Corey Graves

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Corey Graves
Corey Graves SummerSlam Axxess 2013.png
Corey Graves in August 2013 as one half of the NXT Tag Team Champions
Birth nameMatt Polinsky[1]
Ring name(s)Corey Graves[2]
Sterling James Keenan[1]
Billed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[3]
Billed weight208 lb (94 kg)[3]
Born(1984-02-24) February 24, 1984 (age 30)[1]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States[1]
Billed fromThe Sunset Strip[1]
Iron City, Pennsylvania[4]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania[3]
Trained byBoomer Payne[1]
Dory Funk Jr.[1]
Mad Mike[1]
DebutMarch 22, 2000[1]
 
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Corey Graves
Corey Graves SummerSlam Axxess 2013.png
Corey Graves in August 2013 as one half of the NXT Tag Team Champions
Birth nameMatt Polinsky[1]
Ring name(s)Corey Graves[2]
Sterling James Keenan[1]
Billed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[3]
Billed weight208 lb (94 kg)[3]
Born(1984-02-24) February 24, 1984 (age 30)[1]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States[1]
Billed fromThe Sunset Strip[1]
Iron City, Pennsylvania[4]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania[3]
Trained byBoomer Payne[1]
Dory Funk Jr.[1]
Mad Mike[1]
DebutMarch 22, 2000[1]

Matt Polinsky[1] (born February 24, 1984)[1] is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Sterling James Keenan. He is signed to WWE, training at the WWE Performance Center and competes on the developmental brand NXT under the ring name Corey Graves, where he was NXT Tag Team Champions with Adrian Neville.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Independent promotions (2000–2011)[edit]

Polinsky chose his ring name the night before his first professional wrestling match, and picked the name "Sterling James Keenan" as a tribute to Sterling Sharpe, Polinsky's favorite American football player as a child, and Maynard James Keenan of the band Tool.[5]

Keenan debuted on March 22, 2000.[1] Throughout the next few years, Keenan appeared for various promotions, including Dory Funk Jr.'s "Funkin Conservatory", where he competed with wrestlers including Paul London, Adam Windsor, and Onyx.[1] In 2002, Keenan teamed with "Dreamachine" Chris Cage to win the Funkin Conservatory Tag Team Championship by defeating the team of London and Windsor.[6]

In March 2, 2002 Keenan debuted for NWA East when he teamed with Sean Stylez to defeat Maxim and Powerhouse Hughes.[7] A week later, he challenged Paul Atlas for the NWA East Three Rivers Championship and lost. On the next few shows, Keenan teamed with Mad Mike which eventually led to a shot at The Premiere Players's NWA East Tag Team Championship which they lost, however, they were granted another shot on April 26 which Keenan and Mike won.[8] On May 24, Keenan and Mike teamed with Brandon K in an all or nothing match where the NWA East Triple Crown Championship, NWA East Three Rivers Championship and the NWA East Tag Team Championship were all on the line, which the trio lost to The New Era Horsemen (Paul Atlas and the Premiere Players).[9] In June, Keenen participated in the NWA East X Championship Tournament where he reached the finals of before losing to Axl Law.[9] For the next few months, he would have multiple championship shots which amounted to nothing.[9] In September, Keenan participated in the Anniversary Anarchy Lethal Lottery and reached the final before losing to Crusher Hansen. His last match for NWA East for several years came on October 12 defeating CJ Sensation.[9]

Since 2003, Keenan has made appearances for various independent promotions, being a mainstay of many including Far North Wrestler and Renegade Wrestling Alliance. Keenan was part of the Union of Independent Professional wrestlers promotion in both of its incarnations. He won the UIPW Keystone Cruiserweight Championship. Beginning in 2005, he appeared regularly for Far North Wrestling (FNW), and on November 2, 2007, he won a Battle royal to win the FNW Heavyweight Championship and again in October 2009. [1] He defeated Samoa Joe and Rikishi by countout on August 23, 2007 to win the Ballpark Brawl Natural Heayweight Championship.[10] On February 24, 2008, Keenan won Absolute Intense Wrestling's Heavyweight Championship by winning a 30-Man gauntlet match.[1] On September 19, 2009, Keenan defeated Stryder for the RWA Heavyweight Championship.

