During an interview published by Yahoo! Sports this week, Paul "Triple H" Levesque took some time out to elaborate on the company's COVID-19 safety efforts at television shoots, how the #SpeakingOut movement has affected WWE and NXT legends such as Charlotte Flair and Kevin Owens returning to the brand.
Featured below are some of the highlights from the Triple H interview.
On the COVID-19 affect on WWE running shows and the safety measures the company has implemented at television shoots:
Look, this is a difficult experience and a learning experience for everybody, especially for us. Everything that we are doing, health and safety-wise has evolved at the Performance Center. As we learn more about it and as this changes, we’re going to continue to evolve. I feel like every day you’re getting different information.
Right now, we’re testing all talent, production crew, employees, everybody in advance of the television production and will continue that for the foreseeable future. We have a mandatory mask policy now for all performers and staff when not on camera. All of this has changed. The testing procedures, as they became more available at an accurate level — there were a lot of people saying they were testing at the beginning and doing rapid testing with some questionable accuracy. We were doing what the guidelines, what the CDC, what our medical staff were telling us were the most beneficial procedures for the health and well-being of our talent, staff and crew at that time. As the technology has advanced and the ability to test people has improved, we have stayed on top of that as well.
As far as a bubble strategy, everybody has a different take on this. My feeling is, yes, it’s increasing everywhere, but our testing is increasing as well. I think we have been very successful in that, prior to this recent wave, what we were doing was working, we didn’t have a massive outbreak. As things increased, what we have been able to do, in my opinion, has been to protect the people that come in and participate with us in the performances.
When you see there are positives, that is the system working. That’s people coming from where they live, where they’re from, whatever exposure they have had, that’s us stopping it before it gets into — I don’t want to say bubble because I don’t believe you can do that to people and have them only around each other — our building. Everybody is going to be around others, their families, things they do in their personal lives. If they have had contact, are at risk or are putting others at risk, we are preventing them from coming in. Everytime that we go to the Performance Center and leave, it is pandemic-level cleaned. We’re doing everything we possibly can.
On the relationship he has with the talent on the NXT brand and in WWE in general, and the support the company has for its' talent and employees feeling safe to share their #SpeakingOut stories:
I have a relationship with all talent, not just NXT talent. People put a divider between the groups of talent, like there’s this glass wall between the groups or something, but the reality is 90 percent of the people who are on Raw or SmackDown at this point have come through the Performance Center or NXT.
As we have said in the beginning, this is terrible. You don’t ever want to see somebody be in situations that you have heard about in the #SpeakingOut movement. You have to listen to people. We have always been open to listening to everybody’s point of view, everyone’s side of the story.
We’ve stated that as far as this movement goes, individuals are responsible for their own actions, but we also have a zero-tolerance policy for domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual assault. If someone is arrested for that, they are immediately suspended. If they are convicted, they are immediately terminated. There’s no leeway or wiggle room. That is what it is. We also have the ability to fine, suspend or terminate for anything that has evidence of illegal misconduct or what we deem to be enough evidence to have the right to terminate.
We’re there for our talent, we have an open door, certainly I do, for all talent to be able to come and tell us what is working for them, what is not working for them, if something is wrong and we help to make it right. That’s really what I think in this situation is all you can do, hear people out and then make the appropriate decision from there.
On NXT legends such as Charlotte Flair, Kevin Owens and others returning to the brand after moving on in their careers to the WWE main roster:
One of the things that I love about NXT is that there’s a bond and a family feel about it. It’s something special when people are a part of it. It always reminds me of the pride people have in their college. When you graduate from college you have spent four years of your life there, that’s always your school, you’re proud of it, you wear the sweatshirts, you support the teams, still go to games. I think NXT is like that for a lot of talent. Sasha and Bayley call all of the time asking if they can come down [to Florida] and work. They’re on different brands, so I have to work within the creative components of what they already have, but I see it all the time.
When all of this went down, a lot of the stuff that was happening was Charlotte’s idea, her being a part of the brand, being there on a regular basis. Kevin Owens competing for NXT last year in “WarGames” was something he had been on me about forever, about wanting to come down and do something. Almost everyone who comes through the door and then leaves is asking if they can come back and be a part of it again. You can see it and feel it in the afternoon when they walk in. It’s like going back in time for them, the excitement level is high even though at its best it’s a smaller building and crowd then they are used to. It’s really cool to see.
Check out the complete Triple H interview at Yahoo.com.
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