NEW ORLEANS – Paul “Triple H” Levesque met with press following the NXT TakeOver: New Orleans main event that saw Johnny Gargano defeat Tommaso Ciampa in an emotional affair.
Decked out in his black shirt and gray suit, with sweat still dripping from his forehead, Levesque touched on how he differentiates his mindset from overseeing a major NXT production while still preparing for his WrestleMania match with Stephanie McMahon against Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle.
“It’s a different vibe,” said Levesque. “Shawn [Michaels] and I were talking earlier in the ‘Gorilla position’ about the different mindset. When you’re doing it yourself, there is a control level. When somebody is doing it, you can do all the prep you want, and then you can either watch it fall apart or watch a grand slam.
“The show we try to put together for WrestleMania is different. You just adapt to it.”
Despite pre-show chatter that the competing Ring of Honor show may have had more buzz than NXT, this TakeOver delivered five compelling matches in front of a reported crowd of 13,955 at the Smoothie King Center.
Highlights included Adam Cole becoming the first-ever North American champion in a physically demanding ladder match, the crowning of new world champions in Aleister Black and Shayna Baszler, and Gargano besting Ciampa in an encounter that told a phenomenal story of good triumphing over evil.
“Gargano and Ciampa, that was magic,” said Levesque. “It was done with passion, emotion, and feel. To me, that was the art of what we do.”
In addition to discussing NXT, Levesque also made light of the length of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, which clocked in at over four hours on Friday.
“Next year, it’s going to be a contest between the Hall of Fame and ‘Mania to see which is longer,” joked Levesque. “The reason we do it on Friday now is so we can get it done before WrestleMania.”
Levesque also shared that the WWE’s second United Kingdom Championship Tournament will take place this June 18 and 19 at Royal Albert Hall in London, and that the winner of the tourney will receive a title shot against the U.K. champion.
“The first day will be a full-on U.K. tournament,” said Levesque. “The winner of that tournament will go on the next day to face the U.K. champion.
“That second day’s card will be a combined U.K./NXT event. There will be NXT champions and stars blended in. I see the U.K. brand linked to NXT.”
The TakeOver show resonated with fans, receiving positive responses from the crowd in New Orleans as each match told its own unique story and generated even more interest in NXT.
“There is a desire to see what we’re doing and to see this level of performance,” said Levesque. “I’m just glad people enjoyed it. That’s the goal, for the fans to enjoy.”