Joe Coffey EXCLUSIVE: ‘Proud’ to be working for Triple H and NXT and ‘incredible’ atmosphere backstage at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff

27 Sep

Joe Coffey has been one of the most prominently featured stars in NXT UK since the brand’s inception and with every passing performance, he is showing with good reason.

The is the leader of the ‘firm’ Gallus that also features his brother Mark Coffey and another compatriot in Wolfgang.

Gallus features the Coffey brothers Joe and Mark alongside Wolfgang

The Iron King has wowed fans with both of his NXT UK TakeOver performances. Firstly in the main event of TakeOver: Blackpool against Pete Dunne and then in a street fight with Dave Mastiff at TakeOver: Cardiff.

Now, NXT UK is rolling into Brentwood, Essex next weekend (October 4 & 5) for the first time and talkSPORT had the chance to catch Joe ahead of Gallus’ foray into a new territory.

Hi Joe! First off, how are you doing after your street fight with Dave Mastiff? The cricket bat did not look nice, but the fans seemed to really enjoy the match.

In terms of getting the win, it wasn’t so much about the win as it was making a statement. You make a massive statement by winning a last man standing against an animal like Dave Mastiff. I was very pleased with the match. I didn’t expect such a crazy start with the turnbuckle exploding, but, you know what? It got the attention of the audience and it certainly got my attention. it caught me off guard a little bit. But in that moment it’s like ‘right, I got to dig deep’.

Was the turnbuckle meant to explode like that? I was sitting in the audience and I thought ‘Hmm, that’s timely. But really well done if it was meant to happen, too’

Well, I’ll just let you decide that. That’s for you to decide.

NXT UK is growing all the time and you’ve been a focal point of both of their TakeOvers thus far. Delivering on what must be the bigger stage and platform of your career thus far must be fulfilling?

Of course, yeah. Having the UK TakeOver platform is imperative to our brand and I watched back the full NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff show and I thought it was spectacular. I thought all the matches were absolutely outstanding.

For myself being on both of them so far, it’s put me in good form. Unfortunately, there’s a little blip for me because as good as the match was [against Pete Dunne in Blackpool], it’s 40 minutes of wrestling and I still lost. I can’t really accept that. So it’s something I want to put right on a big stage, on a TakeOver.

The turnnbuckle broke during Joe Coffey’s and Dave Mastiff’s battle

Having beaten Dave Mastiff in Cardiff, you must be hoping that springboards you into the title picture and the big angles?

Of course, because it puts you at the forefront of a brand. The eyes are on you. I like the pressure, Wolfie likes the pressure, Mark likes the pressure, too. So for us, we’ve been talking about this for a while, it’s all about big scores. This firm wants to be the top boys of this brand. And if anyone else from across the pond – be it RAW, SmackDown or NXT – if they want to go, then that’s fine. We’ll meet them as well.

One thing I have really enjoyed from you and the boys are the videos that you put out on social media. With just one hour of television, they seem like really good ways of showing your personalities and characters. Talk to us about the idea behind them?

First of all, we appreciate it that you watch it. We’ve only got an hour of television time, we want people to understand us for a start [laughs]. We talk a little bit faster so sometimes I have to talk slower and more pronounced in certain situations. The subtitles thing, that was Mark’s idea. We thought it would be really good so people could follow us and, funnily enough, since we started doing it we’ve seen a lot more videos in WWE across their social media doing it! So hopefully more people on the roster will start doing it and that’s what we wanted to do, our original aim was just to get more eyes on NXT UK.

We’re all the same in Gallus but different. Glasgow can be quite a tough place growing up so we’re just trying to bring that to all the videos that we do and show people more. There’s a lot more coming, don’t you worry.

NXT UK will be on Thursdays moving forward. The British public will be getting NXT in the U.S. a day later, so was it a case of just keeping NXT on the same day here?

I think so, but I don’t really know the internal working of it. If that’s the day it’s going to be – that’s grand. I do think it’s going to suit our brand a lot more though because it will put more focus on NXT UK because NXT is now broadcast on a Wednesday live on USA.

Joe Coffey celebrating another victory

What did you think of the first NXT show on the USA Network?

I thought they were brilliant! There was a lot of good stuff. It was interesting to see big Walter make an appearance as well. As much as we butt heads and we’re rival firms, it was good to see our brand represented. I thought the show was insane as well, some great moments of chaos. The North American title changed hands too, so I thought it was a very exciting show and the perfect way to show the world and USA Network exactly what NXT are about.

I think a lot of fans would credit Triple H and his team for making one of the best products in the world in the NXT umbrella, how proud does it make you to work for them and NXT?

100 percent. It’s still surreal sometimes. There’s moments where you’re talking to him [Triple H], Shawn Michaels or Matt Bloom and it’s brilliant. It’s invaluable, I take every second I can with them. I’m immensely proud to be working for them.

What are people like Triple H, or even a William Regal, Johnny Saint, whoever – what are they asking from Joe Coffey?

I think, essentially, just to be myself. The best version of myself. No one is telling me what to do. Everyone is guiding, there is no telling. They’re letting me be me, but my ears are always open. I don’t know the collective number of years that everybody in that brand as a coach or a producer has in the industry, but we must be talking in the hundreds. So to have that and just pick the brains is again, so invaluable. I consider myself a student of the game so it’s perfect.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels at NXT UK

We spoke about your Gallus brethren earlier and their tag match in Cardiff was one of my favouites on the show. Triple H seemed to be beaming with pride after the TakeOver in general, how were the matches received backstage and what was the general atmosphere like?

It was a really good atmosphere backstage. You could just feel it. It was indescribable, really. The reactions from the audience, too – it was all magic. Like you said with the tag team match; Mark and Wolfie didn’t lose. So in my eyes, they’re still the boys to take those titles. They’re the number one contender to those titles in my eyes.

You’re hitting Brentwood for the first time next week, where else in the UK would you love to get to? You’re a veteran of the UK scene, there must be some hotbeds you’re eager to get to.

I’d like to see us get to Manchester. That’s a big town but that would be great. Leeds, too. Newcastle would be a fantastic shout. Newcastle is always a great crowd, they’re always up for it and for me, they’re very similar to a Glasgow crowd, which I like. I’d love to see NXT Newcastle. I’d also like to see us go over to Ireland. Maybe an NXT UK: Belfast? We’ve certainly got some Irish members on the roster. I’d like to see Edinborough done, that would be very cool. There’s so many options for us and places to go, I think it’s a question of when not if.

Finally, is it a goal of yours to get over and work for WWE full-time in the States? I’d assume you’d want to conquer NXT UK first, am I right?

Even if we’re still with NXT UK, it might be a good way to go over to the States and do what Walter is doing with Imperium right now. Who’s to say we might not turn up just because they’re on a different patch and batter them? It’s no problem with me, I’ll fight anywhere.

I think everyone would love to be on a main roster or NXT in America, but I take it as every day as it comes right now, to be honest. I’m honestly just concentrating on our brand right now. I want NXT UK to be as big as possible and I still think it can be bigger. Everything that we are building, we’re only scratching the surface and I think there is still so much to come.

