Steve Austin – HHH Interview Recap – Feelings on CM Punk, Chyna – HOF, Brock Lesnar’s Future, More
We’re live from backstage at the Pepsi Center in Denver with Steve Austin and Triple H. Austin talks about how hot fans were when sending feedback for the podcast. Austin brings up the controversy surrounding the Royal Rumble. Austin says it seems like kayfabe is dead and asks Triple H how hard it is to book with that. He says it’s rough. Triple H brings up the different component that is the internet and how fans quickly see when the company gets behind someone. Triple H brings up how some places were booing Roman Reigns out of the building because they think that’s the push he’s getting but nobody booed him at this weekend’s live events. Austin says some fans feel like Reigns hasn’t earned the push yet. Triple H says there’s one guy calling the shots – Vince McMahon. Triple H says the Rumble was talked over and debated. He says there were lots of suggestions. He says Vince takes all those ideas and puts them together. Triple H says nobody is perfect – Vince, himself and the writing team. He says Vince doesn’t always make the right call but has a pretty good track record.
They give props to Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan for their match on RAW. Austin brings up the resentment for Reigns and Triple H says it’s a tough environment. Triple H talks about how half of the people have booed John Cena while half have cheered him but he was selling out arenas. Triple H says it’s hard to find the star that every single person likes. Triple H talks about how they knew who they were targeting in the Attitude Era but now there are so many age groups and demographics that they cover. Triple H mentions how dirt sheets were rare back in the day but even major media outlets give you the inside of the business these days. Austin says he hasn’t seen Twitter feedback yet but believes that tonight’s RAW may have quelled some of the resentment towards Reigns. He says Reigns shined tonight and what he did at the end of RAW helped him. Austin says he needed that and Triple H agrees. Triple H says people say all the time that Reigns isn’t ready and Triple H says nobody is really ready for “that.” Austin agrees. Triple H says you think you know what it means to be that guy until you get there and put a whole different world of pressure on yourself.
Triple H talks about how he wasn’t ready in 1996 and if he would have won King of the Ring instead of Austin then he would have failed. Triple H says he knew he wasn’t ready and doesn’t think he would have succeeded. Austin is looking to forward to seeing how the main event picture unfolds going into WrestleMania. Triple H talks about how WWE is a never ending book and you can’t really knock today because you don’t know what’s next. Austin asks what Triple H’s exit strategy if he didn’t marry Stephanie McMahon. Triple H believes he would be in a similar place, working behind-the-scenes. He says he fell in love with the creative and “making of” pro wrestling as much as the other side. He talks about falling in love with working with talents and other aspects of the business, and talking to Vince McMahon about it long before he got with Stephanie. He talks about what he gets out of working with the talents at NXT. He says hats off to Vince for allowing him that. Austin has our first Twitter question – does he think it’s beneficial for a talent to go to a wrestling school and then the PC or work the indies. He says it depends on the guy. He talks about Kurt Angle and praises him, talking about how he picked up the business faster than anyone he’s seen. He says sometimes it’s hard to knock some of the bad habits of the indies out of a guy. Some indie guys come in and they’re a sponge, some come in and think their way is the only way.
He says they’re not trying to change indie talents, he wants them to come in and work the ways that their fans like. He mentions WWE being the most successful wrestling company for a reason. Austin talks about what he likes about NXT. Regarding the format and content of NXT, Triple H says he listens to the fanbase but thinks about what would he want to watch sometimes. He knows what his core group is for NXT and what they’re looking for. He tries to script less promo-wise and let the talents learn, find their voice and learn from mistakes. Austin asks if NXT is still a developmental territory. Triple H says it is because he doesn’t know anyone there that doesn’t want to get to RAW or SmackDown but at the same time they’ve created another brand. He wants to put NXT on the road in front of crowds. He brings up how Finn Balor has wrestled all over the world as Fergal Devitt. He talk about working with Balor on his entrance a few months ago and Balor was overwhelmed because nobody has ever explained cameras and stuff like that to him as in Japan, they just sent him the ring and told him to do his job. He talks about how he has a camera feed running to his office of talents working on various aspects of their character and he can give feedback from his office. The next Twitter question asks if Triple H sees who has what it takes to be the next John Cena or Hulk Hogan. He sees a lot of guys and girls who have the “it” factor but the business is different now. He says you can’t just be an in-ring guy or a promo guy or a big guy or a flip & flop guy. They both say the more pieces you have to your puzzle, the clearer the picture. Triple H talks about how The Undertaker character could have been given to 100 different guys to fail but “Mark” took Vince McMahon’s idea and became it. Triple H calls it the most awesome character that’s ever been in the business.
