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By Mike Johnson on 2023-05-25 10:00:00

Welcome to's live, ongoing coverage of Shawn Michaels' media call this morning to promote Sunday's WWE NXT Battleground PPV in Lowell, MA.

Shawn welcomed everyone to the call and said he was excited to go back to Lowell for the show.  He noted they were close to Carmelo Hayes' hometown.  He said he hopes everyone is equally as excited as he is.

Shawn was asked about the potential of Bron Breakker going to the main roster after this show as NXT took a "big hit" during the draft.  Shawn said taking a big hit is a good thing.  He believes they have Bron for awhile still and there are still some really good matches for him left.

Michaels was asked about the potential updates on some of the NXT UK talents including Blair Davenport.  Michaels said there is interest there but there are decisions the talents have to make about wanting to be here.  His feeling is that if Davenport wants to make that decision, she'd make a big impact.  She's someone they have reached out to and if she wants to be part of NXT, they'll have news.

I asked Shawn about how the new generation of talents have done being in the prominent positions.  He said he's thrilled with Wes Lee's success.  He said you could see Carmelo Hayes' success.  Gallus were veterans but he's thrilled seeing how well Wes has done since he's transitioned from his tag team.

Shawn asked about the Grizzled Young Veterans asking for a release and not receiving it.  They are talents he wanted to come over from the UK.  He wants everyone to have their success here in WWE but no matter who comes through the doors, he wants to help them have success in the business overall.  He's fortunate for the life he has because of this job and there's an opportunity for others to have that.  He understands how they feel but there's no hard feelings and he still wants them in a prominent role.  if they don't mind working, he doesn't mind using them.

Had she not been injured, the plan was to have Indi Hartwell at Battleground.  They would have loved to have had have a long reign as Women's Champion but "the bad news" was she got called up.  He said that the fact so many members of the roster are on the main roster now is proof that the system is working.

Shawn said that to the best of his knowledge, NXT PPVs are not going head to head with AEW going forward.  He said this weekend was about having a big Memorial Day weekend of WWE events that will surely be very profitable.   They are flip-flopped as NXT is usually the night before WWE but with Jeddah on Saturday afternoon here in the States, it was decided to have NXT on Sunday.  He'd like to have as many weekends to NXT itself as possible.  He said the less competition to the show, the better, joking he was happy when the Playoffs ended.

Shawn was asked about NXT Europe's timeframe.  Michaels said he's ready to go.  He has nothing to add and it's very prudent from a company standpoint to wait for "everything" (Endeavor) to shake out.  He is excited about everything but is focused on NXT.  He has a show Sunday and another on Tuesday.  He's just focusing on the daily and weekly schedule at this point.

Michaels was asked about Ilja Dragonuv not being called up yet.  He said Ilja hasn't been in NXT that long.  They are excited to have him.  He's unbelievably talented and unique.    He said everyone is going to be thrilled about what they get from Ilja and Dijak in the Last Man Standing match this weekend.   He said there are lots of great matches they hope to get to with Ilja.

Shawn was asked about Dijak.  He has a lot of experience and talent and knows what he wants to do.  They collaborate with the talents and the talents have say in what they do.  He was a criminal justice major.  This is the character and presentation they've all developed.  There are amazing things he does at his size.  Shawn feels Dijak has thrived in every situation they have put him in in NXT.  He's going to excel against Ilja this weekend the way he did against Wes Lee.  He's someone who can deliver against anyone.  They are trying to repackage him in a way he wasn't before.  They want to do their best to put talents into situations where they have opportunities.  He's never been in that much of a disagreement with the fan base or the talents when they don't have the right opportunity.  One thing can miss and you have to dig yourselves out of a hole and he's sympathetic to that.  He compares Dijak's current run to Apollo Crews and Finn Balor as talents who came back to NXT before going back up to the main roster and said that he believes Dijak will return there down the line.

