By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Paul “Triple H” Levesque was interviewed by Brian Fritz of Sporting News. The following are highlights of the interview, which can be read in full at SportingNews.com.
-Levesque on changes to WWE’s shows during “premiere week”: “Raw will have its own unique look, feel, setup. Everything about it should feel unique. It’s got its own dedicated writing team and crew and talent roster. And Smackdown on Fox will have the same. While new partners for us, we have our family of USA that we’ve been with and are comfortable with and continue to grow with. It’s almost like a relaunch there of everybody in that family doubling down on what Raw is. And then on Fox, you have this new relationship, this dynamic of broadcast television and a roster that will sit there and its own dedicated team, writing team, and everything else. It will be very separate. And in the middle, you have with our family partners, you have NXT.”
-On keeping NXT at Full Sail University: “I think that’s fun and I think that’s fun for people watching. But I think even if you looked at it and said it’s a little smaller than I would have thought, five seconds later, once that match starts, you forget all about that. It doesn’t matter. I almost feel like that is part of the magic of it. It feels more intimate. It feels grittier. It feels more in-your-face. It feels a bit more exclusive to me and I love that difference. To me, I’m a fan from day one. That’s how I got into this and I look at it this way: If I’m a music fan, do I want to see Metallica in a stadium or does it really matter to me if they’re playing at the theater down the road? It’s the same. And that intensity … it’s almost crazier at the theater. I’d almost rather go to it there. It’s intimate and tight. I’d rather it be that.”
-Levesque on NXT going weekly and its initial viewership numbers on USA Network: “Fifty-two weeks a year, two hours live every week is a different animal. Totally different animal. So, until that’s started happening and happened for a while, because an immediate splash … People have asked me right now, we had tremendous success last week (the Wednesday, September 18 edition) with the rating for NXT, over a million people watching. The rating was great. A 200 percent increase in the 18-34 demo. On every level. I’m happy with that, but to me, this is a marathon. It’s not a sprint.”
-Levesque on Kenny Omega’s comments about how most NXT wrestlers would be in dark matches to his main event matches: “It doesn’t matter to me. I’m not sure if you’re aware of social media and that landscape. It’s a fairly negative place (laughs). If you’re going to get thin-skinned and read into stuff and get angry about stuff that people say, it’s gonna be a rough life. There’s a statement about opinions over the years I’ve heard. Everybody it entitled to their opinion. Everybody is entitled to put an executive tag on the front of their name and think that’s a cool thing. Whatever. It’s all good. Bring your best show. If that’s how you want to look at it, bring your best show. I’ll bring my best show. We’re all good and the winners are the fans and they’ll choose what they want to watch and how. It doesn’t matter to me. It really doesn’t and it’s not my interest and my interest is the best show possible.”
Powell’s POV: I agree with Levesque’s take on seeing bands in smaller venues rather than in bigger venues, but that only applies for the in-person experience. If I’m watching a concert at home, an arena or a stadium can make for a better viewing experience. That said, I’m not a big believer in the size difference in venues being a huge factor in the battle between NXT and AEW on Wednesday nights. Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong on that and maybe it will be a bigger factor than I anticipate if all things are equal from a show quality standpoint, but I believe that the company that offers the best product is ultimately going to win the battle. Levesque and Fritz covered a lot of ground in the interview, so be sure to check it out in full via the link above.