Triple H was asked why he thinks NXT isn't doing as well in the key demographics as the competition is, and what he feels the company can do to better improve those numbers. Triple H said it's all about the long game, but he is happy with how NXT is doing, and they have plans to move the brand in the direction they want to take it. He also admitted that they need to reach more fans in the younger demographics.
"I think it's all about the long game," Triple H said. "And what we have to do is get to the people in the younger demos. When you're promoted in younger demos and you're viewed in those younger demos, promotionaly, then those are the people that you attract. When you're promoted in different demos... when you look at NXT on USA and you break down the numbers, it's very similar to a RAW number, it's very similar to a USA number, because that's where we're promoted, and that's where we're seen, and that's where everything else goes. But the long game is building up the brand that you've built."
Triple H continued and stood by the NXT in-ring product up against AEW's. He also expressed confidence that NXT will rise in those needed demographics.
"I think that, and people can make this argument, but I think what we've done is come in and proven the in-ring product from a hardcore, not a hardcore in the old sense, but in a passionate fanbase of bell-to-bell action standpoint, arguable that it is bell-to-bell, the equivalent or better than anybody.
Now you start to do different things, you start to add in a bit more entertainment, you start to add in a bit more variety. You start to add in some other things. You have to establish it first. I view it no different than establishing a character within an individual show. So again, when I say it's for the long game, that's what it's for. Now as you establish that brand, now you begin to promote it outside, now you begin to move outside those things. We'll get those numbers and the demos where they need to be. I'm happy with where the show is, I'm happy with its trajectory right now, and you know, the plans are in place to continue to move it in the direction that we want it to go."
Triple H also discussed WWE's relationship with Full Sail University for the NXT brand, and possibly taking the show on the road every now and then. Our own Justin LaBar asked if WWE is contractually obligated to do TV each week with Full Sail, and if they are available to take NXT TV on the road at times, or if that has been discussed. Triple H said they would pursue different opportunities for the brand, but will always do what's best for business. He also noted that the company, all the way to the top, values the relationship with Full Sail.
"Yeah, look, we have... Full Sail is one of our most valued partners I think that we have in WWE," Triple H said. "It's a funny thing, almost more like a family relationship than it is just a strictly business relationship. To be honest, at this point I can't even tell you if we have a contractual obligation to it at this point because we're just at the point where we just have conversations, and, 'Hey, here's what we're going to do when this opportunity came up.' Or, 'Hey, here's what we want to do.' We feel like being here is a strength, we feel like being here long-term is an opportunity and a moment. It's a learning experience for everybody because people forget what happens here benefits all of WWE. We're not just... through our relationship with Full Sail, we're not just training talent, in-ring talent.
"We have producers and directors that are doing WrestleMania now, and that level of stadium shows, that cut their teeth on that job here and wouldn't have had that opportunity otherwise. We have camera guys - same thing. They're weekly now, RAW and SmackDown, doing pay-per-views, they'll do WrestleMania, that cut their teeth doing that here. The amount of talent, in-ring and outside of the ring, production-wise, you know, writing teams. Every aspect of what we do, the stuff that you see and don't see. People just see what they see on TV and they think that's the end of it. The machine that is behind it is massive, and us creating, the people that are inside the gears of that machine, are what happened here at Full Sail. I can't... the partnership goes so far beyond all of that, from just, 'Hey, we're renting out your live facility every Wednesday.' It's so much more than that, and we value that partnership at the highest of levels, and I really mean that, across the board of the company. Full Sail is like family to us and part of that partnership... to that point, we'll always do what is best for business and if we felt like there was a different opportunity with the brand, we absolutely would look into it."
Triple H also revealed that one upcoming episode of NXT TV will not air from the NXT Arena at Full Sail due to a prior commitment that the school has. He said an announcement on the special episode will be coming soon.
"There will be a show coming up, we'll have an announcement coming soon, where we'll be out of Full Sail for a week because there's a prior commitment here," he said. "And it's a commitment that they can't change, and we're OK with that. We've known about it since the very beginning. They're also running a very successful college here, and a very successful business of their own. So, it's not just about what we need, it's about what we need together, and how do we make that work. So, they're supportive of us, we're supportive of us, and we do what's best for each other, but we can do that with whoever we want to do that, and however they want us to do that."
Triple H's full NXT Takeover Portland media call aired as part of today's episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon: by clicking here. The full interview can be heard via the embedded audio player below: