For someone who's torn both MCLs, had a broken tooth lodged in his cheek and occasionally asked his wife to pull thumbtacks and glass from his back, nothing hurt more for Corey Graves than being told he could no longer be a pro-wrestler.It's an obsession that drove him to have a Hulk Hogan cake for his third birthday, and to spend the Eighties and Nineties buying the magazines, watching the VHS tapes and practicing the moves of his idols with his younger brother, Sam.
But he's still trying to wrap his head around how he got here. "This place moves so fast that if you don't step back, you get lost in what you're actually a part of."For the Polinsky family, pro wrestling was the glue that bonded the Pittsburgh clan together.
When Dan and Tanya Polinsky weren't taking Graves and Sam to the local shows, they'd watch it on TV, the kids playing with the thousands of wrestling figures they collected or heading to the nearest bed to practice their flips."After we went the first time to an event, it became a love affair," says Dan Polinsky, a longtime firefighter who later worked in the fire truck business.
By the time he reached high school in 1998, Graves's parents noticed that he was bored with school, lacking interest in seemingly everything, even the girls who gawked over him.
Unclear of what was bothering their 14-year-old son, his parents sat him down one day after school and asked what would help snap him out of his funk.
"He was a teenage kid who looked like he's missed a couple meals, going out there and trying to be a pro wrestler."His first match was at the Barn – a rural farm venue now known for wedding receptions – in Moundsville, West Virginia.