POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: SummerSlam preview, Levesque chats changes to WWE

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/07/29/pollocks-news-update-summerslam-preview-levesque-chats-changes-to-wwe/

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 11:05 p.m. ET with Wai Ting and I reviewing SmackDown & AEW Rampage. We will also go through the latest news from the past few days and a look at the major cards this weekend as well as take your calls. This show is available live and on-demand for POST Wrestling Café members at all levels.

**This month’s ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show features Wai & I answering questions for nearly two hours including Black Saturday in 1984 and how Vince McMahon got control of the time slots on WTBS, attending events as media compared to fans, the naming of women’s championships, New Japan’s L.A. Dojo, WWE running stadium events, changes to AEW’s presentation, Vince McMahon’s expansions in the ‘80s and more.

**On Saturday night, we will have the SummerSlam POST Show streaming live on the POST Wrestling YouTube channel minutes after the card ends. On Sunday, Phil Chertok & Eric Marcotte will have a UFC 277 POST Show at 2 p.m. ET on the YouTube channel.

**The next G1 Climax podcast will be released Sunday night with Karen Peterson and I reviewing both cards this weekend in Nagoya for POST Wrestling Café members.

**This weekend is among the busiest of the year between one of WWE’s tentpole cards of the year, the surrounding events in Nashville including Ric Flair’s Last Match, the G1 Climax has two shows in Nagoya, Stardom launches its 5-Star Grand Prix, and UFC 277 in Dallas featuring two title fights. We will have coverage of all the major events including POST Shows on Saturday night after SummerSlam and one for UFC 277 on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. We will have written reports from Mark Buckeldee for both G1 shows, Karen Peterson covering the opening weekend of Stardom’s 5-Star Grand Prix, Andrew Thompson will be covering SummerSlam, Jon Pine with coverage of The People vs. GCW, and John Siino will have a report on Ric Flair’s Last Match.

WWE SUMMERSLAM AT NISSAN STADIUM

**The 35th annual SummerSlam takes place on Saturday from Nissan Stadium in Nashville and is built around the ‘Last Man Standing’ match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar with the heavy tease of a cash-in attempt by Theory. There are over 36,000 tickets distributed, per WrestleTix, which is a solid number, although nowhere near the actual capacity of the stadium. This is the earliest SummerSlam has been staged on the calendar with the original idea of WWE running three stadium cards over two months with Money in the Bank (moved from Allegiant Stadium to the MGM Grand), SummerSlam at Nissan Stadium, and Clash at the Castle at Principality Stadium in Wales.

WWE SummerSlam
Sat • Jul 30 • 6:30 PM
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN

Available Tickets => 1,456
Current Setup/Capacity => 37,825
Tickets Distributed => 36,369

pic.twitter.com/cynEej3eQI

— WrestleTix (@WrestleTix) July 29, 2022

The show takes on added importance as it’s the first major event under new leadership, chiefly Paul Levesque, who runs creative now. While all the programs and build-ups were under Vince McMahon’s vision, the match finishes will theoretically be left to Levesque to sign off on and provide a sense of where some of the key talents will be positioned, which we’ll see over the next few weeks. This past Monday’s Raw was not indicative of the new era given most of the show was constructed prior to the changes aside from some minor tweaks, we were told.

One change is the removal of Seth Rollins vs. Riddle, which was “postponed” after shooting an angle on Raw where Rollins stomped Riddle’s throat onto the steps, and he was “medically disqualified”. It’s a storyline injury and this was a creative decision to move the match. Rollins posted an apology to fans that bought tickets to see him and ended the message hoping that one-day management would hear their voices. This led to Levesque responding, “I hear you”. It is unknown if Rollins will still appear on the show as he isn’t being advertised nor did they state he would have a new opponent, but he is in Nashville and attended the WWE tryouts on Friday. The card does lose some depth as the match stood out among the strongest on the show.

It’s a big test of Logan Paul, who has been terribly cast as a babyface against The Miz. It’s pretty hard to be booed in opposition of The Miz but the audience has soundly rejected Paul and either this new vision of WWE will cut bait and listen to the audience or continue to fight the reactions and swim against the tide. The behavior of WWE audiences has changed over the past three years and the days of fans hijacking cards and loudly rejecting characters are few and far between.

