Triple H took questions from the media on a media call ahead of NXT “Takeover: XXX”. One question regarded WWE ThunderDome which is set to host it’s first match on Thursday. Triple H answered why NXT will remain at Full Sail and will not be at the ThunderDome.
“Right now, we’re trying to move SmackDown, SummerSlam [and] RAW for the foreseeable future to Amway Center and all the undertaking that is happening there, I’m very happy to be staying,” Triple H admitted. “As spectacular, and I’ve seen it in various forms here, as spectacular as that is going to be, the ThunderDome, I feel like they have enough on their hands. Right now, our partnership with Full Sail, to me, is probably one of the most important partnerships we have, and I love it there and right now we’re there. In this environment, right now, today, with everything that’s happening, you can never say never. So we’ll see where that all goes.
“Obviously, on Friday night, everybody’s going to get to see their first shot of the ThunderDome, and I can tell you personally, for me, I mean, I can’t tell you how much we’ve missed everyone, our fans, everyone. Just seeing everyone and having them be a part of it and that energy, it’s the secret sauce of everything we do. I cannot wait to get them back whether that’s on video or in any other way possible. So the sooner we can do that, the better. That’s for every single thing we do.
“WWE fans are everything to us, so I look forward to that, but for the foreseeable future, staying in Full Sail is where we’re, at least for the immediate future is where we’re at, and we’ll see where everything goes. Again, we’re figuring all this out just like everyone else’s day-by-day and where we can do things to the best for our fans, the safest way for our performers and crew. That’s what we will do.”
Before WWE ThunderDome, there were reports of WWE finding an outdoor location for SummerSlam that included the possibility of SummerSlam on a boat. Triple H said that WWE was looking at multiple options and praised the ThunderDome again.
“So every option was looked into. I think that option had about as much chance as all the other options,” Triple H noted. “Everything was looked into across the board of any way that we can come back to doing what we do safely and in the best way possible. As you can imagine, things in a boat aren’t quite so easy I would imagine, even just the motion of the water everything else. There’s issues with everything across the board. I think that when you see the ThunderDome concept, when you see SmackDown, when you see SummerSlam in that environment, I think you’re going to understand why we went in the direction we did.
“It’s spectacular. I think it’s different than anything anybody else is doing out there, the level of it. I think you have read or heard stuff that Kevin Dunn has said about it. You know one thing about Kevin’s team, they never cease to amaze me, so usually when they tell me something is going to be spectacular and then I see it in person, I’m like, ‘wow, you completely undersold it.’ I think when you get there and you see it, you will understand why we went in the direction we did because even if you did it on a boat, there’s no fans. There’s nobody there, so that weighs in as a factor as well.”
Triple H also spoke on the mental health of the WWE talent during the COVID-19 pandemic. He talked about the difficult adjustment that WWE talent have made after having been taught to perform for a crowd for their entire careers.
“It’s difficult,” Triple H admitted. “As a performer, there is no bigger adrenaline rush. It’s why you do what you do. That crowd, that rush of excitement [and] that energy that they give you, that’s why they do what they do.You can’t really put into words how much that means as a performer, so to be able to go out there and create that in and of yourself, to create that in your own mindset, the excitement, the energy level just that impact of what you’re doing, the gravity of what you’re doing, the urgency of what you’re doing, to create that in yourself is incredibly difficult.
“I’ve watched matches over the years, when I was coming up and was watching matches for myself, I used to turn the sound off a lot to not have commentary and not have crowd noise to see where people were. Doing different things in the energy levels, in the changes the gear changes, all those different things within the business to me, that’s a big learning factor. Then watching it back with the sound on and seeing what drove them to do different things, you gear what you do towards that crowd, and when there isn’t one there, it’s tough because you’re trying to create that in your own mind and react to it accordingly.”
While the transition and adjustments have been difficult, Triple H praised the work that the talent and broadcasters have done throughout the pandemic. He reiterated that everything that WWE does it for the fans to try to put out the best product that they can.
“So it’s been extremely difficult, but my hat is off to everybody across the board on what we do,” Triple H said. “Even commentary teams and ring announcers, they’re bringing their own energy every week. Not in the perfect scenario. It’s not the product you want to be able to give everybody, but everybody is, in my opinion, knocking it out of the park to give fans the best that they can. People talk about a lot of things, but everything that we are doing is to try to deliver to our fans a product that they can enjoy and going to extraordinary lengths to continue to provide that for them.
“Everything we’re doing is for them. Whether they want to think that or not, that is why we do what we do every single day is to have them be able to enjoy it, to put a smile on their face, to let them forget about everything that’s going on in the world and to just just get kick back and and relax and enjoy what I consider to be the greatest form of entertainment in the world.”
The topic of the ratings war came up. Triple H admitted that it is funny to see the discourse over the ratings and the takes that people have regarding them. He said he does not pay attention to the discourse and is only focused on putting out the best product for the fans. He also noted that there are many factors as to why a segment may not have done well.
“I focus on NXT, and it’s a funny thing because yeah, you see all the chatter and you see people arguing. Like geez,” Triple H remarked. “I guess for for a lot of people that’s a part of that argument and that level of engagement. I mean thank God they do. They’re interested in the industry and then the product and everything else and make arguments about it. They’re passionate, and as you said, entertaining.
“At the end of the day, for me, it’s about our product and our fans. We put out the best product we can. You hope fans enjoy it and hope they want to watch, and that’s really what you do. And if you’re putting out a great, fun product and fans want to watch it, phenomenal. If they’re not, then you got to rethink it, and you got to go in a different direction. So we we look at the breakdown of things much differently. Obviously, you want the shows to be successful, but you’re looking at the numbers and what worked, what didn’t, why little trends of different things between.
“Did these segments drop off when we went to this? Did it pick up when we went to that? For small reasons, not necessarily always, people just jump to the biggest conclusion they can. ‘Oh, this number went down that day. That was not over.’ There’s so many variables and factors in this which is why people can argue about it. From beginning of the morning till the end of the day, they can just go back and forth and argue, and you can make arguments one way. You can make arguments another way. Have at it. I don’t worry about those arguments. I don’t worry about the conversations. I don’t worry about all that other stuff.”
Triple H reiterated that the main thing he worries about is NXT and putting out the best show possible. He also talked about how important the fans are noting that their reactions are what drives them to change storylines and direction.
“I worry about NXT and making the best product possible,” Triple H pointed out. “How are the talent performing? What can we do better? How can we write better shows? How can we tell better storylines? What people are enjoying, what they’re not. To be honest with you, I can’t wait the WWE Universe, our fans is why we do what we do and having them in an arena to let you know what they love and they don’t love, that’s your true barometer. There’s so many factors to that and so much negativity to it, and then just people arguing.
“It’s hard to filter through everything. The true reactions are when you’re in arenas and you have fans, and they can tell you what they think, what they like, what they don’t like. That’s the true reaction. I go I can’t express to you how much I miss that. Years ago we put out the video where Daniel Bryan walked into the empty arena, who would have ever thought, and to some degree, that’s where we are.
WWE NXT presents “Takeover: XXX” this Saturday night live on the WWE Network. The full audio from Triple H’s media call aired as part of a recent 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.