Ariel Helwani has revealed he turned down a pre-show appearance at both Survivor Series AND Royal Rumble in favour of NXT TakeOver: WarGames.
The esteemed MMA journalist and ESPN correspondent appeared as a guest contributor during the NXT TakeOver: WarGames Pre-Show to discuss the main event confrontation between The Undisputed ERA and The Kings of NXT.
Helwani was first quizzed by Sam Roberts about NXT’s recent revitalisation of the WarGames concept, considering he grew up as a fan of the match in its original form in WCW:
“When they brought it back three years ago, it was very exciting to me and it was a new twist on this great match – without the roof! So you can get some amazing finishes like we saw last year [with] Adam Cole going through the table. It’s such a great part of this business, I was so excited when it came back.”
He went on to hype NXT TakeOver: WarGames as wrestling’s “biggest night of the year”, revealing he specifically chose to appear on the pre-show of NXT’s fourth iteration of the event. This was despite WWE giving him free rein over which pre-show he wanted to contribute to – including those for Survivor Series and Royal Rumble:
“They asked me if I wanted to appear on Survivor Series. They said ‘pick whichever show you want to appear on, any pre-show: Survivor Series, Royal Rumble’. I said ‘I want WarGames’. Because to me, this is the biggest night of the year in professional wrestling.”
It looks as though we may not have seen the last of Helwani in this kind of contributing capacity, however, as Triple H had high praise for him during the NXT TakeOver: WarGames post-show media call:
“I also want to give a big shout out to Ariel Helwani for being involved in our pre-show tonight. His analysis, his point-of-view – he adds a lot – his credibility, his positioning. Ariel’s incredibly smart and one of the most knowledgeable fans of what we do. His knowledge of it and his love of it goes all the way back to being a kid.”
Ariel Helwani is no stranger to WWE and professional wrestling as a whole, having been a self-proclaimed fan since childhood and hosting various WWE stars in the past on his ESPN show ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show’ – including Becky Lynch, Paul Heyman and The Undertaker.
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