The fast turn-arounds for MSK and LA Knight after their respective signings with WWE have led some fans to wonder whether the NXT talent evaluation process is changing.
For years, wrestlers had to “learn the WWE style” before they even debuted on WWE programming. MSK quickly debuted after they signed, and Knight (Eli Drake) made his first appearance just hours after the news of his signing broke. In the NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day post-show media call, Triple H stated that the evaluation process depends on the individual talent. Sometimes, the wrestler is ready to debut on TV right away, but sometimes, they need some time to adapt to their new environment.
“If you go back and look at the history of all of this, it depends on the performer,” said Triple H. “Some talent come in right away, they flow right to television. Some talent come in, and they don’t [pick it up quickly]. And really it comes down to us giving them bits and pieces of opportunity. I say this to everybody as they walk in the door, for the most part. We’re going to give you bits and pieces of opportunity. Where that opportunity goes depends on how the opportunity is taken advantage of.”
Triple H explained that a crucial factor in the talent evaluation process is the wrestler’s readiness for television. He described how even talents who have been on TV for 10 years sometimes need to spend a notable amount of time learning WWE’s style of television production.
“There are times when I’ve worked with talent that have come from other places, and I’ve seen them on TV for years, and then the first time we work with them on television, you begin to talk to them about television production, they’re like I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Triple H. “And you realize like, ‘Oh my god, no one has ever taught them this.’ There’s other times where you get people that come in and they’re a blank slate to it, and then you tell them some stuff, and they’re like, ‘Okay great, that makes total sense,’ and they got it and they never miss a bit.
“It truly depends on the performer. When they get in here, we begin to work with them, we see where they are, we start to do little things in bits and pieces with them in training and how they react to those things and how they are coached, and every bit of it lends to where they end up and his quickly they get used or not used.”
Some fans have criticized how NXT doesn’t always immediately utilize talents who have found success elsewhere, but he reiterated the individualistic nature of the evaluation process. He also stated that it’s important to set up the wrestlers to succeed.
“It’s evaluated per talent, and when they’re ready to succeed, we let them succeed,” said Triple H. “When they’re not, I don’t want them to fail and I don’t want to them to have stutter steps so we try not to put it out there when it’s not ready.”
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