By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE executive Shawn Michaels spoke with the pro wresting media on Thursday, July 27 to promote Sunday’s NXT Great American Bash premium live event. Refresh the page for the latest updates.
-Shawn Michaels said Cody Rhodes is doing the introduction for Sunday’s NXT Great American Bash.
-Michaels announced that NXT will be going to Bakersfield, California on Saturday, September 30 for a No Mercy premium live event.
-Michaels was asked about synergy with the main roster and who he would like to get to NXT from the main roster. He spoke about fans becoming more familiar with the NXT characters and then touted the synergy. “I’ll take whatever we can get,” Michaels said. He added that he’s excited about the momentum they’ve built. Michaels eventually listed the Brawling Brutes, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, and Imperium, and noted that they wouldn’t be turning anyone down.
-Michaels was asked about Roxanne Perez. He said she is learning about who she is when she doesn’t hold a championship. He said it’s something everyone learns over time and how to add different layers to a character. Michaels said we’ll see a new side of her and she’s going to want to turn things on with family and friends in attendance on Sunday.
-Michaels was asked about the Chase U act and the possibility of Andre Chase and Duke Hudson challenging for titles. Michaels said yes and praised the overall group. He said the focus is on Thea Hail getting a title shot this weekend, but we’ll be seeing a lot more of Chase U as a whole.
-A caller asked about the growth of Thea Hail. Michaels said he just celebrated his 58th birthday and she’s just a couple years out of high school. Michaels said the woman you see on NXT is who she is. “She’s a fabulous, hungry, passionate, unbelievably excited young lady all the time,” Michaels said. He called her a joy to be around. Michaels said it’s astounding to see what she has done. He mentioned Roxanne Perez and the youth they have in the women’s division. He also pointed out that champion Tiffany Stratton is just 24 years-old. Michaels noted that Hail could win the NXT Women’s Championship and not be allowed to have a beer afterward due to her young age.
-Michaels was asked about Wendy Choo. Michaels said she’s “still coming along” while rehabbing her injury. Michaels said he understands that things are progressing well, but she’s still a ways off before she’ll see in-ring action.
-Dominik Mysterio was brought up by the next caller. Michaels said it’s an interesting situation with Dom because he was thrown into the deep end quickly. Michaels said Dom has been around the environment his entire life, but it’s a daunting task to attempt to fill the shoes that he is. He said it’s tough to live up to the legacy of their father. Michaels said he’s reminded of that by his kids and they are not even in the public eye. He said he’s had some talks with Dom and he wants him to have some time to work on things he needs to work on or to try some different things due to the looser structure. Shawn said he wants Dom to figure out who he is going to be away from his father. Michaels said Dom is a very mature and professional young man and he praised the job that Rey and his wife did in raising him.
-Michaels was asked about Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo. Michaels said he’s clearly a fan and laughed while saying it wouldn’t make air if he wasn’t a fan of it. Michaels said they are a variety show with a little of everything. Michaels said it’s only in “our line of work” that a man’s freedom can be on the line in a match. Michaels said D’Angelo has a career in movies or at least mafia movies if he ever chose a life away from WWE.
-Michaels was asked if there are any plans to introduce a secondary title for the women’s division. He said it’s always an option. He wondered if a cruiserweight in the women’s division would work. He said they have a deep women’s roster and he never worries about getting them a lot of air time because they will always get them numerous matches on their shows. Michaels said they get a kick out of booking the women’s division because the landscape is huge for them. He said that even when a title isn’t on the line, they have women’s storylines that they are proud of. He said he would put their women’s roster up against any women’s roster.
-Michaels was asked about talent who come back to NXT and how it helps them once they return to the main roster. Michaels said the talent have fun when they come to NXT because they have “an extremely relaxed atmosphere.” Michaels said that whether it’s brief or extended, it’s collaborative. There was a break due to technical difficulties with Michaels’ feed. It returned a few minutes later (spring for the expensive wifi, Vince). Michaels spoke about how some people need to step away for a bit and regain their love of things and that happens in NXT.
-Michaels was asked about how Carmelo Hayes has been received by Vince McMahon and Paul Levesque. Michaels said very well. He said it’s just a matter of time. He said it’s not about his ability, it’s about being ready. He said it’s all positive with Hayes. Michaels said the talent sometimes get a little rattled by call-up talk and where they should or should not be. Michaels said Hayes couldn’t be a better spot professionally in NXT. He said Hayes is excited for when that day comes. Michaels said he’s had talks with Hayes about not getting ahead of himself and understanding that the next match he has is the most important and that you’re only as good as your last match. He said he’s trying to help Hayes deal with the expectations of not just being called up, but being the NXT Champion.
-Michaels was asked about Gable Steveson’s development and how the match seemed to come together quickly. Michaels said Steveson has been in NXT training for a bit. Michaels said he wanted to get him into the mix and asked if he could do that. He said some people fall under different rules and he said he doesn’t ask a lot of questions. Michaels said he got the go ahead. He said he wanted to throw him into the deep end and see how it goes.
-Michaels was asked about Mr. Stone and how managers fit in. Michaels said he and Paul Levesque always enjoyed managers because they grew up on them being a staple in wrestling. He said that Stone has been a favorite of his and Levesque. Michaels praised Stone’s versatility in terms of being able to get in the ring or be humorous or serious. Michaels compared Stone’s versatility to that of Bobby Heenan.
-Michaels was asked about the Weapons Wild match between Roxanne Perez and Blair Davenport. He said it’s where the storyline was at. He also said he wanted to have the Texas native Perez on the show in Texas even though it’s a bit of a drive for her family to go to Austin from Laredo. Michaels once again praised the strength and depth of the NXT women’s division and said the women are vital to their shows.
-Michaels raved about Ilja Dragunov when a caller brought him up. He said there’s nothing Dragunov can’t do and what you see on television is who he is. Michaels said he’s a veteran and yet still a young man. Michaels said Dragunov brings passion and professionalism to the locker room. He said Dragunov leads by example by bringing 100 percent to everything he does. Michaels said he’s told Dragunov that he doesn’t have to go so hard, but Dragunov only knows one speed and he appreciates that.
-The final question was about Dragon Lee and how he’s transitioned to NXT. Michaels said he’s transitioned really well. He said Lee had some name value coming in the door and could have carried himself differently, but he did not. He praised him for not wanting any special treatment. He mentioned Lee taking English classes and taking full advantage of everything the WWE Performance Center has to offer.
-Michaels delivered his closing comments and spoke of the synergy between NXT and the main roster. He said they all have momentum. He said the television ratings across the board show that. Michaels said to look out for some very, very exciting things from WWE as a whole in the near future.
Join John Moore for his live review of NXT Great American Bash on Sunday night. A same night audio review will be available as this week’s Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast.