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Home » Editorials » WWE NXT News: Corey Graves and Paige Work Live Events; Analyzing Their Potential and Future

WWE NXT News: Corey Graves and Paige Work Live Events; Analyzing Their Potential and Future

As reported on several wrestling news outlets, NXT Wrestling standouts Corey Graves and Paige have been on the road with the main WWE roster as of late.

Recently, Graves faced Zack Ryder in a losing effort at the 11/30 SmackDown live event. On the other hand, Paige teamed up with Layla to defeat Aksana and WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres at the next day’s Raw event. Along with that, it is also rumored that Graves and Paige are among the names that WWE is looking to call up to the main roster post-WrestleMania 29.

Formerly known as Sterling James Keenan on the independent wrestling circuit, Corey Graves was signed to a WWE developmental contract in August of 2011. Almost immediately, Graves was thrust into a tag team with second generation wrestler Jake Carter. The provocative tandem quickly gained FCW tag team gold and embarked on 93-day reign before dropping it to the makeshift team of Leakee (a/k/a Roman Reigns) and Storm Wrestling Academy graduate Mike Dalton at a non-televised live event.

Once FCW was rebranded as NXT Wrestling in August, Graves and Carter debuted as a tag team on NXT’s third episode, dispatching of CJ Parker and Nick Rogers in quick manner. This would be the tag team’s last appearance on NXT, as they broke up at a live event a few weeks later. On the November 14 edition of NXT, Graves re-debuted under the same gimmick, making Oliver Grey submit with the Fuller Leglock.

To begin, the 12-year veteran certainly has a unique look with dozens of tattoos all over his body and his ring gear which basically consists of torn up skinny jeans with knee pads below and suspenders attached to the back. The self-proclaimed “savior of misbehavior” is definitely a hit with the women, which is something that he has going for him with recent reports that WWE wants to cater more towards its female audience.

Another positive for the former Ring of Honor wrestler is his diverse style in the ring. Although not as skilled inside the squared circle as them, think of Daniel Bryan and an early WWECW CM Punk. Graves’ unorthodox in-ring style can best be described as ground-and-pound submission based, viciously assaulting his opponents to set up his patented Fuller Leglock. As brought on NXT by Tony Dawson and Jim Ross, Graves has a background in jiu-jitsu and boxing, which should only help him.

Although I don’t believe that Graves will become a future WWE Champion, he will certainly be able to become a staple for the midcard in the future, possibly becoming a multi-time Intercontinental or United States Champion. He’s a good tag team wrestler, a good singles wrestler and is unique both in and outside the ropes. His catchy theme song doesn’t hurt him either…

“Wrestling isn’t just a passion; it’s my future.” – Paige, July 2012

The “enchanting raven-haired lady,” as William Regal likes to refer to her, is definitely the most ‘ready’ diva down in developmental.

Paige, daughter of world renown women’s wrestler Saraya Knight, made her debut at age 14 and quickly made a name for herself in the British wresting circuit. She would make her debut in the United States for SHIMMER in March 2011 eventually getting into a feud with her own mother and defeating her in her last pre-FCW match.

Paige made her FCW television debut in late February and formed an alliance with former WWE Tough Enough contestant Sofia Cortez a few weeks later. As Paige and Sofia’s partnership dwindled down, the malicious Brit would find herself in a feud against Audrey Marie.

Once FCW became NXT Wrestling, Paige would make her debut in the third edition of NXT, decisively losing against Sofia Cortez. Paige would get back on track a couple of weeks later, defeating former rival Audrey Marie, Alicia Fox (twice, might I add) and then teaming with Marie to gain a victory over Fox and NXT season three winner Kaitlyn.

To say that Paige will have a good future is an understatement. She has that natural “it” factor to her, where she gets big reactions regardless of her status as a heel or a face. You could say that she is the face Devon to the NXT Arena’s Impact Zone. Her skills inside the squared circle are far from shabby. To watch some of her work in WWE, click here, here, here and finally here.

Her gimmick is similar to Beth Phoenix’s last year. At least before WWE screwed it up by having her sport more make up than most of the other divas outside of the ring and with her “we’re just girls, Hunter” promo during the infamous WWE walkout.

Had she been born during another time in the wrestling industry, she would have been right up there with the Trish Stratuses and Litas of the old divas division, but that time has passed. Hopefully with rumors that WWE wants to focus on re-energizing the division in the years to come, Paige will be the figurehead of that revival.

To me at least, it is quite evident that both of these blue chippers have a bright future in WWE or perhaps just wrestling overall. Hopefully WWE doesn’t drop the ball on them like they have with several other promising stars, but only time will tell. However, it would be wise for WWE to use them to their full potential as they can both become big stars.

You can follow Brett Chandler on Twitter @AmericanDolphin, W.E. on Twitter @WrestleEnigma and to Stand Up for NXT. You have now left The Chandler Zone. 

About Brett Chandler

Hey guys, I'm Brett. I've been a part of the WrestleEnigma team for 2+ years. So far, it's been an absolutely fantastic experience and I'm confident that it will remain that way. You can follow me on Twitter @BrettChandlerWE.
  • Eric

    Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Graves. I’ve seen some of his work and he’s good but a bit confusing. He’s a big guy, but lean so he comes across as a big man trying to be a cruiser-weight in my eyes.

    The submission finisher is great to see, we don’t see many of those nowadays, but it just feels out of place. His look will appeal to women though; he’s got that James Dean bad boy look and women love that.

    I think you guys know how I feel about Paige. Great in the ring, young, beautiful, solid on the mic (her accent helps), and she gets a HUGE reaction from the NXT crowd. The divas division would do well to have her.

    What I’m wondering is how she’ll come across to the audience. If she’s going to be a “we’re not barbie dolls” character, she would be a heel right? But what if the audience cheers her NXT crowd style? Will she be a tweener then?

    Nice analysis Brett, I initially thought this would be about Ohno and Big E.

    • Brett Chandler

      Yeah, I agree on some of your critiques about Graves. I wish he’d slow down a little bit too.

      I don’t think Paige is a full-on face on NXT, but the crowd reaction certainly makes it seem that way, so I’ll assume she’ll be a tweener on WWE TV unless WWE royally fucks up.

      Thanks for your comment, bro.

  • Jacob Is Botchtastic

    I like Graves and he is definitely going to be a hit with the ladies so that’s a positive for his career (while Paige will obviously be/is a huge hit with male wrestling fans). I also hope he keeps that theme cause it’s awesome.

    That Devon comparison is so stupid haha. Don’t bring up that awful promo that just buried the shit out of the entire division ugh. Besides, Paige works it so much better because she’s an actual woman unlike whats her face.

    I hope Graves gets a good chance at being a midcard star and Paige better be the focal point of the division for a time or I’m gonna be disappointed.

    Good stuff, Brett.

    • Brett Chandler

      Yeah, haha. And the Devon comparison is quite apt if I do say so myself. I doubt he’ll keep that theme, though. Sandow had an awesome theme down in FCW and they got rid of it to replace it with an equally as awesome theme, but I still miss his old one.

      Chandler Zone > Thanks.

      • Jacob Is Botchtastic