Credit: Dave Scherer & PWInsider
Triple H hosted a conference call with reporters to talk about tomorrows NXT Chicago event.
Adam Hopkins welcomed us to the call and turned it over to Triple H. He opened by thanking everyone for being here. He said its an exciting week for the company. Today we get the 90 minute UK show from Norwich. He said it was excellent and he is looking forward to people seeing it. Its another step in them localizing content and getting things established around the globe. He said its a process and they want to do it correctly as opposed to quickly. Tomorrow we have Takeover from one of his favorite buildings in the world, The Allstate Arena. He looks forward to bringing the unique NXT brand to the building and its audience. He thinks that it will be a great card. He talked about Bobby Roode vs. Hideo Itami, saying Itami is ready to make a statement after all of his setbacks thus far. He is excited for the Womens match and is really excited for The AOP vs. DIY in a Ladder Match. He said it might be the last chapter in their feud. He said that the AOP havent be in the business long but they have come a long way and they have impressed him. DIY is great too. He is looking forward to Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne in a rematch from their Title match. He then said he wanted to thank all of us for an ultra success WrestleMania week. It will continue to grow. We will get more information on the Womens Tournament as time goes by. He is very excited for the tournament.
H was excited to see who the first caller would be. Of course, it was Mike Johnson! H said Adam just gave H ten dollars. Mike asked for his cut. H said that he should have negotiated in advance. Mike asked about this being Itamis biggest match in the US. If this match doesnt go well for him, is this the end of line for him?
H said if this match doesnt work out, he doesnt know. He will decide then. He said that he likes to look at things from a positive point of view. Itami went from being a big star in Japan to having a lot of setbacks. Part of it was Itami finding his way in NXT. It happens at times. Its a confidence and comfort thing. But he is a good guy and has worked hard so when he got injured he felt bad for Itami. H thinks he is a big player and he will rise to the occasion. If he doesnt, they will discuss it and he will see what Itami wants to do and they will go from there.
Mike asked that since this was a quick turnaround for Takeover. Are we looking at more frequent Takeover events. H said that this one was more of a perfect storm since there was such a long time period between Mania and SummerSlam. Plus, it was Chicago and he has wanted to get there with a Takeover since the beginning. It fit perfectly on The Network too.
He was asked about the return of Drew Galloway and how he reinvented himself. H said that at the time when Drew left, it was the best thing that could have happened to him. He has always been extremely talented but he needed to walk away and go prove himself and H really respects that he did it. He said that Drew took the challenge and won it. He went out and proved himself. He added that he thinks Jinder Mahal is another person in that vein. He said that both men are different guys now. He said that sometimes guys get in the rut of being in WWE. They may not be where they want on the card but they are making good money. Its not easy to take the chance to gamble on yourself so he respects that.
He was asked about whether the call ups to the main roster has changed his approach to how he presents NXT. He said that it can be hard but its also what the brand has been designed for, to create talent for the main roster. He said it takes time to get things going after getting gutted but its a process and you have to be aware of that. He also mentioned that it also happens off camera and they have had a lot of their team called up as well. Its a process that they have to go through. He mentioned the passing of Dusty Rhodes and how that was a big hurdle to overcome. He thinks that they are getting into a great place with all of the projects that they have going on right now. He is happy to be able to give them all exposure on The WWE Network and if you are a fan, you need to have it.
Raj asked if Ciampa was injured at last nights NXT event. H said that he turned his ankle so they got him out of there. He was X rayed and there was no serious damage. It was a sprain. He said that he texted with Ciampa and he is up and moving around today. He will get checked out by medical but as of right now, hes good to go tomorrow. He would hate for him to miss out tomorrow as he and Johnny have a lot of history in Chicago.
He was asked if there is a backup plan if he cant go. He said that they dont know. They will see how it goes today and if it worsens, he will work on it later today.
He was asked about what they are looking for in talent for the Womens Tournament. He said that they want it to be global. He said that when the idea started, they didnt know how high end that they could make it and how big but when they started to scout women, they found a lot of gems out there and they realized it wouldnt be hard to fill a big tournament. He said that there are a lot of women that should be in it that wont make it due to them wanting to make it global. They are looking for the talents in the same manner that they did for last years Cruiserweight Tournament. Now they just have to decide what will be the best matchups.
He was asked about having female referees. He said that it is something that they have been working on for a while. He said that he doesnt see gender. As long as they are a good ref, they can do a match.
He was asked about whether the UK Title match on Saturday will be a good barometer for him as to whether the English talent in the US. He said he doesnt really look at it that way. He thinks if fans see them wrestle, it will sell them. He wants to keep the UK talent in the mix as they get the territory ready to go. He said that they kept them active Mania weekend. He wants to keep growing them. He talked about how young Bate and Dunne are and their upside is huge. He can seem them coming to NXT and the big roster down the road. He said its great for UK fans to see their guys grow and evolve.
He was asked about how great it was to have Jim Ross back calling matches. He said its phenomenal. He said that JR has been through a lot with his wifes passing. H said that he is sort of glad its coming to be. He talked about how great JR is and how he needs to be involved with WWE and its great for JR to have work to dive back into. He said he cant wait to see him tomorrow. He knows that JR will add so much to the product and the brand. He brings the great style and credibility to the brand.
Our last caller asked Roderick Strong and how he is adapting. H said that he thinks he is adapting very well. He is a great talent, a hard worker and a great guy. But he is not an outsized personality so they needed to find a way to have him connect with people. Sure, he could write a character for him but his real story is better than any fiction. He talked with Roddy and he was willing to make his real story his TV story. He said that it has allowed him to connect to the crowd in a way he hasnt before. Coming to the Performance Center is about growing and becoming something more. H thinks he is doing a great job of that. He is young and smart and the future is bright.
He was asked after the UK, what is the next big market to conquer. H said that is the big question. After the UK is up and running, they need to decide where to go next. Its a big world and there are a lot of places to go. Where makes the most sense for them to go. He mentioned the Dubai tryout, intimating that the market and what they offer is part of the decision. They will have strategic conversations to decide the next step. When they know, they will tell us. He said its an exciting time that now you can see world wide content right on your mobile device. He said he knows what he sees in his head, but he cant say whats in Vinces head. He said that if you are a fan of what they do, as the fan he is its the most exciting time and its only going to get bigger and bigger.
He reminded us of the NXT tour of the UK, including a big presence at the Download Festival.
He closed by thanking us for the support. He mentioned the womens tournament and how many female performers past and present have asked him about being involved. He mentioned that Alundra Blayze will be at the Performance Center next week to work with talent. Ricky Morton will be there guest coaching. Its exciting that people who havent been around in a while come back and help tomorrows talent. He talked about the busy weekend of WWE on the Network and he said see us next time.