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By Dave Scherer on 2016-06-07 12:25:00

Adam Hopkins welcomed us to the call and reminded us that NXT Takeover: The End would be airing tomorrow night on The WWE Network.  Of course, we will have full coverage of the show here on the site as it happens. With that he turned it over to Paul Levesque.

He thanked us for being a part of today’s call.  He loves these calls to connect on everything going on in the Performance Center and NXT.  He expected questions on the Cruiserweight Classic.  Tomorrow is Takeover.  He feels it will be an unbelievable card.  He is looking forward to the debut of Andrade 'Cien' Almas against Tye Dillinger.  He feels Almas will be a player in NXT.  He put over American Alpha vs. The Revival for the great feud that it is.  He expects that they will continue to make tag team wrestler better and better.  He is really looking forward to Austin Aries vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.  He said it’s a dream match for many people.  He likes what Aries has done and expects him to continue to go up the card.  Nakamura is Nakamura.  Asuka, one of the most dominant Women’s Champions that they have had, goes up against Nia Jax.  He is excited due to their different styles.  And of course, the great rivalry of Samoa Joe and Finn Balor.  They have been great about keeping the feud strong.  The End has a lot of meanings and tomorrow you can expect it to be The End of their feud.  After they tape TV, NXT is on its way to the UK for its tour.  He will be going on the tour.  He promoted the UK dates and talked about how great NXT shows are.

At the end of the month the Cruiserweight Classic starts.  32 of the best in the world come to Orlando to find out who is the best in the under 205 pound division.  There will be a lot of surprises in the event.  He feels it will be something like you have never seen before in WWE or NXT.  He is very excited about it.  He then opened it to questions.  He looked forward to seeing who would be first today (a Mike Johnson joke).

Brian Fritz got in first.  Fritz asked if the NXT roster will look a lot different after the brand split.  He thinks it will, yes.  But he doesn’t know it yet.  He said that there will be a lot of talent needs for both brands.  He said he reads comments that the Split will drain NXT.  He said that it’s one of the strength of the brands, that when raids happen it creates opportunities for young, hungry talents.  He said that he expects people to step up if the opportunity presents itself.

Fritz asked if that makes HHH more aggressive at acquiring new talent.  He said no, he is always looking for great talent.  It may appear that way if more opportunities present themselves but he is always looking,

Mike got in next.  HHH asked how he dropped to second.  Mike said that he has to hit Fritz with a steel chair.  H said do it off camera, no chair shots on camera.  It was funny.

Mike asked how the split will change with touring, and if it will cause agents, etc. to be called up from NXT as well.

H said he wasn’t sure yet but it could be.  He said that they don’t just create the next level of wrestlers at NXT, they also are creating the next level of writers, agents, etc.  He said that things will be similar on the main brands as they are now.

Mike asked about how NXT will serve the purpose of being its own brand, but also as the system to create stars of tomorrow.

H said that is the juggling act, making it all work to maximize all brands.  H said that if people get called up, he has 70-80 people champing at the bit to get a chance.  He talked about how the Florida crowd is proud to see the talent before they become a name.  They like being the first ones to see the new people.  The touring group is about taking the NXT storylines on the road.  He is not worried at all.  He will make sure that things will go the way they are supposed to.  He is excited for the talent that will get the chance on the big roster as well as those staying in NXT.  He said that there is pressure and he finds that people usually meet it and exceed.

The next question came from the UK.  He talked about Will Ospreay winning the Super Juniors.  How much do you focus on the UK for talent?

He said that UK is a massive talent pool but he keeps his look for talent on the whole world.  Talent is talent.  He understands country pride, but he looks at people and if they are talented, he wants to work with them. He said that there is a lot of talent in the UK and he is excited to work with them.  He was asked if the Cruiserweight division is where the best in the world are wrestling.  He said that it’s hard to say where the best work is happening, but he loves the division.  He said that in the old days Cruisers were mostly flyers, but that has changed.  He thinks that the shift to being more rounded is exciting and good for the wrestlers involved.  He said that after a while the acrobatic stuff you become desensitized to all the flying.  He said he thinks Cruisers are untapped, which is why we are getting the classic.

