Of course, Raw and SmackDown color commentator Corey Graves’ never really said ‘deuces’ to Twitter like he said he would in early August. But his output slowed and he was staying out of commenting on major issues and getting into back-and-forth exchanges with fans...
Graves got into a discussion on the issue of Bella and wrestling safety by replying to a friend who was replying to PWInsider’s Mike Johnson:
Accurately so. Especially in this day and age full of “experts.” Accidents happen. I had my career ended because of them, and I harbor no ill will. It’s not ballet. Screw everyone that thinks they know/can do better.— The Great Corey Graves (@WWEGraves) September 26, 2018
I wish all of the “smart” fans were actually smart. https://t.co/l8ND6Xjxi0
When his friend attempts to separate the issue of Bella’s wrestling skill from the “accidents happen” truism, Graves responds:
Ryan, you’re my friend. But, I will gladly die on the hill that the business that made you and I fans, has changed. My outlook has changed. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Just that the “it wasn’t as good as Kobashi in 97” mindset doesn’t work anymore. https://t.co/edR6hGf0pS— The Great Corey Graves (@WWEGraves) September 26, 2018
Corey wants to make it clear that despite implying fans who are critical of Brie’s abilities aren’t intelligent, he’s not attacking anyone, just wishing they knew what he and others in the business know:
I’m not taking anybody to task. I’m just saying that if the fans who “know” our business actually knew our business, they would understand. The grind. The schedule. If they truly knew, they wouldn’t be so quick to throw stones. https://t.co/76vEMBiYQb— The Great Corey Graves (@WWEGraves) September 26, 2018
Personally, I tend to agree with “Ryan”. Graves is moving the goalposts a bit, and even an outsider can acknowledge the grueling nature of a wrestler’s schedule and the difficulty/risk involved in even the simplest maneuver while still questioning a specific performer’s ability. For instance, I can read about CM Punk’s MMA training regiment, respect what he put himself through to get ready for those two UFC fights and still make a determination he’s not a good pro fighter. It’s not an apples to apples comparison, but it’s not apples to bacon, either.
I’m not surprised by this being the take from Graves and others inside the business, though. Wrestling is famously insular, and there are very few Bret Harts who will publicly call out or blame a fellow worker for errors or faults. The Bella Twins, like Roman Reigns or Sasha Banks, were already lightning rods for opinion before this happened, and it’s difficult to separate the reaction to Monday night’s events from that. If you’re a friend of Brie or anyone in her fairly extensive WWE family, it might be difficult to separate your defense of the kick that injured Liv from your instinct to defend Brianna Danielson, the person.
Add into that, Morgan’s injury and the spot which caused it are getting massive amounts of attention - not just from wrestling outlets but from more mainstream news ones like Fox News and the New York Post. It’s not attention WWE wants, especially fresh off wins in lawsuits dealing with their culpability for contractors’ brain injuries, and heading into their latest public relations celebration of women’s wrestling, Evolution. All good company men and women will be circling the wagons to protect WWE and their business.
The debate will continue, at least for a while. It was enough to get the Savior of Misbehavior to break out the Twitter Machine. We’ll see where it goes from here.