WWE media call: Live notes on Shawn Michaels speaking with the pro wrestling media ahead of Saturday’s NXT Deadline

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE executive Shawn Michaels spoke with the pro wresting media on Thursday, December 8 to promote Saturday’s NXT Deadline premium live event. Refresh the page for the latest updates.

-Shawn Michaels opened the show by talking about the Deadline event. He said the show would end with Bron Breakker vs. Apollo Crews for the NXT Championship. He said he’s also excited about Pretty Deadly facing New Day for the NXT Tag Team Titles and said they are “absolutely jazzed” to have New Day on the show. Michaels said he’s happy to have Alba Fyre vs. Isla Dawn for the NXT UK fans. He also touted the Iron Survivor Challenge matches.

-Michaels also plugged the NXT Deadline pre-show.

-Michaels also confirmed that NXT Vengeance Day will be held Saturday, February 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Spectrum Center. He said they love being in Orlando, but it will be an absolute blast to get back on the road.

-Mike Johnson of PWInsider asked about the Iron Survivor Challenge matches and hot it gets a number of wrestlers on a PLE for the first time. Michaels said they get to test things out in NXT. He said they are hit or miss, but he loves the process. He said the idea was to come up with something different for the final event of the year. He said it was something that he and the creative team came up with. He said it was inspired by the Iron Man match, but they couldn’t go an hour. Michaels acknowledged that it is the first PLE for a number of the performers and he said they believe in them. Michaels said they would see how the matches go, but he is confident things will go well and hopes it’s a match that people will remember for a long time.

-I asked what Paul Levesque’s management style is when it comes to NXT in terms of whether he has a lot of input or if he’s letting Michaels and his crew just do their thing. Michaels said Levesque is letting him do his thing. He said the only disappointment is that they don’t get to hang out as much as they once did.

-Jon Alba asked Michaels about William Regal returning to the company. Michaels praised Regal and said he’s basically following along with the online reports.

-A caller asked about going back on the road. Michaels spoke about working in various cities when he broke in and how every city is different. He said the talent started small with the coconut shows in Florida and now get to branch out.

-Nick Hausman of Wrestling INC asked about Sean “X-Pac” Waltman’s desire to have another match. Michaels said that Waltman never mentioned it to him when he was at the NXT show or he would have taken him up on it. He said he knows Waltman has been getting back in there and he’s in great shape. Michaels laughed that Waltman tells “you guys” and didn’t say anything to him about it. Michaels said he would have to run things up the flagpole, but he thinks the talent would benefit from it and it would be a huge plus for NXT.

-The next caller asked about Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods staying in NXT. Michaels said they never go into it expecting long term. He said they take the temperature. He said he knows Woods started in NXT and has wanted to come back. He said New Day has accomplished everything and he thinks they are at a point where they want to give back. Michaels said he hopes to take advantage of that. He said he’s going to do everything he can do keep them in NXT as long as they could. Michaels said he asked them if they could broach the subject and both men were open to it.

-Jim Varsallone asked if there will be more live event touring in Florida and nationally in 2023. Michaels said it’s still to be determined, but he hopes so. He said they would see how Vengeance Day goes and then go from there. He said it’s absolutely the hope, but it’s very much to be determined.

-Sean Ross Sapp asked how it works when NXT brings in talents such as New Day from the main roster. He said it helps to have a lot of the talent live in Florida. Michaels said the usual process is that he reaches out to Hunter or Bruce Prichard to see if it’s possible. He said it goes a number of different ways in terms of getting the main roster talent to NXT.

-Ryan Satin asked which performers in NXT are the most ready for the main roster. Michaels said Pretty Deadly, JD McDonagh, Grayson Waller, Apollo Crews, Alba Fyre, and Zoey Stark could step right in. He spoke about people who have put a lot of time in. He said it’s not meant to take anything away from people such as Bron Breakker or The Creed Brothers, but he said he hopes they get to “cook a little longer” in NXT. Michaels said they have asked so much of those wrestlers, but he hopes they get a chance to round them out before they are sent up to the main roster.

-The next caller asked about NXT Europe and if there will be an announcement and what Michaels’ involvement will be. Michaels said there will be an announcement. He said he will be very hands on in the beginning due to his past workin NXT UK. He said the goal is to get to a point where he dots some I’s and crosses some T’s. Michaels said they are getting the infrastructure in place. He said his team in NXT along with the coaches and producers will need to be very hands on while they train people to get things up and running. Michaels said it will be developmental from an infrastructure standpoint as well.

-Michaels was asked about Ava Raine’s in-ring development. Michaels said from a character standpoint, she’s been “a huge kick in the shorts” for The Schism. She said she’s really getting comfortable with the character and praised her facials. He said he would have to ask the coaches for an update on her in-ring training. He said he takes the no news is good news approach in terms of him not hearing negatives. Michaels said she seems to be gaining confidence. Michaels said the biggest thing is that she’s having some fun. He said they want to do their jobs and do them well, but they have a young group and he wants them to enjoy what they are doing. Michaels said Raine “is definitely doing that.”

-Bill Pritchard of Wrestle Zone asked about NXT’s focus on collegiate athletes and whether his coaching approach changes for someone who is coming in from that background as opposed to growing up a fan of pro wrestling. Michaels said there are different techniques from a coaching standpoint. Michaels said they really lean on Robbie Brookside and Norman Smiley when it comes to talent who have no pro wrestling background. He added that Steve Corino does a good job too. Michaels acknowledged that there is a bit of competition with those who have a pro wrestling background feeling like those who don’t did not earn it. He said the ones who don’t fall in love with it weed themselves out.

-I struggled to hear the next caller’s question. Michaels spoke about easing in certain talents and turning up the water temp as they show they are ready for more.

-Dominic D’Angelo of Ad-Free Shows asked about Julius Creed. Michaels said he’s an unbelievable athlete, a driven young man, an incredibly hard worker, and very talented. Michaels said they try to get people out of their comfort zone and prepare them to do things they may or may not be asked to do on the main roster. Michaels also praised Brutus Creed and said the future for the brothers looks great.

-The final question was about whether NXT will end up being the final PLE in future years. Michaels said he would love that, but it’s also a question that he can’t answer. Michaels said whether Deadline becomes a regular thing or if it’s a one-off, they’re going to go out and do their best to put on a fantastic show. Michaels said the PLE’s are really big deals for them. He also spoke more about getting out of the WWE Performance Center being a big deal for them. Michaels said they don’t have cynicism regarding the wrestling business. He said they get to keep it fun, exciting, and even innocent to some degree. He said they know they have a PLE they didn’t have before and they’re going to do their best to make the most of it. Michaels said he hopes it’s a good show, then joked and asked everyone to be gentle. He said he was kidding and said he doesn’t mind everyone being fair. Michaels wrapped up the call, and Adam Hopkins noted that there will be a post show press conference on Saturday night.

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