WWE COO Triple H spoke on a media call earlier today that Wrestling Inc. was present for. During the discussion, Triple H opened up about the future of the WWE NXT brand that he's spent so much of his time creating. Triple H was asked about reports of NXT possibly airing on FS1 and if there would be a a second NXT show in addition to the one currently airing on the Network.
"When you say [the potential of] two NXT shows, it's funny because in my mind, I immediately went, 'Well, there are two NXT shows, there's NXT: UK and NXT.' But there's always a changing landscape, there's always - the internal discussion here of where content goes is a constant," Hunter said. "We look at this kind of wheel of options of distribution that we have across all platforms, whether that be television or platforms like that, being a part of that world, or whether it be Facebook or something like that, or USA, or FOX. Then there's our digital presence which, as you know, a billion social media followers, #1 channel on YouTube for sports, I think #2 overall right now in the world for anything on YouTube. So digital and where you put things out in that matter [is important to us], and then our VOD/our network/our direct to consumer."
With SmackDown moving to the FOX network this Fall, Triple H noted how it's an exciting time in WWE and NXT especially, as they have many options on what their future may look like.
"There's a lot of exciting thoughts and ideas out there [for NXT] but we're constantly debating in the ebb and flow of where things go and land," Hunter explained. "And I think that there's a lot of thought that goes into all of it because they all affect each other, and you want to put the right amount of stuff on each one of those pieces of the wheel to make sure that you're getting the maximum out of all of them. So when it comes to NXT growing as a brand and everything else, there's a lot of options on the table."
Triple H didn't exactly confirm whether or not NXT will be moving to a FOX-affiliated network like FS1 when WWE's big move happens this fall. He did, however, point out how other potential competitors, like AEW's weekly TV show that debuts on TNT this Fall, will be "counter-programming" to NXT's typical Wednesday night time slot.
"Contrary to what I've heard, because you hear people speculate and I've seen the conversations around FS1 or whatever it is with NXT and all that stuff, and then immediately, people come in with counter-programming talk. We have content all over the place, and if people want to talk about counter-programming and bring that up in the conversation - like, Wednesday has been the home of NXT forever. Right?" Hunter asked. "That's where it's sat; it's been on our network on a Wednesday's time slot now forever.
"And when other people announce [their show] on Wednesday, you don't hear talk about counter-programming. You just hear, 'the announcement'. For us, everything is 'counter-programming' and it's this and it's that - We plan things long in advance," Triple H continued. "We worry about doing our business and that's really what we worry about, so, [I've been giving] cryptic talk because there's a lot of thoughts and possibilities. And that's the great thing about it is that we can do just about anything, it is about what is best for WWE, and this business, and how does it affect the fans in the way that is the most meaningful to them."
With the imminent move to FOX this Fall, Hunter commented on how his hectic schedule may alter once the show starts to air on Friday nights. He explained the process WWE goes through when trying to put teams in place that will execute things properly when someone like Vince or himself is absent.
"You do the best you can," Triple H explained. "You go where you need to go, we create the content we need to create and the opportunities we need to create. But those things factor into all of it, so when you're talking about, 'Hey, where does this show go? Where does that show go? Do we put a Cardiff show here for the NXT UK brand? Do we put this TakeOver here? Where do all of these things sit?' There's all factors in that we've all got to make these things work, and then there's the human limits of what you can do on them. So those factors all play in as well, but you're trying to also expand the team.
"When we first started NXT UK, I was at every TV [taping]. I was flying over to London, and the setup of it, and the PC and building the London PC, and seeing all of that," Hunter continued. "I was constantly going back and forth to London and getting this done and then constantly going back and forth to England and doing the TVs and all the stuff. The intent of doing that is to build out a team over there of other people, and now I haven't been to one of those TV tapings in a significant period of time."
Hunter personally doesn't worry when Vince isn't present for a RAW or SmackDown TV taping, as he's well-aware of the busy role that Vince plays in other avenues. He has faith in the teams they've established inside WWE, and believes they are highly capable of keeping the show rolling on.
"The intent is to build these teams as we move around the globe, get them up to speed and hand things off to them where they're managing it, operating it, and running it in a way that is the best possible," Hunter noted. "And that is no different for any of this - that goes for RAW, to SmackDown, to everything else. There's weeks every now and then where Vince isn't at a RAW or SmackDown. And it's funny because some weeks it happens and [people will make it this] huge deal, 'Oh my gosh, Vince wasn't at TV this week!' Yeah, I know, he's got a lot of commitments going on. But you button it up, and you put faith in the team, and you run the shows and you move forward with them. It's running a business, so we will create the content we can create, we will do it in the best way possible, and we will put teams together to make these things happen in the best way possible."
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