-- The following recap of tonight's post-TakeOver media conference call with Paul "HHH" Levesque is below. Credit to Mike Johnson of pwinsider.com for the write-up.
Levesque said NXT brings something different stylistically to their performers and the matches they can put out. He praised the new Capitol Wrestling Center and that they've created pods for fans to safely be with fans they knew. He is excited about the return of Halloween Havoc and praised the main event as well as KUSHIDA, Swerve and Escobar.
Kyle O'Reilly is being evaluated as they speak.
Finn Balor is en route to getting his jaw x-rayed.
The first question asked about the return of Halloween Havoc, Toni Storm and Ember Moon. HHH said that just when you think the division can't get any stronger, out comes Toni Storm and Ember Moon returns from a near-career ending injury. It was hard for Moon not to be smiling, getting to be here and getting to be back. She has a 12 person list of talents she is looking forward to working with. The competition is the best and it makes everyone work harder. The timing of her return is just when she was able to return, not because of Halloween Havoc. She's healthy and the door was open.
Halloween Havoc was their chance to have some fun and entertain. It was a show he used to look forward to. Bringing fans something they enjoyed back is a great thing and Shotzi Blackheart is the right person to host.
The next caller asked if HHH could clarify if NXT will be part of the brand draft and whether it's time for some talents to move on. HHH said he was asked the other day and if he knew, he would tell us but he honestly doesn't. WWE is working through that and even for the NXT team, it's a wait and see thing. There are opportunities everywhere and there will be even more of that in the near future. He doesn't see it as someone is in a place so they should go somewhere else. When someone finally moves, it should be meaningful. He said the impatience of people today is that they want it all now and they can't wait for the big match, but if you can wait on it, you make it even bigger. You have to be have patience and it's imperative on them to make sure you have that patience. When something wears off from being brand new, you have to have the storytelling in place. You can't always do the shiny penny thing where they move just to be the shiny penny thing. Things have to play out, such as they did with Johnny Gargano and Candice LaRae. There is a lot more to play out with them but you have to have patience to do it.
HHH was asked about what all the changes for the Capitol Wrestling Center mean for the WWE Performance Center going forward. They are working through that as we speak. The dynamic has changed and the main room is now a showplace for them. Training has resumed but it hasn't been in what had been in the main PC room. He said that training is taking place at a different, smaller location with less rings as they needed to create something with more space for what is required of them at this time. A lot of the other things that took place in the PC such as the rehab facilities, medical facilities, the 3D Suite, etc. will remain. They are going to have another location so talents can shift around a little bit more. They will have talents training within their "bubble group" in small batches, training at the other location and after the location is cleaned, another group can come in and change. Everything has had to be shifted as they resumed training anyway. They short of gutted everything in order to make the CWC building what it is tonight. They are changing and tweaking what they do as they figure out the current environment that the world is dealing with today.
He was asked about the movement of talent with the draft. HHH said he's for whatever is best for talent but based on commercials, he assumes NXT isn't part of the draft. They try to have the best amount of knowledge for when talents are entering or exiting so they can do the best possible for the talents. There are some talents who are part of other rosters still waiting to debut. Opportunity is there across all three brands and they are excited for it.
The next quetion asked about Ridge Holland. HHH said he's a great performer and he's seen very highly among other performers and Coaches. The moment with Johnny Gargano was just a timing thing. There's such a fine line in the business between something being real and being sports-entertainment. Balor is on the way to the hospital now and there's no one at fault for that. He said you want things to look as impactful as possible without it actually being as impactful as possible. Sometimes, you are off half a beat and things happen. What happened with Holland and Gargano was just one of those things and it's easy to say, "Oh, it's a green guy" but it was a timing thing. People are passionate and excited about working with him and getting him to where he needs to be.
He was asked about Halloween Havoc and noted the past return of In Your House and whether we could see the return of older intellectual property and concepts. HHH said it depends on the moment and whether it works for today. Halloween Havoc is a great way to have some fun and do something different with the show. If they can bring back nostalgia, great. If they can do something new, great. Fans love the history of the business and so does he, that's why it's now the Capitol Wrestling Center. That's why the cold open for the show was paying tribute to Jess McMahon, Vince McMahon then and Vince McMahon now. When they can create something new like the Fight Pit that has a little bit of a throwback, he's excited to do that as well to keep things interesting and fun.
The next caller asked about how the COVID-19 protocols were handled and whether this could be the new home when the deal on the Thunderdome runs out. HHH said that he expected that if Raw and Smackdown move from Amway, they would go to a larger venue and still utilize the Thunderdome. He made it clear they still have their relationship with Full Sail University. What they are doing here requires them to have a residency and this is where that worked best. They work with the CDC and the local authorities to make sure they do what is needed in terms of screening. Fans were tested, had their temps taken and were walked to their pods and remained there until the show was over and walked out. HHH said you just have to follow the CDC to follow their protocol and see how those change. Everyone is doing the best they possibly can. In Florida, things are opening up, but they are still going to do the best they can.
Someone from Metro UK asked about Finn Balor saying he needed a break last year after coasting on Raw and Smackdown. HHH said it's been awesome to see what he's brought to NXT. Every talent has moments they are fully engaged and moments where they are coasting and just trying to get through. Sometimes you are deep into it before you realize you are coasting and need a new challenge. Sometimes it's a new performer that comes in that energizes you ands sometimes it's a shift to NXT like Finn had. NXT has a different vibe and energy, younger talents trying to get themselves to that next level. There's a lot of hunger, passion and drive and that inspires you to get out of the rut you are in. He sees it in guys like Finn and for anyone who has visited the PC or the shows, the PC is one of the reason he loves coming here. It's men and women who are blood, sweat and tears every day going at it passionately for the business. It's easy to get into the day to day and get into the rut and forget why it's so fun and why you got into it in the first place. Balore has so much passion for the business and seeing him laying it all on the line to challenge himself and challenge others. The beauty of the business, to HHH, is about passion, for the fans, for the talents and when everyone wants to give it all, it's something special. Tonight was about a crew that was so passionate about putting out a product and making it so big.
He thanked everyone for calling into the call and said that he is so proud of the spectacle they put on tonight and they look forward to doing it again on Wednesday.