Back in the summer of 2012, Triple H had a bold idea.
With the WWE roster littered with part-timers and members of the “old-guard,” he recognised the need for a fresh batch of talent. He also recognised the dwindling efficiency of the NXT “reality” series—producing just a few new faces each season, many of whom proved to be unready for the step up to the big time.
Which is why he proposed a complete rebranding of NXT. The show would function as its own promotion, a mini-WWE of sorts, where newly signed stars could hone their craft and fully prepare themselves for the bright lights of the full roster. NXT was supposed to be a platform from which the main eventers of years to come can elevate themselves to greatness—and on the most part it’s been exactly that.
What NXT wasn’t supposed to be though was a hindrance to the newcomers’ careers. But unfortunately, that’s what we’ve seen in the case of Corey Graves. That’s no fault of the show though, merely an example of the risk that pro wrestling entails.
The fact of the matter remains though that Graves has been out of action for a number of months after suffering his second concussion in roughly half a year. Such misfortune prompted talk of an early retirement, and according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc), things still aren’t looking good for Graves:
We noted a few months ago that there was talk of WWE NXT star Corey Graves having his in-ring career ended due to a second concussion. It was also revealed that Graves had been helping with production at NXT live events. He is still helping at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando but is not allowed to do any wrestling right now.
As great a shame as it is that we may not see Graves wrestling again, it could be for the best. The WWE are just looking to protect him, as studies have shown that athletes with a history of concussions are more likely to suffer a recurrence.
And though we’re still not sure what exactly gave Graves the injuries, for me it looks like it could be something to do with his in-ring style.
Here we see him take a bump from Sami Zayn’s top-rope crossbody, but Graves doesn’t tuck his chin in entirely—meaning that the back of his head smacks onto the canvass. On the one hand, and if intentional, this shows great commitment to the cause of suspending one’s disbelief. But on the other it can risk a serious injury.
And though this dedicated style may not be the sole reason for the WWE’s hesitance to bring Graves back, it certainly increases the risk.
But it’s not all bad news for the Saviour of Misbehaviour.
As the article mentions, he is currently helping out at the WWE Performance Center. So while his in-ring career may be drawing to a close, there are still plenty of opportunities for the 30-year-old within the company.
And furthermore, Graves has also been to college to earn himself a marketing degree. That kind of prudence could prove to be well worth it given this recent turn of events, as it certainly gives him all the more chance of making it in some kind of backstage capacity.
There’s also the possibility of some sort of commentary, given his aptitude on the mic. Simply put, there are plenty of alternatives for Corey Graves in the WWE, especially as the company tends to have a good record with looking after injured or retired employees with a good attitude like his.
He understands the business as well as the company's internal workings, and as we see in the above video he's developed an appreciation for more than just in-ring work. It may not be in the way he first envisaged, but Corey Graves could yet make a name for himself in the world of professional wrestling.
Here's wishing Graves all the best.