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WHETHER ROH IS BEING TARGETED, THE POTENTIAL DEAL WITH GABE SAPOLSKY, NXT TO UK, KEEPING NXT A FRESH BRAND, TAKEOVER: BROOKLYN & MUCH MORE: TRIPLE H MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL COVERAGE

By Mike Johnson on 2015-08-19 10:30:00
WWE's Paul "Triple H" Levesque took part in a media conference call this morning to discuss WWE NXT Takeover: Brooklyn and the developmental system in particular.

WWE's Adam Hopkins welcomed everyone to the call and noted that for tthe first time, they are doing it from WWE HQ. He turned it over to HHH.

HHH noted it was a historic week for NXT in terms of making it fill its own niche and being it's own brand. He said it will be a huge opportunity for them to reach out and get more attention. He said that when the idea first came up for Summerslam, they were looking for a venue to compliment the Summerslam activities. A suggestion was made of running Barclays since they already had the venue and he wasn't a big fan of the idea. They were going to curtain it off at 6,000 seats and those sold before they even officially went on sale so they went the entire way. He said they are very excited because it's NYC and it speaks to the brand and the excitement for the brand and the future of WWE in general.

HHH pushed the card for Saturday. He pushed the special attraction of Jushin Liger working, Joe vs. Corbin and what he termed as a "dual main event" Owens vs. Balor and Bayley vs. Banks.

HHH said he wanted to clarify something after the announcement of the entire card. The entire card is not for the Network live. The show in Brooklyn will first film a 90 minute episode of NXT for the following week, then broadcast the 2 hour Takeover show.

HHH then made an 'exclusive' announcement as they will do a Fan Experience on 9/28 allowing fans a chance to enter and experience the behind the scenes of the Performance Center. It will be open to 40 fans with a full tour, Q&As, witness the different training and classes and see how it all goes over the course of the day. Fans will be a participant in the day, not just a "fly on the wall" with the exception of taking bumps. They'll be able to do promo class and work on their promotional videos as well as a special exclusive WWE NXT event for them and members of NXT staff. Tickets will go on sale Monday at Noon at www.NXTTickets.com.

Brian Fritz asked if they are now looking at doing NXT Takeover shows before major PPVs. HHH said they are looking at ideas but he prefers to piggyback NXT major events onto major week-long WWE events so they can be part of the entire experience. He pushed the NXT Panel on Saturday morning in Brooklyn and said he would be there as well as lot of the NXT roster discussing the effect of NXT on the business.

HHH said he doesn't know too many entertainment entities that could sell out three straight nights in NYC and that's a bold statement. He said a few months ago that 2015 was the year where they tried different things. NXT is unique and he doesn't want it to be Raw or Smackdown. It needs to have it's own identity.

Dave here: Mike then got on and asked about the fact that so many talents have been brought up to the main roster so what is the succession plan to keep talents coming up and keep the brand a viable entity. Mike also asked about the potential to work with WWN Live (even though Mike knew that he couldn’t comment on it).

HHH said you know Vince, he will take who he wants and that is the battle they will always have to fight in NXT. But that is also the strength of NXT, not the weakness. HHH is thrilled when talents get called up and move on to WWE but it also creates opportunities for NXT to keep the brand fresh and exciting by creating new stars. HHH said that despite what some say online about NXT raiding the indies, he doesn’t cherry pick anywhere. He just wants talented people, wherever they come from. It can be the indies or mainstream sports. He doesn’t care where they come from. Talent is talent. He mentioned how good Kurt Angle was and he never worked the indies. He said that you work with the talent, wherever they come from, to make them better. It’s a challenge, for sure, as sometimes long term plans get thrown out the window when someone he has a plan for gets called up. But that just makes him work harder to keep things growing.

Mike tagging back in!

Scott Fishman asked them about the women being called up to the main roster and his thoughts. HHH said it was awesome and he said for years, seeing talents move to the main roster is always awesome. He said he feels like a proud dad watching these "kids" going from raw clay to getting it to getting called up and being recognized. They put out an opportunity for the women to perform in a way they had never done before they took that chance and changed the paradigm of the business, as did the women already on the main roster. He said he looks forward to them main eventing events and being as important as anyone else. Charlotte and Sasha's goal is to main event Wrestlemania. That is their belief system and they've instilled that into them and they want to make it happen. He doesn't doubt that with their drive and passion that it will happen.

Jason Powell brought up NXT running opposite ROH in Texas and whether a potential deal with EVOLVE could be to target ROH. He asked whether they are considering ROH major competition. HHH said it's funny how people see different things. He said that other companies piggy-back off of major WWE events and it makes sense for them to do the same thing and it's part of their discovery process for the NXT brand. He said that when they made the decision to run in Texas, he was unaware ROH was running. When they made the decision to run Takeover on a Saturday this weekend, it was the best decision for WWE business, nothing more.

On Gabe Sapolsky and EVOLVE, they are looking for quality events and shows that can help support the business overall. He said the indies and other entities under WWE are important to the health of the business. He doesn't want to see anyone fail but he is going to do what's right for WWE's business. If it effects someone else's business plan, he can't help that because his primary duty is to WWE's business.

Jan Murphy (a reporter based in Toronto) asked about the Canadian talents and who WWE was using to scout Canadian talents. HHH said it's the same eyes and ears that he has watching the rest of the globe. He said he has a recruiting team and William Regal is a big part of that. They are scouting and recruiting globally. They don't say, "Oh, we need Canadians." They are looking for the best talents globally. He said Canada has such a rich tradition and guys get a ton of work and having a good reputation is important. He pointed out that guys get trained right by the likes of Lance Storm and others up there and that leads to opportunities, but that doesn't lead to any additional opportunities.

HHH was asked about the ticket sales for Brooklyn. HHH said that every time they leap another hurdle, it's another chance for them to prove this is it's own brand. NXT guys are selling tickets and selling merchandise. There is excitement all around within the company. They are looking at going international and "The UK is going to be very exciting" then joked the Internet just exploded. Once a month, he's going to Vince McMahon and saying, "Check this out. You aren't going to believe this." This isn't just about making sure they have future talents, although that's an important part of it, but it's much, much more.

HHH was asked whether talents who get called up will continue to go back and forth between the main roster and the NXT show and if that was going to be a model going forward. He said that everyone wants to go to the main roster and be a big star but if the other side of the coin is being in NXT, that's not a bad spot to be in. He said he might move people who don't have a current spotlight or role back down to NXT to help revitalize them, pointing out Tyson Kidd and Cesaro as examples of that. They have a brand they can do anything with. There's no rulebook for NXT.

The final question was from Neil at the Daily Mirror. He asked about Apollo Crews debuting this weekend. HHH said he's a great talent and they are looking forward to getting him on board with the "WWE Playbook" and by that he means getting guys into a position where they can be best marketed and used by WWE based on their vision. Crews has all the tools and he's looking forward to his debut. HHH said there are also going to be some big debuts soon and that will bring fresh blood in as others move to the main roster. He said Crews has that young, hungry fire to him and he's looking forward to Crews becoming a massive star.

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