Triple H recently appeared on CBS Sports' State of Combat podcast to promote tonight's WWE NXT premiere on the USA Network. He talked about challenges with bringing the black & yellow brand to live TV each week.
"We are always trying to prepare talent at the Performance Center for every aspect of what they can expect all the way through their careers," Triple H said. "You're live TV, it's different in a way where you have to hit time cues. You have to hit time cues going off the air, if you don't you just go off the air. You can't go early, you can't go late, but these are things we work on all of the time, but this makes it a little bit more real and they've got to be good at it now, but the truth is for us now, creatively behind the scenes, this really is helpful to us because we have spent the last couple of years, I know for me anyways, of every time we are writing these shows and laying them out the problem has been, 'Man, I really want to get these talents debuted on the show and want to expose these talents out there', I just don't have the time to do it in that one hour show. I just don't have the slot open to get them open out there to let them do what they do, so you run into the problem of having the time to execute the show the way you want to and have that exposure for everybody. This opens that up dramatically, so I think you are going to see a lot of talent that has been chomping at the bit for a while, to show them what they can do and now finally get that opportunity, and the opportunity to cut loose on the world and show them who they are."
He continued, "We are adding time to the show, the one thing we are not going to do is do a show and then commercial break, we don't do anything and then come back and go on with the show. So, in essence, you are creating a longer show but you are carrying it through all those commercial breaks anyway, so it is a two hour show but for air time, it's not exactly as big of a change as people would be thinking in their mind when you actually do a two hour show, or even a one hour show. The time that you are on the air is a lot less. Commercial time takes a lot out of it, but that's throughout the board. There's nothing anyone can do about that, but that is what it is."
A major concern among fans going into the NXT USA premiere is potential creative changes to the product, and Vince McMahon's influence. Triple H insisted that Vince's involvement will not change the core of what NXT is. He was asked if the NXT product will change when it moves to USA.
"As far as the product changing, I always want the product to change and get better from my point of view," Triple H said. "Will it hopefully get better? Yes. Will Vince McMahon or anybody else's involvement change the core? No. The intent is not for them to be involved. You know, one thing that people don't give Vince McMahon credit for is that none of this would happen without him. The concept, the idea of it being an alternative brand doesn't exist without him and that is part of what makes it great, is his ability to make us do that and his ability to step back and say, 'This is what it is and I am not going to change that because it moves to a different platform, it is successful for a reason and I want that reason to continue to grow.'
"Truth is, everything with WWE has his fingerprints on it, even NXT. I have sat under his learning tree for 25+ years and a lot of things that I do were taught directly from him. It definitely has his fingerprints, everything in the company has his fingerprints but we're not looking to change NXT, he's not looking to get involved; trust me, he's got enough stuff going on. NXT is going to be what it is and what it has been as an alternative and much more for our core base; for those who are super passionate and really into what we do as opposed to being a casual fan. The people who are really into it, this is the brand for them. They are going to feel like this is home for them. If anything, we'll just make it more of that."
Remember to join us tonight at 8pm ET for live NXT USA coverage.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the State of Combat podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.