wrestling / News

Shawn Michaels on What NXT’s USA Debut Means to the Brand, Being in Competition With Raw & Smackdown

September 18, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Shawn Michaels

– Speaking on CBS Sports’ State of Combat, Shawn Michaels discussed the arrival of NXT on USA Network and what that means for the brand. Michaels serves as a trainer at the WWE Performance Center and discussed how the brand is seeing the “main roster” brands of Raw and Smackdown as competition, finding the right formula for NXT’s creative and more. Highlights and the full podcast are below:

On what NXT’s arrival on USA Network means to the talent and trainers: “This is an affirmation of all those things that you just said. I can remember coming into the Performance Center and NXT three years ago, and seeing what they had to offer and telling people that, ‘My goodness, this is going to be on TV someday.’ I don’t know if I wasn’t stunned that it wasn’t already. But clearly, with the Network and all that, that was driving the WWE Network. But you knew that it was TV-ready then, and three years later it’s finally going to come to fruition on the USA Network. You know, I’m thrilled for the young men and women of NXT. They are going to get an opportunity now to show the world, show the nation. Show the world that they are sort of the big deal, the big cheeses, is you will, on the block. I am thrilled and excited to help them in any way that I can.”

On how important finding the right formula for NXT is when plotting storylines: “I think because, in the creative process, it’s such a blast for us to do to be perfectly honest. It’s sort of the same type of stuff that Hunter and I used to do driving around in the car. And now it’s just, I guess, sort of sitting in a board room, or on a conference call and kicking around a lot of ideas with everyone else involved. And it’s just — it’s about enjoying the process. Keeping those stories and all of that intact. And then of course, combining that with what you touched on, is the unbelievable athletic ability. I for one have no nobility to be that bitter old-timer by any chance and say like, ‘Ah, these kids today, they’redoing too much of this or that.’ I remember people feeling that way about me, saying in my heart of hearts that I would never do that. And I don’t. I don’t do it now. I think what they do now is unbelievable. I love the athletic ability. And we try to do our best to allow them to grow and continue to take the wrestling business and athleticism into the future, but try to temper and balance that with the continued storyline, character development, and just the storytelling process that I think has been historically the hallmark of NXT.”

On NXT serving as potential competition to Raw and Smackdown: “Yeah well — and again, that is not to minimize the other guys at all. But certainly from our talent’s standpoint, that’s the way they look at it. They are, much like everybody who’s in the wrestling business, they’re in competition with everybody. Again, all of them across the board, everybody has friends much like we did back in the day. But we were all still competitive, even when we were sharing the same locker room. And that hasn’t changed in the wrestling business. Everybody that gets in that ring is competitive with every other person that gets in that ring. And NXT is no different. They are going to go out there, and they are compete against every wrestling genre that is out there as far as they’re concerned. And look, it shouldn’t be any other way. I think everybody should be doing that, and the people that are the big winners of that are all of us that get to watch. But make no mistake about it: the men and women of NXT look at the entire world as their competition. And they want to go out there and show everybody why they think they are the best, and why you should be watching them. And on USA on Wednesday nights, you are going to have that opportunity, and they’re going to let it all hang out. It’s going to be a blast. And this is gonna be fun not only for them but for every wrestling fan walking the face of God’s green earth.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the State of Combat Podcast with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.