Tomorrow, on the WWE Network, the NXT talents will enter the infamous cage that encompassed two rings. For the fourth time, NXT TakeOver: WarGames will reunite 8 male and 8 female wrestlers in the dangerous and gruelling structure. The PPV card is also made of a Triple Threat Match for the North American title, a strap match, and a brutal singles match between two of the best NXT brawlers. This Thursday, Triple H took part in a media call to promote the pay-per-view, the NXT show, and talents, and also share about his long-term vision for them.
On ‘NXT TakeOver: WarGames’ card
“I’m excited about WarGames. There are 16 people in the two WarGames matches that, to me, represent the best of the best, no matter what rosters, no matter what brands, no matter what shows that you’re looking at in the world. Then, when you move on down from that, the North American title match, Damian Priest, Johnny Gargano, and Leon Ruff coming out of nowhere and just adding a lot of fun and excitement to the show in a different way. Ruff is the underdog character, he said himself, the 1-2-3 Kid, and his quest to go from not being that joke of a moment to being something more and making it last. To me, that’s very exciting.
“Cameron (Grimes) and Dexter (Lumis) in a Strap Match will be a lot of fun and continues the growth of those two characters. Cameron Grimes’ growth as a performer in the last six-eight months has been phenomenal, as is Lumis. The character worked on both those guys to me is the second to none. If you want to see two guys just go at it, grind and fight and have a knockdown drag-out, I don’t know that it gets any better than Ciampa and Thatcher. That’s one different style and there might be some people that it’s a different style than they’re used to, but to me, this will be one of those that, when it’s done, you’re on the edge of your seat, and you’re sweating because they’re hitting each other so hard and it’s just what our business is, so I love those things. I think this is going to be a phenomenal event.”
On Pat McAfee and the longevity of the faction he created
“I absolutely think they have a good thing going, and I think that is to continue onward for sure. There’s something really special happening. Pat’s a unique character in his desire to be a WWE Superstar. It’s funny that people sometimes criticize people or performers or whatever they are as outsiders because they come from football or another sport. He’s a football player, and he ended up in that job. The truth is, he has been a WWE fan his whole life and wanted to do nothing more with his life than to be a WWE superstar.
“He was a great athlete that was also a natural performer. He got the opportunity to make a lot of money in the NFL and took it and ran with it and left the NFL because he wanted to take an opportunity to do something more, and hopefully, it would land him in a position to be in the WWE. I had no idea of a lot of those things when I first met Pat, he’s so passionate about what we do, and I think that’s why he’s good at it. He’s a gifted athlete, he gets it, being a fan his whole life and is absolutely dedicated to doing this. It’s phenomenal to see him do, and he has a lot of other opportunities and a lot of things happening in his life, and he’ll be the first guy to tell you about them, but that’s part of the beauty of it, he loves it, and I love working with people like that, he’s so passionate about it and, after he performs, he comes back, and you can just see the buzz on him. He’s got the bug, and he loves it, and it’s great to see.
“As far as his performance goes, if you’ve ever met Pat or listen to him talk for five minutes, from a heat-seeking quotient, he is the proverbial heat-seeking missile, just him. So he can go out there and just transfer that and put it on TV in a way that very few people ever can. There’s not a stick, it’s not an act, it’s not in anything, he’s just being Pat, and he’s got the gift to gab. He loves to perform, he loves to irritate, he loves to mess with people, and it comes through in a glowing way. When you think about it, he’s been doing this for a very short period of time, and he’s getting a lot of direction, but yet to be in a position where he’s better at it than a lot of people that did it their whole lives. That’s a testament to him. I’m very proud of him, very excited to be working with him and look forward to some big stuff.”
On Rhea Ripley publicly expressed some confidence issues after her ‘WrestleMania’ loss
“The one thing about Rhea, her honesty of that is great. When you’re young, it doesn’t take much to rack your confidence. When you’re young, and you’re getting started and everything is rolling, it doesn’t take much to have you go from an incredible high to an incredible low and begin to question yourself and all those things. That’s part of maturing in any sport. I watch my kids play sports, and they are hardly doing anything. And then they get the ball thrown to them, they score one basket at the basketball game, and you just see this monumental shift in their entire body language to where all of a sudden they’re LeBron James for a moment and playing at a different level. As you mature and become more confident in yourself and believe in yourself, and understand, it changes. That’s all part of the process.
