Here are the highlights from today’s NXT conference call with Triple H, courtesy of Pwinsider.com:
HHH said he was a bit late because he had to call Bruno Sammartino and wish him a happy 80th Birthday. Bruno is recovering from back surgery and doing well.
HHH talked about how well NXT did in Brooklyn and said said that some of the shows on the upcoming UK tour have sold out, including Takeover from Wembley Arena in London. He said that being part of Louder Than Life in Louisville, KY over this past weekend was a success as well. He said it was a good experience for the wrestlers to be in front of a different kind of crowd. And of course, tomorrow we have Takeover: Respect. HHH paid homage to the late, great Dusty Rhodes and said he will be show respect by those in the tag tournament. On a second level, respect is paid to the women of NXT. For the first time they will be THE main event as Sasha takes on Bayley in a 30 minute Iron Man match. It is about respect for women in the business. As much as they have both done for women’s wrestling so far, he feels they will raise the bar tomorrow night. HHH also talked about the new series “Breaking Ground”, which is being shot right now at the Performance Center and other places, such as the Louder Than Life Festival. He thinks that the look inside will be very interesting for fans.
The first question came from Mike Johnson. He asked about the three different crowds at the shows at the Barclay Center, with demographics at Raw, NXT and the PPV. He asked what HHH derived from the unique demographics that NXT brought. He also asked what lessons have been learned in 2015 and what can WWE glean from that information.
HHH said there are definitely different crowds at the shows and he wonders how much crossover there is between the brands. He said that while NXT is not difference from a performance standpoint, it’s more underground and edgier. HHH said that they are feeding that niche and the niche is huge. If NXT is Punk or Heavy Metal, than WWE is more Pop Music, it catches everyone. He knows who is fan base is with NXT and he knows who he is trying to serve. He wants to glean what the crossover is to those that also went to see Raw and the PPV. The goal of the main roster is to appeal to everyone.
As for 2015, as he said they have thrown a lot against the wall. It’s grown. He hopes to have even more fully functioning third brand that is touring even more than it is now. He wants to tour more internationally and do more festivals, as they did over the weekend. He said now they may get to the point where they can’t do everything and will have to say no to things, due to the growth. It’s a great problem to have.
Mike said it might be time for a brand split. HHH laughed and then said he didn’t know if he could handle that.
Jason Powell asked who has taken over for Dusty as the head of the promo class. HHH said it’s kind of split up right now and Dusty is kind of irreplaceable in that respect. The way he ran the promo class worked great because it was Dusty’s invention. HHH is trying to find the right people to put in the role that can then morph it to work for him the way Dusty’s system worked for him. Right now it’s a mix between guests, internal people and William Regal. He is still looking find the right person/people.
Powell asked about Muta appearing at the last special. HHH joked that he didn’t remember that. Did you mean Liger? Yes he did. He said he wouldn’t mind working with Muta or Liger. He is open to working with people and companies where there is a mutual reason to do so. He has met with New Japan and we will see what comes out of it.
The next question asked how important HHH thinks Bayley vs. Sasha from Brooklyn was to bringing women’s wrestling back to WWE, down the road.
HHH thinks the match was huge, but there are other and will be more moments that are just as huge. It all builds to where it will end up. He put over Natty and Sara Del Rey for their roles. He mentioned Ronda Rousey and the US Women’s Soccer Team. He thinks they are in the mix to do that for women in wrestling. He said their Brooklyn match was one the greatest he has ever seen. He said that the world is saying that they are phenomenal, passionate athletes that make the sacrifices necessary, just like the men. He said to say that one moment is what made it happen wouldn’t be fair. It’s a giant wheel of momentum and a lot of people are a part of that. All of the women have started the revolution and they will continue to be.
