special for NXT Showcase.

The format will be the same as usual as I get to give out my thoughts on the wrestler and the video of the wrestler being in it as well. However, this time, I have a special guest that will also give their thoughts on the wrestler and the video of the wrestler being in it as well.

This type of format will be going on for a couple of weeks. My special guest for this week’s NXT Showcase is none other than Wrestlecorp User OriginalSinner.

Anyway, let’s get started shall we?


Topic/Subject: Today, I will be showing a match that involves a savior of misbehavior.

Wrestler: “The Savior of Misbehavior” Corey Graves (Sterling James Keenan).

Background Information: Corey Graves is billed from “The Iron City” Pennsylvania. He chose his ring name the night before his first professional wrestling match and picked the name “Sterling James Keenan” as a tribute to Sterling Sharpe, his favorite American football player as a child, and Maynard James Keenan of the band Tool.

He debuted on March 22, 2000. Throughout the next few years, he appeared for various promotions, including Dory Funk Jr.’s “Funkin Conservatory” (FC), where he competed with wrestlers including Paul London, Adam Windsor, and Onyx. In 2002, he teamed with “Dreamachine” Chris Cage to win the Funkin Conservatory Tag Team Championship by defeating the team of London and Windsor.

He also made appearances for NWA Upstate, Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South (IWA Mid-South), Cleveland All-Pro Wrestling (CAPW), and Full Throttle Wrestling (FTW).

On April 26, 2002, he and Mad Mike won the NWA East Tag Team Championship by defeating The Premiere Players. He was part of the Union of Independent Professional wrestlers promotion in both of its incarnations. He won the UIPW Keystone Cruiserweight Championship.

Beginning in 2005, he appeared regularly for Far North Wrestling (FNW), and on November 2, 2007, he won a battle royal to win the FNW Heavyweight Championship. He defeated Samoa Joe and Rikishi by countout on August 23, 2007, to win the Ballpark Brawl Natural Heayweight Title. On February 24, 2008, he won Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Heavyweight Championship by winning a 30-Man gauntlet match.

He competed for Pro Wrestling Zero1, and has won the Zero-One United States Heavyweight Championship on two occasions.

Throughout the years, he has also made sporadic appearances for Ring of Honor (ROH). His debut appearance for the promotion was at Round Robin Challenge II on April 25, 2003, where he teamed with EZ Money in a Tag Team Scramble match won by The SAT.

He returned to ROH over two years later at Redemption on August 12, 2005, where he participated in a Four Corner Survival match won by Ace Steel. He made several appearances for ROH until early 2009.

He debuted in the International Wrestling Cartel (IWC) on October 19, 2002, defeating Troy Lords. On the following IWC show, he defeated CM Punk, before losing to Shirley Doe on two separate occasions, but defeating Josh Prohibition.

Throughout his IWC career, he became an IWC Heavyweight Champion and IWC Super Indy Champion. He competed for IWC until August 4, 2007, as he lost to his long-time rival Dennis Gregory, in what proved to be his final match in the company.

He made his debut for the United Kingdom-based 1 Pro Wrestling (1PW) at their inaugural show, A Cruel Twist of Fate, on October 1, 2005, defeating D’Lo Brown.

Throughout his 1PW career, he became an 1PW Heavyweight Champion. He competed for 1PW until 2009 as he made his final 1PW appearance at the 4th Anniversary Show in November.

Before signing a contract with WWE, he made several appearances for the company. On April 26, 2006, he and CM Punk lost a dark match to The Gymini prior to the SmackDown taping. On June 6, 2006, he teamed with Jon Bolen in a loss to Jamie Noble and Kid Kash. He appeared on an episode of WWE Heat that was taped on August 6, 2006, losing to Val Venis. He made another appearance on WWE on August 10, 2007, on an episode of SmackDown!, where he was easily squashed by Mark Henry.

In August 2011, it was reported that he had signed a developmental contract with WWE. He announced that he would be performing in WWE’s developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), under the ring name Corey Graves.

He debuted at the FCW television tapings on September 25, 2011, losing to Erick Rowan. Throughout his FCW career, he became a Florida Tag Team Champion.

