The latest episode of the WWE podcast After The Bell dropped on Dec. 26 with Corey Graves interviewing both Triple H and Shawn Michaels. "The Game" had plenty to discuss regarding everything that happened with NXT in 2019, as well as what he has planned for the Black and Gold Brand in 2020. Since October 2018 NXT has had a second show, NXT UK, produce weekly taped shows for the WWE Network as well as a handful TakeOver events. But what many fans didn't know is that since Hunter is so busy with everything happening stateside with NXT, Michaels has quietly been running the NXT UK brand.
"The one thing that Shawn isn't even mentioning on his end, everybody has so much going on, but as NXT was evolving to USA [Network] and picking up that pace it made me have to back out of some things," he said (h/t WrestleTalk for transcript). "Shawn picked up the ball on the UK and basically that got pushed his way. He was such an integral part of it anyway that he just kind of latched on more to it. He's been heading over there, what is it? Every five or six weeks we do television. He's kind of heading over there and spearheading that. Sort of taking on the ownership of that brand totally in and of himself."
The UK brand saw its popularity expand in 2019 with two NXT UK TakeOver shows, which included a Match of the Year contender back in August when Walter successfully retained his UK Championship against Tyler Bate in a 40-minute instant classic. Walter, Toni Storm and Kay Lee Ray all played roles in Survivor Series weekend back in November, while Pete Dunne, Rhea Ripley and Imperium have become staples of the NXT brand on Wednesday nights.
Ripley had a particularly momentous 2019, as she beat Shayna Baszler to win the NXT Women's Championship during the show's final live broadcast of the year. With the win, Ripley became the first woman to win the women's championship from both brands.
So far NXT and NXT UK has five shows booked for 2020, starting with the NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II show on Jan. 12. The two brands will then go head-to-head at the Worlds Collide event on Jan. 25 in Houston (the night before Royal Rumble), headlined by The Undisputed Era vs. Imperium in an eight-man tag match.