— Below is a recap of the post NXT TakeOver media conference call with Triple H, written by Mike Johnson of pwinsider.com:
HHH announced it was the highest grossing WWE event in Portland since 2008.
To have the event untethered from any Raw, Smackdown or PPV is special. Having it here and doing the business is incredible and a testament to the talent and the brand.
HHH was asked about the potential of the Charlotte vs. Rhea Ripley storyline going back and forth from Raw and NXT on USA and whether USA had any involvement in that story coming to pass. Triple H said that USA wasn’t involved and he was as surprised as anyone when the Charlotte vs. Rhea was pitched to him and pretty much gave Vince McMahon credit for the match and the story. He said it was about what would be the best story for them and then put over Bianca big-time for her work since coming into the WWE Performance Center since 2016. He is thrilled for Rhea and Bianca. Rhea is going to have a moment at Wrestlemania and its going to be awesome.
He was asked about the process of the long-term storyline of Ciampa vs. Gargano and keeping it fresh and intriguing. HHH said it’s a rarity and there’s a truth to it, in front of and behind the camera. You can weave in and out of the stories because of the truth. They are rare moments in time and they’ve captured them. You have to be open for the possibility of what’s there and not trying to get there too fast. You run with it and let it play out and see where it goes. You try to get it where it needs to go. That’s an art form in and of itself. The dance between the creative minds trying to put it together and working with the talents who are working to get it done. Then, there’s an ebb and flow and then you have to take into account injuries. If Tommaso Ciampa didn’t need neck surgery, perhaps it would flow differently. You just try to tell those stories and try to make them make sense. You don’t want to force it. You want to try and keep a level head. Vince McMahon told him if you put yourself in the seat of the fans, you can never go wrong. That’s what he and his team try to do.
The next question asked about the value NXT brings to the table for potential OTT platforms and whether NXT could shift to a new platform. HHH said there’s a lot of speculation on even new platforms. If you take all the potential Vince McMahon discussed recently off the board, NXT has incredible value for anyone. When you can build a brand like this for a dedicated roster and regular attractions that you can put on a different platform and the opportunities you have coming out of that with ancillary products as well. He pointed out the NXT Takeovers in the UK and how that brand will grow with the new TV deals in the UK and that’s getting picked up around the globe as well. There are a lot of people across the board coming to them and they have lots of business options and they are real and trying to figure out what’s the best for the company and the WWE audience.
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Next question asked about Cathy Kelley exiting. HHH said their system in the Performance Center is designed to be a place for those in front of and behind the scenes where they cut their teeth and give them a curve to grow up and move through. He said there’s so many people who come through their doors that now work for movie studios and game designers. Kelley is a special person who brings so much to the table. She is super smart, incredibly professionally. He and Stephanie had done a lot of panels with her. She has a lot of dreams and aspirations and things she wants to accomplish. It took her a long time to come to him to talk about leaving because she didn’t want to be emotional about it. He said it’s not goodbye, it’s until we see you down the road. There’s lots of potential possibilities for everyone to work together. He said they have a few people ready to step into her role for now.
The next question asked about the on screen work of the Broserweights and how much was planned and how much came together. When they put them together, they thought it would be really good and the timing would be right. He said that sometimes, stuff just gels. He said five minutes into them teaming together, he said, “Holy cow.” Their personalities are so different and when you saw them together, there was an odd couple chemistry that was way better than they ever thought it could be. It’s been phenomenal. He talked about the evolution of where NXT goes to and when you have guys clicking like that and having great vignettes in recent weeks, it just worked. He wishes he could say they knew how it was going to work every step of the way, but they couldn’t say that.
He was asked about the difference in the production from NXT vs. Raw and Smackdown. HHH said some of it is preference. It’s the chocolate or vanilla theory. Some of it is trying to be different from what is there. Sometimes, you want to do the same thing, because it’s good but you want the product to be different. When you view the product, you know its Raw, Smackdown, NXT. It has a difference vibe and feel and he wants NXT UK to have a different one. It can be simplistic stuff like set design and lighting or it can be different camera cuts and views. He looks at NXT as being an experiment to try at doing something different. If something doesn’t work, they don’t keep it. It’s a constant evolution and you want it to keep going and different. The other thing is the talent and how they perform is slightly different. You don’t want to go into the show feeling the same as the other products out there. He gets bored listening to the same music every day. He wants things to have a different buzz and feel for NXT.
HHH has to catch a flight so they are cutting things short. He thanked everyone for taking part and said this is one of the most fun times of the year as they are on the road to Wrestlemania. He looks forward to trying to out-do themselves for Wrestlemania weekend’s Takeover.
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