Here is the full conference call with Triple H, hyping tonight’s NXT Arrival event, which streams live on the WWE Network at 7:30 p.m. ET.
– Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville: Ladder Match for the NXT Championship
– Paige vs. Emma, for the NXT Women’s Championship.
– Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro.
– Pre-show Panel: Bret Hart, Kevin Nash and Paul Heyman.
Triple H opened the call saying it was a great time to be a “wrestling” fan, with the launch of the Network and Wrestlemania just around the corner. He said it’s hard to think that 30 years have gone by already, and he was only just sitting on a plane with Hulk Hogan the star of the first Wrestlemania.
Triple H said they strategically held back NXT from a wider audience, and this has created buzz around the product. Research WWE conducted for the Network showed the brand was something fans were excited to see. Vince believes in the talent and the fact that NXT was chosen for the Network’s first live in-ring show is a testament to all the work everybody has put in.
The legend’s panel will apparently be more legitimate than the main roster version, as Triple H wants real feedback.
He likened NXT Arrival to developmental’s Wrestlemania, it’s their first time to showcase their talent to the whole world. Though it will be nerve-racking, he said the talent wouldn’t be here if they weren’t ready, and he wants them to have fun out there.
Though he didn’t want to spoil any surprises Triple H said that you can look at who they’re pushing on the NXT roster to get an idea of who they’re waiting to call up. He said Sami Zayn and Cesaro have put on some incredible matches, and Cesaro will soon “explode” on the main roster.
Hunter agreed that post-Wrestlemania is a great time to introduce new talent, because there is a lot of excitement and eyeballs on the product. It’s the start of the WWE season.
The Developmental Philosophy
Hunter said he likes to keep the NXT product a “bit more pure” and more about the basic in-ring art.
He loves that the NXT show emanates from the Full Sail University facility, because it’s an intimate and rabid fan base – it’s their show and has a bit of an ECW vibe.
He says there’s a level of excitement down there that’s invigorating. “Jaded old timers” come in and then become excited about getting involved.
The TV show is a learning experience that gives wrestlers a micro version of RAW and SmackDown. Because the cameras are all in the same spots and the way to carry yourself is virtually the same, it alleviates the overwhelming feeling talent used to feel when they were called up to the main roster.
While he doesn’t think the old developmental was bad, he didn’t like that it used to be pushed off to the side and kept quiet.
“If you want to attract athletes from all over the globe” you have to make a respectable and professional environment with world class facilities. He said the independent scene is becoming less and less of a factor, because WWE has its own playbook and style, and a vision of what can be successful. This can be a tough transition, so recruiting top athletes from outside the business and training them from day one can sometimes be easier than tweaking an independent wrestler.
He said Indy talent rarely know how to talk in a TV environment and when they go to Japan they don’t talk at all anyway. The cutting edge technology at the performance center helps with this aspect of the business.
Triple H confirmed that the main roster creative has been merged with the developmental process so that when guys are called up they use pretty much the same gimmick they’ve perfected, rather than being saddled with something completely different. Most of the guys that make it on to NXT are already capable of being on the main roster, it’s just a case of waiting for a spot to open up.
He said the main thing independent wrestlers need to learn is how to tell a story in the ring. It’s not about what moves they can pull off or how physical they can be. He suggested they need to slow down to allow the audience to digest what’s happening. A “corkscrew moonsault to the floor” is fine, but not when both competitors get back in to the ring as if nothing happened. Spots should be built to, make sense within the story, and sold well, in order to draw in the crowd.
He likened the fast paced Indy style to special effects in a movie. It looks cool but there’s no story.
When looking for trainers, some veterans don’t know why they do what they do, they’re just great – but they can’t teach – while others can communicate, and connect with young talent. He said they invite people down as guest trainers to see how they connect.
Hunter put over former WCW star Norman smiley as the best at taking complete beginners, while Terry Taylor is good at adding the finishing touches and polish – that last bit of character development.
He said one of the keys to getting a wrestler ready is teaching them how their character should wrestle. For example Bray Wyatt shouldn’t be having matches like Lou Thesz.
The next step with NXT is to expand globally. Currently it’s tough to bring in international talent because it can take 6 months to get through all the paperwork. He suggested new technology can start the process remotely. He wants the world to know WWE is out there and an option for young people, though he claims they’ll easily weed out those who just want to be famous or use wrestling as a launchpad for other careers.
Triple H also said they may start touring more because varied audiences are part of the process, but he doesn’t want to lose the core NXT TV set-up. He said they may do NXT shows during Wrestlemania weekend, and if Arrival goes well, the PPV concept could be used in order to allow talent to properly build storylines to the PPV style crescendo.
How He Got His Backstage Role
Despite popular belief Triple H says he was being groomed for a backstage role long before he met Stephanie. He and Vince were close creatively as early as 1998, and his larger role was a gradual thing.
Vince would talk about the future when Triple H would get out of the ring, and they saw Pat Patterson’s role as something he may want to try. Hunter said he’s always loved the behind the scenes stuff, and is fascinated even when it has nothing to do with his own character. He said he enjoys the process and is like a “proud pappa” when the likes of The Shield and the Wyatts square off on PPV.
He brushed off “taking over the company” and said Vince will never die!