Michaels was asked about a secondary women's title.  He said that he's played with the idea of it every "now and then" but feels they give the women a lot of storylines.  They are about developing individuals.  They lost a lot of veterans and leaders with the Draft and they have a very young locker room right now.  As much as he'd want to do a secondary title, he'd like to have it vetted out.  He's not comfortable with what it would be yet and with a young locker room right now, would the talents be prepared for that role.  He's not ready to pull the trigger yet.

Michaels was asked about the talents who have been called up to the main roster and his thoughts on their potential success.  He said he leans towards Grayson Waller having great success.  He's a pro and there's nothing he can't adust to.  Waller is mature, smart, bright and is a professional.  He's everything you want in a WWE star.  With Indi and Xyon, they are unique and special.  They've had some really good Australian talents who have come through NXT and they are really proud of them.

Michaels said that he believes Bron Breakker is really finding his groove and growth here.  He's really happy with what Bron has brought to the table with the new direction.  You can see the development every single week.  They are going to get everything they can out of him.

When NXT gets a chance, they will do everything they can to grow the brand outside the United States.

On Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn, he believes their focus is the main roster matches but it's only a matter of time before they'd have to come back to NXT to defend the Women's Tag Team titles.  

On the women's tournament final, Michaels praised Lyra's work since transitioning to the United States, saying it has been fantastic and she's a hard worker.  He feels she's very mature for her age.  They have two women who are well equipped to be the champion in the finals.  Everyone has seen Tiffany Stratton's rise and improvement with every match that she has.  He touted the NXT system.  He gives a lot of credit to Sara D'Amato.  She's been the pioneer of the women's work for a long time and likes to stay in the background but is the single greatest secret that NXT has.  She does wonders with the women who come through the NXT doors.  He thinks the finalists represent the best of the NXT women's division and there are others who aren't far behind.  He's excited about crowning the new champion.

On the Heritage Cup, Michaels was excited about bringing it to NXT.  He likes that they get to take chances.  It's the first time for an American audience to see rounds matches and a pure wrestling fans' match.  He praised Noam Dar and Dragon Lee before noting they have a stacked, stacked card.  He said he knows that he sounds like a used car salesman but he'll put his show up against anyone else's.  He said that wrestling fans will get to see a new concept and watch them tear the house down.

He said they will have a much smaller crew this weekend due to the event in Saudi but he loves his job, so none of it seems like work.  He looks at it as excitement not a burden.  He's a 57 year old teenager.  He's happy to be there with a younger roster that are excited to be there and live out their dreams.  He's had a lot of good memories in Lowell, MA and is looking forward to going back.  He lost his smile there and he'll find it again.

Michaels was asked about how much notice he was given for the most recent call-ups compared to the past.  Michaels said this was his first experience with the Draft but he was comfortable with it.  He knew they were going to have some tag teams they were going to lose.  Pretty Deadly and Isla/Alba were too talented for the main roster not to want.  There were others who got the call who fit that you could see why.  There were some surprises.  They had nearly 15 people they lost in the Draft which exponentially changes the show but he likes to be able to adjust and pivot.  You have to see if you can do that and do it successfully.

Michaels was asked what's the most complicated aspect of his current position.  He said that when they are trying to have synergy with the main roster shows, there are times where they are trying to do crossover storylines - it's hard not to be selfish and doing a lot.  You have to know what your role is and try to fit something that is more pro-NXT vs. Pro-Raw and Smackdown.  You want to get the most bang for your buck when there's a crossover.  When it comes down to everything, travel is always complicated.  He said going through the airport is always hard.  The things that some complain about, like last minute changes, he enjoys trying to see that they can get it done well.

Michaels closed out thanking everyone for their time.  This is a big deal for them this weekend.    He noted the main roster is almost all NXT alumni.  He loves watching talents develop and moving up.  He's been part of some of these talents' lives for 5-6 years and thanked everyone who helps drive that in the media.



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