William Regal has explained how Triple H’s vision led to WWE’s NXT brand becoming a much more interesting product in the early 2010s and throughout the decade.
It was in June 2012 when Paul “Triple H” Levesque was handed the keys to WWE’s developmental system and they used the NXT name after choosing to end Florida Championship Wrestling. When the WWE Network launched in February 2014, the NXT brand was put on the Network along with some live PPV specials.
The team behind NXT in those days was Triple H along with the likes of his good friend William Regal, WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes and numerous other coaches that have played a big role in the history of the brand. It also led to NXT signing some of the best independent wrestling talent over the years that we would know as Finn Balor, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa and many others.
From those days in 2014 along with the next seven years, NXT became something of a phenomenon for hardcore wrestling fans, who often labeled it the best part of WWE. It also led to the NXT UK brand forming later in the decade.
In late 2021 after Triple H suffered a serious heart issue that required surgery, the NXT brand changed under Vince McMahon’s vision to become NXT 2.0 featuring more “rookie” performers rather than experienced men/women.
During a recent appearance on the Distraction Pieces Podcast, William Regal has shared the simple concept that Triple H had with regard to what NXT should be.
“As far as I know, I was the first person that knew anything about [the changes] apart from obviously his wife or Mr. McMahon. ‘What’s your vision?’ ‘This is my vision.’ ‘Well, let’s go and do it.’ And with this incredible team that we had around us to help — it was a small team. ‘Right, so, there’s the vision. Let’s go.’ I could say the vision; the vision was we were both watching, at the time, Boardwalk Empire.”
“And he said, ‘You know when you see wrestling that people have whatever their ideas of wrestling are. … You can have funny stuff, obviously, the stories are going on and there can be all kinds of violence. Just well-told stories. You will never see anybody in any of those shows like TheSopranos or Boardwalk Empire, from the smallest to the biggest of roles, that looks out of place. That’s the vision.'”
William Regal remains a close friend of Triple H and has returned to work for WWE in 2023 as the Vice President of Global Talent Development.