Ticket are still available for NXT UK: Brentwood and you can grab them HERE.



WWE news: What Vince McMahon texted Triple H as soon as NXT went off the air after USA Network debut

20 Sep

NXT made a successful debut on the USA Network this week, a good seven years after it’s initial inception.

In fact, fans were calling the show one of the ‘best episodes of wrestling’ ever.

Triple H, Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon honouring Vince

Triple H couldn’t help but be a proud father after the show went off the air and he even went into the Full Sail University crowd to chant “NXT” with the fans afterwards.

Many reporters and fans have speculated that Vince McMahon will have to get involved with NXT if ratings fail to hit satisfactory numbers, especially with All Elite Wrestling debuting in the same time slot in around 10 days time.

But, all things considered, NXT made a solid start on Wednesday with 1.179 million viewers and Vince McMahon was said to be delighted, too.

Triple H revealed after the show what the Chairman texted him.

“I received a bunch of texts from him throughout the day. You know, excited, and excited to see it, and wishing us luck especially as it got close. You know, he was sending me little texts counting me down, ‘20 minutes!’ Which I thought was great. It was just fun.

“Then he sent me a few texts after the show. He watched the entire thing. I’m sure he was at the office, probably in a meeting while he was doing it. But he enjoyed it, he loved it.

Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H backstage

“He thought the talent did a hell of a job, and thought they knocked it out of the park. You know, he was excited. He sent me a massive congratulations after it was over, and was thrilled with the product.”

WWE fans hail NXT’s USA Network debut as ‘the best episode of wrestling ever’

19 Sep

NXT debuted on the USA Network last night and WWE came out of the blocks fast.

Triple H is the mastermind behind the Yellow Brand and he and his crew delivered one of the most exciting episodes in wrestling history.

Triple H is the creator of NXT as we know it

Fan on Twitter agreed and the show was stacked from start to finish.

Former NXT UK champion Pete Dunne made an appearance and Imperium also made their presence felt, seemingly foreshadowing a War Games with Undisputed Era down the road.

Candice LeRae became the number one contender to the NXT Women’s title after defeating Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai in a fatal-four-way match.

Undisputed Era now hold all the gold in NXT!

Roderick Strong became the North American champion after defeating the Velveteen Dream, too. That means the Undisputed Era have all the gold as Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly are the NXT Tag Team champions and Adam Cole is the NXT champion.

Lio Rush also made an unexpected return to WWE after reports earlier this year suggested he had been suspended for having an attitude problem. Matt Riddle also battled Killian Dain in a street fight.

Matt Riddle and Killian Dain went to war on NXT’s debut show

Triple H has found a spot for him, though, and the NXT universe was treated to a TakeOver level show for the USA debut.

Can they keep the momentum going? With AEW debuting on TNT in the exact same timeslot in a couple of weeks, you bet they will.

Keith Lee EXCLUSIVE: After four failed tryouts with WWE, I was going to give up wrestling – William Regal and Dusty Rhodes saved me

17 Sep

Keith Lee is a big man with a big presence and with NXT heading to two-hours on the USA Network this week, he looks set for a bigger role.

The 34-year-old has been signed with WWE since April of 2018, but he is still looking for the spot his talent commands.

Keith Lee in an NXT ring

A combination of injuries and NXT’s limited space in the main event scene have stuttered the Texas-native from his ideal path.

talkSPORT caught up with Lee at a Progress show last Sunday where Lee teamed with Matt Riddle against Moustache Mountain.

Hi Keith! How does it feel to be back in the UK, a place where several promotions have been good to you?

I’ve voiced several times that Europe is a place in general that I miss, up to and including Ireland. So it was awesome to come back. Not quite the big return I would have liked… but the crowd was there and made me feel just as special as always and at the end of the day, that’s what it was about for me.

What’s so great about performing in the UK?

I think number one is the fans. Especially when they do the song ‘Hey Jude’ but in the form of Keith Lee – that is my favourite thing on the planet. I love it so much. But after that, it’s just the opportunity to put on Keith Lee matches. My style, my way. I don’t really feel like today was like that but… in singles competition, my type of martial art is something that I love and enjoy. I love the appreciation that is shown for it.

Do you feel like you get the opportunity to have ‘Keith Lee style’ matches in NXT?

I would say… lately I’ve had that opportunity, but initially, absolutely not. There’s definitely a lot of things that I am suggested not to do and/or cannot do in general, and that’s just the way it goes, man. It’s a different system, a different style there and a different vision for what they want from me. I just kinda have to work within the context of what they want from me.

Fans have loved the matches between Keith Lee and Dominik Dijalkovic

A lot of fans felt your recent match with Dominik Dijakovic was of a TakeOver level, which is a big compliment in this day and age. That must be good to know people are beginning to realise what you can do?

If I’m being honest, I would say that that match with Dijakovic was not a TakeOver level match for us. I just feel like that was a drop in a bucket, just a taste. Everything we do I feel like is just a taste test. Like, here’s an appetiser. We have yet to produce or fight to a level that allows us to go into a full course meal. And I don’t know if or when people will see it. But they will know when they see it! I’m happy that people view it as a TakeOver level match but for me, it’s just another day at the office. We’ll see what the future holds I suppose.

The things you guys did together in his final match with PWG was insane, is that the kind of match you’d love to show people on a WWE platform?

I feel like I’m the epitome of that niche right now. I feel like I’m the representative of that entire niche right now. Being a guy that is 340lbs and doing what I do, not just flippy things, but catching guys that are 300lbs and throwing guys up in the air that are 300lbs – people lost their minds when I popped up Lars for the spear bomb, they had no idea! I am an all-around ridiculous athlete and I think I am the staple holder for that entire genre that is wrestling art.

That being said, I also believe that because that is the case, I have to do things in a minimalistic way so that they mean something. That match that we had [Dijakovic at BOLA], there was so much happening that it made the other things mean less.

Do you feel that with NXT moving to two hours on the USA Network this Wednesday that there will be more opportunities for you?

Perhaps. Live television is going to give a lot of people the opportunity to see Keith Lee in his finest hour, so to speak. Meaning, the collar is off, the leash is gone, handcuffs are gone and I get to do things the way I want to do them, so I’m looking forward to that.

We saw you tag with Matt Riddle to form the Limitless Bros – is that something you’d consider doing full-time or are you focused on singles?

I think I’ve always been a singles guy. I’m not going to say I’m opposed to it. If it makes business sense, and I am first and foremost a businessman, I will do a tag. If it doesn’t make sense, of course I’m going to focus on my singles. I love the struggle of the fight, the battles, I love the energy, drama and emotion, all those things are what I love about this sport.

To me it makes sense it [NXT] becoming a two-hour show means they’ll be more opportunities and with more opportunity, I don’t think there’s much of a choice [but to feature me more]. Because whenever I got out there, it doesn’t matter whether they’re beating me, it doesn’t matter anything, I’m the one that shines. I put out a tweet a while ago and it simply said it doesn’t matter how they view me or where they put me on the card – I’m the main event. If I so choose to be, that’s what’s going to happen. Because I can steal any show I choose to. So if the opportunities come, I will take my spot. That’s just how I roll.

