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Corey Graves flourishing in current role with WWE, and loving every minute of it

This weekend will be one of the busiest Corey Graves has had in his entire life, as he will be on television four days in a row.

Between Saturday and Tuesday, the Pittsburgh native will be appear on television at NXT Takeover: San Antonio, the Royal Rumble, Raw and 205 Live.

As a lifelong wrestling fan with dreams of becoming a wrestler that headlined events of this nature, being busy at this time of the year is something Graves has worked toward for more than a decade.

However, life has a funny way of working out. Instead of being in the ring for these events, he will be behind the microphone providing color commentary on all four nights.

Being an announcer was not the role Graves originally sought out when he joined WWE, but it is a role he has flourished in since his career came to an abrupt end in 2014.

Graves was once a wrestler in WWE's developmental system that had all the makings of a superstar with a bright future ahead of him on WWE's main roster, but a series of serious concussions forced him into an early retirement at the advice of WWE's medical staff.

While he was initially upset with having the fate of his career taken out of his hands, he has since learned to come to terms with it.

"I understood it and I appreciate it now, but at the time it was definitely frustrating," Graves said during an interview Thursday. "There was so much stuff that I wanted to accomplish. I felt like that I was so close to being on Raw or Smackdown as a superstar. It was crushing, but the company gave me an opportunity to live out my dream in other aspects and I just took the ball and ran full speed ahead with it and I haven't looked back since."

That other aspect was providing color commentary for NXT. On the surface, Graves' transition looked seamless, but he said that it wasn't quite as easy as it looked.

"I wouldn't want to call it easy because there was a lot of work behind the scenes that nobody ever really got to see," he said. [I spent] countless hours in the voiceover room down at the [WWE] Performance Center down in Orlando and it was just repetition. I would call the same matches over and over again."

"I think what really helped me a lot was that I have been a lifelong fan and that I had been inside the ring," he added. "That was always one of my talents. I was never one to do really cool moves or anything, but I always had a pretty decent gift of gab so it wasn't the most difficult thing in the world.

I think the hardest part for me was to kind of accept the role. I always dreamed of being a WWE superstar in the ring, but life worked out the way it did and it just took a lot of time to fully embrace the announcing role. Right now, I'm in the greatest spot in the world. I wouldn't change a thing."

Who would blame Graves for not wanting to change anything? In a little more than two years, Graves has gone from a wrestler forced into early retirement to one of the top announcers in WWE, appearing on three shows on a weekly basis, including WWE's flagship program, Raw.

He will call all of the Raw matches at the Royal Rumble and will join Michael Cole and Jerry "The King" Lawler to call the highly anticipated Royal Rumble match.

Graves is one of the busiest people in WWE, and although it may not be in the exact way he envisioned while growing up in Pittsburgh, he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I think it is part of being a creative person," he said. "I need an outlet and I feel like I'm not doing something WWE related right now … it's hard to take a day off."

"I feel bad sometimes when I'm home with my family I'm constantly thinking, 'Oh I should be doing this, oh I should be doing that,' but that's just how I'm wired," he added. "I think I get it from my mom and my mom is the hardest working woman I've ever known and I just kind of follow in her footsteps. I need to be busy all the time.

I wouldn't change a thing. As much as I would like a few extra hours of sleep from time to time, it's a good problem to have to be wanted."

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