WWE Hall of Famers Shawn Michaels and Triple H recently spoke with Yahoo Sports to promote WWE NXT going to the USA Network later this month. Triple H confirmed that NXT will put more focus on the in-ring product, as NXT has done since the beginning.
"We will put more emphasis — like NXT has since Day One — on the in-ring product. If you are a fan of what we do, of the art form of sports entertainment and what happens in the ring, bell to bell, then this is going to be in your wheelhouse," Triple H said. "Whereas Raw and Smackdown — this is very important, too — are more of an entertainment show and has something for everybody, this will be a bit more focused and a bit more intense."
While NXT has top talents like NXT Champion Adam Cole and The Undisputed Era, and had promoted stars to the main roster like RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch, Triple H noted that one of the most influential talents to be associated with NXT is Michaels. Triple H talked about how Michaels has worked with developmental and said he's now one of the most engaged people in the product, talent and brand.
"I think it was important for Shawn to put the business down for a little bit and walk away," Triple H said. "As he started coming around the PC, it's hard to come around there and not start to become invigorated by it. It's like the fountain of youth. The excitement is contagious, and I could see him start to get that bug and his gears started to spin. I let him build at his own pace and now Shawn is probably one of the most engaged people in the product, talent and brand."
Michaels said NXT will continue to try and improve on things that are innovative, that will take NXT into the future. It was noted that both of the DX leaders realize that pushing the envelope is the only way to help continually lift the black & yellow brand to new heights.
"We continue to try and improve on things that are innovative, things that will take NXT into the future," Michaels said. "We don't spend a lot of time on what has worked or the foundational aspects or values of the wrestling business as a whole. Creatively, as a group, we try to think about tiers we want to go to, and maybe putting ourselves into uncomfortable situations. If we're getting like that creatively, I feel like that's a good place to be in because it means we are stretching ourselves."
Regarding the so-called Wednesday Night War between NXT and AEW, Triple H noted that keeping the Wednesday night timeslot was important for fan continuity, but it is hard to ignore that NXT will be going up against AEW.
"For me, it's about putting on the best show we possibly can whether we had competition or not," Triple H said. "The winner, I think, is fans. Competition brings out the best in people and I think that's what will happen here. For me, the competition is with ourselves — to constantly raise the bar, to be something better — and I don't just mean in-ring, I mean for the business in general, to be leaders. It's something I challenge everyone at the Performance Center to do every day, create the business the way we want it to be. When we say we are the future, that's what we mean."
NXT will premiere on the USA Network on Wednesday, September 18, two weeks before AEW's weekly TNT series premieres on October 2. Triple H pointed out that in reality, NXT has an even larger head start.
"If you talk about the upstart, what they're going out and saying is that they're an alternative," Triple H said. "We were that alternative five years ago. We opened the door for being an alternative, we opened the door to show people that it can be done on a bigger level and on a different basis. As far as being the alternative, great, go put on the best show you can put out, and we'll put out the best one we can put out."
Michaels said it's a phenomenal time for the pro wrestling business, and he thinks the NXT roster can go with anyone else.
"I think the NXT roster can go with anybody in the entire world," Michaels said. "There are a bunch of unbelievable talents. The wrestling business as a whole is in a phenomenal time. There's an abundance of talent out there and I think the world is going to get to see it. I'm sure everybody likes to win, but everybody who has a brain can see that this is great for the business. We want to show what we've felt for quite some time and that's that we have the best talent in the world."