The legendary WWE champion Triple H talks about NXT expansion in India and his love for the country
When Paul Micahel Levesque aka Triple H picks up a microphone in the ring, and begins to speak, you’d do well to harken up and listen to what he’s saying. The one-time wrestling champion, who’s now a business executive and an actor of some note, is back on the circuit, doing what he does best — raising eyebrows, goading youngsters, and drumming up some die-hard spirit for a new season of spine-bending, gut-curling, crowd-rousing wrestling. We caught up with the man for a quick chat about his plans with NXT, of which he’s the founder and senior producer, while also looking at the influence of the global WWE brand.
Tell us about the expansion of NXT. In the long run, how's it gonna benefit WWE in a way that it becomes more global, more international and spreads over the world much quicker?
Absolutely. To me, the long-term goal of this is to expand the NXT brand globally, like we did before in the US, and then branched into the UK. We learned a lot in that process. The next movement is to go to more and more places — like India and, you know, use that as an example. India is a key place that I would like to be in. It obviously comes with a lot of challenges and a lot of hurdles, but also, it's a completely different place to do business. So we’re very excited to get that rolling. There will probably be some announcements, hopefully in the short term, of us making movements in different markets around the world — whether that is in established markets or brand new markets, where we’re going in with a localised product and localised talent. For example, in India, it would be creating an NFP brand on the ground with Indian talent and also talent from around the globe that can really resonate within, in the country itself. That the goal, long-term. That is the goal.
And, hey! For India, I’ll say this, and you can put it out there... I thank the people of India. It is an amazing place and they love WWE. There’s so much that happens when we send talent there.
Charlotte just returned from India, and I just spoke to her a couple of days ago and she just fell in love with India. You know, she couldn’t stop raving about the experience. I feel the same way, every time I’ve ever been there. It’s such a beautiful place, and the people are so wonderful to us. Again, thank you for being such amazing fans! We can’t wait to get there in a bigger way... and it’s coming. Trust me. It’s coming!
As for new talent, you’ve gotten some great use out of the likes of Rhea, Kay Lee Ray and British Strong Style, for fresh match-ups, and purposes of crosspromotion. When these talents come over, is there a long-term plan in place, or is it a matter of seeing how well they catch on with audiences?
Well, it’s a little of both. Where do you need them, where do they work and may benefit the most? Because they get to a point where, to grow more, they need to be in a different location. There’s a bit more of being full hands-on, and we can get deeper into the learning experience with them here, and kind of, finish putting that polish on them. So it’s a sort of a work in progress. And then we use the opportunity to cement the brand. The long-term goal is, I mean... the sky’s the limit! The learning curve is incredible. You want them to lear n, and then, when they get to a certain point, take that next step and continue to grow, not stagnate. So, we’re going to evaluate talent, one by one, on where they should be and what’s the next level.
Not only for the brand of NXT, the brand of advocacy, and where they fit, but also for them — what’s the best learning curve for them? There's a certain point in time, where you reach a certain place where you are, where the best thing for you to do is go someplace else and continue that learning curve, and learn something new, and something more, from a different place…
Survivor’s Series, obviously, is a specialised show. But what is the play, if any, for getting NXT to challenge future WWE pay-per-views?
I don't think that’s the intent. Not that it won’t happen! Never say never here. As soon as you say never, we do it. But, the incentive for NXT is to be a standalone brand, to be something different, with a different feel and texture. Then Raw and SmackDown will hopefully have their own different fields and textures as individual brands. This is no different. This is a momentin-time survivor series. I think, it’s becoming about that one time in the year, where all these brands can get in the same place, at the same time, and go against each other. It’s a great opportunity for everybody on the NXT side to show things that some of the fan base hasn’t had a chance to check out yet.
Sony Pictures Sports Network is the official broadcaster of WWE in India