Performers in NXT are regularly given the chance to come and perform with Progress, Evolve and the likes, is that something you still cherish?

I don’t know if Evolve have any interest in me, actually. But regardless of what the situation holds, I love going back because A) for meeting up and seeing old friends, acquaintances, meeting new people, seeing new talent – because that’s another passion of mine, seeing people come up, blossom and help them any way I can – and B) I was happy coming back to the UK because I was able to get Nandos yesterday.

Keith Lee thanks Dusty Rhodes for helping him improve on the mic and develop his character

I understand you’ve told this story a few times, but can you explain how ‘bask in my glory’ became your thing?

That began because my first tryout with WWE was in 2008, three years after I started. I had an entire week of just a single tryout, just me. I got turned down that time and Dusty Rhodes told me that I was trash on the mic, basically. 2011, I had another tryout. This time only three days. Bit better on the mic, but not quite there. 2013 when the Performance Center first opened and they had their first big try out – I was there with like 31 other guys – and that tryout was the one I had where I felt like I came into my own with talking and presenting myself as an entity. 

And in that tryout, Dusty Rhodes said to me, and I quote: “You’ve got it. You have a presence that I feel like I can bask in.” He said, “Take it and do with it what you will.” So before I left I was like “What do you think about bask in my glory?” and he was like “I like it, baby.” It was created by Dusty Rhodes, that’s why I hold on to it so dearly because that moment meant so much to me and I probably would have quite wrestling – because I got turned down that time too – I probably would have quite wrestling were it not for that conversation with him and William Regal. They are the only two reasons I continued to wrestle. I’ve been using it ever since then.

It’s his passion and his words that touched my heart, so I used it.

Speaking of Dusty’s influence, how is it working with the crop of great minds they have in NXT right now?

Triple H is a brilliant mind. I’ve had a few talks with Shawn Michaels but it’s not like personable talks like I’ve had with Triple H. Honestly, and some of you are going to laugh at this, the biggest impact on my career since I started at the Performance Center is a man called Terry Taylor. There’s so many stories about him, but his mind is absolutely brilliant when it comes to wrestling. He has affected me in such a positive way, the way in which I do things and how I progress. Just a lot has elevated for me personally since working alongside him.

We caught Keith Lee at another fantastic Progress Wrestling show in London and you can catch him when NXT debuts on USA Network THIS Wednesday. UK fans will get the show 24 hours later on the WWE Network.

Sid Scala EXCLUSIVE: TakeOvers are the best shows in wrestling, what a British Rounds Match is and much more

17 Sep

Sid Scala is the asistant to the general manager in NXT UK, but his recent battles with Kassius Ohno have shown he has more to him than a suit and a microphone.

The Peckham-born star has only been in wrestling for six years or so, but he has been a fan all of his life.

Sid Scala alongside Johnny Saint on NXT UK TV

As an authority figure in NXT UK, fans have warmed to him over the past year. But now, it’s safe to say Scala is ready to show what he can do in-ring, too.

talkSPORT caught up with Savvy ahead of his British Rounds match with Kassius Ohno on NXT Uk and, yes, our first question was ‘what in the hell is a British Rounds Match?

I thought I might get this question – it has been quite some time since the rounds system has been popular. WWE’s popularity over the last 40 years has seen the rounds system fall by the wayside, but from when wrestling started to get popular back in the 1950’s all the way up to the early 90s here in the UK, matches were had in the rounds format.

But back in the 50s, all the promotions got together and decided to come up with a set or rules that would go across all wrestling in the UK. Effectively, they got a Lord – Lord Mount Evans – to commission these rules to make this official and make sure nobody ran shows away from this.

A rounds match is either six or 12 rounds, normally. To win a contest you would either have two submissions, two pinfalls or one knockout. You could combo them up with one pinfall and one submission, too. Like boxing, you get a 30 second break in between rounds and if a fall happens within a round, that round comes to an end and then you get that 30 second break and onto the next round. But yeah, that was how all singles matches in the UK went for decades.

To me, the idea sceams of Johnny Saint. Is that about right?

It was massively Johnny Saint’s idea. I think it’s something Mr. Saint, and obviously William Regal who has been so influential on NXT UK as well, have wanted to bring to the brand for such a long time and they saw this as no better time with Kassius Ohno claiming to be the best British wrestler on the planet. So, they figured what better test for that claim than a traditional British wrestling match that hasn’t been seen on a wrestling show for a very, very, very long time?

We’ve seen you performing as the Assistant to the GM in NXT UK – want to make sure I get that title right! – how did that come about and was you shocked?

Yeah, it was completely brand new to me. To be honest, it was an opportunity I certainly didn’t expect but one I couldn’t be happier to receive because before that, I was just wrestling, grinding away. I suffered some losses in the early episodes of NXT UK and I suffered an injury as well, so getting the opportunity to step into that role was just completely unexpected, but unbelievably exciting for me.

Working alongside Mr. Johnny Saint… I mean, not only is he, in my opinion, the greatest British wrestler to ever do it, he’s one of the kindest gentlemen I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He’s such a lovely human being to work alongside. The saying ‘he’s forgotten more about wrestling than you’ll ever know’ could not be truer than with Mr. Saint. He’s always willing to brainstorm ideas, talk to me about holds and different contexts of wrestling I never would have even considered or had the angle to approach it.

How has it been working with Triple H in that role, too?

The first time we did a show where I was officially assistant to Mr. Saint and we unveiled the Tag Team championships with Triple H. It was probably the most surreal day of my life. To stand on stage with a microphone and talk to a crowd of about a thousand people stood next to Triple H and a British legend in Mr. Saint in the same moment – I mean, unbelievable.

Sid Scala presenting the NXT UK Tag Team titles with Triple H and Johnny Saint

That must be quite the compliment that they would consider you for such a role? When you think of the good talkers and big personalities WWE have entrusted with such roles in the past like Mick Foley, AJ Lee, Eric Bischoff – even William Regal – that must fill you with confidence?

That’s my hope! I think at first it was a complete shock in a slightly – in a positive way – but slightly overwhelming like ‘wow!’ kind of thing. But there are times where it’s like ‘Ok, we’ve got a press conference for the NXT UK Women’s Championship final’, for instance. And they say ‘Ok, Sid. Can you just go ahead and lead that and off you go’ kind of thing and they trust in my ability to go and lead those situations and get them what they need. To be honest, I agree it’s a huge compliment to be offered that opportunity, but I’m more grateful than anything to be given that opportunity.

I was in attendance for TakeOver: Cardiff and saw you and Kassius Ohno go at it before the show started. The crowd were reall into it and gave you a great reception on your way out, that must have been very rewarding for you?

