Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa headlined their third NXT TakeOver special in a row on Saturday night and the Barclays Center was captivated by the story they told in their last man standing match for the NXT Title. Triple H spoke on a post-TakeOver conference call where he discussed Gargano and Ciampa's growth as competitors from sheepish newcomers without contracts to the men we see headlining specials on the WWE Network.
"Watching them grow as performers because of this and take it to another level than the ones that you've done before -- that's difficult when there's an art form to that," Triple H said. "I've watched them grow and that is the thing that's, I don't want to say it's surprising. It's just really cool watching them go through that."
Shawn Michaels started working as a coach for the WWE Performance Center in 2017 after many attempts to bring him into the creative fold from his long-time friend Triple H. Through his teaching, he is able to not only help wrestlers like Gargano and Ciampa enhance their in-ring attributes, but athletes like the former Team #DIY are always impressing along the way which is something both HBK and Triple H have enjoyed watching.
"I think when, Shawns [Michaels] works with them a lot and as you watch them grow as performers it's the part that Shawn and I talk about the most is that the nuance of storytelling that they do. Some of it is even missed when you watch it, but knowing where they were going and how they get there, it's just that little nuance to me that is the magic of what we do and watching them do that and grow is impressive."
During the conclusion of the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn main event, Gargano suffered an injury which made them switch up their plans as the action unfolded. While this wasn't the desired outcome, Triple H went on to praise Gargano and Ciampa for executing the finish without anyone being the wiser except for the few people who were aware what was really taking place.
"Clearly I wasn't planning on Gargano injuring himself in the last sequence of that match," Triple H discussed. "Did it play into it? Yeah. Technically it was supposed to go slightly differently than it all did.
"We kinda had to make a call on the fly and change a few things in the actual moment. So it ends up being different because only the people putting it together know what they were doing and that's the beauty of what we do and they get there."
Triple H said the twenty minutes on television only makes up a fraction of what we see out of a Superstar. Once a Superstar earns trust from the office, they must keep it which is a daily task. Gargano and Ciampa walked into the WWE Performance Center without full contracts because the money wasn't in the budget for them, but they were able to work something out.
"From two guys walking in the door and at first without having full contracts with us," Triple H said, "I didn't have the budgeting room to have them as full-time contracts. But I said, 'guys I like you I really wanna work with you -- let me one-off you and I'll kinda structure something around that and do what I can."
The two NXT newcomers soon proved themselves and worked their way into full-time NXT contracts, but as singles competitors, they have also become locker room leaders in the process. Gagrano and Ciampa are now considered locker room leaders which is an attribute Triple H values as he gave one recent example during the Mae Young Classic where Ciampa's actions spoke volumes on his progress as a Superstar.
"They've been a pleasure to work with," Triple H continued on Gargano and Ciampa. "Seeing that level of guys walking in the door sheepishly trying to find a place for themselves to guys who are probably leaders of a locker room of 100 talent or so that are of all different levels of skill.
"Even to the point where we were just at the Mae Young Classic and Tegan Nox has a tragic accident and blows her knee out and they take her through the back door and the doctors are there with her and by the time I come around to the back a lot of the other women are around her, and as I walk into the back the person holding the icepack on her knee is Tommaso Ciampa.
"He's a leader. Gargano is a leader. Aleister Black is a leader in the locker room to those people. That will resonate here. I look for those things in talent."
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