Corey Graves: ‘I took it a little personally’ when Pat McAfee replaced me on WWE SmackDown

Photo Courtesy: WWE

Graves spoke highly of McAfee throughout the interview. 

Coming out of WrestleMania 37 in 2021, Pat McAfee was added to WWE’s broadcast team and he was paired with Michael Cole on Friday Night SmackDown. Up until that point, Cole and Corey Graves had been calling the action on Friday nights since October 2019. 

Graves opened up about that period of his career when he appeared on The Kurt Angle Show. Graves first stated that he would like to do more with McAfee on commentary and added that he’d also be interested in doing commentary with Jim Ross and Taz. 

I never worked with J.R. on the air. I think that would be interesting, and Taz is another guy… I think we might butt heads, we might be a terrible commentary team because we both sort of fill the same space… I can’t believe I’m saying this publicly, I would love to work more with Pat McAfee. I think Pat, he adds a whole new element that maybe nobody has seen before in the game and I have more fun being me when he’s there than a lot of other people.

Graves went on to say that he was upset from a professional standpoint when McAfee replaced him in 2021. He said it was not because of McAfee himself, but more so that Graves had been in that spot for almost two years with Michael Cole and then found out quickly that he was switching shows. He said he took it hard. 

So believe it or not, I’m blowing up my own stuff here. I think the world of Pat (McAfee). He, again, is such a strong persona, it’s easy for me play off of and rib him and get under his skin. I was a little upset professionally, that I found out, hey, you’re going from Friday Night SmackDown on FOX, the network show that you kicked off with Michael Cole and then, I took it a little personally (when McAfee replaced me). Not because of Pat but it was sort of, I’ve paid my dues here. I’m the guy that shows up week after week. I’m the guy that did both Raw and SmackDown for two years straight, never complained and this is how you do me? And again, I remember I was talking to my wife and just going, ‘This isn’t right. I have to do something about this. This isn’t fair.’ I really took it hard. It had nothing to do with Pat being Pat. It was just sort of a professional issue and she talked me off a ledge and I had a few conversations with Cole. Michael Cole is my boss slash therapist. So he talked me off the ledge as well and looking back, it’s business. Kurt (Angle), you know better than anybody here. Sometimes you gotta do the stuff you don’t wanna do so you can do the stuff that you do… It was a shock that I didn’t see coming but, you know what? I dealt with it. We’re all better off for it I think.  

Graves is currently a member of the SmackDown broadcast team with Kevin Patrick and Michael Cole. Graves, McAfee and Cole were reunited for the WWE Fastlane Premium Live Event.

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Kurt Angle Show with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

About Andrew Thompson 7750 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.