“I truly believe, long-term, that those are all valuable things. Sometimes, I think in the world today that everybody wants everything to have immediate success and then go very smoothly all the way to the end. There are no lessons in that. There’s no long-term value in that. If there’s no struggle, there’s no stripe. There are no difficulties in it. You don’t grow as a performer. It’s just easy, and to me, these are all learning experiences. I look back at my career and moments in time that was amazing and moments in time that were incredible setbacks in my mind.
“At the time, horrifying and terrible for you, and then you look at them now, and you’re like, ‘well, thank God that happened then because if that didn’t happen, this wouldn’t have happened.’ It’s all part of the journey, and when you’re young, it’s hard to say, ‘okay, you have to think long term.’ When you’re young, long term is the spring. It’s three months from now. That’s the long term. Long term is 5-10 years from now, and when you think about things in that manner, those setbacks are actually extremely valuable in getting you to the places you need to go.
“Is it where it was going? No, and it won’t. The whole world changed, but I do still believe that there’s a lot of valuable lessons for her to be able to go through to find herself to pick herself up. The Rhea Ripley that I’m watching right now is a way better Rhea Ripley than it was in January-February of last year when she was on the high or even December of this time last year. She’s a way better performer, way more mature, her understanding, all of it, and all of that came through that process. It is what it is.”
On the NXT women’s roster now opening the shows like main-eventing them
“When something is that good, you want to put it out there, and to me, every single time you put the women in NXT in a position where they can go out there and deliver the way they do, you do it because they’re great at it. I said it last night when they all walked back through the doors, ‘No one can touch our women, and they are a bunch of badasses.’ It’s amazing to see, and there’s an underneath to that even when you look at the eight women that are in WarGames.
“There’s an underneath to that’s strong as well and a next level that is coming up that is strong as well. And they’re learning that from the women that we have in those positions now. You look over in NXT UK, and you see Piper [Niven] and Kay Lee Ray and just all the women that are over there. It’s very strong, and I don’t look at it any differently. I don’t book them. I don’t even think of it in that manner of ‘well, what are you going to do with the women,’ or what are you going to do with their storylines’ or how much of that should you put in the show?’ To me, it’s just telling the stories, and what is there, the talent or the talent? So if they end up in the main event spot, it’s because they were the main event players.
“That’s what the mix is all about, and you’re just piecing it all together by what’s there, not by anything else. No one gets bonus points for anything. No one gets points taken away for anything. It just is what it is, and that to me is the ultimate sign of respect. You’re that good that it doesn’t matter. It almost is bothersome to me a little bit when people go, ‘It’s the greatest women’s division.’ I don’t know. It’s just awesome. Some of the best performers in the world, that group across the board either men or women, doesn’t matter how you look at it.”
On what Danny Burch can offer in and out of the ring
“Danny’s always been one of those guys to me, that he looks the role. He, in many ways, is the role. He has a believability to himself and his work. There’s a lot of times there are talents that stand out more because there are more dynamic, flashier, whatever that is. There’s a lot of times there’s something to be said for that and that consistency. Danny’s an amazing in-ring performer and a technical guy. He can do it all. Performers like him tend to do exactly what you said. They float under the radar because they’re always good. They’re always consistently good, they always deliver, but they’re always sort of delivering on something for somebody else that has more flash, more pizzazz, more ways to captivate someone’s attention in that long-term consistency. ”
On why NXT was not involved in ‘Survivor Series’ this year
“To be honest, I’m not in every aspect of creative decisions, but I also believe for the creative teams, as they’re trying to build individual talents, they’re not combining things too much. I also believe that COVID and the pandemic situation took a role in that. We tried to keep thing somewhat separated between brands, between Performance Center, between things just to limit that exposure. It’s still taking place right now. There’s been a lot of time that has gone by, but the situation is still the same, and that was a big factor in that as well. You don’t want to just do that out of the blue. You need to build to it. You need to have a lot of crisscrossing and promotional time together, and it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do in a lot of ways.”
NXT TakeOver: WarGames is airing live on WWE Network this Sunday at 7 ET (midnight GMT). The kickoff show will start at 6.30 PM (11.30 PM GMT) live on WWE Network, YouTube channel and WWE social media.
Here is NXT TakeOver: WarGames card:
- WarGames Match: Team Shotzi (Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley, and Io Shirai) vs. Team Candice (Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Raquel González, and Toni Storm)
- WarGames Match: The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong, and Bobby Fish) vs. Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Danny Burch, and Oney Lorcan
- Triple Threat Match for the NXT North American Championship: Leon Ruff (c) vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Damian Priest
- Strap Match: Cameron Grimes vs Dexter Lumis
- Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Special thanks to DS Communication – All pics and videos courtesy of WWE