Posts Tagged ‘Triple H’

British wrestling legend and recently name WWE United Kingdom brand GM Johnny Saint made a major announcement at tonight’s UK Championship tapings at the Royal Albert Hall, revealing the impending launch of an NXT UK Brand.

Triple H assumed control of the mic to promise fans the “very best” of UK wrestling, comprising both male and female divisions. He also noted a tag division whilst being drowned out by rapturous cheers from the crowd. WWE later confirmed separate championships for each of the two new divisions via their Twitter account, to go along with the pre-existing UK Championship.

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Tapings for the new show are scheduled for 28 and 29 July from Cambridge, with further recordings booked for Liverpool, Plymouth, and Birmingham. A restoration of WWE’s UK ambitions has been widely expected since ITV resumed production of their World of Sport series (which concluded taping last month), but as of yet the company have not announced whether their new NXT brand will hit a domestic TV station or be delivered through the Network. As with the original UK Championship Tournament, it’s possibly a means to keep UK talent out of the hands of competitors as much as anything.

Further details on the brand, such as whether it’ll be part of the weekly schedule or an infrequent occurrence, are currently unknown pending an official announcement from the company. Check back for more details as they emerge.

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As noted, Triple H was recently interviewed by the Sky Sports Podcast, which you can check out here. Below are some highlights:

Balancing his office job with wrestling:

“There is no feeling other than standing in the middle of that ring at WrestleManiawith my wife [Stephanie McMahon], with her first time competing at WrestleMania, along with Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey, who was competing for the first time in a WWE ring in front of 70,000+ fans. There is no feeling like that in the world. Our WWE fans are the most incredible, crazy, insane, loud – and that is global. They are just the best fans in the world. Any time you have the opportunity to stand in front of them. It is an honor, it’s a thrill. That being said, every year the other things that I do, anything at this point that I am more engaged in.

“As far as the developmental system, which is where I am focusing on at the moment, so the competing part becomes more and more difficult every single year because the drain of my time in all these other aspects becomes more and more. After competing at WrestleMania, there was no day off. It was off to the next day and jumping from the plane to come to Saudi Arabia to get the deal done. No complaints though. I love doing it.”

How impressed he was by Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania:

“I couldn’t have been more proud of everybody in that match. Like I had stated, Kurt Angle hadn’t been in a WWE ring in over a decade at a WrestleMania. Ronda Rousey, I can’t imagine having my first match ever in front of 75,000+ fans, oh my God. Stephanie… people take for granted what she does. Not because she is my wife, but I am in awe of her. Not only is she the Chief Brand Officer of WWE where she is traveling extensively representing WWE and doing all these amazing stuff. Not only that, but she is also a mom. The best mom to our three daughters, which is her priority in life. On top of that, she has to be ready to face Ronda Rousey, who is the baddest woman on the planet. You know that it is going to be physically rough regardless of how you look at it. She has to train twice a day. She is an incredible shape, and has the pressure of competing at WrestleMania. Even if you want to say that she has competed before, yes, but she has had one match since 2003. I think it is hard to place that in any context. They all did an amazing job. I think for me, honestly, I did my little part, but I kind of sat back in awe. We prepared everybody, but they executed it. I just sat back that day and watching it all come down thinking, my God, I am just blown away, especially with Ronda Rousey. I kept telling a lot of people she was going to surprise a lot of folks. She definitely surprised a lot of folks.”

The Undertaker’s future:

“I think, I’ve said this recently and I will say it on here. If it is one person that has earned the shot to call it the way he would like it is The Undertaker. I think this will all depend on him and it should all depend on him. It should be what he wants to and what he feels comfortable doing. I know him, as a performer always wants to give it his best, and if he can’t he won’t do it. I think that when he is in a position where he is now, he wants to be out there and show The Undertaker to the world, but it comes down to what he wants to do, and it should.”

Triple H recently spoke with Sky Sports and said the UK will get a WWE pay-per-view event down the road.

“It (the event in Saudi Arabia) was an open opportunity for all of the markets outside of the United States,” he said. “Obviously the time frame of when we run things in the US doesn’t work for a lot of markets and this gives us a chance to look at things in their time frames. That’s especially the case in the UK, where the desire is very high. We’ve attempted things there in the past and as technology improves and we can get things down to doing them in a reasonable manner and at a reasonable cost, is really what it’s all about.

“It’s definitely something we’re looking towards but when people say ‘just do it’ – we do 560 live events a year, we do an average of 9-10 live events a week and they’re planned out a year, sometimes longer, in advance. One change dramatically affects the entire puzzle so it’s a process we’re going through. But we will get there. For everybody that’s waiting it seems to be forever but we will get there, I promise.”

The Sun pointed to the biggest two issues with running a live pay-per-view from the UK – the time difference and NFL season, but Triple H said he’s confident those issues can be worked out.

