Perfect strangers: Corey Graves & Adrian Neville
Will Corey Graves & Adrian Neville succeed as NXT Tag Team Champions?
Adrian Neville & Corey Graves are the new NXT Tag Team Champions! Even though such a headline might have been laughable months ago, this week, it’s a reality.
Following what some would refer to as an upset win over The Wyatt Family, Graves & Neville have risen to the top of the NXT food chain. WWE.com takes a closer look at the accomplished singles competitors, yet polar opposites, who could change the tag team division as we know it, if they get along.
At first glance, one can surmise that Corey Graves marches to the beat of a different drum. From his distinctive fashion sense to the tattoos draping his body, Graves has endeared himself toward solitude, which has welcomed him with open arms.
“I’m not a loner, I just work better alone,” Graves told WWE.com.
Considering Graves is now an NXT Tag Team Champion, the “I’ll do it myself” mindset could come in conflict with his current situation.
“If I fail, it's my failure,” he explained. “I don't count on anybody to do anything for me. Believe it or not, I have a few friends. I just don't need anybody."
Not needing anyone is a modus operandi Graves learned at an early age as he wore the “outcast” label as a badge of honor. During his teenage years in Pittsburgh, most of Graves’ peers spent their time attending movies and gathering at the local fast food joint, but the “Savior of Misbehavior” chose a different route.
“I always thought tattoos were cool so I found a way to get an apprenticeship as a body modification artist,” he revealed.
The apprenticeship prepared Graves for the artwork he would apply to his own body and the uniqueness of a career between the ropes.
“The tattoos are a suit of armor,” he said. “They are a warning flag. They don't define me; they'renotwho I am.”
So then, just who is Corey Graves?
“I’m blue collar and I’m revolutionary,” he stated simply.
Mix in the subversive attitude and Graves’ personality is a far cry from that of his championship partner.
Flashy, agile and swift are just a few appropriate descriptions for Adrian Neville. A clean-cut athlete seemingly chiseled from stone, Neville enjoyed a childhood that was starkly different than Graves’.
“I was born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, which is in the northeast of England,” Neville said. “I'm an only child, but have always been surrounded by a big loving family.”
Introduced to WWE programming by his aunt, it wasn’t long before Neville was hooked.
“It was later, as I was entering my teens, that I got my hands on tapes of the original ECW and rare tapes from Japan and I realized this was what I wanted to do with my life,” he said.
Stoked on his career choice, Neville began training at age 18 and created a path that would garner him international recognition.
“I’ve been fortunate to wrestle almost everywhere in Europe to some of the most renowned companies in the USA, and even far-flung places like the Island of Reunion off the coast of Madagascar,” he said. “Above all, I consider Japan my professional home. The experience was invaluable and I simply wouldn't be who I am today without my time in Japan.”
Despite their variant paths, Graves & Neville stand proud today as the face of the NXT Tag Team Division. Although not to be confused as strong allies, they appear to be bonded mutual respect.
“Personally, we may not exactly be friends, but I honestly believe he is one of the most athletically amazing men to ever step in the ring.” Graves said of his fellow champion.
Neville had an even more profound statement: “I cannot deny his ability. He helped me exact revenge on The Wyatt family and regain the NXT Tag Team Championship, so I’ll always be grateful to him for that. “
Will their mutual respect be enough to create a long-lasting title reign? Only time will tell.
Q&A: How different are Corey Graves & Adrian Neville?
What do you do for fun?
GRAVES: Music is my release, whether it is listening to old records, or going to rock shows, or sitting in some dive, feeding money to a jukebox.
NEVILLE: Dancing to ska music, watching soccer (football) and the Newcastle United, reading and movies.
GRAVES: Social Distortion, Face to Face and Rancid..
NEVILLE: The Specials.
GRAVES: Hooters chicken wings. Hot.
NEVILLE: My mom's minced beef and dumplings.
GRAVES: “Fight Club.”
NEVILLE: “American Beauty.”
Sleep in or early bird?
GRAVES: My internal clock is set for 7a.m.
NEVILLE: Sleep as late as possible.
GRAVES: Being late.
Make your bed?
GRAVES: Every day.
NEVILLE: Only if I’m expecting guests!
Chocolate or vanilla?