With his recent #1 contender victory, Kyle O’Reilly has cast a spotlight on his career as a singles competitor on the black and gold brand. With NXT TakeOver: 31 just hours away, Triple H had many praising words to say about O’Reilly’s ability in the ring. One thing he certainly disagreed with in his interview on WWE’s The Bump was how people find O’Reilly to be a breakout star. Triple H finds that word to be meaningless towards O’Reilly’s career. In fact, he thinks the best word to use for O’Reilly’s progress is ‘diverse.’
“The funny thing with Kyle is I feel like ‘breakout’ is the wrong word because Kyle’s been there,” Triple H argued. “He’s just been focused on something different, which has been tag teams. You know, you can talk about The Usos, and people raved about the statement, ‘Which one are you?’ You never have to say that about Kyle.
“He’s always been in a position to shine. Now, he can do it without anybody else next to him. While I feel like he absolutely will show the world what he’s truly capable of, I don’t know that ‘breaking out’ is the right thing [to say]. I think he’s always been there. He’s been one of the most consistently excellent performers in NXT, maybe even in the business as a whole.”
Another performer who has made a name for himself upon his NXT arrival is KUSHIDA. A well-decorated veteran in New Japan Pro Wrestling for nine years, the “Hustle Supernova” has proven time and time again why the WWE Universe should take notice of men like him. Although we’ve seen more of an aggressive side from him these past few weeks against Velveteen Dream, his new persona may be something that can make him stand out among the rest. At TakeOver 31, he will face Dream one-on-one in a grudge match.
While most of the compliments went towards Kushida’s boldness as of late, Triple H also took time to applaud Dream as well for being an experienced and game-changing wrestler on the roster – although, many will argue that his alleged actions outside of the ring are not as praiseworthy as his presence in the ring.
“I think Kushida is one of the best in-ring performers in the world,” he complimented. “I believe, when you leave a place you’ve been your entire life and everything you have done, it’s hard to change that humbleness when you enter a new promotion. I think Kushida has finally realized that the nice guy sportsman [act] maybe isn’t the right path to getting what you want out of your career. I think with this new attitude and this new desire, whatever way that is, this seems to be the right path.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him and Velveteen Dream. Dream has been one of the most consistent performers here, pulling aside injuries and everything else. [He’s] very charismatic and very flamboyant. This is a very different kind of a performer than Kushida is used to. So, if he’s going to pull out the aggression card and take things to a different level, then this is the time to do it.”
Before concluding his interview, Triple H mentioned what an honor it is to work with such a hard-working staff, specifically within the NXT women’s division. Each woman on the brand has cemented some sort of legacy that will carry over to their main roster careers and beyond. He did, however, state that it’s hard to compare the woman who’ve paved the way before them because each era has brought forth an audacious approach to how these women will be seen among their male peers.
“It’s hard to compare it, you know, it’s really difficult because they bring their uniqueness to it. But I don’t know that it’s ever been stronger or deeper than it’s been now,” he stated. “There’s a uniqueness to that locker room environment where everybody is there to help each other and lift each other up. While I think it makes for an extremely competitive [scene], it makes for an environment where growth can be achieved.
“You can look back to the Sasha, Bayley, and Becky’s evolution, you know, Alexa Bliss, or anyone else that was there. But at this moment in time, when you look across that division, it’s unbelievably talented. I can tell you this: we’re just scratching the surface.”
You can watch Triple H’s full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.