Triple H hosted a conference call promoting NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day and discussed Edge potentially picking the NXT Title as his WrestleMania Match, NXT potentially going to Peacock and more. You can check out a recap of the call below:
* Triple H thanks everyone for joining them and talks about how they’re on the road to WrestleMania, then runs down the card for Sunday’s PPV. He discussed putting the card together and how it was exciting to do, especially now when everything can happen. He called Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida a dream match and said Gargano has showed a very different side to himself. He talked about MSK’s run so far which is a strong statement and said Grizzled Young Veterans have shown in NXT what they bring to the table. He put over that match and then talked about the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals and how it speaks to the strength and depth of NXT’s women’s division, as does the NXT Women’s Title match. He added that their new NXT class is the largest class in terms of women. Finally he talked about the NXT Championship match, which he said is something special, and said Brandon Walker from Barstool Sports will be a guest on the pre-show.
* The first press question asked about whether it’s realistic that Edge would challenge for the NXT Championship as he teased on NXT. Triple H put over how well Edge’s return has been executed and is in headspace where he wants to build up young talent. Triple H said that he has talked with Edge since before he returned last year about coming to NXT and helping the talent there as a performer and mind. He added Edge gave him a list of talents he wants to work for and is excited to work with them. As to whether he might challenge for the NXT Championship, he pointed out Charlotte challenging Rhea Ripley and said that nothing’s outside the realm of possibility, and no matter what happens at WrestleMania he could see Edge coming to NXT afterward and have that final few chapters of his career the way he wants to have them.
* Asked about whether NXT should be a bigger presence at WrestleMania, Triple H said that it’s great that NXT is represented on the show and with that PPV, there are so many brands and rosters that you have to ask how big and long you want the shows to be. Everyone wants a WrestleMania match, but there are only so many spots and that’s the battle and it is a balance. He loves having NXT be a part of WrestleMania, and says it helps drive the brand forward. It ultimately comes down to how much can you fit on WrestleMania as opposed to what you can fit on a show on the weekend like a Takeover.
* Asked about Parker Boudreax and if he’ll be fast tracked to NXT, he said that they’re going to see what he can do and if he’s ready to be a performer yet. He mentioned that people make a lot of assumptions about him because he looks like Brock Lesnar, and that even Lesnar wasn’t a guy who, as amazing an athlete as he was, could go without training. They want everyone who comes in to succeed as best they can, and they have the tools at the PC to do that. It’s what they do with those tools, and people have a tendency to say a particular type of training or something else that makes a talent, but it’s about giving them all those tools and their success is them up to them. He noted that he’s excited about a lot of people who are coming in including Boudreaux, Bronson Rechsteiner (Rick Steiner’s son), as well as guys who have been there a while like Rick Bugez. He believes that the future of NXT is bright because of those guys.
* Asked about NXT getting an Elimination Chamber match, and said that he’s not opposed to the idea but he also likes the idea of brands having their own gimmicks like Raw & Smackdown having the Chamber while NXT has WarGames and NXT UK has the Heritage Cup. There’s been no discussions about it and anything could happen, but it’s not a conversation he’s having right now and he thinks keeping the brands and their gimmick matches separate is a good thing.
* Asked about adding another Women’s Championship in NXT whether a secondary title or NXT Women’s Tag Titles, he said that the conversations happen, and you want to make sure you’re not watering things down. He doesn’t believe in having too many titles and that it’s not always about those titles, but it’s a thought in mind and they’ll see where it goes. He noted that as the division increases in size in NXT, it may be getting to the point that it could happen.
* Triple H was asked that with WWE Network going to Peacock and the NBCSN shutting down which means the NHL could come to USA, what the term bar for successful ratings amid drops. He referenced what Nick Khan said on the earnings call when it’s talking about “eyeballs and consumption.” In other words, they’re asking how people are consuming the product and how TV is down across the board but people are watching more content on different platforms and streaming devices. As such, not considering those as platforms is naive even if they don’t count as ratings. He used the argument about how viewing habits and methods have changed drastically over 15 years, and he’s very happy with where they are but is always looking for it to be better. He wants it to grow and gain more eyeballs, which Peacock will help with.
* Asked about how much input he had in booking the women’s Royal Rumble and how many women were in it, he said that he was there the day of the show and was in on the discussion, though he didn’t have any involvement prior to that. Regarding NXT talent, he said that as they put the Rumble together they ask him about talent that they think are the right fit for a variety of reasons. It might be a big shocking moment, or a surprise return, the comedy moment, the celebrity moment, the storyline payoff, etc. So it’s never about a certain amount of each brand and there have to be backups in addition, especially right now. It’s just all about who fits best.
* Triple H was asked to provide updates on Velveteen Dream and Pat McAfee. He said that Dream is still training, there’s nothing to add to him but he’s still there and on the roster. Regarding McAfee, he said they’re not trying to limit his appearances and the only limitation is that McAfee is a busy guy between his podcasting, media personality, sports world content, and more. The last few months were very busy with the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl, so they let him have some time after that and joked that “his learning about his firing on the air was greatly exaggerated.” He says they’ve been talking about it and he wants a moment to breathe post-Super Bowl considering he just got married. He said McAfee loves being in NXT and that he loves that, and related it to Bad Bunny in terms of their attitude and loving being involved in WWE, and being respectful to what they do.
* Asked about Rhea Ripley’s reported main roster move and if there’s been a decision to what brand she’ll be on, he avoided talking about that and praised her skill set at just 23 years old as well as her maturity and growth. He noted that her confidence is much higher and she’s a sponge in terms of learning, as well as being humble and wanting to learn. He said Ripley is like Bianca Belair because they both have “it,” and suggested that Ripley could be the next Belair.
* Asked if there’s been discussion about NXT running live on Peacock, Triple H said that he’s not sure because he’s not in those conversations, noting that Nick Khan or Stephanie McMahon are probably the best people to ask about that. He noted that NBCU is happy with NXT’s performance on USA, where the product is at and when it airs, and noted that there is plenty of synergy which allows them to use NXT on USA to guide people to Peacock (though he noted that was just him). The relationship with USA is very strong and anything could happen going forward obviously, but right now it just strengthens their synergy with each other.
* Finally, he was asked about whether Steve Culter’s release and if the circumstances around it changed the way that their COVID-19 protocols are approached regarding talent who don’t follow it. He said that he has no idea what happened with that situation and what went into it, noting that they take COVID seriously across the board and expect talents to take it seriously as well. They take all their precautions and the safety and health of all their employees are first and foremost. He only knows what he has read and what has been speculated, but he hasn’t asked.
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