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By Paul Jordan on 2020-01-23 10:15:00

The latest episode of "After the Bell with Corey Graves" is now available.

We are welcomed to the podcast.  Corey says he is not sure if his criticism had anything to do with it, but he's going to take credit for Raw's significant improvement this week. That's right, he said it. Graves liked Monday Night Raw. Well, two hours and fifty-six minutes of it. Instead of trying to make amends, Corey sat like he did last week and watched the show from 8 PM Eastern time and enjoyed most everything on the show. Everything was big. It advanced storylines. And matches were pay-per-view quality.

Graves talks about Rey Mysterio versus Andrade, saying that he has expressed his opinion on constant rematches, but he could see them again and again and never get tired.  He calls the pairing of Andrade and Mysterio magic. Mysterio and Andrade are so creative and an environment like a ladder match, you expected fireworks and that's what you got on Monday. Even the ending with Humberto Carrillo coming back was great. But he hopes that this is not the end of the feud between Andrade and Mysterio. Graves says he could see them in any type of match. Ladder matches. Cage matches. Judy Bagwell on a Pole matches. Corey thinks that the pair of Mysterio and Andrade can make that work.

Next comes thoughts on Randy Orton versus Drew McIntyre.  Graves says the match was pay-per-view quality and here was right in the middle of Raw.  Corey mentions how he told McIntyre last week that he was one of the commentator's favorite performers.  Alongside Randy Orton this can be on any pay-per-view, Corey can see this on WrestleMania. He talks about the shenanigans with the OC at the end of the match, not lessening his enjoyment.  The podcast host then says that he and his girlfriend marveled at the size of both Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre, stating they don't get that credit they should for moving in the way that they do.  Corey hopes there are pay-per-view hopes in the future for Orton and McIntyre.

Corey moves on to talk about the Street Profits.  He mentioned previously expressing frustration and while they're still in a bit of "no man's land" on Raw, this week's "Monday After The Weekend Update" segment made them laugh.  Especially the segment involving Angelo Dawkins talking about reboots while an image of the Miz and Morrison were on-screen. It made him laugh and proved that WWE can make fun of

itself. Graves states that he would love to see more of those type of moments. And Raw made fun of SmackDown and nobody died. It's entertainment and the Street Profits definitely brought that.

And because he called it out in the past, Graves talks about Buddy Murphy joining Seth Rollins. The SmackDown commentator states that everyone has known how good Murphy is. He was just curious about how he would rebound after weeks of being defeated by Aleister Black. He likes Murphy with Rollins and the AOP. The tag team championship victory along with the Viking Raiders' work made the tag team titles important.

So there you go, that was Corey waxing positive on Monday Night Raw.

We then transition into thoughts about Friday Night SmackDown. Corey talks about how he and Michael Cole were texting after the show talking about how quickly it went by. And how everything just flowed. Graves says he does not have anything really to nitpick about SmackDown.  He states that Daniel Bryan, Kane and The Fiend in the opening segment was great.  Big E versus John Morrison was a great way to reintroduce the audience to the " Shaman of Sexy". At one point, Corey thought Morrison was legitimately going to hurt himself getting a cartwheel attack during the match which caused him to make internal noises worrying about his safety. But luckily everything turned out fine. 

Graves circles back to the opening segment with Kane, saying it's good to see The Big Red Machine back. Corey is not sure if anyone noticed but at one point the red face paint underneath the masked began to run due to Kane sweating which made it look like at one point he was bleeding from the mouth. It had nothing to do with the storyline or where they were going, but it looks pretty cool. He's just putting out in the universe, it'll probably never happen again.

We then hear thoughts regarding Roman Reigns versus Baron Corbin. Corey says even though it feels like they have been going on for a millennium, he is not tired of it. Because they keep adding new layers. Robert Roode coming back, tables being introduced, etc.

Graves states that he also enjoys the use of old footage with Daniel Bryan, Kane and The Fiend. He says the company has a long history and it’s nice to use it to tell deeper and richer stories. He thinks Daniel is playing his role perfectly and thinks there's enough of a chance that he could win this Sunday.

