WWE executive Paul “Triple H” Levesque held another conference call with the wrestling media Wednesday ahead of NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II, which will air on the WWE Network at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Before taking questions from the media, Levesque said that it is a fun time for NXT and for the wrestling industry as a whole with all of the changes going in the business.
He then shared an anecdote about a poster from last year’s Takeover event Brooklyn that is on display in his office. He said that when he looked at it became evident to him how much has changed in NXT over the last year.
That is because the majority of the people featured on that poster are now on WWE’s main roster.
“That’s amazing and a compliment to the system of NXT and what they’re doing,” he said.
As usual, Levesque hyped the card for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II and the first name he mentioned was Ember Moon, who will make her television debut in a match against Billie Kay.
Levesque said that Moon is a “very exciting performer” and that he is “really excited to get her started in NXT.”
“As a lot of the women have moved into the main roster, she’s going to become a key part of the women’s division going forward,” he added.
Next on the agenda was Austin Aries versus No Way Jose.
“I’m excited to see No Way Jose bring something different than what we’ve seen from him — the dancing, fun-loving guy,” hr said. “[Let’s] see if he can raise the stakes a bit and stand in the ring and hang with somebody like Austin Aries. It’s a great opportunity for him.”
When it came to Bobby Roode’s debut against Andrade “Cien” Almas, Levesque said, “What can you say about that match other than I pretty much guarantee that one is going to be glorious.”
Levesque then turned his attention to the NXT Tag Team championship match between The Revival and Tommaso Ciampa Johnny Gargano.
“To me, there’s nothing more exciting sometimes than classic tag team action and this thing has the potential to just absolutely steal the show,” he said.
“Johnny Gargano and Ciampa have just, I feel like as performers, just turned this corner,” he added. “The performance that they put on in their match at the Cruiserweight [Classic] and the things that they’ve been doing in NXT are just off the charts.
“The Revival, to me, are one of the best tag teams out there right now and I’m excited for that match. Really excited.”
Levesque then said that he believes Asuka and Bayley may have the best match of the weekend for the NXT Women’s title and believed the NXT championship match between Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura will be in contention for that distinction as well.
“[Joe and Nakamura are] two performers that have known each for a really, really long time, but fortune has just never brought them into the ring together and two diverse styles that I’m really intrigued by,” Levesque said. “I’m a big believer that styles making matches and fights and this is one that I really think is going to deliver beyond anybody’s expectations.”
Levesque wrapped up his opening statements by praising what we have seen thus far from the WWE Cruiserweight Classic.
“The cruiserweights have been one of those really fun projects for me that I have been wanting to do for years and finally having the opportunity to do it,” he said. “It’s always been something that I felt needed to happen and to give talent in that division the opportunity to shine and possibly give the opportunity that they never had before.”
“You’ve seen some amazing, amazing matches and talent already and you’re going to see a lot more,” he added.
The first question from the media was about the cruiserweight division that set to inhabit Raw. The journalist wanted to know how many wrestlers will be in the division, whether they will be signed to full-time contracts and why they are going to Raw instead of Smackdown.
Levesque said that with Raw being three hours, it needs more content and the cruiserweight division will provide just that.
“I think you’ll see the presentation be different,” he added. “It’s all about creating something different for Raw given the three-hour format.”
Levesque went on to say that WWE is signing cruiserweight wrestlers right now, but is not looking to sign all of them all at once. While he is looking to fill out a division, he said that he is also keeping an eye out on the future as well.
He added that the cruiserweights will be work Raw, NXT and NXT live events.
“I want these guys to be able to work,” he said. “When you have a three-hour Raw show, there’s a lot of talent, but there are so many live events. So I want to be able to put guys to work and to keep them doing what they do so that they can not only do it now, but continue to get better.”
Levesque was then asked about the importance of testing the newer talents in NXT by putting them in front large crowds like the one they’ll see in Brooklyn. He said that testing the talent on a regular basis is necessary, as the environment is always changing in NXT with talent getting called up to the main roster.
“There’s a constant freshness to it,” Levesque said about NXT. “I think there is a constant evolving to it. Do you need to create talent to feed the monster? You need to create talent to feed NXT and it’s becoming its own monster. I think it’s part of the magic.”
“People will criticize sometimes that somebody comes in from the outside with a lot of indie experience and they’ll say, ‘They were already ready.’ Well, in-ring, but there’s a lot more to what we do than just in-ring and the goal of NXT, the goal of the WWE Performance Center, of all of it, is to get them ready for television.”
A journalist from Spain then asked if NXT would be looking to tour the country any time soon. He said that NXT is open to touring anywhere and will officially announce a tour of Australia some time this weekend.
Later in the call, Levesque was asked whether he is open to having wrestlers take part in the cruiserweight division while working for outside promotions. He was asked about Kota Ibushi in particular.
Levesque said that NXT is open to signing talent that still work outside the company, but when it comes to the cruiserweight division, WWE would rather sign the wrestlers to exclusive contracts.
“I kind of work with everybody as they’re coming and see what they have going on and see what we have going on from there,” he said. “All of this is kind of a work in progress, especially with the cruiserweights. It’s morphed from an idea to a concept that we put on the WWE Network to we’re going to make it a part of Raw. We’re in the process of that now.”
“I’m open to things, but when we’re talking about creating WWE superstars, we’re looking to create WWE superstars and work with them,” he added.
Later on in the call, he was asked about what the NXT broadcast team might look like moving forward with Corey Graves moving up to Raw. Levesque said that it is being worked on.
“We’re trying to figure out the best fit and voice for NXT the brand itself,” he said. “A lot of it comes down to does Vince [McMahon] wants them exclusive, does he not want them exclusive. It’s a little bit of work in progress right now. You could see some shifting around a bit. I’m not 100 percent sure. We’re working to find the best voice.”
He went to say that he was thrilled that NXT helped develop Graves into a color commentator for the company’s flagship program.
Levesque was then asked why fans don’t see the typical 50/50 booking on NXT when it is the norm on Raw and Smackdown.
“When you compare a one-hour show to a three-hour show from a writing and a booking standpoint, it’s not even in the same stratosphere,” Levesque said. “It’s a totally different animal.”
“I book NXT the way I want to book NXT,” he added. “The rest of it is done differently sometimes. Sometimes it’s not. It’s not an exact science.”
A journalist then asked Levesque about the possibly of WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels moving to Orlando, Fla. to join the coaching staff at the WWE Performance Center.
“Shawn is in the process of deciding whether he wants to move, not move, I’m not 100 percent sure where Shawn is at in his personal life as far as his move goes,” Levesque said. “I haven’t talked to him for a couple of days.”
“He has recently spent some time at the WWE Performance Center,” he added about Michaels. “I saw Shawn a few months ago. We constantly talk about NXT and the WWE Performance Center and he loves the brand. He came down and spent a few days with me around talent and I think it kind of invigorated him, which is hard not to do being around there with all of the young, hungry talent and he asked about coming back and spending some time. This all comes down to discussions and Shawn and what he wants to do.”
Levesque then said the door is wide open for Michaels to join the staff.
The final question of the call was about the Cruiserweight Classic and whether the winner would be crowned the new Cruiserweight champion. Levesque said that everyone has to wait and see, but did admit that nothing has been set in stone and that it is still a work in progress.