It was a complete whirlwind. I found out about the match very, very shortly before. I think you could tell, I was still in my suit! But I’m walking out and I’m stood at the top of the walkway and I could feel in the audience that they expected me to, you know, do what I do! Make an announcement or share some information. So when I reached up, pulled my tie off and started walking to the ring, the sound from the audience just completely blew me away. I didn’t know what to expect. Being out of the ring with the WWE for around a year, really, and stepping into this other role, I just had no idea how the reception would be, especially on a night like TakeOver where there’s a lot of anticipation for a lot of amazing matches.

It was completely mid-blowing. When I got into the ring and rolled up my sleeves – figuratively and literally – and said let’s go… hearing that room get behind me, you know, up to this point, the greatest time of my wrestling career without a doubt.

Sid Scala going to battle with Kassius Ohno

Many wrestling fans – myself included – would argue that NXT TakeOvers in both the UK and the US are among the best shows in the world, if not the best. You’re someone that has worked on them and sees first-hand what goes into them and the results, do you objectively agree?

Absolutely. There was so much incredible wrestling across the world on the exact same day as TakeOver: Cardiff, and I’d like to think I can show as little bias as possible -I don’t know how possible that is – but the Cardiff show was one of the best wrestling shows I’ve seen in my entire life and I’ve been to thousands of wrestling shows and I’ve been watching as a fan for 20 years. It was unbelievable. I absolutely agree [they’re the best shows in the world].

There’s an atmosphere in NXT UK where we’re pushing one another to be the best we possibly can be. And that’s the environment we’re existing in at the Performance Center. We all have this drive, but also this sense of communal aggression where we’re pushing one another to go that extra mile, to be a bit better than we were the day before.

And then when it comes to those big shows when it’s not just one hour, it’s not just capped at that, it’s ‘OK, we’ve got five matches in three hours here, we can really show the world what we can do’. And we’re encouraged by Triple H, Shawn Michaels and the whole backstage team that works with us, this is the time to go and show what we can do.

Sid Scala cutting a promo in NXT UK

I think because of that atmosphere we are in all the time, when we hear encouragement like that, we do step up and we do produce the best wrestling shows in the world. We’re all very, very proud of that Cardiff TakeOver and there was many a tear shed backstage because there was a lot of emotion backstage. We’re all so hungry and so passionate for the product and for the brand we’re building and the only way is up from here.

Sid Scala and the WWE NXT UK Superstars will be live in action at NXT UK Brentwood on October 4 and 5. Tickets still available from:

Triple H INTERVIEW: NXT will NOT be apart of WWE draft in October, Kevin Owens to NXT, the future of 205 Live and more

16 Sep

NXT is making the big move to network television this week and will debut on the USA Network on Wednesday night.

Since 2012, the yellow brand has gained a strong following with it’s world-class matches and ability to turnover talent to the main roster and remain strong, but now, 520 episodes later, they’re taking the next step.

Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H backstage

The show will be two hours long with the first hour on USA and the second hour on the WWE Network for the first two weeks.

After that, USA will host the entire two-hour show. That starts on October 2, the same night All Elite Wrestling debuts on TNT.

Ahead of their debut, we had the chance to speak to Triple H on a conference call and ask him about all things NXT.

It has been speculated in recent weeks that Pete Dunne and Toni Storm will be making the move over to the U.S. full-time to be featured parts of NXT on USA, but The Game insisted that nothing is set in stone and superstars will alternate.

For instance, Rhea Ripley is clashing with Shayna Baszler right now, but she may well return to the UK after.

NXT UK’s creator Triple H

“I think if you look at it in the manner of the NXT UK brand sitting in that NXT bucket, I think you’re going to see a lot of performers that are regular NXT U talent crossing over onto NXT on USA network and performing there and showcasing their brand and what they do there and helping the awareness of that brand, too,” Triple H said. “Whether or not they move there full-time on either brand, depending on where they are, just like you’ve seen performers come from the U.S. and go over there, I think they will go back and forth.

“You might see a performer that comes into Full Sail and has a two or three-month run and then end up back to the UK, sort of like a programme or a storyline here and then move back, I think you’ll see back and forth. I don’t think there’s a hard line between those as much as you would see a hard brand-split between Raw and SmackDown and you don’t see people criss-cross. One is one thing and one is another. I think these brands kind of compliment each other and allow opportunities of both.

“So there is opportunities for Walter to come over to the US and have opportunities at Full Sail, or Tyler [Bate] and Toni [Storm] and Piper [Niven] and all those performers to go back and forth and showcase what they do. It’s all in the manner of giving them the opportunity to get out there and show the world, as many people as possible, who they are and what they can do.

“More to that, I think that keeps it fresh for the fans, as well. Because they’re constantly getting to see new and fresh.”

WWE has also announced that a brand new draft will take place for RAW and SmackDown and it will start on the October 11 edition of SmackDown Live on FOX.

There will be no ‘wild card’ rules and this will be a hard draft, but Triple H revealed NXT will not be apart of it, despite now being on network television.

However, that is the goal moving forward.

“None of that is changing. You’ll see some different scheduling opportunities in the upcoming 2020 calendar that are really scheduling changes. I think it gives the opportunity – I keep using that word but it really is – the talent that are in the UK and the talent that are here [NXT U.S.] 205 talent – however you want to look at that – cruiserweight talent, to have as many eyeballs on them as often as possible. So whether that’s on any of those three shows, I think if you look at all of those sitting under the NXT banner and RAW has it’s own and SmackDown has its own.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels at NXT UK

“I think this year, clearly as we move into a draft period with SmackDown moving to a FOX broadcast on October 4, I think that draft is more focused on RAW and SmackDown and where those brands layout. But going forward, who knows? I think this is a work in progress and as NXT continues to do what it has done in the past five years and grow leaps and bounds my intent is to create – and I think it’s there and we’ll see moving forward – but three very distinct brands. RAW, SmackDown and NXT. And they all have a different feel and flavour to them, but they’re all WWE products and they all represent something slightly differnent and they all have their own meaning and everything. There’s no ‘up, down’ – it’s all lateral movements,” Triple H said.

The King of Kings also mentioned that he would ‘jump at the chance’ to have Kevin Owens in NXT, NXT UK will not be getting a mid-card title – and he hates that term – there will be more TakeOvers in 2020 including WrestleMania weekend despite WWE moving away from taking over whole towns for whole weekends and he also denied 205 Live will be cancelled.


He says Cruiserweight title matches would ‘sit better’ under the NXT umbrella and we can expect to see them on TakeOvers moving forward.

WALTER EXCLUSIVE: ‘I would not move to America’ – NXT UK champ might never head to WWE RAW or SmackDown Live

4 Sep

This past weekend at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff, WALTER and Tyler Bate put on a contender for Match of the Year in the main event.

In a dazzling 40 minute spectacular, fans were left in awe in attendance and the internet has been full of praise for the unique NXT UK title match.

Walter and Tyler Bate had a classic at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff

WALTER quickly rose to the top of the UK brand upon his arrival after the fist TakeOver in Blackpool back in January this year.

talkSPORT had the chance to talk to the imposing Austrian ahead of his title match with Tyler Bate and get to know the leader of Imperium just a little better.

Hi WALTER! The fans in Blackpool relished your debut earlier this year and the atmosphere was electric. Everyone in the arena seemed to know exactly who you are, how was that moment for you?

Wherever I went in my career, fan reactions or whatever, it’s not important. It’s important for me to stay true to who I am and do things the way I believe in. If it works out, it works out. If it doesn’t, it does not. Luckily, it has worked out most places.

It was the same in Blackpool. The reaction was very positive and I was happy about that. But at the end of it, before I went out, it wasn’t my main concern.

You were a wanted man before turning up in NXT UK, talk to us about how WWE reached out to you?

Yeah, they talked to me and NXT UK had already started when we first got in touch about things. But, in the end, it seemed to be the place that suits my situation privately at the moment as well. And also, it’s a new, exciting project and I care about wrestling in Europe.

Speaking of which, talk to us about your path in wrestling. There’s not a long list of Austrians performing in major promotions so give us a little backstory about your journey?

I’ve had a very different path. The difference is, England have always had some type of scene, we didn’t have that in Austria and later Germany when I moved there. We had to create our own market. You look at Tyler [Bate] – he’s just 22-years-old. I’m 32. When I was 22, I wasn’t even close to being able to do the things that he can do now, or even put on a proper wrestling match.

My training was alright because I had an experienced trainer, but I think in the year after my first match I had seven or eight matches while right now, you’re able to do that in a month. So that says a lot about that. Only when it started to work out in Germany did I get the opportunities to go to England and then America.

Did you move to Germany as the next step in your wrestling career? Was there always a load of travelling early on?

I actually moved to Germany because my wife works in the army and was being moved there, so I had to. It just so happens that worked out because Germany had a better scene than Austria, so I moved to the next level by default. My original training was quite close because I lived in Vienna and the school was there, but for shows you had to go far. For my first show, I debuted in Switzerland and it was a nine-hour drive there and nine hours back. And I went to Japan to train for three months early in my career for different influences and that, so you really have to get out of your own ways to get going.

18 hour round trip for your first match! Was it worth it?!

It was a tag match I remember, with a lot of goofy stuff. But it was fine, everything is exciting at that stage. I don’t regret anything in the business so far, everything I have done has all led to where I am now.

So how was it joining a massive company like WWE and working with the likes of Triple H and Shawn Michaels? Were you a fan of WWE as a kid?

I was a fan in the mid-90s when Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were on top. That was when I followed most as a kid. I had all the cassettes and tapes. Then I kind of missed the attitude era but began to follow again when that was over. It’s actually quite wild when you think back, you wouldn’t think you’d be in the same working environment as those people. But I adapt to situations in life very quick, so I forget about that fact. It’s only when I step back sometimes it’s like ‘oh!’ that’s happening.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels at NXT UK

What were the first conversations with Triple H like? He’s brought you in and pushed you right to the top very quickly, did he make you feel wanted?

Oh yeah, they did [make me feel wanted], I can’t deny that. But, my conversations with Triple H have been very little so far, actually. We had a conversation when I started, but in between not much. That was really it, I’m not really a small talk guy. I don’t talk to people unless I have something worth talking about or reasoning behind it.

I’ve worked a little more with Shawn Michaels which is very helpful. Obviously, he’s a very experienced guy and he’s been very successful in his career. Actually, I think people often think with wrestling, the things that make the difference are major changes, but it’s the very smallest of details that make a very big difference. Those people – like William Regal – they all have those little tricks in their back pocket. So it’s a very good environment to be in.

Let’s talk about how Imperium started. You’re not a guy that needs backup in the slightest, so was it your idea or WWE’s to make it happen?

We wanted to do it as a group, for sure. Alexander Wolfe and Marcel Barthel, they started out like me and I’ve known them for over 10 years now. They started out as part of the process I was talking about earlier and it was like ‘we’ve got to do something in Germany’. We worked on the roster of WXW as a team and then we all went our separate ways and now this was the chance to bring it back and we really wanted to do it because we all think the same way about how this sport should be done. Like how we should represent ourselves and move forward so it was like yep, let’s make it happen.

Your chops have become legendary at this point – when did you add that to your arsenal and think ‘I’ve got something here’?

There’s no big story behind it. I just thought, what should I do? I’m a big person with big limbs so I thought I’d use them as efficiently as possible.

Has anyone ever resisted taking them in a match?

Sometimes [people say they don’t want to take them]. But I don’t care. It is what it is. It’s going to happen.

Walter and his Impreium teammates

So how has it been working for WWE thus far overall?

Everything has been fine so far. Before I got here, I was an independent wrestler in Europe and America and you’re really on your own. You travel yourself, show up, get changed, do your thing and then leave. Here, you’re working for a proper company. You’re part of a project and you’re part of a collective goal that you’re working towards. And that’s something I always liked in my real-job life before, I was always someone that liked to take responsibility for things and step forward.

So far, it’s been very good and a very good working atmosphere also. I do better because I’m home more, can focus more on my matches, so it’s been good all around.

You mention your ‘real-life’ jobs, care to share any of those?

I had some ridiculous jobs [laughs]. I was once, when I first came to Germany, I was working in a meat factory for like five euros an hour. I had to put frozen meat blocks in the meat grinder. That was it [laughs]. Then, packing pumpkin seeds onto a container on wooden pallets. That was a good one [sarcastically]. I ended up in a good position though. I was with a food logistics company and they had a big warehouse that I was in charge of. I had my own office, only one boss I had to report to – was pretty good.

Your match with Pete Dunne at NXT TakeOver: New York earlier this year was critically acclaimed. Would it be fair to call that a career moment to date?

I’m not really a ‘career moment’ guy, I never sit at home and think ‘what has been my biggest moment?’ – I must pick one! Sure, it was a highlight. It was ‘Mania week, and it was a TakeOver, of course. But, the match itself, I wanted it to be different. But that’s what I to do in every aspect of wrestling. When somebody does this, I want to do that and go the other way. That’s something that’s always important to me, I don’t want to swim with everyone. I want to do my thing and how I believe in it, and I think Pete [Dunne] had a similar idea for that show on TakeOver in New York.

We wanted it to be that competitive European match and I think it did the job. People liking it at the end was a good add-on, but if they wouldn’t of liked it, I wouldn’t have minded it either. Because what we did was European professional wrestling in this day and age.

Walter with NXT genius Triple H

Yeah, you two had great chemistry and another man I’d bet you’d have great chemistry with is here today – Cesaro.

Yeah, I bet too. Cesaro is interesting. He started at the place I did in Germany – WXW – but he left for America before I started there. So there would be good background to that. Besides that, I’ve gotten to know him, he’s a great guy and one of the finest professional wrestlers in the company. So if it ever encounters where we could get together in the ring, yeah, I would really like to do that.

Without prying too much, you mentioned your private life earlier and being happy with your situation right now, does that mean you’re in no rush to move to America and the main roster?

I would go on the main roster at some point but I wouldn’t move to America. Moving to America is not for me. American lifestyle is not for me. No, I couldn’t imagine that. When it comes to that, I stay where I am.

