Free spirit: Inside the refined mind of Corey Graves
Remorseful frustration or calculated misconduct? What, exactly, was the true motivation for Corey Graves’ attack on Adrian Neville following their NXT Tag Team Title loss several weeks ago?
“It’s quite simple,” Graves told WWE.com. “[Neville] cost me my shot at winning back the NXT Tag Team Titles. When Neville cost me my shot, he became dead weight. Simple as that.”
Slouched in his living room futon chair, sporting a button-down shirt, slim fit jeans and a pair of brown crocodile dress shoes, Graves seemed completely at peace with the controversy surrounding his recent actions. In fact, when asked about Neville’s recent accusations to WWE.com that Graves had violated his code of respect, the “Savior of Misbehavior” seemed disturbingly humored by the comment.
“You know, it’s funny. I see Neville talk about his code of respect, but I never heard of it before his WWE.com story, and I was his tag team partner,” he explained. “If anything, he should respect the fact that I’m doing whatever it takes to get to the top. Trample the weak and hurdle the dead.”
Once deemed “Perfect Strangers,” it’s no secret that Graves’ upbringing was significantly different than that of his former tag team partner. While Neville grew up with a tight knit, supportive family in New Castle Upon Tyne, England, Graves spent less time at home and more time working as a body modification artist in Pittsburgh. Even as NXT Tag Team Champion, being a loner and living a life of solitude has been one of his most coveted traits. Ironically, Neville’s take on that trait pointed out that whenever it came time for training, Graves always seemed to be off doing his own thing. Graves’ rebuttal was rather scathing.
“I obviously train hard enough to beat him up. Just because I'm not flexing in a mirror in the gym like he does all day, doesn't mean I'm not as elite an athlete,” Graves said. “If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others."
It almost seems expected that the partnership between Graves and Neville would evolve into its current non-existent state. The initial purpose behind their partnership was to dismantle The Wyatt Family on NXT. Once the common threat was removed, there was no unified motivation to maintain their proverbial glue, and the loss of the NXT Tag Team Championship was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
“My only obligation in life is my own happiness,” Graves said. “I recently read a poll that 50 percent of Americans are unhappy with their lives. I’m glad I’m not included in that percentage, because not only am I happy, I’m free to do as I please.”
Will Corey Graves or Adrian Neville ever truly be free from the fallout of their split? Answering the question now would be purely speculation. What we do know is that Graves seems content with his actions, and anxious about his pending future.
“My conscience is crystal clear and my focus is razor sharp,” he said “The NXT Universe is mine. I’m not a role model; I'm a cautionary tale.”