Shawn Michaels is running things in WWE NXT right now, and he’s had to maneuver and deal with a lot of changes over the past few months thanks to the WWE Draft, injuries, and more. He was thrown another curveball earlier this year when Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid (formerly the Grizzled Young Veterans) called for their release. At the time, they had joined Joe Gacy from The Dyad, then Ava Raine would join the band later. They were never released, however, and continued to appear in the group, and during today’s NXT Battleground press conference, Michaels was asked about his approach to handling this situation and their continued presence on NXT.
“Yeah, obviously. And look, these were guys that I clearly wanted to come and bring over from the UK. I think they’re very talented, but again, I completely understand,” Michaels said. “That’s one of the things I say to everyone here. Do I want it to be here in WWE for you to have your success? Absolutely. I can’t lie about that, but it’s really about wanting to help everyone, no matter who walks through those doors, help them be successful in this business as a whole.”
“I always tell everyone that I feel so lucky for the life I have and my family that I have, and it’s because of this job. And now there’s a real opportunity for everyone those who work in this business to have that,” Michaels said. “I want this for them, so I absolutely understand how they feel, but like I told them, ‘While you’re here, man, I still want to put you in a starring role.’ Again, there’s no hard feelings about that, there’s too much talent to waste or leave on the table, and so certainly, if they don’t mind working, I absolutely don’t mind. not to use them.
Michaels was also asked about NXT superstars like Carmelo Hayes, Wes Lee, and Gallus, all of whom have made an impact on NXT since joining the brand. They’ve all also won championship gold since joining, and their impacts don’t seem to be ending anytime soon.
“Sure. Look, I’ll say obviously, and as I always freely admit, I’m clearly biased, but I certainly think they’ve done a good job. I’ll say Wes Lee, I think, has been, for me, I think the biggest star and I want to make sure I say it in a way that I guess given where he’s from He obviously came as a tag team and then when it fell apart i don’t know, i think everyone was very curious to see how he would be able to support himself and i think he just went above and beyond what i think everyone was expecting, clearly living up to his potential easily because he’s a talented young man,” Michaels said.
“But I think he just did such a fantastic job. And I say that because again, from Carmelo Hayes, I think everyone saw him as soon as he walked through an NXT door. I I’ve certainly seen it from the very beginning. Gallus are successful guys in the UK and they’re veterans, so I think their rise isn’t too surprising. But to me, again, Wes Lee, who had so, I don’t know, so many hurdles to overcome, I think I’m most proud of Wes and what he’s done with this North American championship,” Michaels said.
Hayes will defend his NXT Championship at NXT Battleground, and Gallus and Lee will also defend their titles. You can find the full updated map for NXT Battleground below.
NXT Championship Match: Carmelo Hayes (C) vs. Bron Breakker
NXT Women’s Championship Tournament Finals: Tiffany Stratton vs. Lyra Valkyria
NXT North American Championship: Wes Lee (C) vs. Joe Gacy vs. Tyler Bate
NXT Heritage Cup: Noam Dar (C) vs. Dragon Lee
NXT Tag Team Championship: Gallus (C) vs. The Creed Brothers
Dijak vs. Ilja Dragunov
What do you think of Michaels’ comments? Let us know in the comments or as always you can chat all things wrestling with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!