Liv Morgan has momentum coming off her title win earlier this month and it’s been sustained in the weeks since. Ronda Rousey has a lot of momentum in this second run with the company and winning the title back from Morgan almost ensures a negative response, which isn’t the worst thing if that’s the ultimate direction to take Rousey’s character and freshen it up. It’s not the death knell for Morgan if she loses the title but remains featured as the top babyface on the brand and feuds with a heel Rousey or returning Charlotte Flair. They have something in Morgan, so it’s essential not to squander it.

For Reigns and Lesnar, this should be the last match for a long time, if not the final time. The way the WrestleMania match came off didn’t leave the audience clamoring for a return match and it was such a definitive win by Reigns that this match hasn’t grabbed the same level of interest. Typically, last-man-standing matches are very strong in WWE and it’s a question of how long this is booked to go. Lesnar’s singles matches are usually under 12 minutes and he hasn’t gone longer than that in a match since the Royal Rumble 2 ½ years ago. There is the intrigue of Theory attempting to cash in the MITB briefcase, the challenger for Clash at the Castle should be set after SmackDown tonight, and beyond that, you have potential matches with Seth Rollins and eventually Cody Rhodes down the road for Reigns. Another option would be some type of disputed finish involving the cash-in that leads to the separation of the belts after being consolidated at WrestleMania but always assumed would be broken up eventually.

As of Friday afternoon, there are eight matches listed with Reigns vs. Lesnar in the last man standing match, Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch for the Raw women’s championship, Liv Morgan vs. Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown women’s title, The Usos vs. The Street Profits with Jeff Jarrett as the special referee for the Undisputed tag titles, Logan Paul vs. The Miz, Happy Corbin vs. Pat McAfee, Bobby Lashley vs. Theory for the United States title, and a No DQ match with Rey & Dominik Mysterio against Finn Balor & Damian Priest.

WRESTLING NEWS

**Paul Levesque spoke during a media scrum on Friday regarding potential changes to the product. Levesque said he is stepping into a massive pair of shoes and doesn’t dream that he can fill them by himself. He heavily emphasized a “team” that was necessary and specifically mentioned himself, Stephanie McMahon, Nick Khan, and Kevin Dunn as part of that team and no doubt they can do it with this team.

Levesque answered a follow-up question from Jon Alba regarding Paul Heyman being utilized in the creative and developmental process. Levesque spoke highly of Heyman discovering talent and being one of the greatest speakers in the industry without committing to any tangible role that Heyman could be assigned beyond his current duties.

Ariel Helwani asked him about how he was feeling health-wise:

"I have a new appreciation for life, it's precious, it doesn't last long, embrace it, get everything you can out of it!"

"We're going to make this thing go to places it's never been before!"@arielhelwani x @TripleH ♥️#SummerSlam pic.twitter.com/Ydhst0Ga3U

— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) July 29, 2022

**On Thursday, Brandon Thurston reported that a message was sent to all WWE staff last Friday that they could not buy or sell company shares until further notice. The message was signed by James Langham, WWE’s senior vice president, and assistant general counsel:

Please be advised that, in light of recent developments, the Company’s trading window has closed effective immediately for all employees.

Until further notice you are prohibited from any purchases or sales of Company securities. You are also instructed not to speak with others about this note.

Thurston reviewed the company’s insider trading policies noting that any employees in possession of “material non-public information” may be subjected to trading “blackouts” regarding the stock and that this is seen in other companies, although this appears to be a blackout for all employees rather than ones with certain designations.

WWE has not commented on the story and it’s believed the blackout period is still in effect, according to Thurston.

**Friday Night SmackDown is at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on the eve of SummerSlam. Roman Reigns is advertised to appear on the program just days after wrestling on Raw. The following matches have been listed for tonight’s show
*Donnybrook Fight: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus – the winner gets the Undisputed Universal title shot at Clash at the Castle on September 3rd
*Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans
*New Day vs. Viking Raiders

**AEW Rampage airs at 10 p.m. ET on TNT and streaming on TSN Direct in Canada with the following matches taped earlier this week in Worcester:
*Anna Jay vs. Ruby Soho
*Lee Moriarty vs. Matt Sydal
*Leon Ruffin vs. Ethan Page
*Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta vs. Jay Lethal, Satnam Singh & Sonjay Dutt (this was Dutt’s first match since 2017)
*Rap video from The Acclaimed

**IMPACT Wrestling averaged 96,000 viewers and 0.03 in the 18-49 demographic on AXS TV on Thursday night. They finished #147 among cable originals. Last week, they averaged 107,000 and 0.03 in the key demographic.