Keenan competed for Pro Wrestling Zero1, and has won the Zero-One United States Heavyweight Championship on two occasions. On March 8, 2008, Keenan defeated Mr. Wrestling 3 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to win the championship for the first time. He only held the championship for a week, before dropping it to Dr. X on March 15 in Morganville, New Jersey. On May 9, Keenan won the championship for the second time, defeating Jake Manning in Limerick, Pennsylvania. He held the championship for just under a month, before losing it to Rick Landell on June 1.[11]

Throughout the years Keenan has also made sporadic appearances for Ring of Honor (ROH). His debut appearance for the promotion was at Round Robin Challenge II on April 25, 2003, where he teamed with EZ Money in a Tag Team Scramble match won by The SAT. He returned to ROH over two years later at Redemption on August 12, 2005, where he participated in a Four Corner Survival match won by Ace Steel. In October 2005, he lost a singles match to Claudio Castagnoli and a singles match between Keenan and Steel at Tag Wars 2006 in January 2006 ended in a no contest due to interference from Chris Hero and the Necro Butcher. Six months later, at In Your Face, Keenan and Jason Blade lost a tag team match to the Briscoe Brothers. He made a single appearance in ROH in 2007 at the Fifth Year Festival: Dayton event, losing to Jimmy Rave and another appearance in March 2009 at Steel City Clash, losing to Delirious.[12] He also appeared on the Ring of Honor Wrestling television show on the April 4, 2009 episode, losing to Erick Stevens.[13]

On May 2, 2011, Keenan wrestled Douglas Williams in a dark match for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

International Wrestling Cartel (2002–2007)[edit]

Keenan debuted in the International Wrestling Cartel (IWC) on October 19, 2002, defeating Troy Lords. On the following IWC show, Keenan defeated CM Punk, before losing to Shirley Doe on two separate occasions but defeating Josh Prohibition. On December 28, Keenan teamed with Dustin Ardine to challenge the Devil's Advocates for the IWC Tag Team Championship, but were unsuccessful. In May 2003, Keenan participated in IWC's Super Indy tournament, defeating BJ Whitmer in the first round, but losing to Colt Cabana in the second.[14]

At IWC's Revengeance show in September, Keenan defeated Al B. Damm to earn a match for the IWC Heavyweight Championship. He received his championship match on November 1, 2003, and defeated Dennis Gregory to win the championship. At Rebirth of Extreme on November 22, Keenan successfully retained the championship in a rematch against Gregory, and made further successful defences against Punk on December 12, Dean Radford on January 31, 2004, and February 24, and against Super Hentai on March 6. Two weeks later, on March 20, Keenan lost the IWC Heavyweight Championship to Radford, and failed to regain it in a rematch on April 3, and on April 17, when he lost a Tables match to Radford.[14]

In July 2004, Keenan unsuccessfully challenged Chris Sabin for the IWC Super Indy Championship. That December, after Sabin had vacated the Super Indy Championship, Keenan won a four-way match against Petey Williams, Josh Prohibition, and John McChesney to win the vacant championship. He made a successful defense of the championship against AJ Styles on February 24, 2005, and Claudio Castagnoli the following night. In April he retained the championship against Nate Webb, before losing a championship match to Justin Idol by countout in final championship defense on April 29, 2005. That same night, McChesney won the Super Indy Tournament, winning the championship as part of his victory, despite having not beaten Keenan. The next night, a match for the championship between Keenan and McChesney ended in a double countout.[14]

