WWE News WWE NEWS: Triple H conference call - next main roster call-ups, NXT at WM31 weekend?, 2015 plans, William Regal's role, over-scripting promos, which WWE Legend is Zayn like?, more NXT on main TV?, Adam Rose conundrum, int'l signings, more
Dec 10, 2014 - 2:55:13 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The following are additional highlights from Triple H's wrestling media conference call on Wednesday promoting the "NXT Takeover" special this week.
-- NXT AT WM WEEKEND?: Triple H said there has been some discussion about an NXT special in California during WrestleMania weekend, but he's not sure if it's a viable option at this stage of NXT's growth due to logistics and expenses. "Recreating what we do at Full Sail is massive," Hunter said.
This ties in with Hunter eventually wanting to take NXT on the road outside of Florida to other Southeast U.S. markets in 2015. This is part of the plan to make NXT its own touring promotion at the level of a third brand side-by-side with Raw and Smackdown.
"My goal is to continue to make this its own living, breathing brand," Hunter said. "That's the process now, we want to get as many eyeballs on NXT and give people an alternative brand," Hunter said, while also noting he "never wants to lose of the end goal" to get the Developmental wrestlers ready for Raw and Smackdown.
"I don't look at this now so much as Developmental as I do a separate brand," Hunter said. "And they have the same opportunity of touring and working so they can have a meaningful experience to their career while they're here."
-- NEXT MAIN ROSTER CALL-UPS?: Hunter said he anticipates top NXT stars Adrian Neville on Sami Zayn on the main roster within the next six months. Asked by Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net if there is a certain amount of time that wrestlers have to spend in NXT, said there isn't a set "waiting list" for call-ups, but he wants to be honest with people on how long it will take to get called up.
"The most difficult platform you hit in your career when you're 'ready to go, I'm good to go, I've got what it takes, and I'm trying to learn every day the difference to take it to the next level,' but the best place to learn that is on the next level," Hunter said.
Hunter noted some trainees have never been between the ropes, so they will obviously take longer than someone like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, or Hideo Itami with years of experience. Unless, it's someone at the level of Kurt Angle who he said picked up pro wrestling faster than anyone he's ever seen.
-- NXT PAY: Hunter offered an interesting aside about how much NXT wrestlers are paid, in relation to how much they would be making on the independents.
"They're getting the same experience as if they were still working the indies having to hustle and book themselves all over the place. They're getting that same experience and satisfaction with us. And, in all fairness, probably making more money here doing that than they would hustling on the indies," Hunter said.
-- NXT TITLE MATCHES ON MAIN TV?: Hunter said they don't want to jump out too fast having NXT title matches or big matches reserved for the NXT specials on WWE television or PPVs at the moment. But, they have talked about "maybe doing NXT things" on PPV pre-shows airing on the Network.
Hunter said the goal is that "when our stars come up to the main roster, they're already stars in some way and people are excited to see what they can do. And when I say people, I mean the masses. Not just the smaller percentage of people who already knew who they were from the indies or in the past."
Overall, Hunter said he is "constantly making suggestions about bigger or more visible ways to put the brand out there."
-- UNPOPULAR CHARACTER CHANGES: Hunter addressed the hot topic among hardcore fans of wrestlers coming to NXT and completely changing the character they played on the independents.
Hunter noted fans get upset when that happens, but he's had new talent come to him wanting a clean slate or a new character once they "arrived" at WWE.
"It's funny to me that sometimes that's criticized because people will say, 'Why don't you bring in wrestlers that are wrestling on the indies?' Clearly we do. Everybody starts somewhere; where you start is irrelevant, it's where you finish," Hunter said.
Hunter also spoke on how to balance a wrestlers's past accomplishments in WWE. "It's a fine line. You want to bring in somebody that has that level of experience, and not act like that didn't ever happen. But, you need to make it a WWE product," Hunter said. "It's not about denying what anyone's done or their success, or helping them grow into the best performer than they can do and doing it within the business environment of WWE, which is massive."
-- WILLIAM REGAL KEY TO SIGNING NEW TALENT: Hunter described William Regal as a vital part of the recruiting process bringing in new stars from the independents, the sports world, and international stars. Hunter said they just signed three or four wrestlers from India, had a recruitment in Brazil, and continue to find the next international stars like Great Khali or now Sami Zayn, who represents Canada and the Middle East.
"We are now getting to the point where athletes from around the globe - and it took a little while - know there's a path," Hunter said. "In the next two or three more years, you're going to see a really big influx of outside-sports people trying to get involved in this." The overall plan points to WWE's philosophy of manufacturing the next wave of talent through the Performance Center.
Hunter said he hopes to sit backstage at WrestleMania five years from now and see a vast majority of stars on the show having gone through NXT/Performance Center. He especially foresees Sami Zayn being one of those guys, describing Zayn as Ricky Steamboat-esque in how he draws people into his character.
-- PITFALLS OF TALENT APPROACH: Hunter addressed the topic of Adam Rose being a character who was popular at Full Sail University for NXT tapings, but has yet to translate to main television. Hunter claimed that they saw it coming and knew it would be a work in progress.
"It can be debated afterwards and hindsight is 20/20 on whether decisions were made the right way or the wrong way, but you're constantly trying to look at the environment and those reactions and tweak accordingly," Hunter said.
-- OVER-SCRIPTING PROMOS: Hunter said one of the next big steps for the NXT system will be getting wrestlers completely comfortable cutting promos and thinking on their feet before being called up.
"One of the biggest things that we look at here is re-engineering where we are now (on WWE TV). We've come to a point where now we have to script it out for them (main roster stars) because they can't do it any other way," Hunter said.
-- NXT INT'L REACH: It was noted during the call that the "Takeover" special will air internationally in the U.K., on J Sports in Japan, and in the Middle East. Hunter said it's part of their plan to give NXT a global reach as a third brand side-by-side with Raw and Smackdown.
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