-- Ahead of this weekend's Survivor Series & NXT TakeOver: WarGames, Triple H held a conference call with members of the media today. He discussed weekly Wednesday NXT Tv on Wednesdays, while promising an "epic" show tonight as well as the rumors of stepping back in the ring on Sunday and many other topics. Here's a recap from pwinsider.com:
Levesque said it seems they’ve been extra busy. It’s an exciting time with NXT on the USA Network for two hours. He’s been happy with how everyone has stepped up with the transition to live television. This weekend is a busy and, in some ways, completely different, but an incredible challenge for the talent. They have live show tonight, a live Smackdown they they’ll have some involvement in, then Wargames and Survivor Series. It’s unprecedented for NXT. Everyone gets to prove their worth and it’s an exciting time.
Tonight’s show, Levesque predicted, will be one of the best NXT broadcasts they’ve ever done. He plugged the return of The Revival, the ladder match with Adam Cole vs. Dominick Dijakovic and they have “opened the doors” for tonight for Raw and Smackdown. He said there’s a lot of people, including “top people most won’t expect” coming.
He asked about the intent after Survivor Series is for NXT to continue being it’s own stand-alone brand with its own texture and feel. He said the split between brands should be more defined after Sunday and perhaps Survivor Series will be the only time the brands compete. He said when he looks across the board at Raw and Smackdown have been the inclusion of NXT on those shows, since the Smackdown that had travel issues and it’s been consistent. It’s time for the talent to step up and having NXT on Survivor Series makes those matches feel bigger. He said you take Shayna Baszler out of the equation of her match and it doesn’t have the same feel. You have to be judicious with things like this and if you are, they are meaningful.
Any update on Johnny Gargano? He is day to day. He and Triple H are both gutted he will be missing Takeover as he had a long run.
He was asked about balancing the NXT Creative process towards Wargames with sharing creative for Survivor Series and what that tug of war has been like. HHH joked he has Shawn and Road Dogg and they can crack heads and they can get what they need done, saying he’d put them up against Paul Heyman and Bruce Prichard. It’s a collaboration and a work in progress. Some was planned. Some you stumble into it and you make greatness out of that. Out of chaos comes greatness. Everyone is working together. From the outside, you can look into it and assume things about egos and things, but everyone has been on the same page. You have to work on the availaibility of talent as well but its been a collaborative process and fun. What's been challenging is that under the guise of live television, things change last second and you can’t fully plan Wednesday until after Monday and things change. Sometimes things don’t go the way you think it’s going to go and you have to pivot at that point. You have to see what happens.
He was then asked about what the learning curve has been for NXT since its come to the USA Network and what are some of the things that have needed to be smoothed out. What has been pleasantly surprising for him is seeing his talents transition to live. There's a difference, even though they were working on it and they were preparing talents for it in general for Raw and Smackdown. The smoothness of the transition has been great. He hopes he doesn't jinx himself but they haven't had a show where he's felt they've missed a commercial break. A lot of times on Wednesdays, they are working with a younger crew. They are on cutting their teeth and its been super collaborative.
What's been interesting is getting the data and seeing how people react to NXT differently from Raw and Smackdown. It's been a learning curve for them to see how people react to the product.
Levesque was asked about Imperium working the UK taping. He said it was something well received internally in the company. He said he suggested the idea, saying NXT has “tentacles everywhere” so let’s get some representation for them to help build the brand. They all did a tremendous job. He said they are going to be big stars. He doesn’t want a fast rush and have things burn out. It needs to be the long play. There’s a team that’s over there, Jim Smallman and those working there. Shawn Michaels has taken a chief role there and it shows. Their inclusion in Raw and Smackdown was to help build the brand. They showed that they belong and they became bigger stars.
He was asked about IIja Draganov. He’s amazing and he’s a tremendous, incredible performer with a bright future. He’s a different talent and like WALTER, they’ve had a lot of training with WXW but a lot of guys didn’t have a lot of television training. They all have amazing future.
Levesque shot down the idea of competing in NXT Wargames. It’s about youth and the future. If you can add to that and help things getting to the next level but in this moment, Survivor Series is about them. He said the final member of Ciampa’s team will be revealed the “day of” and it will be “epic.”
NXT Takeover: Blackpool was moved to a Sunday due to an internal, logistical decision. He wasn't involved in that. It was determined Sunday was a better day for the Network. He is excited to go back to Blackpool. It's been awesome for them. The fans are intense and loud and its an amazing building. He looks forward to being there. He wants NXT to be as big as the overall NXT system.
He was asked about talents asking for releases and WWE enforcing the contracts as opposed to letting them go. There's a lot of things. When you get to the bottom of it, he doesn't understand people airing the issues as opposed to go talk to them. If he has an issue with a talent, he doesn't go on Twitter, he goes to the talent. There are some people who are out there getting clicks or trying to break the Internet. He watches guys do it all the time. Some guys want to mess with people and get a ton of buzz. For the company, there are moments in time where people get frustrated and they say some stuff. Like any long-term relationship, you say stuff and come back and say you didn't mean it. It's not how you should handle business. Everyone has phones and they should meet like professionals. They are trying to change the business and make it more professional.
Next question asked about how often Tommaso Ciampa will be able to wrestle going forward. Any time someone has signifigant health issues, they become more closely monitored. You look at what he's doing, how he's feeling, perhaps changing his style if needed. When you go to the Internet and people start talking about their medical team, they don't know what they are talking about. He will put them up against anyone. They get their talents the best medical care possible, the best doctors and the best rehab. As much as you hear how demanding the schedule is, there are talents who want to work more. It's a personal choice. He hated having time off. When he was 25, he didn't want to go home. He wanted to be on the road every day. They work with everyone. The schedules are manageable for most and when you are on top, the demands are higher. That comes with being the top talent and wanting to be the top talent. Everyone wants to be the supervisor but not everyone wants the responsibility. When you are managing talents, you want to keep them all healthy and mentally straight.
Levesque was asked if there was every talk of Adam Cole vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Brock Lesnar. He said there are always conversations but the Rey Mysterio vs. Brock Lesnar storyline was so strong, how do you step away from that? Everyone morphed into their own spot. With the Fiend, it almost worked cleaner to have his own storyline. Adam Cole will defend the title against the winner of the Three-Way the next night at Survivor Series.
He was asked about Adam Cole's work of late. He said that he can't say enough about Cole's work. He's a consumate pro and represents the company well. He has been everywhere and on every show with short notice. With short notice, he tears the house down with Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins. He gets in there on all those shows and all those talents on FOX and how he represented himself. He's getting notes all day on how well he represented the company. He's a leader in the locker room. He can't say enough positive things about him. Professional = Adam Cole.
He was asked how global he feels NXT will become. Triple H said he’s spoken about it on business partner summits and in other outlets but the long term goal is to expose the brand.
Charlotte loved her trip to India and couldn’t stop raving about the experience. He feels the same way every time he’s been there. It’s a beautiful place and they love being in the country. It’s an amazing place. He thanks India for being amazing fans and they will be there in a bigger way. It’s coming.
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