**The Roast of Ric Flair streams at 9 p.m. ET tonight on ET as part of Starrcast. Those announced to speak at the roast include Flair, Eric Bischoff, Brian Knobs, Torrie Wilson, Diamond Dallas Page, Vickie Guerrero, NFL Hall of Famer Eddie George, Tie Domi, and several comedians.

**The People vs. GCW takes place tonight at 11:30 p.m. ET from the Nashville Fairgrounds as part of Starrcast and features the following card:
*GCW World Championship: Jon Moxley © vs. Blake Christian
*Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Tony Deppen
*Bandido vs. Jordan Oliver
*GCW Tag Team Championship: Effy & Allie Katch © vs. Ciclope & Miedo Extremo vs. Mance Warner & Matthew Justice
*Nick Wayne vs. Alex Zayne
*Black Taurus, Gringo Loco & Jack Cartwheel vs. Laredo Kid, ASF & Komander
*Kevin Blackwood vs. Masha Slamovich
*Psycho Clown vs. Joey Janela

**The G1 Climax resumes with shows at Dolphin’s Arena in Nagoya on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s card streams live at 4 a.m. ET on New Japan World with the following matches and point totals in brackets:
*A BLOCK: JONAH (0) vs. Tom Lawlor (0)
*B BLOCK: SANADA (2) vs. Great O-Khan (0)
*C BLOCK: Hiroshi Tanahashi (2) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (4)
*D BLOCK: Shingo Takagi (2) vs. David Finlay (2)
*Jay White, Juice Robinson, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Gedo vs. Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI
*Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI vs. EVIL & Dick Togo
*Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare vs. Lance Archer, Taichi & Taka Michinoku
*KENTA & El Phantasmo vs. Tama Tonga & Jado
*SHO & Yujiro vs. Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita

**Sunday’s card from Dolphin’s Arena streams at 3 a.m. ET with:
*A BLOCK: Kazuchika Okada (4) vs. Bad Luck Fale (4)
*B BLOCK:
Jay White (4) vs. Chase Owens (2)
*C BLOCK:
Tetsuya Naito (0) vs. EVIL (2)
*D BLOCK:
Juice Robinson (2) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (0)
*A BLOCK: Jeff Cobb (2) vs. Lance Archer (2)
*Shingo Takagi, SANADA & BUSHI vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & Taka Michinoku
*Will Ospreay, Great O-Khan & Aaron Henare vs. Tama Tonga, David Finlay & Jado
*Tom Lawlor & Royce Isaacs vs. JONAH & Bad Dude Tito
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Ryohei Oiwa vs. KENTA, Yujiro, El Phantasmo & SHO

**Stardom’s annual 5-Star Grand Prix kicks off Saturday morning with a pay-per-view at 3:45 a.m. ET from Ota Ward City Gymnasium. It’s the largest field ever for the tournament, which will run until October. The following card is set for the opening night of the Grand Prix:
*Red Stars: Syuri vs. AZM
*Red Stars:
Maika vs. Risa Sera
*Red Stars:
Utami Hayashishita vs. Himeka
*Red Stars:
Unagi Sayaka vs. SAKI
*Red Stars:
Mai Sakurai vs. Momo Kohgo
*Blue Stars:
Giulia vs. Hazuki
*Blue Stars:
Mayu Iwatani vs. MIRAI
*Blue Stars:
Saya Iida vs. Ami Sorei
*Blue Stars:
Suzu Suzuki vs. Starlight Kid
*Gauntlet Match: Tam Nakano & Natsupoi vs. Momo Watanabe & Saki Kashima vs. Momo Kohgo & Koguma vs. Miyu Amasaki & Hina vs. Mina Shirakawa & Waka Tsukiyama vs. Rina & Hanan
*KAIRI & Nanae Takahashi vs. Saya Kamitani & Lady C

**The Undertaker is hosting his one-man talk show tonight at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, which is where the WWE tryouts are wrapping up today. There is a policy where they are restricting phone use during the show where attendees will be in possession of their phones, but it will be secured in a pouch that will not be opened until the show is over. If anyone attends the show, please send any notes to john@postwrestling.com.

