This week on a special edition episode of WWE’s The Bump, the panel spoke with the visionaries of NXT, Triple H and Shawn Michaels, ahead of their two-night event, NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. With so much on the line in the next two days, both of the founding fathers of the black and gold brand discussed their takes on the matches that are set to come. But first, panelist Kayla Braxton asked them how they’re feeling walking into this historic event.
“I’ll say for me, yeah, it’s nervous and stressful,” Shawn Michaels stated on prepping for NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. “To us, it’s our biggest show. So, yeah. I still get all of the anxiety and nerves. I just get it more for the crew and the talent. You want everything to go absolutely perfect for them. You want to set that foundation for them to create their moments. It’s a different kind of stress than performing. But to me, I’m just as anxious.”
“Yeah. I think so, too. You want it to be perfect for them,” Triple H added. “You know what they’re going through and what this means to them. If WrestleMania is the Super Bowl, then this is the Conference Championships; if nothing else. It sets the table for this week; we’re looking to steal the whole week.”
Tomorrow night, “The Prince of NXT” Finn Balor will rightfully defend his NXT Championship against his most vicious opponent yet, Karrion Kross. While he is a fan of Balor’s work and highly sings his praises in the interview, Shawn Micheals would also be impressed to see if Kross could pull this off and reclaim his former championship.
“Finn Balor, to me, is the absolute best Finn Balor has ever been. He’s clicking on all cylinders,” Shawn Michaels noted. “To me, I think the world is getting to see the best version of Finn Balor, ever. He is so unbelievably complete.
“Look, if Karrion Kross manages to take down Finn Balor clearly, that would be impressive because I’ve always been a fan of Finn Balor’s, but the last year he has been so phenomenal and so guaranteed that I don’t know. It’s hard to bet against him; let’s put it that way.”
Another big and glass-shattering moment that is just hours away is the main event matchup that will see Io Shirai versus Raquel Gonzalez for the NXT Women’s Championship. Despite pulling off victory after victory since winning the title at TakeOver: In Your House, Shawn Michaels says Shirai going in with tenacity could help her prevail and retain against Gonzalez.
“Tenacity. Clearly, there’s a size difference. But when it comes to ability [and] experience, she is an unbelievably intense performer,” Shawn Michaels said while complimenting Io Shirai’s strides as champion. “Certainly in her career and in NXT, she has managed them every time.”
After upping the ante by making the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Unification matchup on Night Two between Santos Escobar and Jordan Devlin into a Ladders Match, Shawn Michaels says he can see similarities of this upcoming match with his match against Razor Ramon 27 years ago at WrestleMania 10. He does mention in passing that expectations and pressure for this match to succeed are extremely high.
“Expectations are high,” Shawn Michaels declared when discussing the NXT Cruiserweight Unification match. “It does take it back to WrestleMania 10. I can’t remember when we had a similar dynamic. Don’t get me wrong, ladder matches have come a long way and have been fantastic, but very rarely do they really legitimately used the way they were at WrestleMania 10.
“I can understand Jordan Devlin’s feeling because again, coming over [at] Worlds Collide and winning the Cruiserweight Championship and again, through no faults of his own – the world is the way that it is – but he was not going to relinquish and give up that championship. I don’t blame him. But obviously, [William] Regal made the decision, and we had to move on and recognize a current Cruiserweight Champion. Again, it’s all legitimate, but it has to be settled in this match.”
Just before wrapping up the interview, Triple H took a moment to honor both Santos Escobar and Jordan Devlin for their efforts of being the best Cruiserweight Champions both here in the states and across the pond.
“This one will be next level. You want to talk about two guys who have something to prove,” Triple H praised. “Santos truly believes cruiserweight wrestling is built on Lucha Libre – of which he is the king. He believes it in his core; it’s in his blood.
“Jordan Devlin: there was a moment in time – one of the last times – I was in London, and I went out in the crowd in Blackpool to watch a match with Jordan Devlin. I remember thinking when that match was over, Devlin has absolutely, 100 perfect, became one of the best performers in the world when it was over. I was impressed with him. They both have got something to prove here.”
You can watch Triple H and Shawn Michaels’ full interview here. 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.