WWE’s NXT continues to grow, producing talent for the main roster and producing a show which is seen weekly on WWE Network.
With the ascension (not Konnor and Viktor) of NXT, the company is delivering exciting NXT TakeOver specials, and SummerSlam Weekend offers a big one.
WWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul Triple H Levesque discussed his baby during a recent conference all to promote NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 20 live on WWE Network from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I’m really excited about this TakeOver card,” Levesque said. “You have a little bit of everything.”
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Ember Moon vs. TBA
Levesque noted: “You have the debut of Ember Moon. Anybody who is familiar with her career thus far; she is a very exciting performer, and I’m really excited to get her started in NXT. With a lot of the women moving onto the main roster, she’s going to be a key part of [NXT’s] women’s division going forward.
“You have veterans like Austin Aries stepping in the ring to take on rookies like No Way Jose. A really exciting match. I think for a lot of people it’s a departure in styles. I’m excited to see No Way bring something different than the dancing, fun-loving guy. See if he can raise the stakes a bit and stand in the ring and hang with somebody like Austin Aries, it’s a great opportunity for him.
“Andrade Cien Almas and Bobby Roode. What can you say about that match other than I can pretty much guarantee that one’s going to be glorious.
“Gargano and Ciampa vs. The Revival. I can’t wait for that one. To me there’s nothing more exciting sometimes than classic tag team action, and this match has the potential to just absolutely steal the show. Johnny Gargano and Ciampa, as performers, have just turned this corner. The performance that they put on [1-on-1, against each other] in their match at the Cruiserweight Classic and the things that they’ve been doing in NXT are off the charts. Revival to me is one of the best tag teams out there right now, and I’m really excited for that match.
“A match that I’ve been waiting for, for a really long time, the rematch between Bayley vs. Asuka for the NXT women’s championship. Bayley kind of having an up and down year but coming out of last year’s Brooklyn show with an epic career making moment for her. Can she repeat that in Brooklyn? Asuka coming in and really just dominating a division like nobody else. There’s a lot of candidates on here that could steal the night, steal the show and possibly steal the weekend.
“And when you talk about stealing the show or the weekend, you have to bring up Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. Two performers who have known each other for a really, really long time, but fortune just has never brought them in the ring together, and two diverse styles that I’m really intrigued about. I’m a big believer in styles making matches and fights, and this is one that I really think is going to deliver beyond anyone’s expectations.”
NXT will also be taping a couple of matches, prior to going live with NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II.
“We’ll have the pre-show for 30 minutes [starting 7:30 p.m. on WWE Network],” he added, “and we’ll be shooting a few matches that will air the following week [on WWE Network].”
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, a sold-out event, is an integral part of WWE SummerSlam Weekend. For that following night, WWE arranged a stellar line-up for WWE SummerSlam on Sunday, Aug. 21 also at Barclays Center.
Talk about development. Five superstars (Finn Balor, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Apollo Crews, and Kevin Owens) competing at SummerSlam participated in last year’s inaugural NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.
“I have a poster that was made for me, a poster with some artifacts out of the arena from last year’s Brooklyn show,” he said. “It’s in my office, and I was looking at it the other day with somebody who was touring my office. It became evident to me how much things have changed in one year. The [NXT] TakeOver: Brooklyn card from last year is basically half [now] on the main roster. That’s amazing and a compliment to the system of NXT and what they’re doing.”
Furthermore, Commentator Corey Graves helped call the action at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in 2015 and is now a member of the broadcast team on WWE’s flagship show Raw on the USA Network.
“Corey made the move which I’m thrilled about,” Levesque said. “With NXT, I’m just as thrilled that we created a Corey Graves as a Raw announcer as I am other talent. It’s a massive opportunity for him, and we helped create that opportunity for him. Now, I’d like to help somebody else be in that position, to have that opportunity as well; so that we constantly have this back-up feeder system always in place and A-teams everywhere.”
Levesque continued: “It’s an exciting time between the brand extension of Raw and SmackDown [Live] and the amount of talent being called up from developmental into those main rosters. NXT talent making that move to the main roster is a huge opportunity for them, and it’s a huge opportunity for the brand itself to have their presence on Raw and SmackDown [Live]. They’re some of the best in the world, some of the people who just got called up.
“So it’s an exciting time for that, and it’s an exciting time for NXT coming into Brooklyn for the second year in a row -- sold-out with a massive card.”
“Also, the Cruiserweight Classic [on WWE Network] is in full tilt right now,” Levesque noted, “and with cruiserweights being added exclusively to their own division on Monday Night Raw, it really is a really great time in the industry.”
WWE Cruiserweight Classic TV tapings are Friday, Aug. 26 at Full Sail Live at Full Sail University in Winter Park, near Orlando.
“The Cruiserweight Classic has been one of those really fun projects for me that I’ve been wanting to do for years,” Levesque said. “It’s always been something that I felt needed to happen, and to give talent in that division -- the under-205 [pound] -- the opportunity to shine and possibly get the opportunity that they never had before.
“If they thought they could never make it to Raw, never make it to SmackDown, never make it to WrestleMania, this is that opportunity, and that opportunity has already delivered as you see cruiserweights going exclusively to Raw and SmackDown. You’ve seen some amazing, amazing matches and talent already, and you’re going to see a lot more. So it’s an exciting time if you’re a cruiserweight, and it’s an exciting time in the industry altogether.”
WWE Cruiserweight Classic is 9 p.m. ET Wednesdays on WWE Network.
Cruiserweights are being signed by WWE for Raw (8 p.m. ET Mondays USA Network).
“Raw being the three-hour show and needing more content and more talent, I believe Monday Night Raw is the right place for them,” Levesque said. “It’s something different, and I think you’re going to see that. I don’t just mean that from a work standpoint...I think you’ll see the presentation being different. It’s all about creating something different for Raw, given the three-hour format.
“As far as who were bringing in, we’re signing a lot of cruiswerweights right now, and basically I’m creating a division. So I’m going around signing guys, and I’m also keeping an eye toward the future as well. I don’t need to have every single cruiserweight right now. I just need to have a decent amount.
“They will be working NXT. They will be working NXT Live events, and they’ll also be working Raw as cruiserweights. The opportunity is there to do both. I want these guys to be able to work. When you have a three-hour Raw show, there’s a lot of talent; there’s only so many live events. So I want to be able to put guys to work and to keep them doing what they do. So they can continue to get better.
“The opportunity is there in a big way for them,and I’m really excited about this process of getting the cruiserweights going, because I think this is going to be something really special.”
SmackDown (8 p.m. ET Tuesdays USA Network) is a two-hour program.
- NXT on WWE Network
WWE NXT is 8 p.m. Wednesdays on WWE Network.
- NXT abroad
To see NXT in a city near you, check
- WWE Performance Center
All Access at the WWE Performance Center is Monday, Nov. 14 in Orlando.
“These have been very successful for us,” Levesque said. “Our audience absolutely loves coming in and really, truly getting to see a day in the life of how NXT and WWE superstars are made, observing the training and also getting to participate by doing their own promos and their own entrances, playing a role in an NXT live event that happens at the Performance Center and hanging out with everybody all day. It’s an ultimate one-day fantasy camp, and people have been blown away by it. I’m really excited about it, and it’s been very successful for us. So we look forward to doing another one of those.”
- NXT/WrestleMania 33 Orlando
WWE WrestleMania 33 is Sunday, April 2, 2017 at Camping World Stadium, formerly Citrus Bowl Stadium, in Orlando. During WrestleMania Week, WWE NXT is Friday, March 31 at the Amway Center, home of the NBA Orlando Magic.
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