Allegedly Buck knocked him down with one shot.Well, Big Cass got his ass in trouble again. At an Indy show with an altercation with Joey Janela and Pat Buck. Buck just took a job as a WWE producer. Cass may have burned his last bridge, unless its a work.
Cliffs.By Dave Scherer on 2019-09-16 13:02:00
Paul Levesque met with reporters on a conference call this morning in advance of NXT’s move to The USA Network. I was in the queue for twenty minutes and that got cut off at 12:01. Luckily, as usual, some reporters don’t own time pieces and were late calling in, so I got back in before Paul hit the call. Why people can’t call in on time, I will never know.
Mark Vasquez welcomed us and turned it over to Paul.
Paul thanked us for coming. It’s an exciting time for the brand as it takes its first step onto USA this Wednesday. The first two weeks will be one hour on USA live, with the second hour on the WWE Network. On 10/2, it’s a two hour block on USA. It’s an exciting time for them. The talent is really psyched, as evidenced on social media.
It should be a strong first episode, with the Fatal Four Way to determine the number one contender to champ Shayna Baszler, Velveteen Dream defending his North American Title against Roderick Strong, and a street fight between Killian Dain and Matt Riddle.
The first question came from Mike Johnson. Paul congratulated Mike for being first again. Mike asked what would make Paul personally happy from an audience perspective. He referenced the 800,000 plus they did for the special last December. What number would make Paul happy?
Paul said that when they did the number back then the brand was different and they did it with limited promotion. He said that the initial numbers are big, for sure, but he is more concerned with the long term number and building a brand over the long haul. They want to build momentum and do it right. They don’t want to hot shot thing. They have taken a longer path with NXT and they want to continue to build in that matter. He said he doesn’t need to go nuts on the the first few shows, he is in it for the long haul. He wants to allow it to people to build over time. He said it was a long winded way to not answer but he would be happy if it beat the last number. But with that said, he doesn’t want to put a number out there. He will be happy if the show is great and he doesn’t want to kill that buzz by saying we expected X but only got Y in the ratings.
Mike asked Paul to elaborate on the future of 205 Live and will it become part of NXT?
Paul tweaked Mike about people running with comments and creating a conspiracy theory. He talked about how it’s more reasonable to have the 205 Live in with the NXT umbrella rather than the entertainment end (main roster). That is what he was referring to. Nothing is in stone but he could see the Cruiserweight Title on a Takeover rather than a PPV. He said that the action of 205 gels more with what NXT does than the main roster. If he can show the NXT audience how great the 205 guys are, he will do it.
Next came a reporter from the UK. He asked about the NXT UK roster members being full time in the US. He mentioned Pete Dunne and Rhea Ripley.
Paul said that he said he could see a lot of NXT UK talents crossing over to USA. Whether they become full time on either brand, well he thinks you will see wrestlers go back and forth between the brands. He could see talents spending a few months in one place, then going to the other. It would be a hard line like when WWE has a brand split. There is an opportunity for the UK talent to come back and forth. As I have said many times, I want to see a lot of them at Takeover War Games. He thinks that keeps it fresh for fans as well.
He was asked if NXT will be part of the draft next month and will there be more Takeovers?
Nothing is changing. You will see different scheduling changes in 2020. It gives the opportunity for the talent to have as many eyeballs on them, as often as possible. In this year, as we move into Smackdown on FOX in October, that will probably be about Raw and Smackdown. Going forward, we shall see. He intends to create three distinct brands, with a different feel to them but they are all WWE products. At that point, talent moving will be lateral, not up and down.
Jason Powell asked about the Worlds Collide event on Royal Rumble weekend, and what it means to Takeover.
That is what he was referring to earlier. That is being done to give Network subscribers more content. Takeovers will continue. Will you see individual shows? Yes. Will you see some PPVs without a Takeover? Yes. That gives them the opportunity to create more specials like Worlds Collide. It will allow the brands to compete against each other. He thinks it will be very meaningful for the fans. I think he’s right. If you are invested in the three shows, it will be fun to see the talents compete against each other (and lay the seeds for later storylines).
With the weekly USA being two hours, will that force Paul to make longer Takeovers?
He said that they will look at that but it’s not about length. It’s about having the right amount content. He is the guy that looks at his watch at the end of a long movie and wonders if they should have cut some stuff out. He doesn’t want to do that with Takeover. The shows are about the build as much as the show. He wants to keep the weekly shows to be entertaining while they build to the big event. It’s about the content and the build. If you do it right, you don’t even notice the time.
Another UK reporter asked about a mid card title being added to NXT UK.
He said he doesn’t like the term mid card Title. I agree. He said that the brands are constantly growing and being evaluated. He said he doesn’t see the need for it at this time. He said he thinks someone put the idea on the internet and NEWZ sites ran with it. He said he also isn’t opposed to it. He said you do it when they time is right and the Title has to mean something when it’s added. See: North American Title in NXT.
