The Spotlight on the NXT Takeover: Respect Triple H Media Conference Call 10/6/2015

Tonight NXT Takeover: Resepct will air live from Orlando, Florida on the WWE Network at 9pm with a lineup as follows, WWE NXT Women’s champion Bayley vs. Sasha Banks: 30 Minute Ironman Match.Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Semi-Finals: NXT champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder and Baron Corbin & Rhino vs. Chad Gable & Jeremy Jordan. The Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Finals will also take place live tonight with Cody & Dustin Rhodes to presenting trophy to winners, Asuka will make her in-ring debut vs. Dana Brooke and Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews.  Yesterday afternoon, as he always does before each NXT special, Paul Levesque (Triple H) met with members of the media on a conference call.  Here were some of the highlights from that call…
Highlights:
 
The Continued Expansion Of NXT:  One of the main things to come out of the conference call was the continued success of NXT as it’s own entity.  Levesque mentioned how NXT recently took part in the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville this past weekend.  I for one think this is a great idea as few things go hand in hand more than Rock & Wrestling.  I remember going to Ozzfest back in 2002 and meeting WWE superstars and divas throughout the day and the same with Warped Tour a few years after that.  With the killer lineup at Louder Than Life mixed with NXT, I considered heading down to Kentucky for the first time in my life this past weekend.  Levesque continued that NXT continues to have success with the sales of all of their dates in London, which includes the next Takeover special after tonight’s by the way.  He then also touched on the new docuseries coming to the WWE Network entitled NXT: Breaking Ground which will be debuting on the Network on October 26th and that the series is going to be similar to the NXT 24 special that aired this past Monday night (I was taken over with birthday craziness yesterday so I haven’t been able to catch that just yet but I heard it was great and I should have a piece up on that tomorrow).  Lastly in regards to Breaking Ground, Levesque mentioned that they were constantly filming material for that show while NXT tours, so that’s something to really look forward to. In the end, I liked that Levesque was also honest in saying that sometimes he’s had to pull back a little on some opportunities awarded to NXT in order not to burn out the talent and production team and keep everyone honest.
The Relationship between NXT and Evolve: There has been ongoing rumors that there was a working relationship between NXT and Evolve Wrestling, in particular the head of Evolve (and former Ring of Honor booker) Gabe Sapoloski.  While Levesque denied reports that Sapolsky had been brought in as a member of the writing team for NXT, he did mention that he has a lot of respect for Sapolsky and how he does view Evolve as sort of a feeder system for NXT.  Levesque continued by saying that he felt that the wrestling business needs smaller independent federations like Evolve and put over the job that everyone does down there.  He explained that if there were a talent that he felt needed to work on something or if there just wasn’t a spot for them currently in NXT, he wouldn’t hesitate to send them down to Evolve for extra training and he would like to support Evolve in any way that he can.  I can tell you from experience, and I’ve been going to there shows since 2010 when Daniel Bryan went down there between his WWE runs, Evolve puts on some great shows.
Vince Mcmahon’s Role in NXT: One of the more interesting tidbits to come out of the call was when Levesque confirmed that he, not Vince McMahon, has the final say over the booking decisions in NXT.  He explained that Vince did attend the NXT show at the Barclay’s Center but made sure that he didn’t step on any toes and simply watched the show from the gorilla position as a fan.  He explained that Vince fully supports NXT and while he wouldn’t be at the Takeover show tonight, couldn’t wait for the Ironman match this evening.
Closing Thoughts:
 
Overall I thought this was a great listen as all of these calls are.  I personally would have liked someone to ask Levesque about the status of the different Takeover specials as to whether they are now at a point where we can expect them bi-monthly or if we’re going to even get to a point where there specials will be monthly.  
That said, the call breezes right by in just over 40 minutes and includes a lot more than listed above.  If you’d like to listen to the call Prowrestling.net has (as usual and thanks to Jason Powell for it) posted the call online for free on their podcasts page right here 
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet/2015/10/06/1006-prowrestlingnet-podcast–triple-h-talks-with-the-pro-wrestling-media.  Other topics covered during the call is the importance of the Bayley-Sasha main event tonight, why the match is called an ironman match and not an ironwoman match (and who made that clarification), a funny story about Finn Balor posing in front of TNA offices and so much more.  We’ll have coverage on the NXT special at some point tomorrow but until then, take care.  
 