“There are a lot of aspects to it,” Triple H said. “It’s about getting the right people in the right places to be able to put on a strong event with a good calibre and for it to be meaningful to the rest of the globe. To be able to do it in a cost-effective way in a business sense, having the infrastructure to do it internationally, these are all factors which come into consideration.

“There are a lot of balls in the air and it’s just a matter of organising them. You’re trying to do all of that while running pay-per-views, live television and everything else we do. It’s not a matter of if we can overcome those obstacles but when we can, and getting them all lined up.”

Triple H relayed the same message to fans that he told a live crowd at a WWE event in Wembley Arena last November – aim high.

“If you’re going to set an ambition, set it high,” he said. “As we always say, never say never. WrestleMania is a week-long series of events and the logistics of executing that week along with the week leading into it and the week after it are extraordinarily difficult in our own back yard. Doing them internationally with international crews and international support systems and everything else is a factor of difficulty way beyond what we have in the US.

“Can we get there? Sure, maybe over time. We would take steps in that direction and those steps are probably other pay-per-views. From my point of view I’d like to bring other meaningful events through WWE, whether that’s NXT or the United Kingdom championships, taking international brands and putting them on in those markets. As the world becomes smaller and more technologically advanced, it becomes easier to do these things live from different places. From my end, that’s what I’m working towards.”

Earlier this month, it was reported Batista was one of the potential names to tag with Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 34 against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Kurt Angle was eventually picked and the duo would go on to win that match. A reason why WWE passed on Batista wasn’t really known until Batista spoke with Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan and explained why the match didn’t go down.

“This is all insider stuff, and I usually don’t share. I’m really an old-school kayfabe guy,” Batista said. “But they reached out to me earlier this year to possibly come back and do that thing with Ronda [Rousey]. And I said that I would be willing to do it only if we teased something for me and Hunter to go to Mania next year. And they said, ‘Yeah, that would be great. I love that idea.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s great. I’ll come back a few times during the year, and we’ll tease it, and we’ll work it and we’ll milk it. And we’ll go to Mania, me and Hunter, next year.’ Oh, I love that idea. Let’s do it!”

Despite the initial interest in the match, things suddenly dropped off when WWE stopped calling Batista.

“So, we literally talked for about like three weeks and then they just stopped calling me,” Bautista continued. “I sent a text to Hunter. I was like, ‘Hey man, I don’t know if you put any more thought into what’s going on. I’m really excited about the possibilities.’ And I literally never heard back from them. They just stopped talking to me about it. Man, I don’t know what else I can do to try to … I want to end my career the right way. I’m faithful and loyal to the WWE. I’m proud of being from there and I want to do good business with them, but they just don’t make it easy. You know, they just don’t.”

Batista had previously said he didn’t want to go into the WWE Hall of Fame until he had one more run, but it sounds like next year is the last chance for WWE to bring him in for a match.

“I told them next year would be my last year. I’m turning 50 next year,” Batista responded. “I’d be willing to … I feel great. Physically, I’m in great shape. I’ve never let up on that. But I just don’t want to be the old guy in the ring and I don’t want to overstay my welcome. I just want to end my career the right way and next year will be the last opportunity, so if we can’t make something happen by next year, then I’m just gonna officially hang it up.”

He continued that despite the negativity from fans during some of his last run and the difficulty working with WWE, he still wants to entertain the fans.

“I’m doing okay for myself, so I don’t need to be there,” Batista said. “I just, I love it there. Even thought the fans totally crapped on me the last time I was there, I would still go back in a heartbeat and love to entertain them, and I would have fun doing it, man. I’d be happy to be there. But, I just don’t get it, man. I don’t get that company. I just don’t understand.”

Batista also discussed his latest film, Avengers: Infinity War. You can hear Batista’s full comments by clicking here.

After suffering a career-ending injury in January, current SmackDown Live general manager Paige had a hard time accepting that she could never perform in the ring again. It took her four months to finally announce her retirement in an emotional speech on Monday Night RAW the night after WrestleMania 34. Paige opened up to Edge and Christian on E&C’s Pod Of Awesomeness about how she was able to get some closure after her retirement speech.

“I had to actually go home back to England for like 8 or 9 days to get my Visa fixed, so I literally didn’t do any work, I was just with my family. It was definitely the best for me. It gave me a minute to figure out what just happened and allow it to sink in, but I feel good about it surprisingly,” Paige said. “I remember you [Edge] telling me that after I were to finish with my promo I would have this huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, and that it would be great closure, and then to be announced as the [SmackDown Live] general manager the next day, it’s kind of like winning the lottery for me. It’s a different role and I love it. I absolutely love it. I get to be a boss. I’m a woman that gets to be a boss.”

Edge was actually backstage at RAW the night that Paige retired. He was also forced to retire due to a neck injury like Paige, so he was able to offer her advice and comfort before she made her speech. Paige said she received an outpouring of support from her fellow superstars backstage which she enjoyed, but she knew it wasn’t the end for her.