In March 2006, Keenan unsuccessfully challenged Doe for the IWC Heavyweight Championship. That September, Keenan was part of a tournament for the vacant IWC Heavyweight Championship, but was eliminated in the first round after losing to Ricky Reyes. On August 4, 2007, Keenan lost another match for the championship, this time to long-time rival Dennis Gregory, in what proved to be his final match in the company.[14]

1 Pro Wrestling (2005–2009)[edit]

Keenan made his debut for the United Kingdom-based 1 Pro Wrestling (1PW) at their inaugural show, A Cruel Twist of Fate, on October 1, 2005, defeating D'Lo Brown. He quickly formed an alliance with Abyss, and the pair defeated Sabu and Ulf Herman in a hardcore tag team match on January 7, 2006. In March, Keenan competed in a tournament to determine the inaugural 1PW Heavyweight Champion, but was defeated by AJ Styles in a quarter-final match.[15]

He moved on to feud with Spud, defeating him on May 26 at Know Your Enemy Night One. At Fight Club 2 in July, Keenan defeated Spud in an Iron City Street Fight. Three weeks later, Kennan replaced Matt Hyson in a tag team match, where he and Spud challenged Jody Fleisch and Jonny Storm for the 1PW Tag Team Championship. They were unsuccessful after Keenan attacked Spud during the match. At Invincible in August, a tag team match featuring Keenand and Hyson versus Spud and Teddy Hart ended in a no contest after several other wrestlers interfered, prompting a 10-man elimination tag team match, which Keenan's team won.[15]

At Resurrection in April 2007, Keenan challenged Romeo Roselli for the Nu-Wrestling Evolution Heavyweight Championship, but was disqualified for using the championship belt as a weapon. He then began challening Ulf Herman for the 1PW Heavyweight Championship, but was unsuccessful in a four-way match on June 29 when Herman retained the championship. Keenan failed to win the championship again on June 30 and August 18.[15] On October 13, at 2nd Anniversary Show, Keenan defeated Herman to win the championship in a steel cage match.[4][15][16] Keenan successfully defended the championship against Doug Williams on January 25, 2008, and Martin Stone, Darren Burridge and Abyss in a four-way match the following night. His next defense was on October, when he lost to Johnny Moss via disqualification, and retaining the championship as a result. At the 3rd Anniversary Show that same month, Keenan retained the championship against Raven.[15] Keenan eventually lost the championship to Martin Stone on April 18, 2009 at To The Extreme, ending his championship reign at 554 days.[4][15] He continued to feud with Stone in an unsuccessful attempt to regain the championship throughout 2009, and made his final 1PW appearance at the 4th Anniversary Show in November.[15]

WWE[edit]

On April 26, 2006, Keenan and CM Punk lost a dark match to The Gymini prior to the SmackDown taping.[1] On June 6, 2006, Keenan teamed with Jon Bolen in a loss to Jamie Noble and Kid Kash.[17] Keenan appeared on an episode of WWE Heat that was taped on August 6, losing to Val Venis.[1] Keenan appeared on the August 10, 2007 episode of SmackDown!, where he was easily squashed by Mark Henry.[18] Then, he continued appearing at WWE House shows during the following years as a preliminary wrestler.

Developmental territories (2011–present)[edit]

In August 2011, it was reported that Polinksy had signed a developmental contract with WWE. Polinsky announced that he would be performing in WWE's developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), under the ring name Corey Graves.[2] He debuted on September 25 of FCW taping where he was defeated by Erick Rowan.[19] On March 17, 2012, Graves won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship with Jake Carter by defeating Bo Rotundo and Husky Harris.[20]

