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By Dave Scherer on 2014-12-10 12:56:54

Paul “Triple H” Levesque took calls from reporters today in support of Thursday’s NXT TakeOver: R Evolution event, which airs exclusively on The WWE Network.

Adam Hopkins talked about the last few days, taping Tribute To The Troops.  He mentioned what a special time it is for WWE.

Triple H talked about how much he likes the conference calls with reporters and how he has been thinking about the recent calls.  He again offered a tour of the Performance Center to reporters.  He thanked some outlets that recently toured the center.  I need to get my butt down there.  Of course, Mike has already been there.

H said that they are feverishly trying to get the Network on in the UK and that the show will air there on Saturday on Sky Sports 3.  He said that he is really looking forward to the show.  He said that Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn have great chemistry and they are ready to take it to the next level.  He said that he is proud of Charlotte and Sasha Banks.  He said that they can take the Divas division in a new direction going forward.  He said that the Ascension will take on Finn Balor and Hideo Otami.  He said he is excited to see the match.  He talked about being excited to see the debut of Kevin Owens.  He also talked about the new fitness DVDs that he and Stephanie McMahon have coming out.  He is very excited about them.  He wants to help people get in better shape and be more healthy.  With that, he turned it over to calls.

The first call came from Mike Johnson.  The guy got the name of the site wrong, and H said, “I thought you rebranded”.  That cracked me up.  The first question was about Charlotte on Raw on Monday.  Mike talked about how part of the reason she was there to get people interested in buying Takeover and the Network.  Mike asked to take him through the process of, in essence, having Charlotte lose in a few minutes.  H talked about time constraints affecting things.  They were given more time but as things went on they lost the time.  H said he would have loved to give them more time, like they did in NXT.  He said as to the decision as to who went over, those decisions are heavily debated and it is what is is.  He said to him it’s all about promotion to H and more people would see them on Raw than NXT.  He also mentioned that when Charlotte comes back, she will be presented in a different way and it will be a while before we see her again, meaning that people will forget.  He sounded like if he had his way the result would have been different but he didn’t actually say that.  He referenced that when she returns in six months or a year, no one will say they killed her on her debut.

Mike then asked whether the next special may be in March, during Mania week and maybe taking it out of Full Sail.  H said that they have talked about and it sounds easy to do it on Mania week, but the schedule is really busy.  He said that NXT will be represented Mania week, no doubt.  He said that Full Sail affords them a lot from a production and economic standpoint, but it’s all on the table.  Mike said that if they did a show on Wednesday, it would be a great way to open Mania week for the fans.  H said that they are definitely considering it.

Jason Powell brought up that Zayn and Neville are ready to make the next step.  In six months will be NXT stars?  H said he hoped that they will be WWE Superstars.  It all depends about integrating them in the WWE product in the best way possible.  It depends on need and timing.  H hopes that in six months he hopes neither of them are in NXT.  The goal of NXT is get the guys ready for the big roster and then move them up when the best opportunity presents itself.  He said he doesn’t look at NXT as developmental but more like a separate brand.  He said it can get frustrating for the talent, and he understands that.

Jason said he has heard that recruits have been told it could be a two year process before they make it to the main roster.  Is that accurate and would they make an exception if a guy beats the timeline.  H said you can’t really put a timeline on it.  He talked about how quickly Kurt Angle picked things up and he was amazing, but other guys don’t pick it up that fast.  H said that the process takes time, especially for guys that are totally new to the business.  Guys like Finn, Hideo and Owens are ahead of the curve but they still have to adapt the WWE process.  He said that once they are ready,  they have to also wait for the spot on the main roster to open up for them.  H said he wants them working every weekend and getting the work in that they were on the indies.  He said he tells the guys like that if it happens fast, great.  If not, wait.  If you don’t want to wait, we can talk about it and part amicably.

Scott Fishman asked about his thoughts on Kevin Owens.  He said it’s about getting up to speed on things and learning how WWE does things.  He said it’s about getting up to speed and being a TV show.  He talked about Finn learning all the production stuff and how he got a little frazzled.  They talked and Finn said that he never had to know about all of the production aspects before.  He used to just go to the ring and go, and that is not how WWE does things.  He said that is a big part of the process and guys have to learn that aspect of the process.

Has their been any discussion of putting the NXT Title on PPVs?  He said that they have talked about it.  He said he is constantly working to get eyeballs on the NXT talent via the WWE machine.  He said he wants to get the NXT out to the masses, a.k.a. the Raw audience.  He said that he is constantly making suggestions as to how to get the brand out there.  Vince says all the time, “Slowly but surely we will become an overnight success”.

Brian Fritz asked what the plans are for 2015 to put tweaks/improvements into the brand and the Center.  He said that they are always working on it, it is a work in progress.  From the training standpoint, they are always looking for new avenues to help them develop.  He said that the medical staff all just got certified in ART (therapy).  As for the brand, his goal is to make it its own living, breathing brand.  He said he would like to tour outside of their current Florida touring area.  He said it’s a lot of work to get a touring schedule up and running and make it succeed.  He wants more eyeballs on NXT and get the brand out there, while keeping in mind that the end goal is to get them on the main roster.  He wants to create a greater brand awareness. 