Next up is the interview with Dolph Ziggler. After some pleasantries, Corey asks, given Dolph's 15-year tenure with the company, what are some the biggest changes between when he started, and now.  Ziggler answers developmental.  When he started, the office would fax ideas for what they wanted out of talents once a month.  Now you have NXT.  Dolph talks about having trainers like Lance Storm and Rip Rogers and others when he was coming up and how he learned from the best. He reiterates how the integration of NXT is far away different than the old developmental where you would get a phone call or a letter from the corporate office once a month. Corey says it's even different when he was coming up in Florida Championship Wrestling. Dolph talks a little about OVW, saying it was cool and Louisville had a great wrestling fan base. He talked about how they would work all throughout the area doing shows in Indiana and Kentucky. But it is nothing like it is now. Corey asks how the was the transition from OVW to the main roster. Dolph says it was nuts.  Because as he stated before there was very little communication back-and-forth between the main roster and developmental. And they're all these people in suits that you don't know who to talk to. And back when Dolph was coming up there were all these people that he watched growing up in the locker room. It was intimidating. Dolph states he doesn't know how it is now for new talents but he never got to meet Vince McMahon before his call up. Corey then talks about Dolph's history asking him about being a cheerleader and a caddie. Ziggler jokes he had been working his whole life holding golf clubs and doing back handsprings to prepare.

In regard to being cast as the caddie for Kerwin White, Dolph said it was cool because he got to keep his name Nick Nemeth because he was just the caddie. And they didn't care that much.  He talks about Chavo learning of his amateur credentials and rolling around in the ring with him a little bit.  Dolph says it was great riding in the car with Guerrero the few weeks they got to do the gimmick because Chavo could see his love for the business.  Ziggler says it was great to be an honorary Guerrero for a little while. The Show Off says at one point because of his looks there was a previous idea pitched to him regarding Kurt Angle and his amateur background.  And he thought that it would happen, which of course it never did.  But then the idea for the caddie came.  Originally, he thought he was going to be the one driving the golf cart not walking behind as was the case during the short run of Kerwin White.  But Dolph says, whatever gets your foot in the door.  Whether it be a caddie or cheerleader.

Dolph then discusses being on an overseas tour without Chavo and being told by those in charge that he would wrestle in the opening contest against Tajiri. He recounts the awkwardness regarding the situation, with someone telling him that this would be for the two weeks of the tour, the Japanese Buzzsaw does not speak English and they were not sure what they were going to do with him after that.  Dolph states everything was made even more strange by the fact he was coming out to Kerwin White's old standard Frank Sinatra inspired theme which the audience didn't know so it was less than ideal. Dolph talks about instead of hearing crickets he heard ice melting in people's drinks.  Ziggler worked hard and put in a good effort but at the end of the tour, he was told that his gimmick was done and he would be going back to developmental. Dolph that he was fired. But to his surprise, he was brought back for the Spirit Squad. Ziggler recounts hearing Vince pitching the idea to the group of guys and how his stomach sank. But Corey interjects it wasn't all that bad because the group got to work with a lot of top names. Dolph can't believe that their run only lasted about one year. He talks about being paired with the likes of Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Shawn Michaels, Dusty Rhodes and Triple H.  Ziggler states that at one point they were either having matches with Ric Flair, and Roddy Piper or DX on house shows every week and it was an amazing experience, given he was so young in his pro-wrestling career.  And what was amazing is those veterans were trusting him.  He says that the reason he is as good as he is today.  Corey says, how could you not be better that was a master class.

Corey then asks about his debut as the Dolph Ziggler character and the significance of introducing himself to everyone with a handshake. Dolph says they were in the "reality era" where you had names like John Cena getting away from the over-the-top occupation-based gimmicks of the past.  They wanted you to be able to Google someone and note the credentials.  So when Dolph heard he wasn't going to use his real name and be Dolph Ziggler he tried to talk to Vince about it, saying that he wanted to be himself and expressing his concern about the name.  McMahon stated that he wanted to shove the name up their butts.  So that is why everything happened the way it did. He talks about wanting to have an argument but Vince wasn't in for it.  So it led to weeks of vignettes of Dolph introducing himself and the name stuck out. Fans got angry because they knew what was coming week after week. Ziggler talks about how kids would introduce themselves with a handshake at an autograph signing. He says that it is much better than kids doing his trademark hip swivel now. Graves recounts that his daughter once got in trouble for emulating Dolph in school.