But, I am able to get on an airplane! [laughs].

Triple H EXCLUSIVE: ‘I want no part’ of Enzo Amore, I run NXT, not Vince McMahon, The Rock, he doesn’t want any AEW stars and so much more

2 Sep

It’s not every day Triple H agrees to sit down and give an in-depth interview for 30 minutes, but’s exactly what The Game decided to do with talkSPORT ahead of the banging NXT UK TakeOver show in Cardiff last Saturday.

He talks rumours of Enzo Amore returning, shutting down talk of Vince McMahon taking over NXT, Goldberg and Undertaker in Saudi Arabia, his history with The Rock, he wouldn’t trade anybody for who AEW or anyone else has, plans for both NXT and NXT UK and more! Full transcript below:

Triple H after defeating Jericho for the Undisputed Championship

Thanks for joining me Paul – Wednesdays just got a bit more interesting didn’t they?! You talked about the fact you wouldn’t trade any of your talent for anyone else in the world. You’re up against All Elite Wrestling tonight in many ways [August 31] and will be on Wednesday nights. Is it the quality of the TakeOver shows you’ve been able to produce – like the one we’ll get tonight – that gives you the confidence, among other things, to make statements like that?

To me, people can say what they want, how they want. I don’t approach it like as a competitive thing or it’s anything else, we’re just going to put on our shows. We’re going to put on our shows when we need to put them on, in the best places we need to put them on, in the right timeslots for them and the best talent I can find in the world – and we already have them. I’m confident in that. When I look across the board at NXT in general and NXT in the UK here, we put on show after show of the highest calibre – not one match or two matches, the entire show. So I have no doubt.

For me it’s not competitive against anyone or anything, I just want to put on the best show for the fans of NXT, the fans here in Cardiff tonight, the fans around the world – that’s all this is. It’s funny because a few years ago we were doing this and doing the same kind of thing, wowing people, and there wasn’t competitors out there. So I guess we were just doing it for competitive reasons then? To compete with ourselves?

You once told me on a conference call that NXT UK was one of the most popular shows on the WWE Network. Is that still the case and can you tell British wrestling fans that things are progressing nicely from WWE’s perspective?

Absolutely. Look, it takes time to build these things out right. It’s not just about looking at the UK or individual markets, it’s about having a global presence. NXT UK is, I believe, the second most popular show or the second most popular thing on the WWE Network, and that was behind NXT in the US. With that moving to USA Network and having a 24 hour later re-air, on the network, it changes a little bit. I also expect that opportunity on the USA Network to resonate here [in the UK] as well and for the talent that are here, every single that’s here, I want to use that platform as well to continue to grow these brands and continue to grow the presence in the UK and show it to the world.

Triple H with Zack Gibson and James Drake after they won the NXT UK Tag Team titles

Take this NXT UK brand and showcase in a different place all over the world and make sure it has as many eyeballs on it as possible so it can grow and we’ll see where that goes from there. And as that grows out, WWE plans to do more TakeOvers here. They’ll be more UK based NXT TakeOvers in 2020, we’re going to add more to that scheduling and there’s a lot more to come. So, it’s bit by bit. I don’t want to overwhelm everything too much, but it’s bit by bit, we continue to grow so that every bit of growth, every next step is successful.

Just clocking on to what you said there on the NXT umbrella having the two top shows on the WWE Network; you’ve achieved a hell of a lot in your career but that must give you a real thrill?

It’s awesome. This opportunity here and in the US… Shawn Michaels and I, we talk about this all the time. At this point in our careers, to be able to sit side-by-side still and still be working together 25 years later and create something like this and help it grow, to be able to see these talent that are here and you’ll see tonight from Walter, Mark Andrews, Toni Storm and Kay Lee Ray – just everybody that is here and apart of this, to see them grow and have that opportunity with the same passion in there eyes that we had when we were starting – to see that passion and know what it feels like to just go out there and blow the roof off this place and know that they’re growing something and they’re on the ground floor of this greatness, this brand with what they’re doing here… they’re going to be seen as the founding fathers, so to speak, of this British Wrestling Empire that is building that becomes a global empire.


So, it’s an exciting time for them and I think for Sean and I, it’s some of the most fun we’ve had in our careers and that’s saying a lot!

NXT UK’s creator Triple H

I want to clear up a couple of things with NXT moving to the USA Network. Dave Meltzer has been speculating that Vince McMahon will have to get involved with NXT now that it is on a network, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Not only with what you’ve done with NXT thus far, but it’s not like you don’t have network experience yourself!

Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of things people like Dave say that don’t make sense. Because they don’t approach things from a business standpoint. Put it this way: we’re going to be live on Mondays, we’re going to be live on Wednesdays, we’re going to be live on Fridays. There’s so much bandwidth to go [around] it’s just funny the small-mindedness of it that people don’t give Vince McMahon the credit for being the businessman that he is.

The speculation and rumours and it’s easy when people leave or they go they’re own way to just jump onto speculation and rumours and a lot of it, that’s just what it is. So when people talk about him as a businessman, there’s so many crazy misconceptions. The truth is, all of what we’re doing right now in this business is because of him.

He took a failing business, so to speak, at a period of time in the 1980s and turned it into a global phenomenon when nobody else had the foresight to do it. All the things he has done and where it is today. People look at where it is today and sometimes say negative things and I’m like ‘really?’ because we’ve signed billion-dollar deals with FOX and USA, I’m not sure that it’s crumbling! And he’s also smart enough to understand the things that we do and where they go and how, the pieces of it. If you’re asking the simple term in answers? He’s not involved. Yeah, he’s going to have some say in some things as far as where the brand sits and the marketing of it within USA and all that stuff and clearly, whatever he wants to do at the end of the day also, but truth is at this point in time he has basically just said ‘go and make this thing a success’.

It’s what he told me in the beginning ‘go make this thing a success’ and, you know, we pick up the phone every now and then and we see each other all the time but it’s like ‘how’s it going? going good? excellent’. and we move on. But those who want to speculate on it, it’s craziness. A lot of it is silliness.

Triple H and Vince McMahon in the gorilla position

If you love NXT, it’s just going to get bigger. There’s going to be more of it. Two hours gives us more opportunity – I look at the roster here and the talent pool I have and I said it yesterday on the call, I wouldn’t trade our roster. There’s nobody out there I’m like ‘Ooo, man, if I could have that’ – nobody. I don’t care who that is and they can make claims to being the greatest in the world with their four matches a year that are good, great. I wouldn’t trade you. That’s just my opinion. I’m not saying whether that’s right or wrong, I’m just saying that’s what it is. I’ll put our roster up against anybody, I’ll put our talent against the world, but that isn’t the point. The point is to go out here – this place is sold-out, there’s going to be a lot of passionate fans and I’ve got a talent roster passionate about going in here and blowing the roof off the place and showing the whole world that they’re NXT and that this is theirs. So that’s the point of this and they’re going to continue to do that, they’re just going to do it with the USA Network in a bigger way which brings more opportunities for everybody.

