Triple H, the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative for WWE, spent some time talking with the State Of Combat Podcast about NXT's premiere on the USA Network last week. Hunter opened up about how the NXT talent is reacting at such an exciting and nerve-racking time, as the show aired begin airing live for the very first time with last Wednesday's premiere episode.
"This is something that we have been working on for the past year and a half or so, trying to make this move happen and the timing of it. Sometimes these things take a long time, so we needed to be sure about it with taking it and moving it from the WWE Network. But it's an exciting time," Hunter said. "The talent are thrilled and in some ways. It's one of those things where you're like, 'Oh my God, this is so awesome! We are going to be on cable TV, live every week for two hours.' And then they go, 'Oh my God, we are going to be live on cable TV for two hours!'
"That reality begins to sink in, knowing as I do, however, they are going to knock it out of the park," Triple H continued. "They are chomping at the bits to show who they are, and they are chomping at the bits to show what they can do, and I think there is going to be a lot of people who have only heard what NXT is. You kind of heard of the rumors, and read about it, and this is your first opportunity to really experience the brand. I think we are going to light a lot of people up."
Hunter went into detail about the growth of NXT and how he has considered it a third brand worthy of being looked at alongside RAW and SmackDown for some time now. He believes that the three different brands will push one another to perform even greater with the weekly TV shows, and he welcomes the competition. Triple H sees a future where WWE superstars can make lateral movements between RAW, SmackDown, and NXT with it being a boost for their career each time it is needed.
"I do see it as a third brand; I have for a while now," Hunter explained. "I think the perception is starting to become that. When it was at a different location before, being on the WWE Network, there was a smaller viewing audience - a very passionate, but smaller viewing audience, so it was tough to say that it is at the same level. Now, with the move to the USA Network, it very much is. To me, there won't be any difference live for two hours every week. The quality of the show will speak for itself. I know that the performers of RAW and SmackDown will be watching that show to see what everybody is doing, and if they think they need to up their game, they will do that. And guys in NXT will be watching guys at RAW and SmackDown.
"The truth is, for us in NXT, the competition will be against ourselves to raise the bar every single time we are on TV and do something more. But the goal is to have it become where everybody sees it at that - three brands," Triple H stated. "NXT, which would encompass the UK and the other brands that we have, and then RAW, and SmackDown as their own. Where talents can go back and forth between the three depending on what brand they are on at the time and have it be meaningful for their careers. If you have been on RAW and you have been on SmackDown for many years and you need a revamp, and you need to do something else like going to a fresh brand, doing something different with a different vibe to it is meaningful to relaunching who you are and reinventing yourself as a performer and a character. Which, for talent, that has been around this for a long time. The ones that can last the duration of it are the ones that can recreate themselves."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit State Of Combat with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.