Ahead of NXT “Takeover: XXX”, Triple H conducted a media call speaking on the upcoming show as well as other topics. One topic, asked by Wrestling Inc.’s Nick Hausman regarded Lars Sullivan, who has posted workout videos teasing his WWE return. However, Triple said on the media call that he and not seen the workout videos and does not have an update on Sullivan’s status.
“You know to be honest, you telling me that he’s been putting out workout videos online is the first I’ve heard of,” Triple H admitted. “I have not seen those. To be honest, I don’t have an update on that.”
Triple H has also spoken with CBS Sports where he talked about the investigation WWE did on The Velveteen Dream regarding his sexual misconduct allegations. Triple H stood by his comments saying that WWE did not find anything and did not comment on the accuser who claimed that WWE did not contact him for their investigation.
“So obviously we take all of these things very seriously. Allegations of misconduct, of any nature, we take very seriously,” Triple H stated. “I’ll stand by what I said on CBS. We looked into it, didn’t find anything there in the manner of what we’re looking for, and we moved on, but it doesn’t change the fact that we take it seriously. If there’s something else there, we’ll look into it. That goes across the board for anybody, but we’ve already talked about it. So, I’d rather just move on to other topics.”
NXT “Takeover: XXX” will be headlined by Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross for the NXT Championship. Triple H spoke on Kross as a talent and his potential going forward in WWE.
“One, let’s go to Karrion, he’s a phenomenal talent. I’ve seen him for a long time, thought he’s just got a charisma and an aura about him,” Triple H said. “When I’ve seen him in other places, even in just bits and pieces where you weren’t really seeing the deep dive into who or what he was, you were really just seeing kind of him performing, but you could sense that x-factor in that character. And to me, that’s still king. No matter what anybody says about any other aspect of the business, charisma and that x-factor is king for any talent, and he has that and then some.
“The learning curve is steep when you get to the WWE and to NXT, and it’s a different product. It really is. There’s a television component to this that is different from anything else, and I believe it’s why you see differences in performers that have been here from anywhere else. That’s just the facts, and he’s a sponge for the business and for learning it. One of the things about him, he’s constantly asking questions, and he is a sponge. His improvement rate and growth rate has been incredible just as he’s walking through the door much like Keith [Lee].
“Everybody has their own pathway, and it also depends on the moment in time of when they’re walking in the door. It’s not about getting to things faster. It’s about getting to them, one, in the most meaningful way possible for them and for the fans, but also, knowing where you’re going long term.”
Triple H said that they are always ready for when NXT talent move to either RAW or SmackDown using Matt Riddle as an example. He said that approach is always used for not only someone like Kross but all talents.
“As you mentioned across the brands, not in this instance, but if you know somebody is leaving or you know somebody’s doing something else, you look at it differently, at how you want to move across those storylines. I’ll use an use the example of Matt Riddle,” Triple H stated. “When that move happened to SmackDown, we had the advance notice. We booked accordingly. We’re able to do the Fight Pit with Thatcher and then went out on a spectacular note and was great for him and great for everybody else.
“So those are the goals is really to do things in the most meaningful way possible for everybody across the board, but also not rushing talent and not putting them in positions where, and this is always hard for everybody to understand and for them to understand, but you have to make a judgment call of when they’re ready to handle things in the best way possible. You want everybody to succeed in the biggest way possible and give them the opportunity to succeed.
“So if you feel like, ‘man, I can put them in this right now, but it’s a bit risky on this factor.’ Let’s clear that up. Let’s let’s get them where we’re comfortable with all that and then do it, and it’ll be that much bigger so that they have every tool in their tool bag to knock it out of the park when they give you an opportunity.”
Another marquee match on “Takeover: XXX” will be Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee. McAfee comes in from the broadcast and NFL world where he will wrestle in his first WWE match for the first time. Triple H said that McAfee is taking this very seriously noting how big of a fan he is and his dream to be a WWE Superstar.
“We’ll see. Obviously, Pat is an amazing athlete,” Triple H noted. “I think he said it in one of the interviews he did where he said like, ‘he’s made millions of dollars in seven different professions,’ and he’s a guy that was an incredibly high-level athlete at professional sports that ended up getting offered a ton of money to to be a kicker in the NFL and took it, but he grew up a WWE fan and always dreamed about doing this. And that’s what a lot of people don’t understand.
“I’ll be honest with you, when I first met Pat, he came to some shows, and we talked and talked to him about doing some stuff with us in the pre-shows and some commentary. I didn’t understand his level of fan that he grew up being. I didn’t understand his level of desire to actually do this. He wasn’t looking to come in, and ‘I’ll just be a little part of it or something like that,’ like like a celebrity. He was looking to come in and be a WWE Superstar. He was looking to have an opportunity, an avenue for that.
Triple H also noted that McAfee is athletically gifted making him a natural while also praising his charisma and personality. Triple H said it would be up to McAfee in regards to his future with WWE, but he gave his seal of approval for his match against Cole by saying Cole can have a great match with everybody.
“Here he is. We’ll see where that goes,” Triple said. “I can tell you this, I’ve seen a video. I’ve watched him train now. He’s a natural. He is athletically gifted in a way that very few people are. For the last however many years, not even counting my in-ring career, just watching talent and doing the process of recruiting and everything else, I see very few people that come in as athletically gifted as he is. On top of that, even if you didn’t know that, you go like, ‘wow, his charisma and his personality are off the chart.’ His ‘gift of gab,’ it’s getting him to stop talking is the issue, not getting him started.
“All the tools are there. What he does with them is on him, right? So where this goes, I can’t 100% say, but the reason I’m putting him in that spot or the reason why he’s doing this with us in NXT, where the level of performance is what matters and the scrutiny will be different. There’s a reason why he’s doing it because I believe that he has that skill set and the ability to do it. Now, that being said, he’s working with the probably the most gifted guy, at least one of them for sure, but maybe the most gifted guy on our roster, and who would I say can pull a great match out of anybody? It’s Adam Cole.
“So I’m looking forward to this being spectacular on both their sides. I know they both want it to be, and I think you’re going to see something special. Where that goes. It also depends on Pat. He’s got a lot of irons in a lot of fires and a lot of opportunity out there, but I know he’s very hungry for this and looking forward to making this something special.”
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 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.