NXT Takeover Brooklyn Post-Event Press Conference with Triple H discussing injuries, NXT’s culture, NXT’s position as a brand going forward, Evolution, Matt Riddle, Ricochet’s ring style, more

Home / NXT Takeover Brooklyn Post-Event Press Conference with Triple H discussing injuries, NXT’s culture, NXT’s position as a brand going forward, Evolution, Matt Riddle, Ricochet’s ring style, more


PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.

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The following are highlights of Triple H’s media conference call after NXT Takeover Brooklyn IV, as quoted and paraphrased by PWTorch editor Wade Keller…

-Triple H introduced the conference call and said he thinks they had a phenomenal night. He touted that four years in they sold out on the first of four nights back to back. He said it was the highest grossing NXT event they’ve ever done, completely sold out with roughly 14,700.

-He said there were a couple of injuries and he hoped nothing too serious. He said Johnny Gargano might have dislocated his knee and EC3 was a bit dinged up.

-When asked about the WrestleMania weekend and new competition at MSG, Triple H said it doesn’t change anything. “To me this is about every time you get a chance at the plate, you swing for the fences. You do it every time. I’m confident about this brand. I’ll put this brand and these athletes up against anything in the world. Fans will go see what they want to see, and when the smoke clears, I put my card up against anybody’s top to bottom, anyone in the world.

-When asked what’s next for the brand, Triple H said they want to continue doing what they’re doing, including creating talent. He if you look at the main roster, and the Women’s Revolution/Evolution, it’s the driving force behind it. He said where it goes next is trying to always deliver what they have now. He mentioned NXT UK as another stage moving forward. He said he thinks the brand will tour more.

-He said the only thing that’s developmental about NXT is that there are people learning how to do things from a production standpoint. He said what they did tonight doesn’t appear to be developmental, nor does the touring. “It’s the third brand, and that third brand will continue to grow and push, and that competition is good because it will make everybody step up to another level. That high tide will rise all ships and there is room for all of it.” He said he can go down a list of a lot of stuff that wasn’t on the card that could have been. He said if you add Keith Lee and Matt Riddle and the Mae Young Classic talent, there’s an abundance and wealth of talent waiting for their shot at the plate, which pushes everybody to be better.

He said some people like college football better than the NFL because there is turnover and guys come and go. “I think very soon there’s a potential to reach a period of time when something like a draft happens of a Superstar Shake-up, there could be some call-ups, but I think they’ll be seen more as ‘move overs.’ Maybe then the whole thing is structured differently.” He said there are guys in the Performance Center doing more than just learning how to take tackles, such as strength and conditioning and just becoming a better all-around athlete. He suggested some main roster guys could come to NXT, train at the Performance Center, rest from the schedule, let them thrive there, or send them to a brand in another country. “Really, if you look at the business as what it is now, but if it was all meaningful everywhere, and you could shift and move do things, there’d still be the bigger drivers of Raw and Smackdown always, but it wouldn’t be seen as this crazy demotion to go somewhere else.” He said he sees that now where it used to be a call-up and now it’s not being drafted, but more moving teams. “For me, in my head, that’s what I see the long-term goal is.”

-Regarding which of the three Gargano-Ciampa matches, which surprised him the most in terms of what they got out of it. Triple H said none of them surprised him. He said he loves challenging talent to go to places that aren’t necessarily their comfort zones with storytelling. He said each of the matches have gone to different places to tell the arc of the story. He said it’s not easy to go three times back-to-back main event telling a story like they are. He said getting it to be better than the next one or at least different is a challenge and an art form. He said they’ve grown as performers as a result. “It’s really cool watching them go through that,” he said. He noted that Shawn Michaels works with them a lot, and their growth comes from the nuance of storytelling, some of which might be easy to miss but is there.

He said regarding Gargano’s knee, “Technically that was supposed to go slightly differently than it all did. We kind of had to make a call on the fly and change a few things in the actual moment so it ended up being different. The truth is no one knows the difference because only the people putting it together knew what was different. That’s the beauty of what we do.” He said a wise man used to tell him if you can get 70 percent of what you have in your head on TV is a grand slam. He imitated Dusty Rhodes’s voice as he said it. “You have to be willing to accept it’s not going to be the movie you watch in your brain, and it’s going to be slightly different. You envision it one way, but I always try to remember that.” He said Gargano and Ciampa got a lot more than 70 percent out of it.