And that brings me to my second point on recent reports, it came out this week that ‘Oh, WWE wants Enzo Amore and Big Cass again’

Which I immediately then had our PR go like ‘yeah, no.’ Zero interest.

This is what I mean, NXT in the states, you have like 100 talent anyway. So although you’re building out for a two-hour show, you don’t need to necessarily recruit?

I have 104, or 110 talent depending on the moment at the Performance Center in the U.S., another 45 – 50 here [in the U.K.] plus some development stuff around the world. I’m not worried [about filling a two-hour show every week]. The interesting thing about today’s world is, if you call up someone willing to believe anything, you can tell them anything you want in order to try and drum up business for yourself. Congratulations to Enzo, I’m sure spreading rumours has worked well for him. I just don’t want any part of it.

Enzo Amore cutting a promo during his WWE days

One thing I’ve always wondered about, and I don’t want to make it exactly like Vince McMahon in WWE, but is there and itch in you that wants to perform under the NXT banner at some point? There must be something appealing about helping a talent you’ve either created or nurtured in that respect?

To be honest? No. Obviously when I’m at those events and I can feel the passion and everything with the crowd [I want to], but I’m so busy into these other talents. And trust me, there’s almost a day that doesn’t go by where I don’t get a text from somebody on these rosters who go ‘what if…’ or ‘what if Shawn [Michales]…’ or ‘what if you…’ and that’s flattering, I understand that. Look, I watch what they do – I couldn’t hang! Not even in the ballpark anymore.

[It’s] Flattering. Obviously the performer in you, anytime you hear a group of people going crazy with that much passion, you go like man, that’s awesome. I don’t know, I almost fell like I get more buzz, the adrenaline buzz, sitting and watching them succeed. They don’t need us, they don’t. And that’s what’s different about this brand. It’s not a need thing, it’s not like Raw or SmackDown ‘need’. The beautiful thing about our business is every now and again, Babe Ruth can come out and take a swing, you know what I mean?

That’s a really fun part of the business and I think you’ll see some of that in NXT at various points with people that have come through here as it creates its own image and persona. Truth is, this brand is more about the youth and the next level than it is the yesterday. We’re looking forward to be progressive, not live in nostalgia.

On the strength of that, I wanted to get your thoughts on the much-talked-about Goldberg/Undertaker match from Saudi Arabia. Do you think veterans should ber working with younger talent rather than veteran versus veteran matches like that? A great example saw Undertaker come back at Extreme Rules with Drew McIntyre and so on and he had a good showing – so can veteran vs veteran be counter-productive when they could be giving a younger talent the rub?

It’s tough. Young guys talk to me all the time about that and as I say, ringing me up and saying ‘hey, what if?’ but the truth is, if you’re uncomfortable – we’re all aware of where we are at and what we can and can’t do, for the most part. You don’t want to hold a guy back, you don’t want him to shift his style down to yours and when you look at what they can do you go ‘I can’t do that any more clearly’ – or ever could have. The business has changed, it always grows exponentially over time and the physicality of it. It’s tough.

The Undertaker had a disastrous match with Goldberg in Saudi Arabia in June

Sometimes you put the veteran in there with the younger guy but sometimes you’re just holding him back and it doesn’t always work out.

People can say what they want to say about Saudi Arabia or the match between Undertaker and Goldberg. Listen, my hats off to both of them, it was a bad situation. I can attest to it that it was about 105 degrees and 100 percent humidity at ringside and even Randy [Orton] and I, when we were talking about it afterward, there were moments where I wanted to change gears but I just cannot! It’s humanly impossible in this moment. It was like wrestling in a sauna, it really was.

And there was those moments like when you step out of a sauna and you’re like ‘jeez, I’m lightheaded I might pass out’ – it was so ridiculously hot. And you put pressure on yourself and everything on top of that, so it’s a lot.

It’s a funny thing in our business top, man. No one cuts anybody slack on anything – ever!

Twitter has probably made it a 1,000 times worse.

Of course, yeah, yeah, yeah. It just begets negativity. Sometimes I have to remind myself with social media that as you read it, it’s just all people reacting with passion. Their negativity is because they’re passionate. They love this so much, they’re passionate about it. But it’s the forum and the way it’s said. People will say the worst thing in the world on Twitter and they make it sound like if they walked in the room and you were on fire they would just walk away from you [laughs]. But yet if they saw Goldberg or ‘Taker they would be like in awe and speechless. It’s just the craziest thing.

Triple H is the genius behind the whole NXT brand

And the whole time it’s like ‘oh my god, you’ve been an inspiration my entire life’ – really? Because you just crapped all over me on social media as if I wasn’t there. So it’s a weird thing, but it’s today’s world. It’s hard to put into words how they deal with it and what they say. It’s like being isolated, except the whole world can hear everything else. I saw a comedian one time talk about how when you’re a car by yourself, people can do the littlest thing and you will wish them death, you know what I mean? In the most aggressive and violent way possible because you’re by yourself in that world. But if they were in front of you would never say any of those things or do any of it and I don’t know why because of that isolation. Twitter seems like that. You’re all by yourself tweeting away but if that person was there or other people were in the room, it’s different.

There’s something I always wanted to ask you. 10-year-old Alex McCarthy hated Triple H – and I know you’re going to take that as a compliment! – because I was a huge Rock fan. This is around 2000 we’re talking.

Sorry for beating his ass so much [laughs].

You’re not, you’re not! I look at that time and I think the heat you had at that point in the business was incredible. Same for Rock’s superstardom, that’s a level very few get to touch. Why can’t superstars attain the levels you guys did then today? Is it a case that you guys were just that special – and you are all-time greats, of course – or has the business changed where it’s become harder to get to those levels?

There are so many variables in that, that it’s hard. When you look at me having that much heat, I had that much heat only because I had babyfaces that were that over, that charismatic and that loved.

And that’s the point I wanted to make as well, part of the reason The Rock was so big was because he had you as a foil. It works both ways.

Yeah. Put it this way, if Darth Vadar isn’t what he is in the Star Wars movies – and I know I’m dating my references here – are the good guys as good and the bad guys as bad and visa versa. It’s tough. And there are moments that are just magical times. We didn’t realise it at the time I don’t think, we all just thought we were doing our thing and busy arguing with each other about who was going to be the bigger star [laughs].

It was just a magic time in this business and when you look at the who’s who you could work with at that time, I’m thankful for that time. I’m thankful to have The Rock and Stone Cold [Steve Austin] and [Mick] Foley, ‘Taker and everybody that was there. That’s the one crazy thing about this business – there’s not one self-made person in this company. There’s never been one self-made person in this business. This business is much more almost of a team more than anything else you will ever see because one without the other does not work.

You’re only as good as the person you’re in the ring with. The moments in time, those moments of competitiveness, the moment society is at about how people feel about competitiveness or just being happy to be there, all those things play in factors. But I was incredibly lucky in that entire time of my career to have this group around you that you almost can’t help but succeed.

I know you were supposed to face The Rock at WrestleMania 32 – again, 10-year-old me would have gone crazy for that – it was tentatively agreed I guess, what went wrong there?