The Spotlight On Raw for 7/13/2015

First off I like to apologize for being off the grid these last few days. I’ve been a bit under the weather really since last Wednesday and it just got worse until finally kicking my ass all weekend. I’ll get more into that on tomorrow’s Daily Spotlight but thankfully I started feeling a bit better just in time for a great Raw (and an awesome Home Run Derby, which I’ll also get into tomorrow morning). As for Monday Night Raw, it emanated live from Atlanta, Georgia and was the final stop of the road to WWE Battleground. Without any further ado, let’s get right into some of the highlights of the show… 

Highlights: 

1) Divas Get Their Chance- Tonight’s Raw didn’t only see one call up from NXT but rather saw three call ups as Charlotte, Becky Lynch and NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks all made there Raw debut tonight. The segment was probably the greatest womens segment since Paige debuted and beat AJ Lee for the women’s title the night after Wrestlemania 30. This was really a relaunch for the women’s division in WWE as Stephanie McMahon showed up to introduce the three ladies from NXT. What made the segment even more special was that the crowd absolutely exploded with “This Is Awesome” chants and showered the ladies with praise. It was really a telling sign as to how far NXT has come that the NXT women were instantly reconized and admired for their athleticism and past accomplishments. If you only have time to check out one segment from this week’s Raw, its this segment right here. 

2) The U.S. Title Open Challenge- What else is new? These segments are great every week and it is nice to see that each week more and more people continue to come out and challenge John Cena. The U.S. Title has become the most prized possession in WWE & it’s great to see how John Cena has brough prestige back to that belt. Cesaro continued his streak of having the best match on Raw as he and Rusev (and for a little while Kevin Owens) had a great, nearly , 24 minute match. It was great to see that Rusev is back showing his aggressive side and it was nice to see him, not only, getting a big win over Cesaro but also to see him getting a DQ victory over Cena. Kevin Owens costing Rusev the match ,after taking himself out of the three way, added some heat on Owens. Owens is obviously respected and, by a certain percentage of the audience, adored. The problem with that is that he’s being counted on to be a top heel in the company so by having him taking himself out of matches and then also costing the fans the opportunities to see clean finishes, (with Cesaro and now Rusev) the crowd may be more inclined to boo him. WWE has done a good job over these past few weeks of adding Cesaro and Rusev to the Cena and Owens story. They’ve used a hot feud like Cena-Owens to create new contenders for the US title in Cesaro and Rusev and giving both of those guys a rub in the process. Good stuff all around. 

3) The Champ Stands Alone…Confidently?!?– This week Brock Lesnar continued his destruction of the Authority by taking out Kane after previously taking out J & J Security. This set up the showdown between Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins well in that now, theoretically, Rollins is all alone to face Lesnar. In the process, however, I felt that Rollins cut his best promo to date in that he claimed not to be afraid of Brock Lesnar while also rediculing  Kane.  He  also, correctly, pointed out that while Lesnar had gotten better of all of his past challengers, he never did get the better of Rollins. I felt the end of Raw did a good job in setting the stage for the Battleground main event and a number of possibilities moving forward. If Seth Rollins proves he doesn’t need anyone and defeats Brock Lesnar retain the championship, he’s a made man. If Brock Lesnar wins back the championship and Triple H doesn’t come out to help Rollins or fails to help when he does, this starts issues between Rollins and Triple H. Lastly, it’ll be interesting to see where Kane goes from here after being verbally undressed and humiliated by Rollins to end the show. 

4) Stardust Returns- While I was surprised to see Stardust return as a heel (presumably to continue his program with Stephen Amell), it was great to see Stardust back on Raw for the first time since the untimely death of Dusty Rhodes. I thought Stardust cut a great promo to hype his return prior to his match with Neville and seemed incredibly passionate. It was nice to see him get such a warm reaction from the crowd and it’ll be interesting to see just how long WWE will be able to keep Stardust a heel. 

Closing Thoughts

Overall, I think Raw was a really good show, perhaps the best since the Raw the night after Wrestlemania. The show did a good job in building towards Sunday’s Battleground and even beyond. It’s interesting to note that with only Smackdown remaining before the Battleground show, Dean Ambrose (who’s main evented the past two pay per views), Cesaro, Rusev and the Divas are not on the Battleground show. I’m sure some will be added but since Battleground is, likely, part of the larger Summerslam picture, it’s ok not to have everyone on every pay per view. 

That’s going to do it for me but I’d love to hear your thoughts on tonight’s Raw. Until then keep your eyes pealed for a new Daily Spotlight in the morning, updated Tough Enough power rankings prior to tomorrow’s show and a whole lot more right here on thedailyspotlight.com!