NXT TakeOver Media Call: Triple H on NXT vs. AEW, Shayna Baszler, Matt Riddle, More

Triple H held an NXT TakeOver media call this past Wednesday discussing a variety of NXT and WWE related questions. Some of the highlights from the media call included his thoughts on AEW beating NXT in the key demographics, Shayna Baszler’s current status, NXT’s relationship with Full Sail University, and the backstage incident between Matt Riddle and Brock Lesnar at last month’s Royal Rumble event.

On the topic of NXT not doing as well as AEW in terms of the key demographics, Triple H stated:

“I think it’s all about the long game. And what we have to do is get to the people in the younger demos. When you’re promoted in younger demos and you’re viewed in those younger demos, promotionaly, then those are the people that you attract. When you’re promoted in different demos… when you look at NXT on USA and you break down the numbers, it’s very similar to a RAW number, it’s very similar to a USA number, because that’s where we’re promoted, and that’s where we’re seen, and that’s where everything else goes. But the long game is building up the brand that you’ve built.

I think that, and people can make this argument, but I think what we’ve done is come in and proven the in-ring product from a hardcore, not a hardcore in the old sense, but in a passionate fanbase of bell-to-bell action standpoint, arguable that it is bell-to-bell, the equivalent or better than anybody.

Now you start to do different things, you start to add in a bit more entertainment, you start to add in a bit more variety. You start to add in some other things. You have to establish it first. I view it no different than establishing a character within an individual show. So again, when I say it’s for the long game, that’s what it’s for. Now as you establish that brand, now you begin to promote it outside, now you begin to move outside those things. We’ll get those numbers and the demos where they need to be. I’m happy with where the show is, I’m happy with its trajectory right now, and you know, the plans are in place to continue to move it in the direction that we want it to go.”

On the topic of if Shayna Baszler is now an official member of the RAW brand, Triple H stated:

“Look, I think that’ll play out. There’s a fascinating thing for me with that. There was a ton of buzz, I think, going into the Survivor Series and building up people for Becky Lynch and, her rise to where she is has been insane. I’m so happy for her. But, you know, you have to have that that that base of opponents and all those things. So hopefully that turns into something massive for both of them and we see where that goes. At this point, I’m not 100 percent sure. As far as right now goes, I sort of look at this like sports teams in a way and you’ve got to make deals to get people to go different places, as far as I’m concerned right now, Shayna Baszler’s still an NXT talent until we make a deal for her to go someplace else. So does that mean there’s a moment where Becky Lynch comes hunting for Shayna Baszler or vice versa? I don’t know yet. We’ll see.”

On the topic of NXT potentially holding weekly shows outside of Full Sail University, Triple H stated:

“Yeah, look, we have… Full Sail is one of our most valued partners I think that we have in WWE. It’s a funny thing, almost more like a family relationship than it is just a strictly business relationship. To be honest, at this point I can’t even tell you if we have a contractual obligation to it at this point because we’re just at the point where we just have conversations, and, ‘Hey, here’s what we’re going to do when this opportunity came up.’ Or, ‘Hey, here’s what we want to do.’ We feel like being here is a strength, we feel like being here long-term is an opportunity and a moment. It’s a learning experience for everybody because people forget what happens here benefits all of WWE. We’re not just… through our relationship with Full Sail, we’re not just training talent, in-ring talent.

We have producers and directors that are doing WrestleMania now, and that level of stadium shows, that cut their teeth on that job here and wouldn’t have had that opportunity otherwise. We have camera guys – same thing. They’re weekly now, RAW and SmackDown, doing pay-per-views, they’ll do WrestleMania, that cut their teeth doing that here. The amount of talent, in-ring and outside of the ring, production-wise, you know, writing teams. Every aspect of what we do, the stuff that you see and don’t see. People just see what they see on TV and they think that’s the end of it. The machine that is behind it is massive, and us creating, the people that are inside the gears of that machine, are what happened here at Full Sail. I can’t… the partnership goes so far beyond all of that, from just, ‘Hey, we’re renting out your live facility every Wednesday.’ It’s so much more than that, and we value that partnership at the highest of levels, and I really mean that, across the board of the company. Full Sail is like family to us and part of that partnership… to that point, we’ll always do what is best for business and if we felt like there was a different opportunity with the brand, we absolutely would look into it.

There will be a show coming up, we’ll have an announcement coming soon, where we’ll be out of Full Sail for a week because there’s a prior commitment here. And it’s a commitment that they can’t change, and we’re OK with that. We’ve known about it since the very beginning. They’re also running a very successful college here, and a very successful business of their own. So, it’s not just about what we need, it’s about what we need together, and how do we make that work. So, they’re supportive of us, we’re supportive of us, and we do what’s best for each other, but we can do that with whoever we want to do that, and however they want us to do that.”

On the topic of the backstage incident between Matt Riddle and Brock Lesnar at last month’s Royal Rumble event, Triple H stated:

“Look, I don’t know. To be honest with you, I’ve not asked anybody about it. I’m not. No one has expressed their opinion. Certainly, Vince didn’t express his disapproval of anything that that was said and I’m sure if there would have been an issue he would have called me directly. I’ve heard what you heard. There was a conversation between the two or whatever and Matt’s Matt, Brock’s Brock. [If] they had a conversation, that’s between them. They are grown adults. So they had a conversation, if they did whatever they decided amongst themselves, you know, to be honest, sometimes I read some of that and I’m like, ‘is this a work? Is this legit?’ I don’t care either way from that standpoint. I’m entertained by it. And you know if somebody has a problem with it [and] they come to me, then I’ll help deal with the problem, but right now, it is what it is.”

Other notable highlights included Triple H’s thoughts on the current length of NXT TakeOver events, The Rock’s daughter signing a contract with WWE, Keith Lee as a potential main roster call up, and the lack of a Halftime Heat WWE Network special this year.

Full media audio via F4WOnline.com
Transcript h/t: WrestlingInc.com, Fightful.com 1 & 2