-Regarding Matt Riddle, he joked about his clothes and shoes. He said he’s smart in how he has adapted what he did in his MMA career to pro wrestling. He said he’s watched his ups and downs for a while and there comes a time when somebody gets good enough. He said they go through a period where they see someone who is good, but they decide they’re good doing what they’re doing and continue doing that outside of WWE/NXT and then revisit them once they reach another level. He said they don’t want to leave someone out there too long to stagnate or regress or start settling and coming up short of being big box office. He said they jump in and try to get to them while they’re growing and not learning bad habits. He said there’s a lot of talent they are interested in and have spoken to, but they tell them to keep doing what they’re doing. He said Matt has come a long way and he thinks he has matured as a person, “which we’ll find out.” He said he thinks he’s realized where he wants to get to in the business as opposed to just having fun in the business. “We think it’s the right time, but time will tell,” he said. He said sometimes people think people come in and they just go with it, but not everything works and there’s a lot of factors. He said he believes in his potential, “but like with anyone else, we’ll see.”

-Regarding Ricochet, he said, “He’s like a human CGI film.” He said he and Shawn were at the Performance Center and Hunter suggested Ricochet just leap over the top rope and not touch anything and land on his feet, and he was kidding, but Ricochet shrugged and did it. He said Ricochet can’t make it look too easy, though, because that doesn’t look right. He said it’s supposed to look like a fight, not a dance. He said it should look like a grind. He said Shawn could make things that were easy look difficult because it was the grit and the fight that made the art work. He said he hasn’t seen Ricochet get pushed like he was tonight, and he said that’s a testament to how good Adam Cole is. He said Cole can do just about anything on the mic and in the ring. He said Ricochet’s performance, thanks to Cole in part, made it look like he earned his win and didn’t just glide to it.

-Regarding Velveteen Dream’s tights saying “Call me up, Vince,” Triple H joked he didn’t mean Vince McMahon. Hunter said he didn’t see his trunks until he wore them out there. He said maybe he should have known ahead of time. He said there are two types of calls someone can get when they say that, and one is good and one isn’t.

-He said regarding Evolution, the NXT brand will be represented, and the Mae Young Classic finals will also take place. He said there will be a lot of women who were part of the journey to where it is today. He said the time is right now, and maybe the time wasn’t right years ago. He said fans might not have embraced it back then the way it’s being presented and pushed today. He said the growth of Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane has been amazing in a short time. He said Baszler has gone from ground zero to being a great performer to the point “I might be the most afraid of her on the entire roster.” He said their match tonight was great. He said there’s a wealth of talent in the women’s division and “what’s next” is whatever the women want it to be. He said the crowds are willing to accept it and embrace it, so now is the time.

-When asked what the next main event feud will be in NXT, Triple H said, “whatever resonates most.” He said they have an unsolved mystery, and that has to play itself out. “You just have to mess with things and see where things go,” he said. He said he wouldn’t have envisioned DIY getting to this point. He said Ciampa is in a different stratosphere now than where he was not that long ago. “What I think today is irrelevant to how much they grow tomorrow, and that changes everything,” he said. “It’s a work in progress every single day.”

-Regarding Moustache Mountain, he said they could end up in NXT UK and NXT’s main brand. He said even though they lost tonight, they got themselves over so no one lost and it was real progress for both teams.

-Regarding Aleister Black’s injury, Triple H said he’s not cleared and it’s a day-to-day thing. He said he’s not sure and doesn’t want to speculate because “it’s a doctor thing.”

-He said Gargano, Ciampa, and Black are leaders in the locker room. He said he looks for that. He said not everyone is. “I look for the people who are going to help others, who wants to be part of the solution, not the problem. The business used to be a lot different.” He said if someone was talented, you would put up with a lot because they couldn’t afford to lose them, but there’s a lot of talent now. “I put as much stock into them as human beings and how they interact on a day to day basis as I do their talent in the ring. Somebody can be really talented, but not be the right human being, not the right support system for everyone else, be the fly in the ointment, and then I don’t want them there; I don’t care how talent they are. It’s all long-term potential, so go be really talented somewhere else if you’re going to mess up my locker room now.” He said he won’t let anyone mess up the culture of his NXT locker room. “Nobody,” he said. He again emphasized that Ciampa and Gargano at the top in that regard and have earned that trust. The people who earn his trust “get the ball.”

NOW CHECK OUT JUSTIN JAMES’S REPORT ON THE ACTUAL EVENT: NXT TAKEOVER REPORT 8/18: Ongoing coverage of event headlined with Cimpa vs. Gargano, Baszler vs. Sane Live from Brooklyn

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