On a recent episode of the WWE After The Bell podcast, Corey Graves was joined by "Road Dogg" Brian James to talk about James' transition to a creative role on NXT. He discussed how rewarding the experience has been praising the product he helps create.
"That's what I meant by rewarding, as far as controlling a lot of the creative and not controlling it but coming up with it and seeing it executed correctly," Road Dogg said. "That's the the gift that I would give myself. When it didn't go the way I wanted it, I was hard on myself, and I was hard on the talent. Oh God, darn it. We had an opportunity to have this great moment right here, and you screwed it up because you didn't go fast enough or whatever. Nobody can take that away from us. We do it better than anybody. That's all there is to it. We do television better than anybody."
Karrion Kross' NXT debut caught the attention of all viewers, and Road Dogg gave praise to Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux.
"Karrion Kross' entrance, when she's standing in the dark and that bird, you don't know how long it took to come to that, that bird flies in and like almost encompasses her, and then here he comes. It's so timing critical and so visual," Road Dogg remarks. "Man, that kind of thing is really fun to me. That's when your vision gets to play out in a really weird, creative way because you can control every aspect of that.
"The talent can say like, what if I did this? OK, yeah try that. We ended up rehearsing that thing a bazillion times, but when it airs on TV man it's worth it because oh my God. Then you don't even have to wrestle."
Road Dogg gave more praise to Kross. He said that he will be a "main player" in the future.
"Look, he's a new guy too that we're still going to be working through the character traits and exactly how to do what, what to do how," Road Dogg explained. "So he's fun, but he kind of he kind of came in with who he wanted to be, and I think we're going to stay true to that. We just haven't seen enough of him yet to go, that's right. That's wrong. That's good. That's bad. He's a big dude too, 6'2", 6'4", 260 or something. He's a big dude. I'd realize that, but he's gonna be a main player man. He's gonna be a main player. I'm excited to see where he goes."
Matt Riddle has now made his transition to SmackDown. Road Dogg also praised Riddle, saying that he will be a huge star.
"I loved Matt Riddle. It's not like he's dead, he's still alive," Road Dogg joked. "I love Matt Riddle, but as everyone knows, he'll be moving on and before the live TV, aspect of it, that was kind of the purpose for NXT. I do feel like it's changed. The landscape has changed a little, but he's moving on, and maybe it's time for him. But man, he's going to be a huge star. He's a great guy like he's calm and cool and collected, shoot fighter that also transitioned into in-ring action so easily and so effortlessly."
Road Dogg said that the first match he produced at NXT was the Matt Riddle-Roderick Strong match at "Takeover: XXV". He said that he did not offer much advice and mainly focused on trying to get cameras positioned in the right spots.
"The first match I produced at NXT was Matt Riddle vs. Roddy Strong at the [NXT 'Takeover: XXV']," Road Dogg revealed. "I knew from the get-go I wasn't gonna offer any wrestling advice to these two. It wouldn't be my job, and I'd be shooting myself in the foot and only hindering them if I tried to tell them what to do in a wrestling ring. Now if they'd a had a promo, I could help them with that, but I just said guys tell me your match, and let me make sure the cameras get it. Let me make sure all the the cool, big spots are shot correctly.
"So man, I listened to them, and I just thought what in the world is going to happen out there? There's so much going on and oh my God. Man, they went like 25 minutes non-stop. Neither one blew up. Neither one missed a beat. It was incredible, and the only thing I did was go like, camera two, but they just gave me a new respect for this.
"It's the moment that I stepped out of my old timer like get off my lawn, slow down with your action, you know all that crap and I stepped into whoa, we're doing a different thing. We're doing things differently that I know how to do, and that's cool. That's that's the evolution man. That's where it needs to go. That's where it needs to grow. So it was really cool and eye-opening to me, but that's what I learned to love both Roddy Strong and Matt Riddle."
While praising many NXT talents, Road Dogg named Adam Cole as a "dream superstar." He said that if Cole was Kross' size, he would be Universal Champion by now.
"Adam Cole is the most professional, most talented," Road Dogg said. "He just gets it. He gets every aspect of it. He could cut a promo. He's the one of the guys where you go, 'I need you to do a minute,' and that's all you say to him. And he gives you a minute of hiccup-less verbiage that just makes you go, 'OK, that was perfect. Thank you,' every single time. That's Adam Cole in a nutshell.
"But he's also a great worker like has great psychology. Man, If he was Karrion Kross' size, he would be the Universal Champion right now. If he wasn't, I'd be wondering why. That's the kind of guy he is. That's the kind of human he is. That's the kind of talent is. Incredible, and so he's probably my favorite guy, but from a guy who's now on this side of the fence having to work with that guy, he gives you everything you could ask for and more. You don't even really have to ask for it. It's just it's just like a dream. He's a dream dream superstar."
Finally, Road Dogg gave praise to two tag teams including Imperium. He hopes that they can have the entire faction on NXT some time soon.
"I love Oney and Danny like they are just a no-nonsense tag team," Road Dogg stated. "We're trying to get into a place where Oney can be the person he is on Twitter on camera, and I don't know how that's gonna go or how that's going to translate. That's my guys, and so yeah, I love them as a tag team.
"I love Imperium. Imperium I believe, the tag team,they're the tag champs now, very underrated. I don't think people give them enough credit. I think people need to pay closer attention during their matches because that's where they come off as, 'holy crap. These guys got great timing. These guys got great chemistry with each other, and they got great chemistry with everybody that worked with.' There's something special as well, and when all this clears up and we can get Wolfgang and and Walter back over here, like that's going to be a faction to be reckoned with, always cool creative. Walter's something special too."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.