Corey Graves took a moment during this week's episode of After The Bell to apologize for comments he made towards Mauro Ranallo during NXT TakeOver: WarGames this past weekend. For those who missed it, Graves subtweeted the play-by-play commentator by writing, "Just for the record guys, I know you wouldn't know it, but there's actually a WWE Hall of Famer AND a former Ring of Honor Champion on commentary. I'd imagine they have a lot to offer." Ranallo was initially supposed to appear at the commentary table on Sunday alongside Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix, but he was nowhere to be found during Sunday's show.
Michael Cole explained that Ranallo's absence was due to him losing his voice while calling TakeOver: WarGames the night before, but many fans pointed the blame at Graves for his critical tweets. Graves initially lashed out at Wrestling Observer writer Dave Meltzer and Ranallo's manager Frank Shamrock on Twitter before apologizing on the podcast.
"This past Saturday, during the TakeOver: WarGames event I sent out a tweet," Graves said. "It was an unpopular opinion, as I often do with the intention of just stirring up a little controversy, maybe have something fun to talk about on TV or here on the show. It was maybe not the most professional way to go about things, and it was never meant to offend or disrespect or disparage anybody. That was never my intention. If it was taken as such, I apologize deeply. That was not my intention. I would never intentionally cause anybody undue stress, especially a co-worker. So, I apologize."
Ranallo was absent from this week's episode of NXT, and according to Meltzer he's "in rough shape" since the Graves incident. The 49-year-old commentator's battle with bipolar disorder is well-documented, and his personal issues caused him to initially step away from WWE after working as SmackDown Live's play-by-play man from 2016-17.
WWE's latest WWE Network event, Starrcade, will take place this Sunday in Duluth, Georgia. Check out the full card in the list below.
- WWE Universal Championship: "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt vs. Braun Strowman (Cage Match)
- Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
- Seth Rollins vs. Erick Rowan
- Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn vs. The Miz
- AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
- SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The New Day vs. The Revival
- Women's Tag Team Championships: Kabuki Warriors vs. Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
- Kevin Owens Show feat. Ric Flair