Ahead of NXT TakeOver this Saturday, Paul “HHH” Levesque participated in a conference call with the media. Here is a recap by PWInsider.com:
Paul Levesque met with reporters this morning for the NXT TakeOver Phoenix conference call.
Adam Hopkins welcomed us and turned it over to Paul.
Paul talked about how it’s been a busy few weeks for NXT as they just did Takeover in in the UK. He said that the talent over there lit the fire and they will just pour gas on it. He said that the show was very successful and it was trending very well online against the NFL.
He went over the card and, as usual, was looking forward to what should be a great show. It sure should be. The card is loaded. I can’t wait. He talked about how great all of the talent on the show is, and he is right on the money. He talked about the great storylines in the Title picture.
He said after Phoenix it’s off to NY for Mania.
The first caller asked about Velveteen Dream’s tweet where he said he won’t appear again. Paul said that he has not talked to him about it. He said that Dream is very talented and is great at creating a buzz, and that is a great thing. It sure sounds like it’s a work. Paul did not seem at all upset at all about what Dream did.
The caller asked if there is a line that talent shouldn’t cross on social media. Paul said that it’s a constant battle to see where the line is. He said basically that it’s about not giving things away. He said that people watch a magic show and know it’s magic, but they don’t need to know how they do the tricks. It’s the same here. He said that the idea is to say the right thing without offending anyone.
Next caller asked why the HOF and Takeover changed dates.
HHH said it was about the fans and not making them choose what they want to go see (without mentioning ROH at MSG).
He was asked about AEW and if changes anything with NXT. Paul said that it’s clearly something he will keep their eye on and they will do what they feel is right for their business. He said that as content providers they compete against everything so you watch everything and monitor it. They will continue to do what’s best for WWE.
Next caller asked about the hierarchy and staff for NXT UK and how they learned from the first Center.
Paul said that there is a long list of what they learned from the first one. The staffing is a fluid process. They are sending different people in and pulling others out. He said that the UK Center is smaller than the US. They don’t need as many things there, like language training. They have all of the basics of training and health and wellness set up now. He sees differences being made already. It’s a work in progress that is heading in the right direction that will continue to morph and grow.
Next question was what the status of Lars Sullivan is.
Paul said that there is always speculation and stories all the time. He said Lars is in a good place and nothing has really changed. He said you will know when you see it but nothing has changed.
Next caller asked about the development of War Raiders and Matt Riddle and other talent insights. Paul said that the War Raiders have been impressive and now are getting a Title shot. That is a statement as to how well they have done. Riddle has an innate charisma and will continue to grow. Bianca Belair has really come on. Shayna Baszler was super green is now just one of the rocks of the division. The growth on everyone is phenomenal. Where they go for here, they are groomed to have the success they need to have. There are a lot of talent waiting to come up behind them, like Punishment Martinez.
Will NXT UK be involved at Mania week? Paul said that they have ideas. There will definitely be involved at the show. He talked about the tournament at Axxess this weekend and how he is excited for it. He said all of that breeds excitement and it makes for excitement. All of the brands will be a part of what they do, especially WrestleMania week.
Next caller asked how HHH’s rehab is going. He said good. He just got cleared to train again, rehab is over. He is excited. He is sore right now from training, which started a week ago.
How many UK Takeovers do you think is the right number?
Paul said it’s a matter of routing and see where everything fits. It’s better to do too few shows than too many. He likes people wanting more. They will do over 500 total events as a company and that is a giant puzzle. They are figuring all that out. At this time, he doesn’t know what the number is. He thinks he can get it to what NXT does in the US but it’s just a matter of how long it will take. They will take it as it comes and go from there.
Is there any plan for more NXT center rollouts?
He said he expects a few in the next couple of years. It was fairly easy to set up in London but in other places it’s harder.
He was asked about Andrade’s matches with Rey Mysterio, which have been really good. How does he feel seeing Andrade do well at the next level?
He is thrilled. He has always felt he was an excellent talent. He had a bit of barrier with the language at first but now he is excelling. He is confident, as a worker and a person. Nothing is guaranteed at the next level but Andrade has made the most of all of his opportunities. He has a great future.
HHH was asked about The Rock’s daughter training at the Center.
Paul said if you want to know about here the best person to ask is Rock. He said that he knows she has the love of the business and she caught it from her dad. He said if you asked Rock he thinks he would say how much he loves the business and she caught it. Plus her grandmother Ata loves it too. He knows Rock would be happy to have here in WWE and he expects we will see more of her.
He was asked about more explosive moves and is there a line. He said for him it comes down to safety and whether the moves can be done the right way. If they feel there is a risk it cant be done safely it won’t be done. Sometimes they have to protect the talent from themselves since they are Thorobreds.
Next question asked if talent would be called up after Mania.
Paul said that it’s a work in progress. If we need it, it will happen. If they don’t, it won’t. It depends on what is best for the product.
He was asked if there any plans on getting NXT on a network. Paul said right now they are focusing on moving Smackdown to FOX. He said they are very excited about the move and focused on that.
The last question asked about the call up process. Can NXT UK wrestlers be called straight up or will they have to go to NXT first. He said it would depend on the talent and where they are in the process. He said anyone from anywhere can be called up at anytime. He said that they need to make sure they have the tools and are prepared for it when it happens. He said that when you watch the talent on TV, you don’t always see the work they they still need to do in other areas. They want them prepared for success in the best way possible.
He was asked about India and if there was a specific place in India where they would want to have a center. He said that they are going through that now to see what location works best. They have partners there to consider. They want to be in the place that is best connected all around. Current and new deals will shape the thinking as to where it will be best to go.
That wrapped the call. We will be doing another call after the show on Saturday!