WWE's Corey Graves joined Jess Kleinschmidt on Short and to the Point this week and spoke very highly of Cody Rhodes. Photo Credit: oe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Jan 27, 2024; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Cody Rhodes celebrates after winning the Men’s Royal Rumble match at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes made a profound impact on thousands of wrestlers in his long and illustrious career, but anyone who went through NXT, WWE’s developmental program, in the early 2010s held a particularly special place in Rhodes’ heart, and vice versa.

Rhodes was the program’s head writer and creative director and was a tremendous resource for all of the wrestlers coming through the system.

One such wrestler was Corey Graves. Currently, Graves serves as the lead play-by-play man on WWE SmackDown. Injuries forced Graves to retire from his in-ring career in 2014, but he learned plenty from Rhodes in his time at NXT.

Rhodes’ son, Cody Rhodes, made his return to WWE in 2022 after leaving the company in May of 2016 and eventually going on to be one of the co-founders of All Elite Wrestling. Cody’s return sparked a boom period for WWE that they’re still in the midst of. At last April’s WrestleMania 39, Rhodes had a chance to end the historic championship reign of Roman Reigns. He fell short in his pursuit but has another shot at Reigns at this April’s WrestleMania XL, a second chance to “finish his story” and capture the WWE Championship.

For Graves, who also has a history with Cody, it’s been an incredible journey to watch unfold. He discussed the experience this week with Jess Kleinschmidt on Short and to the Point.

“I think this is one of those cases where it’s a perfect storm. Cody’s a guy I’ve known for a long time. Back when I was an NXT wrestler and I’d go do some live event loops with the main roster, Cody was a guy who would either jump in my car or let me ride with him so we’ve always been friendly,” Graves said. “Cody is a guy who puts in the work at a level that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen to curate and take care and protect his relationship with the fans. When he says he owes everything to the audience and he does everything for the audience, that’s no lie. No matter what night of the week it is, no matter where we are, Cody’s there. He’s the last guy signing autographs, he’s shaking every hand.” he added.

Graves also praised Reigns’ part in keeping the story going, saying Rhodes and Reigns may have a “once in a generation” rivalry.

Graves is glad to be able to watch it all unfold as an announcer, saying, “From my perspective, it’s easy. It’s so easy to tell this story because I feel it. It’s organic. Every once in a while, something comes along and tickles that spot as a fan where you can just laugh and enjoy what’s happening. Or, there’s something that resonates with you in your heart, in your soul, as a fan. It’s just so beautiful to watch it all unfold.”

Short and to the Point with Jessica Kleinschmidt is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.