As noted, several WWE NXT stars appeared at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday for a Q&A panel with Mattel. Below is a recap:
The panel begins with the WWE Global Toy Director, who introduces the host of the panel—William Regal. Regal gets a huge ovation, and a few fans begin to sing: “He’s a man…” Regal jokes about the longevity of his career, and how the “Man’s Man” gimmick only lasted a matter of weeks. Regal says that with NXT, the future is “not only bright, but it’s here.” He introduces the members of the panel, beginning with Liza and Bill, two members of the Mattel Developmental Team. Soon after, William Regal plays a video of WWE Champion Seth Rollins, who apologizes for his absence, and says that he’s in Los Angeles shooting a commercial for “WWE 2K16.”
William Regal goes on to introduce the NXT Superstars on the panel, including Kevin Owens, Charlotte, Sami Zayn, and Finn Balor. Owens is in character throughout most of the interview, and even says that the “Woos” garnered by Charlotte are “really loud.” Regal warns the NXT Superstars that there will be no fighting, and threatens them with disciplinary action if they do not heed his warning.
Liza and Bill begin the panel by introducing a number of new action figures that will become available at the end of this year, and then throughout the rest of 2016. Those figures are
WWE Superstar Series [Regular Series]
Tyson Kidd [Yellow Attire]
Xavier Woods [New Day Attire]
Sting [Black and White]
WWE Battle Packs [2-packs]
J and J Security
The Bella Twins [Green Attire]
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
Elite Collection [Detailed Collector Items]
The Miz [with sunglasses]
Stephanie McMahon [Summerslam 2014]
The Macho Man
Farooq [APA T-shirt]
Bradshaw [APA T-shirt]
The Undertaker [Ministry of Darkness] – Autumn 2015
Hollywood Hulk Hogan [NOW] – Royal Rumble 2016
Sting [Great American Bash Surfer] – Wrestlemania 32
Coming Soon [In Development]
Sheamus [New Attire]
The Undertaker [Wrestlemania 31]
Davey Boy Smith [Summerslam 1992]
Finn Balor [Demon w/ Entrance Attire]
Sami Zayn [with NXT Championship]
Kevin Owens reacts to the Sami Zayn figure by saying: “You mean the title he had for two months?” William Regal asks the panel to share their history with action figures, and what it means to have a WWE Figure made in their likeness. Sami Zayn says that he played with action figures until he was 19, and even continued once he became a wrestler. He says that it helps him come up with new moves. Charlotte is holding her action figure and calls it a “pinch me moment.” She says that she had a number of WWE/WCW Wrestling Buddies including the Macho Man, Ric Flair, The Million Dollar Man, and Sting. Kevin Owens says his favorite wrestling figure of all time was the Jakks Steve Blackman: “The one with the arms. It was great. You could do anything with him.” He says the coolest part of having a figure made in his likeness is that his son will get to have one. Finn Balor says that he loved wrestling figures, and had an enormous collection of GI Joes as well. He mentions his affinity for Legos, and says he’s excited to see his figure in the flesh.
William Regal asks a round of questions before throwing it over the fans. He asks Kevin Owens how his life has changed since defeating John Cena in his first match on Raw. Owens says that now whenever he sees his son wearing a John Cena shirt, he can say: “I beat him.” He says that he wasn’t been in NXT long, and always wanted to make his time count. He says that his legacy will be one of “chaos and destruction,” and takes joy in the fact that he “got to Raw on a regular basis before Sami Zayn.”
Regal asks Charlotte about the NXT Women’s division and the progress they’ve made for the industry as a whole. Charlotte gives the credit to the rest of the “Four Horsewomen,” comprised of herself, Becky Lynch, Bayley and Sasha Banks. She says that they are all incredibly passionate, and each bring something to the table. She says that Sara Del Rey is an invaluable asset; as the first female coach in the performance center, she is especially helpful in developing future women’s wrestlers. He asks if Ric Flair ever gave her any advice, and she says “Just that if you’re going to do something, be the best at it.”
Regal asks Sami Zayn what makes NXT so unique, and he says that NXT has evolved so much since he got there. He compares the current roster in NXT to the 2002 OVW class of John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and Shelton Benjamin. When asked about his return, he says that he just got out of his sling yesterday, and is looking to return hopefully by the end of 2015, or the beginning of 2016.