Has the Performance Center helped in recruiting mainstream athletes to join the business?  H said yes, we have a lot of people from the regular sports field.  He talked about his soccer players, 4 or 5 guys out of the NFL, some World’s Strongest Man athletes, collegiate athletes and more.  They are getting to the point they want to, but it took a while.  He said guys used to have no idea as to how to get into WWE, now they know it’s through the Center.  He talked about his recruiters doing a great job going worldwide for new talent.  The word is out there now.  Guys are coming to them now.  He thinks over the next few years you will see more talent from outside sports joining the business.

Back to Kevin Owens, what are the challenges of having to deal with his indy reputation going forward.  H said it’s a fine line.  He wants to acknowledge his years of experience but you also need to make it a WWE product.  He said it’s a fine line of keeping both.  Some guys will be changed more than others.  He said it’s a growth process.  Sometimes the talent wants to start over, and the fans that know then get mad. 

He was asked if part of the reason of him wanting to tour more was to help grow the gimmicks from just working at Full Sail, mentioning Adam Rose.  H said it is part of his thinking.  H said that if people thought WWE though Rose would correlate exactly from NXT to Raw, that wasn’t the case.  They knew they would need to adjust.  He said that you can debate it after the fact, but you have to watch the talent and see accordingly.  He said he wants the talent to get out in front of as many eyeballs as possible to get them better.

Mike recapped my questions.

Dave Scherer joined the call and talked about the process of getting more eyeballs on NXT and he works with Vince McMahon about it.  Dave asked him to take us through the process of how it goes.  HHH laughed and said there is a process and Charlotte wasn't him, but one of his writers.  HHH said he told his team to try to get some time on the show to promote the special,  He was asked how he felt about Charlotte being on the show and he was fine with it.  He said he found out the day before what would be on Raw but wasn't involved in the actual planning this time.  He was on for the tag match last time.  Vince is aware of the talents and NXT and if the suggestion fits Raw, he's open to doing it.

Dave brought up Sami Zayn and the tweaking of the talents.  Dave asked if the same Zayn character that is currently presented in NXT could get to the main roster right now and get over.  HHH said you can't measure Zayn's heart and is so good and so emotionally captivating as a performer.  HHH pointed out that Zayn came out of wearing a mask and his facial expressions are extraordinary when you see what he came from and what he developed.  HHH said he could get over but it would be a slow burn and it would take time.  Zayn does amazing stuff but he isn't the "Holy cow" guy like an Adrian Neville.  He said that Zayn, ever time, gets over with you and it's very Ricky Steamboat-esque.  He said that once Zayn sucks you in, emotionally you are in.  Long-term, he's your guy and you cheer his success and feel his failure.,  Zayn's growth has been awesome in a relatively short period of time and HHH can't wait for him to get his turn.   He said he can't wait for Wrestlemania in five years to see where they all are.

The final question came in and H called an audible and said lets do two, referencing Vince on the Network.  He was asked about William Regal coming back to Raw based on how good he has been in NXT.  Never say never.  H called Regal as an amazing asset to NXT.  He said Regal is one of his great tools of recruitment.  He is one of the guys that H really trusts when he tells him things because they know each other so well.  There is a great dynamic there and Regal is a great asset.

He was asked about over-scripted promos, and whether NXT will teach guys how to ad-lib and be spontaneous.  He said absolutely.  He said that with a lot of guys, they have to script interviews because the talents need them to do it.  At NXT they are teaching guys to ad lib.  Even if they have to script promos, it’s about guys using emotion when they deliver it.  He said it’s a work in progress, but it’s something they do.

The next question asked why are people into NXT and why is it getting more popular?  The called was from The Middle East and talked about the coverage NXT is getting there.  Where do you see it going in the next year.  H said it’s the talent and the product they put out there.  He said it makes people excited and get into the product.  It will air in a lot of places, including Japan.  He said his goal is to make it as popular as possible and a third, alternate brand, all while preparing the talent for the big roster.  It should always remain fresh because the top guys will get called up, creating a new opportunity for new guys to step up.  He also said if it gets bigger, maybe in the future talents can take some time off from the main roster and work in NXT instead, or work on new things for the main roster.

If Sami Zayn makes it to the main roster, can be what The Great Khali was to the Indian market, in the Middle East?  Can Sami be an inspiration to young Arab kids, that they can make it to WWE.  H said absolutely.  They were just in India and they were looking for talents from all over the Middle East, and the world.  They are trying to make their product as global as possible.  They want to make cultural heroes for people world-wide.

H closed the call by thanking us for coming and promoting the brand.  He thanked us for coming and talking about the brand and the future for WWE.  It’s exciting for him and he hoped all of us.  He enjoys the forum and again invited us down to NXT.  I have to get there. 

Overall, another great call with HHH.  He said he looks forward to these calls, well I do too.  It’s great to hear about the future of the business.

Once again, NXT TakeOver: R Evolution airs exclusively on The WWE Network Thursday night.  We will have full coverage of it here on the site.


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