WWE COO Triple H held conference call recently to promote WWE NXT Takeover. Here is the full recap (Courtesy – PWInsider)
He addressed Seth Rollins’ nude picture scandal. He said Colby has issued an apology to his family and friends. He said that it’s a personal issue and he would like to keep the call about tomorrow’s special. He said that it’s hard to believe it has only been a year since the specials have started. He then previewed tomorrow’s call (we will have the audio up on the site soon). He made a point to mention the women’s Fatal Four Way match and said that they are changing perceptions of female wrestling. I hope that carries over to the main roster.
He did a nice preview of the card, which should be great.
He also talked about growing the brand and the shots coming up in Ohio next month. He said that they sold a ton of tickets in the the first two hours for the first event just by mentioning it on Social Media, so they added the second show. He said that they will be doing tryouts that weekend around the Arnold Classic. He wants NXT to be a touring brand, albeit in smaller venues, by this time next year. He wants the guys to work every weekend so that they can learn and grow.
Mike Johnson asked about the plans to take the brand on the road in the next year and how it changes the career path for talents in NXT.
H said it doesn’t. The goal is still to get to the main roster. The important aspect will be to give them to work in front of different crowds and go. He said that are people that want to do “sold shows” plus they can tour on their own. He said he wants the talent to learn how to work on the fly, in front of different crowds. H said he hopes that he can get guys to the main roster, even if it means Vince pulling talents from him in the middle of programs and making him figure out how to fix the situation in the booking.
Mike talked about how H wants to grow the brand and how in the past he compared it to ECW and WCW, noting that they didn’t have to worry about a parent company bringing up talent in the middle of programs.
H said that guys did have contracts running out back then and the bookers had to deal with that. H also said he wants to make NXT so viable that it won’t be a demotion for guys on the main roster to come down to NXT and add an exciting element to the product. He also wants to have the situation where we are wondering what will happen when the NXT guys make it up to the big roster.
Mike referenced the Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn match, and all of their history. Mike asked how close we are to having an NXT Match on Mania.
H said it’s an interesting question. He said he would like to see it, but he also doesn’t want to lose perspective of what the brand is. He thinks they can get there he just doesn’t know how close they are to doing it. He said that the calls are like a reset to him. He spends the time before the call thinking about where they have been in the past few months.
Jason Powell asked about the noticeable difference with how the women are booked in NXT vs. WWE. Will it change on the main roster or is it just H’s vision vs. Vince?
H said it’s a mix of both. He said that they have a little different audience at NXT vs. the main roster. There are more casual fans of WWE and it takes a while to change perceptions, but he thinks they are doing that. It will take time to do it, but he thinks they will get there. He thinks that the world is looking at women differently, mentioning Ronda Rousey, and he thinks that will carry over to WWE. He is proud of women like Charlotte and Sasha.
He was asked to talk about Hideo Itami transitioning, since he hasn’t been the way he was as KENTA.
H said that there is a lot to consider. He has left Japan and its culture and it takes time to acclimate. He said that there is also a factor where the Japanese look at WWE as a huge upgrade and it’s a bit awe inspiring. H tells him all the time to let it go, cut loose. He referenced Steve Austin saying that you can’t think too much, you have to feel it. H has seen changes in him since he has gotten to NXT and he thinks he will get there.
H was asked if he has any concerns about Kevin Owens holding back and thinking too much.
H referenced a conversation the two had before the last show where he told him to stop thinking it, you can do it, just do it. He could have one of those moments, but he doesn’t think so. He sees Owen changing and growing, and he thinks Sami and him will tear it up tomorrow.
Scott Fishman asked how the roster feels about the opportunities that are being presented.
H said he feels that they are excited. NXT is a great place to be right now. It’s exciting. He talked about how excited talents are when they get their own shirt. He said that part of what they do is to get the talent to realize they are special and that they come to expect it, not be surprised by it. He said if he was on the main roster and NXT talents were selling merch (as in more than them) it would light a fire under him. It’s a good thing to do that. Competition is a good thing.
He was asked about the Zayn-Owens rivalry and how it was largely built outside of WWE.
H said that he likes that in NXT he doesn’t have to act like the past didn’t happen. He doesn’t have to dwell on it, but he can sure reference it. These two have a 14 year history so it makes sense to make it part of the story. It is a way better story than anything he could come up with. He loves the reality of it. He hoped that down the line this story could make it up to the main roster.
Dave Meltzer said he had a bunch of question and he knows he has to go down to two. He was asked about pushing women, mentioning Ronda Rousey. Meltzer said that they made her a big deal from the start and it was hard to recap as he kind of talked over H until H countered that she didn’t come out of nowhere. She made her name in Strikeforce and UFC took noticed and pushed her. She wasn’t working at a fast food place or something. H said that Charlotte has been at the top of the card in NXT and she is one of the main events. He will give the people want.
He was asked about recruiting athletes from other sports, are there new guys that he thinks they have something here. Meltzer mentioned Chad Gable. H laughed and said he is always evaluating the roster because it could get stripped by Vince at any time. He said he has an elite group, a next level group, then the talent in waiting group and finally the beginners. There is competition on every level. He said that they have somewhere between 65 and 70 people right now. He likes to be 65 to 100. 70 to 80 is very comfortable for him.
Robert (I missed the last name) thanked them for opening the doors to reporters. He was asked why Bayley wasn’t involved in the Like A Girl video. Steph showed the mainstream video to him on Friday and said he wanted to do an NXT one really quickly for Super Bowl weekend. The team was working a live event and it came down to who could get to the Center after the show to be part of it. Basically, it was last minute and there wasn’t a lot of guidance or planning done because of that. They did it fast to get it into the Super Bowl weekend buzz.
He was asked about the status of Alex Riley and whether he will be on commentary. He said that at his request, they are transitioning and Alex will get some opportunities. It sounds like he is coming back to wrestling.
Bill Apter sent congrats on H getting into Arnold’s Hall Of Fame. H said it was an honor.
Bill asked what it’s like when he sits down with Vince and watches NXT. He said Vince never sits down and they never watch it together. Vince usually has it on in the background since he is working so much. He said that he thinks Vince is proud of it. He said that he has spent a lot of time with him over the last 20 years and they have talked a lot about this subject, developing the future. They have talked about what they needed to do to grow the future. He said running developmental is what he wanted to do and he is happy Vince let him with very little oversight. It showed Vince trusted him. Vince is incredibly proud of the Center and the athletes.
Bill asked how indy guys can get noticed. H said we have a recruiting department and if they are working indies, they probably already know about them. He talked about William Regal being his trusted eye for talent. H said if you are out there doing it, continue learning your craft. Being a mechanic is important, but learn more about being a personality.
Bill said that he has been using HHH’s DVD and he might have to take a look at him. H said the one word he thinks of when he sees Bill is jacked, Superstar Billy Graham-esque.