Graves mentions his first Wrestlemania working with the company was Wrestlemania 29. Of course, the night after Dolph captured the World Title. Corey asks what stands out to Ziggler considering everything he has done. Dolph mentions facing Edge at the Royal Rumble because nobody really gave him a chance. They thought he was a placeholder. But halfway through that match, the crowd was up and on their feet. And it was cool for Ziggler because he rode up and down the roads with Edge. He then put over the wrestling intelligence of Canadians mentioning Christian and Lance Storm as well. He mentions it was so much fun to go out there and create with a friend and then tell the rest of the locker room to follow that.

Corey Graves then comments about Dolph contemplating moving away from WWE in 2016. The talk about the match with The Miz where Dolph put his career on the line and No Mercy. Dolph states that he had been consistently on television for the last nine years and needed to show the audience, he could win the big one. Ziggler said he's been lucky not having to be injured but it also made him feel worn down because he was always on television and needed to get a refresh. He asked what he needed to do to be able to step away for a while. Whether it be not signed a contract, or be injured. He needed a break. So when he won the match, he was dismayed.  Because he really wanted to be his last match.  And sure enough, after he won the booking went back to normal.  And he did nothing.  They took another year for him to get three months off.  He wanted to go to other projects like standup or appearances on Fox News.

Corey asks about doing standup.  Dolph says it's great.  He tells how he has learned to balance his act between wrestling fans and not wrestling fans.  Ziggler discusses getting these big audiences for open mics, thanks to his WWE notoriety and how it's grown into its own thing.  He talks about his friend Sarah Tiana getting him to go on the road with his own show.  He mentions going out on the road with his brother. Dolph says everything is going well.  Ziggler promotes his appearances on "FOX Business Kennedy" and his segment where he attempts to get liberals and conservatives to argue the other side.  He states will be on the show again next week.  This concludes the interview.

Now we transition to the interlude.  Corey discusses the signings of Jake Atlas and Mercedes Martinez.  He puts over Martinez in the Mae Young Classic.  Graves also asks where the heck are The IIconics?  Who were the former Women's Tag Team Champions.  Now they have not been seen on television and quite some time. He asked for the Australian duo to please come back we miss you.  He then talks about getting a glimpse of Matt Hardy.  Graves calls Hardy a Master of Social Media, saying that he plays us all like fiddles when it comes to his videos online which are hinting at his days in WWE being numbered.  Graves says he hopes he doesn't leave.  Because he is a friend and thinks he can contribute in a creative endeavor for the company.  Corey wonders if he was even asked to do so.  He knows that Hardy has expressed a desire in the locker room as guys talk about their misgivings about the business. Graves says Hardy has proven his solo success outside of the WWE and his resume. What more do you need? Graves then implores Matt Hardy define his role within WWE  .Graves talks about the Saturdays "Worlds Collide" saying Rhea Ripley versus Toni Storm alone has him sold, but the other matches on the card will not disappoint

We then transition into the interview with R-Truth.  Corey asked him much like Dolph about his longevity and how much everything is changed.  He said young talent these days are phenomenal.  Graves asked R-Truth to name names.  Truth mentions AOP and, Buddy Murphy. He states being around all the young energy is great. Corey Graves goes through Truth and his many roles throughout the year.  He asks what brought fourth, the change to comedy.  Change brought change and needed to be done and he loves entertaining.  Graves talks about his time as 24/7 Champion, he has fun coming up with ideas.  Corey Graves says Carmella sends her regards.  Corey asks Truth about his music.  R Truth talks about his new single "Set It Off" coming out on Valentine's Day.  They talk about R-Truth on Tik Tok.  He states he loves interacting with fans. Corey asks about his interaction with Wesley Snipes recently. Truth says it was for promotion regarding "Dolomite Is My Name" where he interviewed the cast and Snipes expressed interest in being 24 57 7 Champion Graves asks whether he's going to be at the Royal Rumble the Sunday R Truth asks when and where the event is.  But Corey asks about his interaction with Brock and whether he is officially out of the men's Royal Rumble match.  Truth says yes due to technical difficulties.  Graves says he misses hanging out with Truth in the locker room tells him to get there early to get his baby back from Mojo Rawley.

Then we hear Corey Graves’ prediction for the 2020 Royal Rumble.  It’s Drew McIntyre for the men, but the field for the women is hard to predict. Charlotte is an obvious favorite but given the depths in the NXT roster it could be anyone. Maybe Rhea Ripley will double up. He just enjoys the unpredictability that is why the Royal Rumble is his favorite event of the year.

And finally, we get a moment of Zen to end the broadcast.

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