When WWE rebranded its developmental territory, FCW, into NXT Wrestling,[21] Graves' and Carter's NXT television debut took place on the third episode of the rebooted WWE NXT taped at Full Sail University, where he they defeated CJ Parker and Nick Rogers.[22] Graves was re-established as a singles wrestler as a heel on November 14 with a win over Oliver Grey;[23] Graves' plethora of tattoos helped to establish his unruly character of the "Saviour of Misbehaviour".[24] Following a victory over Yoshi Tatsu in December, Graves attacked the NXT Champion Seth Rollins, and was awarded a title match on the January 2, 2013 episode of NXT,[25][26] where Rollins' associates in The Shield interfered to cause a disqualification, costing Graves the win and the title.[27] A frustrated Graves went on to defeat his former partner Jake Carter and later Alex Riley.[28][29] Graves then faced Conor O'Brian in a number one contender match which had no winner when the Shield attacked both men to make a statement.[30] The next week, O'Brian defeated Graves and Bo Dallas to become the number one contender.[31] The next week, Graves again participated in a number one contender match against O'Brian and Bo Dallas, but O'Brian won the match.[32] For costing him title opportunities, Graves challenged the Shield to a match,[33] resulting in him and Rollins facing off in a lumberjack match, turning face in the process. After the rest of the Shield disposed of the lumberjacks and interfered against Graves, Rollins won to end the feud.[34]

On the May 15 episode of NXT, Graves was confronted by Bray Wyatt backstage, leading to a match between the two on the next episode; Wyatt won after interference from the Wyatt Family.[35] On the May 29 episode of NXT, Graves competed in an 18-man battle royal to determine the number one contender to the NXT Championship, where he along with Kassius Ohno were eliminated by Wyatt.[36] Graves and Ohno later challenged Luke Harper and Erick Rowan for the NXT Tag Team Championship, but were defeated after Wyatt interfered.[37] On the June 19 NXT, the Wyatt Family defeated the team of Graves, Neville and Ohno.[38] On the next episode, Graves and Ohno defeated Garrett Dylan and Scott Dawson to once again become number one contenders for the tag titles, but a post-match attack by the Wyatt Family resulted in the storyline injury of Ohno.[39][40] Two weeks later, Graves banded together with Adrian Neville and William Regal to take on the Wyatt Family, but lost.[41] Yet, Graves and Neville had the last laugh over the Wyatt Family by using Graves' tag title shot to defeat Harper and Rowan and capture the NXT Tag Team Championship on the July 17 NXT.[42]

After the Graves briefly resumed his feud with Seth Rollins and the Shield, the duo lost their tag titles to The Ascension on September 12, 2013. After failing to regain the titles from The Ascension, Graves attacked Neville thus turning heel once again.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Polinsky is a professional piercer, after training as an apprentice at the request of a friend of his who needed a piercer in his tattoo shop.[5] He has worked in the Naughty Vibrations shop in Greensburg, Pennsylvania and in a shop named True Image in New Kensington, Pennsylvania.[5] Polinsky is known for his tattoos.[5] He got two of them before the age of 18 with his parents' permission, and after turning 18, got sleeve tattoos on both his arms, made up of several clearly visible and separate tattoos tied together with designs.[5] He also has tattoos on his neck, and has the words "stay down" tattooed across his knuckles.[5]

Polinsky attended college to get a degree in marketing.[5] Polinsky has a brother who is also a professional wrestler, named Buddy Stretcher.[44]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b "WWE looks to independents for latest developmental signing". Pro Wrestling Torch. August 25, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Corey Graves - WWE NXT Bio". WWE. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "Sterling James Keenan". 1 Pro Wrestling. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Hurley, Oliver (June 1, 2006). "Sterling James Keenan Interview". Skin Deep. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Malone, James (January 16, 2003). "!BANG! TV Report". Dory-funk.com. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  7. ^ http://www.cagematch.net/?id=2&nr=1527&view=&page=4&gimmick=&year=&promotion=418&region=&location=&arena=&showtype=&worker=&text=
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  43. ^ http://www.prowrestling.net/artman/publish/WWE/article10033333.shtml
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  54. ^ Namako, Jason (November 21, 2011). "FCW Results – 11/21/11". WrestleView. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  55. ^ http://www.wwe.com/shows/wwenxt/corey-graves-bio
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