This Wednesday and Thursday, on USA and the WWE Network, NXT is back live on a unique 2-night event. NXT TakeOver: Stand And Deliver is definitely fitting the WrestleMania week extravaganza, with 10 PPV-caliber matches. In the Capitol Wrestling Center, despite the pandemic, the times have never been more exciting, with new talent and new challenges for the NXt brand, and this TakeOver looks like an exclamation point to all of this.
This Friday, Triple H took part in a media call to promote the pay-per-view, WWE Network now on Peacock in the USA, NXT moving to Tuesday nights, and many more.
On this two-night “NXT TakeOver”
“I say a lot how excited we are, but this one is really special. Coming into NXT TakeOver: Stand And Deliver, for the first time for us two nights back to back, with a lot of things happening in our world right now, with the change to Peacock, which is very exciting and an amazing opportunity for everybody, the ability to do two nights, the first night on the seventh leading into the second night on the eighth, but the first night being a simulcast on both USA and Peacock in the US, still on the WWE Network internationally, and with partners depending on where you are, on the eighth on Peacock domestically, and same again internationally for everybody, this is, to me, one of the biggest events in NXT history. Not only the size of it, with having two separate nights and 10 different matches that probably any one of them could steal the show.
“It’s very exciting to be able to have an event so big that we can have matches like Walter and Ciampa for the NXT UK Championship on night one. To have Pete Dunne versus Kushida from a technical standpoint, with the style that they do, it’s very much a dream match, straight through to Io Shirai, one of the greatest female performers on the planet, along with Raquel Gonzalez, who has really come along in the last year to be a force to be reckoned with in NXT. It’s a spectacular night, and that’s just night one.
“Then you get into night two, and you get into that level of Escobar and Devlin in a ladder match for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. You get into Finn Balor and Karrion Kross over the next championship, and then a match that’s been many, many years in the making and has a lot of emotional stakes to it of Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole unsanctioned in that second night. It speaks to the depths of NXT, to the depth of the storytelling.
“I’m really proud of this card, this event, and where it’s going to go. I think that we have a lot of momentum happening right now, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to switch to Tuesdays with a lead-in from Monday night and everything else. Very exciting times.”
On dealing with two broadcasters on Night One
“It’s almost like two TakeOvers happening within two days of each other, one being on USA, with potential commercial breaks, and also simulcast at the same point in time on Peacock, where there won’t be those breaks. You have to approach it differently. That said, from our standpoint, as far as the layout and the flow of the match, there’s a nuance to that, and to me, I feel like almost an artwork to that in a way, as far as the commercial standpoint on Wednesday night goes. It’s still a process that we’re working through. In some manner, this is a new partnership for us, trying to figure out the split of how we’re working USA, Peacock. A live event is still a work-in-progress, and in my honest opinion, it will probably be a mild work-in-progress at 7:59 on Wednesday. The intent is to give the best event possible, and in every way possible, whether watching on Peacock or whether watching on USA, to have as minimal disruption as possible and be able to deliver a product in a way that you can enjoy it without too much frustration of the business side of it coming into play, that meaning the commercials.”
On his thoughts on the last 18 months being live on USA and moving to Wednesdays to Tuesdays
“Very successful. For me, we went from a very small platform of the Network, with a lot of buzz outside of it, to jumping to USA, from one hour to two hours, from pre-taped to live, to everything in between. Talent call-ups, and injuries, and pandemics, you name it. In the course of that period of time, I am incredibly proud and happy with what we’ve done with the brand. When we first did it, it was about the maintenance of a consistent time slot – day of the week and time – so that people could find what they were used to finding, even in that smaller group. Now we’ve established a consistent viewership. Obviously, we just renewed multi-year deals; the network is very happy. The ability to jump to Peacock and have more visibility for our larger tentpole events, and be able to create more interest in the product in that manner – it’s all for the right reasons. The Tuesday lead-in from Monday night and the promotions from Monday night to Tuesday is going to be great for us. It’s all good.
“To be honest, if you would have asked me a year and a half [ago], ‘Hey, how would you see this going,’ I would see it going about what it is now – the ability to establish a fanbase, and then decide the best place to put it. As far as further changes, you make them every week. It’s constantly looking at what you do to try to give fans the best possible shows. Not just in that moment. They don’t write ‘Game of Thrones’ and go, ‘How do you give them the greatest episode possible every single week?’ You have to build to things; you have to build long-term. You have to think long-term. That’s going to ebb and flow in what the episodes themselves look like. It’s all about the long-term; it really is. It’s hard for people to garner, but I think we’re on the exact path I would like to be on.”
On NXT alumnus Omos having his first match at “WrestleMania”
“He’s a sponge. When you’re as big as he is and unique as he is, the spotlight is bright, and people just can’t wait to see what you can do, so you have to be cautious with it and how you do it. Hopefully, we’re giving him just enough to chew on at each moment in time that it works wonderfully. He’s got a bright future. Again, just a quality person. Great guy. Humble. Just loves what he’s doing. He’s one of those success stories that, when I see him, it makes me smile. He’s an incredible athlete. He’s worked really, really, really hard. The thing is, it’s funny that people just see what he does on TV, so they see him one time a week on TV or whatever. They don’t see him in the gym at the PC, they don’t see him in the ring at the PC, they don’t see him training every day still to be something special.” He’s not just the big dude standing there. I think he’s going to shock a lot of people.”
On AJ Styles wanting to have a match with him
“He pestered me with it every time I talked. He would ask me about it and ask me about my schedule. Oh man, I’ve said this before – getting ready for WrestleMania is a different thing, and the older you get, the harder it gets. You try to stay in the best shape you can, but that’s not WrestleMania shape. When he very first came to me, I said, ‘Man, AJ, I’m not going to tell you no. To be honest with you, personally, I’d love to work with you, and at this point, you could carry me to something. The performer side of it would love nothing more. The reality of it is, I am not going to have the bandwidth or the availability schedule-wise to be able to pull that off.’ And then he would come to me like every week, or every other week when I would see him and say, ‘How’s that bandwidth coming?’ Look, I’m flattered by that. I really am and humbled by it. I wish I had the bandwidth to do it, and I’m not saying I won’t do it in the coming year if it’s right and everybody believes that it’s what should be done. I’m at a point where to me, the in-ring stuff is a bonus. It’s funny, Flair calls me all the time to tell me, ‘You have to have that closure! You have to do this, whatever, retirement match!’ There’s a part of me that wants to do it, then there’s just a part of me – and it’s a bigger part right now – that just goes, man, I am so busy 24/7.”
NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver will air over two nights, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 April, on the WWE Network. Then, WrestleMania arrives, on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 April 2021, starting at 7 pm ET (midnight BST), broadcast live from the Raymond James Stadium, Florida, on the WWE Network.
Special thanks to Alex Sutton – All pics and videos courtesy of WWE