**Ariel Helwani spoke with Liv Morgan for BT Sport and discussed her reaction to Ruby Soho’s release last year. Morgan said when she heard the news, she assumed he was being released as well as she couldn’t understand why they would cut Ruby and not her.

**The Toronto Star has a story on AEW’s first set of shows in the city this October with comments from AEW president Tony Khan, who noted:

You’ll see many of the top stars, including some who are on the injured list. I think there is a good possibility they could be back by then.

**WWE has announced two live events for Mexico this fall. They will hold shows at Arena Monterrey on Saturday, October 29th, and Arena CDMX in Mexico City on October 30th. They are advertising Rey Mysterio, Becky Lynch, AJ Styles, Damian Priest, Raquel Rodriguez, Seth Rollins, and Finn Balor among the talent slated to appear.

**Two fighters missed weight on Friday prior to UFC 277. Orion Cosce, who takes on Blood Diamond in the prelim opener, weighed 172.5 pounds and was fined 20 percent of his purse. Joselyne Edwards missed the bantamweight mark by 1.5 pounds at 137.5 and was also fined 20 percent, per MMA Junkie.

Saturday’s card takes place from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. While this lineup and the size of the venue were initially believed to threaten the UFC’s streak of sellouts, the show is performing exceptionally well. WrestleTix reports that over 17,400 tickets are out with the show scaled for 18,072, so it should be completely full by Saturday night. That’s a major feather in the promotion’s cap given the lack of marquee stars on the card and isn’t expected to do a sizable number on pay-per-view.

Below is the full card:

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view)
*UFC Bantamweight Championship: Julianna Pena © vs. Amanda Nunes
*UFC Interim Flyweight Championship: Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France
*Derrick Lewis vs. Sergei Pavlovich
*Alex Perez vs. Alexandre Pantoja
*Anthony Smith vs. Magomed Ankalaev

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 p.m. on ABC, ESPN & ESPN+)

*Alex Morono vs. Matthew Semelsberger
*Drew Dober vs. Rafael Alves
*Hamdy Abdelwahab vs. Don’Tale Mayes
*Drakkar Klose vs. Rafa Garcia

EARLY PRELIMS (6 p.m. on ESPN+ & Fight Pass)

*Adam Fugitt vs. Michael Morales
*Ji Yeon Kim vs. Joselyne Edwards
*Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Ihor Potieria
*Orion Cosce vs. Blood Diamond

*****
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything (July 2022)
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions about anything and everything in the July 2022 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen 2022 featuring Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia, Jon Moxley vs. Rush, and Thunder Rosa vs. Miyu Yamashita.
*****
SHOT IN THE DARK: KUSHIDA in IMPACT, AEW All-Atlantic Title Match
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, NXT UK, IMPACT Wrestling, NXT Level Up, NJPW Strong, NWA USA, NWA Powerrr, and WWE Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
*****
upNXT: Vince Swimming With The Fishes
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review NXT 2.0 headlined by Diamond Mine vs The D’Angelo Family! The Lads also talk about the retirement of Vince McMahon and what it means for the future of NXT.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Raw from Madison Square Garden featuring Rey Mysterio’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, The Bloodline vs. Riddle & Street Profits, and Logan Paul’s “Impaulsive TV”.
*****
POST INTERVIEW: Dave Meltzer on Vince McMahon’s exit
John Pollock is joined by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter to speak about Vince McMahon’s departure from WWE.
*****
WRESTLENOMICS: Pro wrestling after Vince McMahon; ROH PPV
More on the fallout of Vince McMahon’s retirement following a sexual misconduct investigation by WWE’s board of directors. Plus, Jesse Collings was in-person at ROH Death Before Dishonor.
*****
The N.W.A. Podcast: “The End Of An Error”
Brandon Thurston (Wrestlenomics) joins Nate, Kris & Andrew to discuss Vince McMahon’s resignation, Sasha Banks & Naomi’s future, Titus O’Neal and more.
*****

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