The live premiere of NXT on USA and WWE Networks this Wednesday (Sept. 18) is arguably a bigger deal than a TakeOver. It’s certainly enough of one to merit the standard pre-TakeOver Triple H conference call. So that happened today.
Not a lot of new ground was covered. Hunter’s recent comments about 205 Live moving under the NXT umbrella got a lot of play, and The Game specified it didn’t mean the brand was going away, just that it would interact more with the black-and-gold moving forward. He said he could see the Cruiserweight title being defended on a TakeOver instead of a pay-per-view (PPV) show.
The interactions of the brands were discussed. Talent can move between NXT and NXT UK, and Trips sees that as a way to freshen them up rather than it always meaning a full-time move. The Worlds Collide brand could expand, but that’s not definite. The specials are primarily a way to generate more live content for the Network, which is also how he framed TakeOvers moving away from main roster (a term Haitch understandably doesn’t like, and which he sometimes interestingly refers to as “the entertainment end” of WWE) PPVs.
NXT will not take part in the upcoming Raw and SmackDown talent draft, but might be a part of future editions, depending on how successful they are establishing it as distinct third brand. He repeated his oft-stated line about talent moving to and from all WWE’s brands.
The show expanding to two hours every week and how that could change it were frequently addressed. The first question was about his goals for size of the audience on USA, and Triple H declined to provide a number. He emphasized long-term brand building as opposed to loading up shows or hot shot booking to pop early numbers.
Hunter did say he’d hire Kevin Owens if he’s “legitimately fired” from SmackDown, though.
He doesn’t see TakeOvers getting longer as a result of the longer weekly shows, as not every television program needs to be on TakeOver. Like all of us, Trips is glad that NXT is moving to a two hour show and not a three hour one.
The final question he took asked if the move would change the creative process for the show, and seemed to be asking-without-asking about potential involvement from Vince McMahon or other Raw & SmackDown voices. Haitch said that while their marketing team is obviously expanding, “the team is the team” and isn’t changing. He specifically mentioned Brian James, Shawn Michaels, Matt Bloom, and Sara Amato. His plan is to keep that group together, and he’s excited for them to get the chance to show more people what a great job they do creating NXT.
Does that answer your questions? Alleviate concerns? Raise new ones?
H/T: Wrestling Observer, PWInsider, and Fightful