With NXT Battleground on the horizon, Shawn Michaels has reflected on the Australian talent that were promoted to the main roster in this year’s WWE Draft and is especially bullish on Grayson Waller’s potential.
Drafted to Friday Night Smackdown, he was widely expected to be called up from the developmental system and is infamous for getting under people’s skin. He wasted no time ruffling a few feathers, teasing a possible rivalry with AJ Styles on his first night.
Waller had competed for the NXT Championship on multiple occasions and despite being unsuccessful in his attempts, he is still bound to have a bright future in WWE. The Australian had also squared up against the likes of the Phenomenal One and Johnny Gargano in NXT, getting a very early taste of how to hang with the best.
Speaking to media, NXT Senior Vice President of Talent Development Creative Shawn Michaels highlighted his optimism for Waller and how he is the complete package for what WWE look for in talent.
“I like him a lot and I just think he’s so talented”, Michaels said.
“He’s a pro, there isn’t anything really that he can’t do.
“He’s probably going to be really mad at me for saying this and giving him so many compliments, because we have had our differences and we don’t like each other very much.
“He’s mature, he’s smart, he’s bright. There’s isn’t anything he can’t adjust to, he’s a professional.
“He’s everything you want in a WWE superstar, he really is and so, that’s the reason I lean more towards him I think than anybody”.
Indi Hartwell and Xyon Quinn were the other Australian names promoted in the WWE Draft, with the former NXT Women’s Champion moving to Monday Night Raw and the latter designated to free agency.
Michaels also touched on those two briefly and has been overall proud of the Australian superstars to rise through the ranks in NXT.
“With Xyon and Indi, there’s a great deal of talent there and numerous different looks”, he said.
“I think they are unique and special.
“We’ve had some really good Australian talent come through here in the last several years, so we’re very proud of what they’ve accomplished and especially with all of them going up in one batch”.
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Hartwell captured the NXT Women’s Title at Stand and Deliver in a ladder match, but was forced to relinquish the gold due to an injury she sustained in a future defence against Roxanne Perez and Tiffany Stratton.
Michaels revealed there were plans to feature her at Battleground if she was healthy, but said the unexpected nature of the business prevailed.
“It can be very chaotic and it can be very difficult”, he said.
“One of the things that I enjoy about being here in NXT is getting thrown all the curveballs and sometimes, it can get absolutely frustrating.
“Adjusting and changing on the fly is one of the things I really enjoy about this, because it keeps it exciting all the time.
“Indi was definitely one of those situations.”
The WWE Hall of Famer then spoke about his feeling of Hartwell getting drafted, but how he was looking forward to having her in NXT as champion and leading the women’s division.
“Look, I think there was always expectations with the idea of a callup”, he said.
“It’s the best thing for that individual, but we were really excited about her being such an underdog and then becoming the NXT (Women’s) Champion.
“I think that was such a surprise. I don’t think anybody saw it coming and I think more than anything, I’m happy we were able to capture that moment.
“It certainly would have been nice to allow her or to give her the opportunity to have a long reign.
“The bad news is she gets called up, you know what I mean? It’s not really bad news.
“That is the point of NXT.”
Watch WWE NXT Battleground live this Monday, 10am AEST on BINGE
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