He was asked about Killian Dain and his potential.
He said he loved him in NXT and thinks he has a ton of talent. Things ebb and flow. They create opportunities. He alluded to that if you go up to the main roster and it doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean you are done. You can go to NXT or UK and reinvent yourself and grow. It’s great to have places where you can continue to grow and take your career to a new level, all while you are being taken care of by the company in a high quality environment.
Dave Meltzer said it’s a great new day for the business. He asked if NXT talent will be drafted to Raw or Smackdown. Dave, that was asked already!
Paul said we will have to wait and see but he thinks the focus of the draft was Raw and Smackdown. He said NXT shouldn’t be seen as a developmental brand given all they have done but it still needs some more time to be seen in the same way as the main roster. He sees NXT growing to that point. For now, he sees this draft being about Raw and Smackdown.
He was asked if Takeovers will be upped from 5 to 6 this year and if Takeovers will be longer.
Paul answered it the way he answered it the first time. He added that not every story has to play out on the next Takeover. The most urgent stories will get on the upcoming Takeovers, while the simmering feuds can wait until the next one. He basically said, as he did before, he won’t just add time to Takeovers just to add time. He added that in MMA events, not everyone is on every show. It’s not about packing up shows or loading up shows.
Meltzer asked a third question (RULES VIOLATION) and asked if Worlds Collide will be an annual thing.
They are still finalizing but he thinks there is value in that as a brand. He thinks we will see more, he’s not sure how many, but there will be more. It will be an exciting time for sure. He has heard the talk about competition but he already competes against Raw and Smackdown. He wants to put on the best show he can and they create their own competition.
Another UK caller said we have seen talents move to NXT, he referenced KO coming in, and he asked whether main roster talents asking him about coming back.
He said that he doesn’t like using main roster. He said he hears from Raw and Smackdown talents all the time saying if you need me, let me know. Now that it’s on USA, everyone is interested in coming to NXT. If you aren’t in the main mix on the two shows, people are definitely thinking about it. He added that KO is one of the most talented people in the industry. He would love to have him if he is “legitimately fired”. He again emphasized that if anyone wants to make the lateral move and they can hang with what they do, they can come on over.
Will the move to broadcast of NXT mean a similar move for NXT UK?
He said that they are always evaluating what to put out and where to put it. Some of it lives on YouTube, some on the Network and some on regular television. If there’s an opportunity in the UK, they would look at it.
Jim Varsallone asked about why they went to two hours, not one or three.
H said he didn’t want any part of three hours. AMEN! He said that over the last few years the one problem they have had is bandwidth. He had a lot of talent he wanted to get on TV but just couldn’t. He wanted to get people on the show but just didn’t have the space to do it. This will give him the opportunity to let more talent shine. That will create competition for spots. It will create an environment that will make every talent better.
Jim asked if there’s any idea to create another developmental brand, since NXT isn’t one anymore.
He said it’s something that they always are looking at that. With NXT growing, it make create the opportunity on the local shows. They will tour nationally but the younger, growing talents also need the reps to grow. They are looking at working out the best way to allow talents to grow as things go forward.
The last question came from Justin Lebar. He asked why NXT will stay at Full Sail rather than going on the road for USA every week.
There were a lot of factors (cost, Takeover crowds, etc.) but he said that it was never much of a question for them. He loves working with Full Sail, they are great. Plus both sides allow their young talents to grow as they work with the other side. He said that the other big thing is that the fans that come to the shows there are just as much a part of the brand as the talent and the people behinds the scenes. They are invested and totally involved with NXT. He said that when he says, “We are NXT” he means they are every bit as much a part of it as the company. He doesn’t want to now leave them behind. He wants to bring those fans on the journey with the product. He can’t wait for them to get to show America on USA how great they are. He can’t wait to see the energy on Wednesday. They are loyal and proud of NXT. They want to show the world how they fit into the product.
He was asked how the extra TV time will affect the creative process (I think alluding to Vince involvement).
He said that it doesn’t change anything about creating stories. He has had his team in place for a long time, exclusive to NXT, and he loves what they do. He said he loves the writing team and mentioned people like Brian James, Shawn Michaels, Matt Bloom, Sara Amato and more adding to the product. He said that he sees expansion coming in the communication side, social media and PR etc. He said that he read speculation about people getting involved (clearing a Vince McMahon reference) and it changing. He said it isn’t changing. It’s working and they will keep the team that has it working in place. He looks forward to the team showing what they can do.
Paul thanked us and appreciated today’s questions. He said it was a good mix (it really was). He said that he will continue to do these calls. He said that he intends to increase this outreach. That’s great to hear, I really enjoy these calls (even if Mike Johnson gets to ask all the questions while I type the recaps).