Fourteen-time WWE Champion, "The Game" Triple H, spoke on a media call following the debut of WWE NXT on the USA Network that Wrestling Inc. was standing by for. Hunter says that NXT will remain true to itself and that includes giving stars like Evolve Wrestling's Sean Maluta opportunities for growth and development as they expand to the USA Network.
"I don't necessarily think what is NXT is going to change," Triple H explained. "And Sean Maluta has been a fairly regular performer for us here. He worked with Evolve, and I like Sean a lot. We used him in the Cruiserweight Classic and he has grown so much as a performer. I'm happy that he gets the opportunity to come here, and even in the moments that he had tonight, just having that opportunity - that's a rep and that's an opportunity to put himself in front of the world. These, to me, are important things and I think that you're going to see a lot of that."
Hunter mentioned how the dark matches that take place prior to NXT airing live on USA may be used as content for future projects. However, people behind the scenes are still deciding what to do with the footage. He believes there are endless opportunities for people who are a part of NXT or aspire to become a part of the black and yellow brand.
"There's a massive amount of opportunity here for people who within our system, for people who are trying to get in within that system, for the talent that are working for groups that work with us, like Evolve and things like that to be able to connect them and do what we do," Triple H said. "I want to keep this fresh, I want to keep it moving. You know, you saw Imperium here tonight from the UK, you saw cruiserweight matches with Lio Rush coming back and a slightly different take from the cruiserweights. I think all of those are ways to keep this constantly fresh and evolving and giving fans something different in a lot of ways, at all times.
"As far as the dark matches earlier in the night, I think having a few matches prior to get us going allows us to settle into a groove, it allows us to make sure everything is working right, and those will also be great content for whatever we decide to use them for whether that's part of a show, part of a Network show, part of something in a tape format; we're figuring that part out right now. Right now, I'm concerned about two hours of live every single week, but that is definitely something that will be a part of this going forward."
Triple H opened up about the struggle associated with balancing the action-packed moments of the show with moments meant to build toward something greater than what is being seen at the time. He assumes that viewers will want to see what brand new performers can bring to the table and plans to make debuting stars a regular part of NXT on USA.
"I believe that in this business, you're developmental until the day you stop getting in the ring. You learn every single time you get in there. The day you stop learning about what's next in this business, and what's coming up, and what's new, and stop growing, you should stop because you're done," Hunter stated. "So, everyone is developmental. As far as the people in the show, how would it have been different? Well, one, it would have had commercial breaks, two, we would have gone right to the exact moment of going off the air. We went off the air early but it was our network and we can tweak some things around and change some things. Would that hour have been different? Yes. Would it have been massively different? No.
"Here's the thing, you have two hours. Not everything in there can be pouring gas on a fire, you have to have moments and times," Triple H continued. "It's a funny thing in the world when people watch Game Of Thrones or something like that, there have to be some episodes or at least some moments within those episodes where they're building to something bigger. If everything is just a massive explosion, it's all the same. It doesn't mean anything. So, you have to have that ebb and flow and you have to have that stuff. I want to debut new characters, I want to get new performers out there, I want to give opportunities to, one, people that are returning or that they haven't seen in a while, or, two, that they've never seen. And give it to them in that manner, but to do that, you have to do things differently, shake things up, and you have to have those moments where you're going to rely on fans to go, 'Hey, this is somebody new. You know what? I want to give them a shot.' I'm not going to leave because I've never seen this person before, I'm going to not leave because I want to know more about them."
Reports emerged during last night's premiere NXT episode that many users of the WWE Network were unable to log into their account to watch the second hour of NXT live. Hunter commented on the matter, noting how it might not be as widespread of an outage as it originally seemed. He hopes people will take advantage of the on-demand future, if needed.
"From my understanding, just from what I've heard so far, I don't believe it was a massive, widespread thing," Hunter said. "Bad news travels fast but I don't think it was as big as it was put out there to be. I think there was a select grouping of people that couldn't login or something to my understanding. The great thing is with the WWE Network, once the issue was addressed and fixed, they could log right back in and you can go watch it right now on demand, and you can watch it whenever you want. So, it's sitting right there. With the platform comes little glitches and issues. I know they're in the process of figuring it all out and hopefully it's something that will never happen again. For our fan base that was there watching it, they can go back and watch it right now."
Triple H pointed out that pacing and incorporating commercial breaks into your content each week is what remains the biggest challenge for RAW, SmackDown, and now, NXT. He has confidence that the team they've assembled to run the live show will be able to handle any problems as they occur.
"There's a little bit more freedom with our Network to not have to do some of the commercial things and all of those things, and hit on those exactly right," Triple H explained. "But there's now leeway at the 9 o'clock hour, we have to hit that out and that is the tricky part. Look, that is the tricky part for RAW, the tricky part for SmackDown, it's the tricky part for anybody that's doing live television in that manner, where at a particular time, you are off the air whether you're ready for it or not ready for it. You can't go off earlier, you're going off when you're going off. So, that's the tricky part. The beautiful thing about this team here is a lot of experience, a lot of people know what they're doing, people with years of [experience], and we can roll with these punches and get it done. It's not our first gig, it's not our first day on the job, so we have a lot of experience but it doesn't mean mistakes won't happen. But we have them handled, and tonight, as things went through, we were able to go where we needed to go and I thought we had an epic first shot.
"It is a little nice though that the first couple of weeks are also - I'm happy that if you're watching USA and you're new to the product, like, the fans that have been with us since the beginning, they know," Hunter added. "The ones that don't, this is new to them. So giving them that first taste and a little dose, and letting them have it for a couple of weeks - I sound like I'm making Breaking Bad or something, but you give them that little taste of it and them leave them wanting more. And we'll give that to them over these coming weeks. Now, as they get into these characters more, when we hit that first two hour stride on 10/2, we're going to knock this thing out of the park and we're going to make sure that people are engaged because when the first two weeks are done, they're wanting more of it. And that's the goal with this."
If you use any quotes from this article, please include a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
The full audio from Triple H's post-NXT on USA media call aired as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post.