Scheduling. I don’t remember the details of it but it was one of those things that Rock and I had talked about doing to the point where we did the backstage promo [on SmackDown] where it was like let’s throw a seed out here and see what happens. And we did and it blew up and we talked about it some more and then scheduling just got in the way. It really wasn’t until much later. At that point, we were like over a year away from that WrestleMania. It wasn’t until the following year about three or four months away from WrestleMania that Rock was like ‘Man, it’s just not going to work. I just can’t. All my stuff, my movie thing has changed and I just can’t make it work anymore.’ So, it was what it was.

I would love to have done it, it would have been a blast to step in there with him one more time and tear it up. The cool thing about the place where I’m at in my career, you sort of appreciate those moments a bit more. When you’re busy doing it… you appreciate it, but, man, you’re in the thick of it and it’s tough. When you get later in your career and you start to realise these moments come now and then, there might not be more, you can appreciate the moment more. It’s a lot more difficult – you put a lot more pressure on yourself too when you don’t do this a lot.

But to sort of go back in time and have that match with Batista, when Dave called me about doing that and we spoke about it, I think for both of us just an ability to go back in time but at a point where we could both appreciate it and just do that again, relive that moment, and then go out there and do it in a way where you don’t embarrass yourself [laughs]. But I think it’s even more special now when you have the opportunity to do it in that manner so stepping out there with The Rock, which for me, you know, there’s guys I look at in my career, it was so competitive at the time for all of us but I don’t know I had more fun with anyone in the ring [than Rock].

The Rock and Triple H back in 1998

I worked with him so much and so many times from him being Rocky Maivia to me being Hunter Hurt Helmsley and all the way through, we just kept going back to each other. And it was always magic I felt like. I feel like we both had that comfort level with each other where we could just get in the ring with each other and have a blast and create something special. So, to do it again would have been something special but sometimes it’s just not on the cards.

I totally agree. In 2000 it felt like you must have faced each other a thousand times and no one was bored!

One thing people always ask me is do you have any regrets, and it’s not really a regret, but it’s just one of those things where I wish we would have had the chance to do in 2000 – when we did the fatal-four-way match – that was originally supposed to be Rock and I and I believe if I remember correctly – he might remember – I believe we were supposed to do an Iron Man match. I believe that was the scheduled at ‘Mania. Timing of returns and everybody else’s stuff and they needed to get us through another pay-per-view is why we did the four-way and then we came back and did the Iron Man later [at Judgment Day], so it changed the thing but I really wish I would have had that opportunity with him one-on-one at WrestleMania. Because we had done so much together, having that one-on-one would have been special.

Before we wrap up, can you tell the fans what they need to know about NXT UK and why they should be watching it on the WWE Network if they haven’t been already?

The NXT UK brand for me is really exciting in that, as we were recruiting for NXT in the US and really digging deep into that, seeing what was happening in the UK and what they were kind of making, people like Pete Dunne, Tyler [Bate], Trent [Seven] and just all the people over here were sort of making happen, the scene they were creating on their own without really any assistance. Sometimes it would amaze me when we’d get here and talk to talent and it’s like ‘they’re just figuring this stuff out’. You’d tell them something and they’d say ‘Oh, I’ve never heard that before’. and like ‘Man, they just figured this out on their own’. They were watching and just decoding it so to speak and doing their own thing.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels at NXT UK

It was amazing how far they had gotten. So to be able to come here and be able to say we’re going to take what you’re doing and just open this thing up to the world and make it so much bigger. To see that excitement level in them and to then see them step up to the challenge and the sponge in them if somebody would come up to them and say ‘what if you tried this?’ and then the lightbulb, to see that change, come back and be like ‘Oh my god’. The performers they have become, this brand has become – [I’m] really proud of it. And now we see that next generation with the WALTER’s, Toni Storms and the Piper Nivens and just all the people that are now cycling in here and wanting to be apart of it, it’s really exciting and I’m excited for this brand. As this TakeOver takes place tonight in Cardiff, it just opens the door. Next year, we’ll be doing more of this here. With them being a part of USA, it just continues to open the door and it continues to grow and every step of it so far has been overwhelmingly successful and I just can’t wait for those next steps because what’s happening here really is globally known now. There’s no place where I go in the world where I don’t do these kinds of interviews and they ask about NXT and NXT UK. That’s awesome. And I think it’s just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger so I look forward to that opportunity for all of them.

WWE make shock offer for Enzo and Cass to return to the company with NXT after firing both in 2018

29 Aug

You never say never in the wrestling business, and this news just about confirms that.

According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE has reached out to Enzo and Cass about making a return to the company.

Enzo and Cass during their WWE run

The idea is to have them return to NXT as a top tag team, the place where they first rose to notoriety.

Dave Meltzer says WWE have been in contact with the pair but no deal has been struck yet.

“WWE has been in contact with Enzo and Cass about a surprise return to be top stars on the NXT brand. We don’t know if they’ve accepted, but Cass really hasn’t done much on the indie scene and has also made it clear he wants to get back. Enzo, who really knows. He says a lot of things but his rap career isn’t exactly going anywhere and he also hasn’t done much on the indie scene, but hasn’t walked away from wrestling either.”

As mentioned by Meltzer, neither man has made waves on the independent circuit and their biggest appearance was crashing the Ring of Honor/New Japan show at Madison Square Garden earlier this year.

With NXT moving to the USA Network next month, it seems as though WWE are trying to bring in more ‘strar power’.

Amore was let go by WWE in early 2018 amid rape allegations, but he has since been cleared of such charges.

Cass didn’t last long either. The seven-footer headed for the exit in June of that same year and he has been open on several podcasts about being his own worst enemy in the company at the time.

WWE and AEW news: Jon Moxley injury update, Triple H to stay in control of NXT on USA Network, Rowan’s name change

23 Aug

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) appear to have suffered a huge blow ahead of their All Out pay-per-view.

Below, talkSPORT gives you the latest gossip and rumours from the wrestling world.

Jon Moxley suffers injury

Jon Moxley has injured his elbow, according to The Wrestling Observer.

The former WWE star is believed to have been working hurt in recent weeks.

But the injury could put his All Out pay-per-view Singles match with Kenny Omega on August 31 in doubt.

Kenny Omega (pictured) is scheduled to face Jon Moxley at the end of the month
All Elite Wrestling

Triple H to stay in charge of NXT

NXT will become a two-hour weekly show on the USA Network from September 18.

And recent reports claimed Vince McMahon, who runs main roster shows Raw and SmackDown Live, was going to be more hands-on with NXT.

However, Pro Wrestling Sheet claim the NXT product is set to stay the same, with Triple H remaining in charge.

The developmental show has been a huge hit with wrestling fans for years.

Rowan undergoes name change… again

Upon returning from injury to help Daniel Bryan defend his WWE Championship against AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble in January, Erick Rowan’s name was shortened to just ‘Rowan’.

Rowan has been in a stable with Daniel Bryan since January

But seven months down the line, Rowan is now ‘Erick Rowan’ again, according to WWE’s website.