The next caller blew his chance!  Come on man!  Answer the caller.

A reporter from Canada asked about Bobby Roode and Eric Young coming to NXT.  H said he thinks both are very talented guys and they are working things out contract-wise with both.  He is excited to work with both if they can get the deals worked out.  

Will NXT come to Canada in 2016?  He talked about how it’s hard to get everywhere.  NXT will do 180 to 190 events this year.  Add in the main roster and you are at 500.  There are a lot of factors that go into where they go.  It’s a work in progress. He said they are still trying to get to where all of the routing will work out, plus with the Split coming it throws a monkey wrench into things.  They are figuring it out.

Jason Powell asked about Hideo Itami.  H said without violating HIPPA laws, Itami has put out a statement saying see you soon.  He said sometimes recovery takes longer than expected.  Sometimes when you are mutant like John Cena, you come back earlier (yes, he called him a mutant).  Hideo had some issues with mobility and scar tissue.  H wants him completely ready when he returns.  If that takes longer, that’s OK.  H is still very high on him as a performer.

Is there any interest in doing a Women’s tournament, similar to the Cruisers.  H said he was throwing out ideas and in this business secrets don’t stay secrets long.  Would he like to maybe do that, sure.  It’s great way to look at young talent and give them opportunity.  Yes, it’s on the table.  A lot of things are on the table.  He said that bits of news get out and then they take on a life of their own (man, do we know first hand how that happens).  He said that people have been contacting them but when they are ready to do it, they will put out a statement and it will be official then.  

Scott Fishman asked about tomorrow being the first NXT Cage Match.  What made Joe and Balor the first to do it.  Did they come to H?  No, H went to them with the concept.  He said that you start feuds hoping they will eventually get to where you hoped.  In this case, it felt like the right rivalry at the right time to use the cage.  It felt like it needed closure and the cage was the way to get them to The End.  He said that they don’t use the big gimmicks a lot in NXT but this was the right time.  As a fan, this is what he would want to see.  Tomorrow we get that opportunity.  

He said that he is also looking forward to Asuka and Jax, talking about how far Jax has come since she debuted.

What kind of presentation can we expect for the GCS and how has the collaboration been?

It’s been fun and exciting for him.  He has enjoyed working with the outside groups and support them and what they are doing.  He likes the indies so people have places to go and work.  He likes that people can have somewhere to work outside of WWE if they need to.  He thinks it’s also been good for the promotions as they get exposure.  It’s good for NXT to get access to great young talents.  He said that there is another fanbase that isn’t as hardcore but enjoy seeing the new talents.  It’s been a unique and exciting process.  They are breaking new ground, as Gabe Sapolsky says all the time.  He is excited to see where it will all go.  He said tournaments are sports driven, and that is what he expects to see in the presentation of the GCS, much different from how WWE does things.

The final question asked about Brock Lesnar appearing for UFC.  Does that open the door for NXT to be more of an option for MMA/UFC fighters.  

He said they field a lot of calls from MMA athletes, in various ways.  He said however it’s no different from athletes they hear from in other sports.  He mentioned guys like Baron Corbin, that come to NXT from the NFL.  He said Brock can set that example for MMA guys as well.  They go to every avenue of athletics to look for new talents.  

Are there any WWE legends he would like to see working with the talents in NXT?

He said it’s valuable to tap the minds of people that understand the ins and outs of the business and any time they can work with the young talent it’s valuable and he welcomes it.  The more information and points of view that the talents can learn from, the better it is for them.  Knowledge is power.  He said that he was lucky to learn from smart people that understood the business and he likes having that available to the young talents.  He looks forward to working with the legends.

Before we left, H said that the passing of Muhammad Ali hit him because Ali was a personal hero.  His impact to the world and boxing was massive, but Ali also was inspired by wrestling and then influenced others.  Ali’s passing was massive.  He was great for the wrestling business and a great influence on it.  He hopes we will never forget the impact Ali had.

With that he thanked us and said he looks forward to tomorrow and the GCS at the end of the month.  He also noted that the dummies (my words, not his) that thought “The End” meant the end of NXT, uh no.  They will be at the Barclay’s Center SummerSlam weekend.

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