A former WWE superstar and recent NXT trainer revealed a strange change made by Vince McMahon during the developmental brand's transition to NXT 2.0.
Scott Garland, who had previously wrestled for the company as 'Scott Taylor' and later 'Scotty 2 Hotty' during WWE's 'Attitude Era,' reflected on his recent time working as a coach for the NXT developmental brand during an appearance on longtime former WWE and current All Elite Wrestling star Chris Jericho's Talk Is Jericho podcast this week.
Garland detailed specific changes to NXT when McMahon began overseeing the developmental brand, which had previously been controlled completely by his son-in-law, Paul 'Triple H (Hunter Hearst Helmsley)' Levesque.
“Hunter used to say that we have this culture here, and if we could bottle it, we could make millions off this culture,” Garland said via Talk is Jericho. “The backstage culture of ‘We are NXT’ was a real thing. That was a real pride amongst the roster. I feel like that’s been lost to a degree. It was the coolest environment I’ve ever been in my 30 years in wrestling. It was still a wrestling business, don’t get me wrong, but there was a certain pride there that there wasn’t anywhere else.”
“It started to change. They started coming in with rules. One of the first weeks since COVID was, they started to let us wear NXT tracksuits to TV because we don’t see anybody. We come into the Performance Center for television. We don’t have any fans waiting outside, and for the longest time, there weren’t any fans. In the building, it was all in house people, so we were wearing NXT tracksuits.”
Garland confirmed reports that Levesque was less involved with NXT after the format change, with McMahon and several other long-time RAW and SmackDown producers becoming more involved.
The former WWE Tag Team champion also shared a strange incident in which McMahon demanded that his coaches looked "younger" and insisted they dye their beards.
“As soon as it started to change, Hunter went away, and the other guys started to come in, it was, ‘Ok, we gotta get back to business casual again.’ The next week it was, ‘Vince wants the coaches looking younger, so we need you guys to start dyeing your beards and cutting your hair.’ I literally lost sleep over it. I’ve had every kind of facial hair, dye, goatee, the beard, spiked up hair, bald head. It’s not about that. It’s like, if they’re going to have us jump through hoops like monkeys just to see if they’ll do it, so if you do that, what’s next?”
You can watch Garland's full appearance on Talk is Jericho here and for more wrestling-related content tune in to the Battleground Podcast from iHeartRadio below.