The day before NXT live specials, proud papa Triple H gets on the phone with the wrestling media to talk about the brand and other projects he's working on in his role as Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events, & Creative for WWE.
With TakeOver: The End... happening tomorrow (June 8), here were the highlights of the latest version of that conference call:
- Running down the live event card, he talked about how excited he is for the show, but said he's prepared to talk about the Cruiserweight Classic (CWC) as well. He emphasized the company has big plans for Shinsuke Nakamura and Andrade "Cien" Almas.
- While the subtitle The End... has several meanings, the one he discussed was the end of the Finn Bálor/Samoa Joe feud. It does not mean the end of the NXT or TakeOver brands.
- Promised a lot of surprises from the CWC, saying it would be unlike anything we'd seen from WWE before.
- Addressing the brand split, he thinks NXT will look a lot different after it happens, but he doesn't know yet. He's aware of fan concerns that a mass call-up will drain the brand, but he's not concerned because he expects talent to step up and make the most of the opportunity.
- The brand split has not made them more aggressively look for more talent to bring in, because Trips says they're always looking and have been for some time. He praised the UK market when asked about it (and talked Will Ospreay) but says they're looking worldwide for new stars.
- Raw and SmackDown being separate entities might result in NXT losing some road agents and production crew, but that's the same situation as wrestlers - others will step up. He doesn't foresee it being a big change for house shows, since they already run two groups. Rosters will just be set for those groups now.
- Regarding NXT touring, they're looking at doing 180 - 190 shows this year. The Florida shows are about exposing new talent to the crowd; the road shows are about putting the storylines from television in front of larger audiences. It's a balancing act, but it doesn't worry him.
- Negotiations are ongoing with both Eric Young & Bobby Roode. He's excited to work more with both men.
- When asked about Hideo Itami, he mentioned Itami's Tweet about returning soon, and said he wants him 100%. He's still excited about him as a performer. His recovery took longer than some others (he called John Cena a "mutant" here) due to scar tissue and some mobilitiy issues, and Haitch is willing to wait until he's ready for action.
- The idea to debut the cage for Joe/Bálor was his. He's looking forward to Jax/Asuka, and put over Nia's progress.
- On the Cruiserweights, he wouldn't agree that guys that size are doing the "best work in the world", but he does see untapped potential there. He doesn't think the division is all acrobatics and high-fliers anymore, and warns guys that fans get numb to that one style if they see it all the time.
- As a tournament, the CWC will be "sports-driven" which is one of the ways it will differ from the usual WWE product.
- Dealing with other promotions on the CWC has been a work in progress, but he remains excited about it. It's a win/win as WWE gets access to talent and independent companies get exposure. Triple H likes that the indies give wrestlers a place to work, make money and grow outside WWE.
- A women's tournament show is "on the table", as are a lot of ideas. When/if they're ready to do it, they'll announce it. Until then, there's nothing officially happening.
- He closed by mentioning the passing of Muhammad Ali, saying he was a personal hero of his and how he hopes the world never forgets what an impact he had on everything he did.