When Regal goes to address Finn Balor, a woman in the audience screams: “You’re so hot!” Regal doesn’t miss a step, and says: “Control yourself, I hear it all the time.” The crowd goes wild. Gotta love Regal. He asks Balor about how the Demon came to be and what it means to him. The NXT Champion says that most people have a dark side; he’s very shy and introverted, and appearing behind a mask allows him to express himself fully. He also compares NXT to a former roster of wrestlers, but thinks they’re more like ECW than anything else.
Regal takes a moment and announces the rematch for the NXT Championship. It will happen on August 22nd, at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn—the day before Summerslam—and will be broadcast LIVE on the WWE Network.
Regal opens up the floor to audience participation—
The first question comes from a little kid, who asks Kevin Owens: “Since you beat John Cena, can you beat Brock Lesnar?” Owens response was uncharacteristically humble: “I don’t know, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. And it’d be fun to try.” Another fan comments on how the feud between Kevin Steen and El Generico came to the WWE. Both individuals Kayfabe the comment; Owens says: “[Sami] has nothing to do with El Generico, because El Generico was an amazing wrestler.” Sami says that El Generico is currently working at an “orphanareum” in Tijuana. That’s where they grow Orphans I guess. Someone asks Owens why he uses the “Pop-Up” Powerbomb, to which Owens says, “Because it works very well.” The fan who asked the question went on to say “I guess Sami Zayn would know that first hand.”
The entire panel is asked for a specific match that made them want to become a wrestler. For Kevin Owens it was Diesel versus Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XI, and says HBK was his first favorite wrestler ever. Finn Balor picks another match with Shawn Michaels from 1995—the ladder match with Razor Ramon at Summerslam. Charlotte says that she didn’t get into wrestling because of any specific match, and never really thought she’d be in the industry. She says that being a wrestler was always her brother Reed’s dream, and working for NXT has given her a chance to make both of their dreams come true. She does say however, that since joining the NXT roster, she has fallen in love with the business of pro wrestling. Sami Zayn cannot give one particular match and instead names the first indie match he ever saw: Face of Death versus Carl LaDuke. At least I think he said Carl LaDuke.
A Canadian fan asks if the WWE will ever run another pay-per-view in Ontario—specifically in Montreal or Toronto. Owens says that if they do, he’ll headline it. Charlotte corrects him, and says the Diva’s will main event the show. Sami Zayn jokes: “I think you’re overestimating our influence as wrestlers. We don’t get to book the shows.”
Finn is asked who’s next in NXT, and he names Sami Zayn, Hideo Itami, and Tyler Breeze. He’s then asked if there are any main roster Superstars he’d like to face. Finn says: “NXT is the main roster.” Someone asks Kevin Owens if he’ll be the man to defeat the Undertaker in his retirement match at Wrestlemania 32. Owens says, “Probably not, but I am, I’d be happy to send him into retirement with a loss.” Somebody asks William Regal about his favorite feud he ever had, and he remembers back to a particularly personal program he had with Larry Zbyszko. “It got so heated,” he says, “That a Jacksonville Police Officer shoved a loaded gun in my face.” Someone else asks if William Regal will be a playable character in WWE 2K16. Regal says, “Well—I’d like to be. But I don’t know.”
One fan addresses the Dean Malenko figure and says he would have hoped to see other wrestlers fill that slot “before Dean Malenko of all people.” Everybody boos him away from the microphone. Another question in reference to the toys: “Has Mattel considered an Enzo Amore figure with sound function?” Bill and Liza say that there is definitely an Enzo and Cass two-pack on the horizon, but not with sound function just yet. The entire panel is asked whether or not there is an overall reluctance to join the main roster? Sami Zayn says no; “I’m pretty sure the reason you like NXT so much is because we’re on it. So I think you’ll like Raw more when we’re on it.” He goes on to say: “NXT is the place to be and when we’re on Raw—Raw will be the place to be.”
A representative from the Armed Forces Network thanks them for providing hours of entertainment to men and women overseas. Charlotte calls them “the real heroes and superstars.” Kevin Owens says he can’t imagine what they have to put themselves through, but it’s awesome to know that they can take a break and relax with the WWE and NXT. A girl dressed as an anime character asks Charlotte how to become a Diva from scratch, and the former NXT Women’s Champion tells her to keep applying herself and never give up. Sami Zayn says that whether you’re a guy or girl, and no matter what you want to do, you need to figure out whether you have a dream or a goal. A dream will always be a fantasy, but a goal is something you work toward.
Kevin Owens gets a question from a very young child: “Kevin Owens—am I Tough Enough?” Everyone laughs, and Owens says, “Well, you look tougher than everyone on Tough Enough…” The panel ends with William Regal thanking everyone in attendance and once again promoting the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn show on August 22nd.