He asked about NXT talents learning all aspects of the business, like Bayley over the weekend. HHH said some people just want to perform while others want to learn all aspects of the business. He said it’s very hard for people to do that at a Raw, but they can do it at NXT. He said some people, like him, like to learn all aspects of the business so that when their time in the ring are done, they can have a second career in the business. He appreciates that some people want to perform and also that some want to do more. He encourages people to learn more if they want to.
The next question asked about Finn Balor doing the crotch chop in front of TNA offices over the weekend. Doesn’t concern him or does he think it’s funny?
He thinks it’s funny. The talent travels by bus in cities. They gave the bus company a mandate to take the talents to a good gym and it just so happened to be near TNA’s offices. He said that Finn sent him the photo and said he hopes he doesn’t mind if he tweets it. HHH didn’t care. He said anyone who minds it takes it too seriously.
He was asked about women competing in cage matches and Cells. He said the opportunities should be there for women. He also said that when they planned to do the match, they debated whether to call it an Iron Man or Iron Woman match. He thought Iron Man and asked Lita and she said she thought calling it Iron Woman would be demeaning. So they went with Iron Man.
Scott Fishman asked about Vince being hot and cold about women’s wrestling. He was asked if Vince was hard to sell on letting the women main event NXT. HHH was like HUH? Fishman said that Vince has the final say. H corrected him and said not in NXT. He said he told Vince he was doing it and Vince was fine with it. He said if people want to see it, great. HHH said that Vince does have a different way of presenting women on his roster, but he lets HHH book his product his way. He could, of course, overrule him but that isn’t the case. He said that Vince came to Brooklyn and just watched, which is hard for him because he likes to put his fingerprints on it. He said he was happy Vince came and watched. He said Vince enjoyed it. Vince told him yesterday he can’t wait to watch Bayley and Sasha tomorrow night.
He asked about Asuka debuting against Dana Brooke. He said that he thinks Asuka debuting is another cog in the wheel of the women growing. He talked about Hideo Itami coming in and it was a struggle and that happens. He compared college football to the NFL in that there is an adjustment process. He said what he has seen of her so far tells him that she will be great. She has an innate charisma as well.
Jim V. asked what the thought process of the Horsewomen do the Curtain Call in Brooklyn. He said for him, it’s all about emotion and telling the story. He tries to look at it like a fan. What is real and what would the fans want to do. He wanted to make it real, like in other sports. He likes capturing the emotion, especially in something that big. Sasha was leaving and Bayley was ascending, and the women that bonded together got to show that emotion. He said it was kind of like their Curtain Call back in WWF. He said it was magic.
He was asked Vince thought. He said Vince loved it and thought it was a great touch. He said it’s all about selling the emotion and that came out. He said it’s not bad for the heel to show the emotion, it’s real. He said fans now more than ever get that. They know as much of the reality of the business as they do the story now. If you present it correctly, it makes it magical.
The last questions came from someone from 1Wrestling.com. He put over Bill Apter. He then asked if Gabe Sapolsky and Evolve will be working with NXT as possibly a feeder system or will Gabe be a booker?
The second part was new to HHH (so no). But Evolve as a feeder system? Yes. He likes what Gabe and Evolve does. He sees them as a feeder system and supports them and their shows. The talent that have come in to NXT from there have been well trained and they speak highly of Gabe. HHH would definitely send talent to Evolve if he didn’t have a space for them in NXT, or if there was something that they need to work on. HHH said he supports them in any way that they can and if he can help out Evolve he will.
The caller said that he thinks Apollo Crews will be the first “black” WWE champion in three years (I guess he never heard of The Rock). He was asked what he thought of Crews. He is obviously high on him, or he wouldn’t be there. He also thinks that he has everything it takes to be a champion. He also added he doesn’t understand how people don’t get that The Rock and Booker T were already African American champions.
HHH closed by thanking us and once again threw out the invitation for us to come on down to the Performance Center. He thanks us for coming and appreciates us for our support.
As always, Triple H came across as an awesome guy. Is he putting on a “front” for the media and “insiders”? Who knows … but he came across as a laid back guy as he normally does.