WWE NXT’s Shawn Michaels is taking part in a media call to promote Saturday’s NXT No Mercy PPV in Bakersfield, CA. Below is via pwinsider.com:
Michaels welcomed everyone to the call and thanked everyone for taking part. He talked up the PPV this Saturday. He ran down the card.
He announced the next NXT PPV will be Deadline on 12/9 in Bridgeport, CT.
Shawn was asked about NXT Europe. He’s still waiting but they are excited about getting it underway and bringing it to everyone in 2024.
Regarding using UK talent, Michaels loved working with them in NXT UK. There were many times he would bring up the idea of bringing them to the States. They took pride in what they did there and the integration was flawless. They are young but they are accomplished from a performance standpoint. He’s most proud of how so many of them are leading behind the scenes.
Michaels was asked about Gable Steveson and his status. Michaels said he has every intention of using him. He has outside commitments and right now, they are trying to find the right mix for him. He’s been appearing on some of the live events in Florida. Once they get his schedule as best organized as they can, they will work out on mapping his future.
Blair Davenport vs. Kelani James is set for the Kickoff Show this Saturday.
Michaels found out Mustafa Ali was released right before Ali did. He was disappointed and thinks the world of him and will miss working with Ali. The “fire drill” is a regular thing and they made what he felt was a great pivot. Ali will be successful but Michaels will miss him.
On the WWE releases that changed plans, Michaels said Dana Brooke caught them by surprise a little bit as they had a good story going on there. He said this isn’t the first time they’ve gone through this. In his world now, he doesn’t allow them to catch him too much and he said perhaps he’s matured a bit. He enjoys every talent they get to work with and he believes their experiences with NXT are a positive one, whether they return to the main roster or leave for elsewhere.
On Jade Cargill’s WWE signing, Michaels said you can tell the enormity of her signing. He met her briefly and she’s been a hard worker since she’s been there training. He understands the buzz and said he was impressed by the presence about her. She was tailor-made for WWE. He’d love to have her in NXT but wherever she ends up, she will have great success. If she ends up with them, they will make the best experience possible for her and utilize her to the best of their ability.
I asked Michaels about the rising NXT ratings #s. He joked he’s not a numbers guy, but he learned a lot about them when he was the guy holding the WWE title and now that he’s the guy running the show. Vince McMahon wanted them to focus on the 18-34 demographic because he wanted them to reach a younger demo. He said they look at the main roster as a Trojan horse and out of that comes all the NXT stars that hopefully make fans want to keep tuning in.. He said they are hoping to expose NXT talent to them when a Becky Lynch or someone is on the show.
On Trick Williams, Michaels said you won’t find someone who works harder. He’s in the ring extra every day. He wants to be his own and to earn it. He’s one of the top 2-3 hardest workers in the PC right now. He’s getting a big opportunity this weekend but he’s everything that’s good about this job and what you do at the PC.
On where NXT fits in the landscape for media rights, Michaels said that’s left to people much smarter than him and he’s OK with that. He personally feels that NXT should be, in general, on a younger, hipper network because that’s the youthful feel of NXT, like college football. He praised USA Network as a partner. He feels that there is always an opportunity to capture a newer fan base but that’s something. He feels everyone should want them on their network and he’s waiting like everyone else to see what happens.
On Tiffany Stratton, Michaels said that when talents are asked about being called up by media, they will respond. He praised her work. There are still things she needs to learn but she can do everything athletically that she needs to do. Could she find more comfort from a promo standpoint or more in-ring work? Yes. She could get that done by Wrestlemania. it takes time and effort. The higher-ups make the calls on who gets called up but she has all the tools and will only get better.
On Stratton’s work against Becky Lynch, Michaels said it was fantastic. She’s been out on many WWE live events. They have a lot of talents who are similar in their experience levels and by going to work with more experienced talents, they get to improve. Her development rate will improve exponentially with Becky. it’s made a world of difference for Stratton.
On the potential of NXT airing TV or PPV from Latin America, Michaels said he would love to but it would be some time before NXT gets such an opportunity as they are the third, developmental brand.
On the potential of CM Punk returning, Michaels said they would “of course” welcome him to NXT. He always enjoyed working with Phil, although he didn’t get to do it much. He said he felt he understood Punk. He’s a different kind of cat and struggles to get along with some people but Michaels was the same way and that’s probably one reason he likes him. That would be someone else’s decision. He’d love to have him on NXT TV but he doesn’t know if he would be allowed. Michaels joked that if he gets in trouble for saying that, he’ll let us all know.
Michaels closed out saying he’s excited for NXT and No Mercy and the talent feels the same passion.