When you're scouting someone, what do you specifically look for?
"Look, I mean there are other factors as well. I don't want to make it sound like 'Oh, look at this guy he has a big personality and forget all of the rest of it.' Obviously athleticism, the willingness to do this, the desire to work hard, but then there's leadership qualities that we really look for. When guys go to a camp, sometimes people watch them and go, 'You're just making these people throw-up in garbage can because you're working them so hard.' I want to push them to where they're really outside of their comfort range and then see what they do with it.
It's really easy to be nice and be the perfect professional when you feel great, but when you're on the verge of puking in barrel and you're exhausted and there's someone barking at you to do more and the guy next to you just fell on you because he's at the same place you are, do you help pick him up or do you curse at him and go about your own business? There are differences in how people react to things. I'm looking for leaders. I'm looking for someone that can be a professional. I'm looking for the consummate athlete on all aspects.
It's not just one thing, but if you ask me the one thing I look for, charisma is king."
...It seemed as though there was and still is a certain look that a talent needs in order to reach a certain level of success in WWE. Now, obviously there have been exceptions to the rule, but it seems like over the past few years you've bucked that trend. How did that transition happen?
"So, I'm a big believer in talent is talent. It comes in all shapes, sizes, looks, feels, everything. I think sometimes there's been a bad rap of like take this as the thing that's most successful, so that's what we're going to give. I think that's happen here in the past. People can say whatever about WWE and look, is there a particular style of athlete [we look for]? Sure, it's like that in anything. If you're shown steak all of the time, it's no surprise that you're going to eat steak. So when everybody coming to you with the same look and feel, a certain pattern begins to develop because that's what being put in front of you and that's what you have to select from.
My selection process is different. Yes, I understand what Vince likes and what Vince sees in an ideal archetype performer, but I also know him well enough to know that he likes a lot of different archetypes, so I'm not going to give him one; I'm going to give him a little bit of everything. He's going to see a Bray Wyatt and go (Vince voice) 'That's great!' He's going to see a Braun Strowman and go 'Ah yeah, that's my wheelhouse right there. I love that.' He's going to see Finn Balor and hear the girls going nuts and then see the paint and go 'Geez look at that, I love that!' That's something that I don't think would have been put in front of him eight years ago.
I sometimes wonder if Bray Wyatt would have been put in front of him 10 years ago. I don't know that he would've. That doesn't mean that Vince wouldn't have loved him back then. I want there to be so much diversity on every level. I want it to be international diversity. I want there to be something for everybody within WWE so you can gravitate towards characters that you can relate to. That's still a work in progress. It's a work in progress when you look at the Performance Center and you look at the talent there and see that 40 percent of the talent is international now, there's 17 countries represented. A quarter of the talent there is women. The diversity level is at an all-time high and that's on purpose. We've done that for desired effect.
Is it showing right now on the main roster? Nah, not necessarily because it's going to take a little bit of time to percolate up, but it's there. I want that diversity. When you talk about the women, I want there to be a Sasha Banks; the smaller, run her mouth, cocky, arrogant, little athlete. I want there to be a bigger, dominant athlete like a Charlotte. I want there to be a Nia Jax that brings a whole different danger component. I want there to be a Bayley that is this naïve, fan-friendly, little girl centric character that everybody loves. Then you still want there to be the Bellas, who are like the Kardashians of the women's division. You want that variety. It's the same with the guys. I want there to be a Cena, I want there to be a Randy Orton. But I also want there to be a Bray Wyatt. I want there to be a Braun Strowman. I want there to be a Finn Balor. I want there to be a Samoa Joe or a Kevin Owens. Big Cass and then a little guy like Enzo that can run his mouth nonstop.
I want that diversity."
Can you describe what it feels like to see a talent that has had success in NXT, but struggles to find their footing on the main roster?
"It's hard for me. It's hard for them. It's a difficult situation. I say this to talent all of the time, careers are marathons, they are not sprints. Even though we say it's a third brand, it really is and you might never make it out of NXT and you'll do really well in your career, but if you do get the chance to go to Raw or SmackDown, it's like starting over. You're starting over with new management and new everything. The job is the same, but you're starting over and you have to re-earn your stripes. It's a slightly different product.
It used to be that way in the territory days. You might be over in one territory and take the gamble to go to another territory and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It can be frustrating for them. They ask a lot of questions and we try to give them as much guidance as we can.
The other thing though that everybody has to remember is that in today's world if you're not "The Guy or The Girl" at the very top, the number one draw, you can still be a talent on Raw or SmackDown and working all of the time and be doing very, very well for yourself. Do you always want more? Yes. Will that come over time? Maybe. You reinvent yourself, you work hard. You continue to do the things you're doing.
Back to the career being a marathon and not a sprint; when you're a few years in, being on Raw or SmackDown and you've only been in the business for four years or whatever, it's not a bad place to be. If two years down the line you get that ride up to a much higher level, it's a pretty good run."
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