When WWE rebranded FCW into WWE NXT, he and Carter participated in the inaugural tapings in May 2012 where they defeated CJ Parker and Nick Rogers.

He was re-established as a singles wrestler on November 14, 2012, with a win over Oliver Grey. On December 2012, he defeated Yoshi Tatsu, he attacked the NXT Champion Seth Rollins, and was awarded a title match on January 2, 2013, on an episode of NXT.

After singles victories over former partner Carter and Alex Riley, he faced Conor O’Brian in a number one contender’s match. The match ended in a no contest after The Shield attacked both men and he later lost in a triple threat number one contender’s match.

In May 2013, he began feuding with The Wyatt Family following a confrontation and later match with leader Bray Wyatt. After being eliminated by Wyatt in a battle royal, he teamed with Kassius Ohno to unsuccessfully challenge Luke Harper and Erick Rowan for the NXT Tag Team Championship. He, Ohno, and Adrian Neville lost to The Wyatt Family in a six-man tag team match.

Throughout his NXT career, he became a NXT Tag Team Champion. During his NXT career, after The Wyatts injured Ohno in storyline, he began regularly teaming with Neville, and on July 18, 2013, on an episode of NXT, they defeated Harper and Rowan to capture the NXT Tag Team Championships. The duo held the championship for nearly three months before losing to The Ascension in September 2013. After failing to regain the titles, he attacked Neville to provoke a feud, thus turning heel. They traded victories, before he suffered a legitimate concussion rendering him temporarily inactive.

He returned in January 2014, to enter a feud with Sami Zayn. He defeat Zayn on April 3, 2014, but was defeated in a six man tag team match teaming with The Ascension against Zayn and The Usos. He then suffered a second concussion causing him to be absent from television for several months.

He made his return to NXT on the pre-show of NXT Takeover: R Evolution on December 11, 2014, where he announced his official in-ring retirement due to his concussion issues. He also announced that he would be joining NXT’s commentary team with immediate effect, with his duties beginning at that event. He was then offered a two year commentary contract by Triple H and was later added to the pre-show panel for Raw.

He still works for NXT and WWE to this day as a color commentator.


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He is a professional piercer, after training as an apprentice at the request of a friend of his who needed a piercer in his tattoo shop. He has worked in the Naughty Vibrations shop in Greensburg, Pennsylvania and in a shop named True Image in New Kensington, Pennsylvania.

My Thoughts: Corey Graves is a man that could be something for WWE as a wrestler. The guy has a good look, he has a presence about him in and outside of the ring, he has a good character, good mic skills, and he’s a very good technical wrestler. Stay down!

OriginalSinner’s Thoughts: Best to never happen. Corey Graves was one of the best wrestlers in the company and brought back in-ring psychology. I don’t know anyone other than Becky Lynch that attacks the body part to set up their finish right now. Perfect heel and you can tell he was going to be the star of NXT or WWE prior to his concussion. Despite the unfortunate injury, he’s doing an amazing job on commentary.

Video: This video contains a lumberjack match between Corey Graves and Seth Rollins on April 18, 2013.

OriginalSinner’s Thoughts: Very good match from Corey Graves. Not much because of the Lumberjacks and run in, but Corey Graves looked pretty good. He still works good as a face.

My Thoughts: This was a good match that showcased Corey Graves very well. To me, Corey Graves was one of the best technical wrestlers that uses in-ring psychology very well.

I love how throughout the entire match, Corey Graves went after the leg of Seth Rollins in order to apply the Lucky 13 (Inverted figure-four leglock) submission hold. To me, that is great in-ring psychology that not a lot of wrestlers today can do which is why I love and respect Corey Graves’ work as a wrestler.

Even though he didn’t win the match, he put up a good match against the former NXT Champion Seth Rollins during the time and took him to the limit. Good match overall and it really shows that Corey Graves can hang with the big boys.

Unfortunately, he had to retire due to having many concussions. It’s very unfortunate as I thought Corey Graves could have been something in WWE. Luckily, he’s doing a great job as a color commentator.

Even though his wrestling career is over, he will always be remembered to me with his work in the independent circuit, FCW, and NXT. Stay down!


After watching the video, give me your thoughts on the video or the wrestler himself. Thank you.

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