“I didn’t tell many people that I was going to retire, but when I saw you [Edge] I had to do the speech so it was perfect and asked if I could speak with you whenever you had a moment before I had to go out there. When people saw me afterwards–it was really hard afterwards because I was on the stage and I was thinking, ‘Oh my God. This is it–closure,'” she said. “Then I came back into the curtain and people were crying, and I was like, you guys are making this so much worse. I said to myself that I got this, and that I am good, but then I went to the back and Stephanie [McMahon] grabbed me and hugged me for the longest time, which was lovely, and then Vince [McMahon] and Hunter [Triple H]. I felt like I died or something, like, ‘Oh, she was such a good person.’ I was like, ‘Guys, I didn’t die! I’m still here!'”

She is still here, as she was named general manager of SmackDown Live the night after he retirement. Paige said she was caught off-guard by the news because the WWE kept it a complete secret. She said she enjoyed the reception she received from fans because it showed her that they still want her to be a part of the WWE.

“It’s all secrecy. They didn’t want it to spoil it. They didn’t even tell me. They told me that I was going to SmackDown Live the next night. I had asked why, but they didn’t tell me. At that point, I had been touring a lot. Did a lot for WrestleMania week, so I was exhausted physically and mentally where I just wanted to go home so I was curious as to what was going on. I got to SmackDown the next day, Road Dogg, along with my writing team surround me and I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, am I about to be beat up. Do I owe you money?’ It was then they told me I was going to be the SmackDown general manager, but don’t tell anyone. We don’t even have the script yet,” she said. “I go through this thing where when I do something big I tend to lose my voice. When I re-debuted I lost my voice. When I did commentary at WrestleMania I lost my voice, it’s like, oh my God. What is wrong with me? Fix your voice! They told me that they had to check my voice because today was a very big day. By then I had already drank a bunch of tea and cough drops. Once I got out there the crowd was great, and received a bigger reception than my retirement speech the night previous. I was like, ‘Wow, this is super cool. You still want me around.'”

Last monthWWE announced the return of the UK Championship Tournament, which will take place on June 18 and 19 at Royal Albert Hall in London, England. The one-day tournament will determine the number one contender for the UK Championship. On the second day, the UK, NXT North American, NXT Women’s, and NXT Tag Titles will all be defended.

Triple H spoke with Mirror Sport about next month’s tournament where some announcements will be made about the future of the UK division.

“While we are there at this UK event at the Royal Albert Hall, we will be making some announcements about the future of the UK Championship brand there in the UK and moving forward,” Triple H said. “That brand still remains very near and dear to me and it’s something I want to move on. It’s taking a little bit longer than I anticipated in getting things done and getting them done in the way I want them to get done … but it’s happening. It will be meaningful to everybody there and I look forward to showcasing the UK talent to the world.”

In March, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter noted the idea for the UK expansion is still to do tapings for local programming, and likely WWE Network programming, and run a UK-based promotion. They also want to open up a UK Performance Center down the road with the idea of bringing UK trainers to the main WWE Performance Center in Orlando to teach them how WWE wants talents trained, and then have the UK trainers run the facility.

As exciting as the prospect of WWE’s utterly ludicrous Greatest Royal Rumble set for this Friday is, it is somewhat weighed down by the Greatest Elephant in the Room – chiefly, the absolute omission of women from the card.

During a time when a WrestleMania main event headlined by female talent looks more probable than ever, it’s somewhat mystifying that the company would choose to completely undermine their so-called ‘evolution’ by hosting a major event in a country where the women’s roster are not even permitted to compete.

But money talks, and a government-funded project of global soft-diplomacy is apparently worth more to WWE than what is, it seems, a quite transparent PR exercise designed to capitalise on a social movement.

Call us cynics.

To his credit, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque has at least stepped forth to address the understandable concern surrounding the gender discrimination inherent in hosting such a show. Speaking with The Independent, Trips acknowledged complaints, but noted that “every culture is different and just because you don’t agree with a certain aspect of it, doesn’t mean it’s not relevant.”

WWE’s Executive VP went on: “You can’t dictate to a country or a religion about how they handle things, but, having said that, WWE is at the forefront of a women’s evolution in the world and what you can’t do is affect change anywhere by staying away from it.

“While right now, women are not competing at the event, we have had discussions about that and we believe and hope that, in the next few years they will be. That is a significant cultural shift in Saudi Arabia.”

It’s very difficult to argue with anything The Game says, and he is absolutely right: it’s not necessarily our place to judge the relative merits of other cultures from without. However, it’s still not entirely clear why Vince and co. did not wait for the ‘cultural shift’ to transpire before getting into bed with their Saudi partners (incidentally, something else outlawed in the Kingdom). What’s that? How many million dollars? Oh.


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