A Heritage Cup defense and Ilja Dragunov versus Dijak discussed by Shawn Michaels.
Next up on the docket when it comes to NXT Premium Live Events is Battleground on May 28th. As of this writing, Carmelo Hayes defending the NXT Championship against Bron Breakker is official for the event.
WWE Senior Vice President of Talent Development Creative, Shawn Michaels, spoke about the forthcoming show while on ‘Stick to Wrestling’. He was asked about potential matchups that could be added to the Battleground card and one of the matches Michaels would like to see is Noam Dar defending the Heritage Cup.
In addition to that, Michaels mentioned Ilja Dragunov versus Dijak which is taking place on May 9th. Michaels is not sure if their issues will be settled on Tuesday.
I feel like Noam Dar, he has brought over the Heritage Cup from the UK. I feel like that’s something that, again, the American audiences need to sort of see and understand and appreciate so one of the things I’d like to see maybe in the next couple of weeks is the first-ever defense of the Heritage Cup happening there at Battleground on the 28th so I think, again, that is a very unique, different kind of match and not everybody can just do that. It’s a rounds match. It sounds like something that doesn’t, I don’t know, work as well but it is amazing what those NXT UK guys did in those Heritage Cup matches so, I feel like that’s something we’re gonna have and I also, I gotta believe, I don’t know what’s gonna happen with Ilja Dragunov and Dijak. Hopefully they get it settled next week but I don’t know man. That’s a lot of brimstone and fire going on with those two guys. Who knows what’s gonna happen?… Gonna be combustible. Let’s put it that way.
Speaking about the NXT brand as a whole, Shawn compared it to college football with Raw and SmackDown being the pros. Looking back at prior versions of NXT, Michaels does not think the brand was competing with the main roster from a ‘pure numbers’ standpoint.
Well certainly, that’s always gonna be the goal (NXT selling out larger venues). But at the same time, I’ll say this and again, I mean it lovingly of course. But at no time really, again, from a pure numbers standpoint was NXT competing with Raw or SmackDown. Nor should it. Raw has had a 35-year head start, you know what I mean? SmackDown, 20, 25. So again, they are ingrained in so much of not just the world of wrestling but in our culture as a whole. It’s been a big part of people’s lives. NXT is just beginning that kind of, you know, journey. But certainly, look, it’s always about growing and expanding. I’ve learned this in this company. You’re never standing still and if you’re standing still, you’re getting passed by and so we’re always looking towards the future but I absolutely want to get NXT to where we are selling out big arenas. At the same time though, we have to, again, when everything’s said and done, we are the training facility so to speak or again, the developmental of the WWE. I look at it as college football. To me, college football still sells out big stadiums. I actually prefer it, you know what I mean? (Than) the pros to be perfectly honest because you never know what’s gonna happen. Two minute drill in the pros and you can click off. Two minutes left in a college football game, you still have no idea what’s gonna happen. It can turn around in the last 10 seconds and that’s what I love about NXT is that it’s still unpredictable. It’s a little bit wild west and you honestly sometimes never know what you’re gonna get from a live television standpoint because it’s not as crisp, not as clean because it’s more raw, and that’s the part that I enjoy about it and I think that’s what makes us unique.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Stick to Wrestling with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.