Triple H joined the media Tuesday for a conference call to promote Wednesday’s WWE NXT Takeover: Unstoppable event. Thanks to PWInsider for the following recap:
HHH said it was a really exciting time and NXT continues to grow in leaps and bounds. He noted the house shows over the weekend were met with great reviews and the NXT fan base continues to grow via grass roots and social media. He said that he’s counted on fans spreading the word themselves and encourages fans that if they are fans to “preach it to the world.”
HHH said he was proud of everyone but was especially proud of the women main eventing the first night in Philadelphia. HHH said what they are doing in NXT changes the perception of what women can do in the industry.
HHH sad the tour successes have been phenomenal so far and they are using the rest of this year as “trial and error” in doing different things including different size venues, “festival touring” and some international “components.” He said by 2016, he looks forward to it being a full fledged brand.
He put over the E:60 special and said he wanted to thank ESPN for the documentary. He said it took a long time but it was worth it as a way to give insight into the real life situations talents go through. HHH said he thinks when you see them as performers, you forget what they go through. He said he hopes there will be more similar documentaries on ESPN or via the WWE Network.
HHH said there’s been speculation on Sami Zayn’s health but he’s been cleared and will be wrestling against Kevin Owens tomorrow.
HHH said Owens made an “impact” on Raw last night and it shows the faith WWE has in the NXT brand.
HHH ran down the card for the Unstoppable special tomorrow.
HHH announced several promotions. He announced Matt Bloom (Jason Albert) is now the new permanent coach of NXT. Sarah Amato (Del Rey) has been promoted to the number two Coach at the Performance Center. HHH praised each of their growth within the company and Amato as a conduit between the main roster and NXT.
The first on the call was Dave Meltzer. HHH pointed out I am usually first, but not this time. He joked there must be some competition. Dave asked about Amato’s role on the main roster. HHH said that she’s done a great job as a producer and brings the information she gets there and brings it back to the Performance Center and she splits her time between Orlando and the main roster.
HHH was asked about the goal for the NXT brand a year for now in terms of touring. HHH said he’d like to do the same touring as the other WWE tours do. He said that they’ve got the momentum and have showed everyone this is a growing brand and with the support of the company and their corporate platforms. He doesn’t want to do just what works best on the main roster but what works for the NXT brand. He said that every day is the first day on the job for them as they try to plot their course and 2015 will be trying different things and 2016 will be where they tour. He sees a long-term vision of NXT have a “two tour” function. He said they have had a small touring feel in Florida and don’t want to lose that small, grass roots feeling. Possibly a few years down the line, they can have a main NXT tour and smaller shows with stars trying to make their way to NXT TV and learning. He said you can be in the Performance Center all day long but without the live experience, it’s “all just theory” and the more they work, the more and faster they will improve.
HHH said he doesn’t care where they come from. He said that indy guys are great because they have experience in front of crowds but as they bring in new guys, they need to give them that experience.
HHH was asked about NXT getting on TV in the United States. He said that isn’t his call and he’s happy with the exposure he has with the brand now. It’s obviously not hurting them. He said if he was a 20 year old, NXT would be a big driver towards buying the Network.
HHH confirmed that Hideo Itami “from a storyline standpoint, will be represented” but will not be competing as he’s out injured.
On injuries, HHH said “Injuries happen” and they try to perform to the best of ability without guys getting hurt and there’s certainly a question about mileage on certain guys and it is what it is. He said that if someone gets hurt while you are moving into something big, you have to try and creatively move in another direction and you have to move into something just as big and hopefully the audience reacts.
On NXT, HHH said it’s a third brand but the goal is to get guys ready for the main roster. He said that everyone that is there, under contract or not, the goal is to create stars. He wants to get to a point where every performer at Wrestlemania came through the system. He said developing talent is one of the challenges they have. He doesn’t think he can do more to brand Neville as a face of NXT and then he gets called up and that’s bittersweet at times. He said the talent is a team and they are proud of it and they work hard. He told a story about how Neville told him it was hard to hear about the Philly and Albany house shows and not be part of it. The challenge of the brand is that. He said the best problem they can have is Vince wanting someone while they are in the middle of a program and he has to find a way to work out of it. He said there are guys ready to be on the main roster now but the spot isn’t there for them yet and that isn’t his call. He’s just trying to create the best feeder system they can create. He said they get calls from everywhere from guys who want to get into NXT and be part of it. He said it’s a great “holding tank” for them to be part of.