Austin brings up fans saying Roman Reigns is being given the brass ring that Vince McMahon talked about. Triple H says he’s known Reigns and he busts his ass. He says Reigns deserves it as much as anyone else. Austin asks if Chyna will ever go into the Hall of Fame. Triple H says it’s one of those questions that get asked a lot and does she deserve it? He says she completely 100% transcended the business and did what no woman ever did before. He says she was awesome at it and was a phenomenal talent. He says the other stuff happened and he’s not getting into it but there is no beef with Chyna on his side. From a career stand-point, she should be in the Hall of Fame. He says the flip side is that he has an 8 year old kid… his kid goes on the web to Google Chyna and what comes up? He says he’s not criticizing anyone’s lifestyle choices but it’s the fact of what it is – a difficult choice. He says the Hall of Fame is a difficult situation with a lot of talents. He talks about getting Bruno Sammartino back on good terms with WWE. Austin asks which was tougher – Bruno or The Ultimate Warrior. He says Warrior was different because they had no trust, they had a bad history to get over before they began talking again. He says Warrior was misunderstood a lot. They both agree that there was a lot of miscommunication there. Triple H says they would get past “it” but Warrior could never let “it” go. Austin asks who was more influential – DX or the nWo. He says DX probably did more over the course of time but at first, the nWo shifted the business. If he could go back in time and face anyone who would it be? Triple H says Buddy Rogers because of how he looked and how he carried himself. Triple H says Rogers could manipulate the crowd and had a larger than life presence.
Austin says people want to know Triple H’s thoughts about CM Punk and brings up Punk’s podcast comments on Triple H. Triple H laughs that they are cool. Triple H says he has never had a beef with Punk. Triple H says Punk held a grudge over some things not working out. He says Punk is a weird guy and he doesn’t mean that in a bad way. He talks about how it was hard to communicate or get to know Punk. He ays people would tell him that Punk is livid and about to quit but he would go ask what’s wrong and Punk would act calm and say everything is cool. Austin asks if Punk can come back to WWE. Triple H says if it’s best and what the fans want then he hope they can get past it. He regrets that they couldn’t get past the other stuff. Austin wants to do some word association:
Shawn Michaels – greatest in-ring performer, Austin agrees
Ric Flair – greatest all around performer, Austin agrees
Kevin Nash – very under-rated mind for the business but hard to get past his personality on if he doesn’t like you or if he does, very blunt
Scott Hall – the guy he learned the most from walking in the door at WWE, one of the most under-rated performers, an awesome psychologist
Eddie Guerrero – awesome, said he misses him huge. said Eddie was so fun when he would just let go and be Eddie
Bill Goldberg – he would credit Goldberg with changing the intensity of the business, had an explosive intensity
Paul Heyman – walks the fine line between crazy and genius
Owen Hart – one of the nicest guys he knew and one of the funniest guys he knew, a tragic situation. He said Owen was one of the guys that were so good in the ring that he could have the wort match of the night on purpose
Bret Hart – an unbelievable technician, maybe takes himself too seriously sometimes, unbelievable in the ring
The Undertaker – respect.
Kane – under-rated, a constant. Austin agrees and says Kane is solid
Pat Patterson – a genius for the business, someone he respects so much
Michael Hayes – so under-rated for his contributions to the buinesss across the board
Austin asks if Triple H prefers pro wrestler or sports entertainer. Triple H understands the distinction. He loves wrestling because it’s what they do at the end of the day. He understands that pro wrestler is limiting. He says people play pee-wee league football but few make it to the NFL. He says lots of people wrestle but few make it to being a WWE Superstar. Austin asks about the contract status of Brock Lesnar. Triple H says they’re constantly talking to Brock and it comes down to what Brock wants to do. Triple H says maybe Brock feels he has unfinished business somewhere but they have a good relationship. They both talk about how special it is when Lesnar comes out and raises hell. Austin asks if The Streak should have been broken or should have it remained. Triple H says that’s a debate and he doesn’t know. He can understand the value in both ways. Austin asks about tomorrow’s SmackDown tapings. He asks about the Seattle Seahawks and the way they lost Super Bowl 49. He thinks the Seahawks over-thought the play. Austin says someone is in his ear wrapping him up. Triple H jokes that he must have zero stroke and he can get 10 more minutes. Austin says it’s Kevin Dunn in his ear. Triple H calls him a big gorilla right now. Apparently Dunn tells Austin five more minutes. Triple H says he’s going to get yelled at. Austin asks about scripted promo and if officials trust talents or not. Triple H says there is some sort of trust level with skill and because it’s live TV and they have to be careful with what’s said. Austin asks if Triple H could change one thing about RAW what would it be. Triple H says if anything, it would be back to two hours. He says the third hour of TV is so hard to write that he can’t even describe it. Austin asks if they’re married to the idea three hours each week. Triple H says he thinks it’s a Vince call and a finance call but he tries to avid those meetings. He says it’s a lot harder show to write. Triple H say he would like to see Divas get more time and attention. Austin brings up the NXT Divas. Triple H says they have a lot of women that watch the product. Austin asks when Triple H will return to the ring. Triple H says he doesn’t want to give anything away but it’s coming. Either that or he’s training twice a day for nothing. Austin asks how training is going and Triple H says he feels great. He says he doesn’t have aches or pains, he moves around and plays with his kids just fine. Triple H says they want to do this again and talk about how Austin used to potato him in the ring. Austin wraps it up and signs off.