Jason Powell was next. He brought up the guys with wear and tear from their previous runs in the business and how that might change how WWE recruits talent. HHH said it’s hard to recruit youth with experience. He said if he brings a guy in his mid-30s in and it takes a few years, they aren’t going to get a lot out of them in the long-term;. He said that if he sees someone with a lot of outside experience, he looks at how much they need to do to get them to Raw and how much time this might take. He said they do a lot of storytelling and the physicality is what it is, but something they try to get the talent to learn is when and where you take the risks on a day in and day out basis. Work harder, not smarter.
Powell then asked HHH how he views ROH since so many of their former talents are now in NXT and on the main roster. HHH said he “loves all those guys” naming ROH and Dragon’s Gate. He said he doesn’t want to make NXT direct competition but in making the NXT brand the best it can be. If WWE and NXT’s business grows, it raises ROH’s business and everyone else’s as well. He said he doesn’t want it to be seen as hurting their business. He wants to help everyone’s business. He claimed that talents who were never spoken to by NXT have used claims of a NXT offer to get more money out of others. He said if they oe more out of it, so be it.
HHH was asked if the popularity of the brand led to the idea of it being more than just a developmental system. He said he always had the vision for it, but didn’t voice it because he wanted to see where it went from there. Now he feels like he’s trying to hold onto it as it races away.
HHH was asked about Samoa Joe. He said Joe is “phenomenal talent” and recently visited but then played it off as lots of guys visit. He said he doesn’t know if they will do business together. He said Joe was impressed but doesn’t know if you could come visit without being impressed.
HHH was asked about whether they will get to the point where guys would be happy, financially and personally, with just staying in NXT. He said it’s always a strive for the main roster. He said guys can hustle or be in NXT with very little hustle as part of the system and do as well or better than they would do outside the WWE NXT system. HHH said the NFL lets go of 400 players every year because not everyone is going to make it. He said there are some guys who make it to NXT who are great characters that work there but won’t translate to the main roster. He said this is a place where you can make a living and they are creating a brand that are self-sustaining. He said there is a benefit to bringing in guys like Rhino and giving him an avenue to being part of the system. He said Rhino is a great positive guy and it helps reinvigorate his brand. He said it’s going to be a great place for people who want to be part of the roster and those looking to extend their time in the industry.
HHH was asked about the process of bringing Kevin Owens to Raw last night. HHH said there was a lot of collaboration. He said he’s constantly in Vince’s ear about who’s ready because Vince doesn’t always see the entire show. HHH said he’ll show him videos and make suggestions when Vince wants something. The Kevin Owen and Sami Zayn situations were collaborations. He said you want to do something special and not bring guys up haphazardly.
Someone asked if the crew coming up means the end of John Cena. REALLY? HHH said he’s excited John is such a confident performer he gives guys like Sami and Kevin opportunities. At the end of the day, it’s up to the guys to take the platform they are given and to perform. He said what they have done is show the success of the system and that the future of WWE is very bright. He said time ticks for the older stars and when the the time comes, they are ready with the next generation. He said they won’t be in a situation where they lose 3-4 talents and they are screwed.
HHH was asked about Emma. He said he’s happy to give her an opportunity tomorrow and to give all the girls opportunity and to grow. He said sometimes the main roster girls look down and see a little bit of a friction. He said they are creating change and it’s bubbling up. He said that creates opportunity for everyone on the main roster and NXT.
HHH was asked about Vince’s reaction to the NXT show in San Jose he attended. He said Vince gave them a chance and when they saw the success from a TV standpoint, they were excited and there were things they didn’t expect to see and were happy with the numbers. HHH said San Jose was a little bit of a tipping point. It came up at the last minute and they had to convince the executive team to make it happen. He pushed for it hard and executed. There were people who weren’t convinced and Vince got a lot of push back on it. HHH didn’t know Vince was coming until he told HHH he would be there in a little bit. A lot of the executives were blown away and were wondering why they weren’t doing more with it. He said it was a paradigm shift. You couldn ‘t be in that building and not stand there watching the show and not think, “Holy sh** this is something awesome.”
HHH was asked if there’s one guy or girl who has impressed them in their transition and success. HHH said there’s so many of them it’s hard for him to say. He said Sami Zayn was amazing to him in that you take a guy out of a mask with no facials and very little promos and get him to where he was. To get Neville to come out of his shell as a talker and to feel the emotion of the crowd. He praised Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks and Charlotte’s growth. He mentioned Finn Balor and Tyler Breeze.
HHH asked about a strictly-female show for NXT or an all female Takeover. HHH said there’s always a possibility but there’s been no talk with him about it. He said he has lots of ideas but he doesn’t voice them until the time is ready. He has goals and is making moves towards them without telling anyone. He said the world is changing. 5 years ago, Ronda Rousey wouldn’t be promoted as the most dominant athlete and he wants to be part of that change. It’s just a question of getting there.