Inside the Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa feud

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Before Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa face off in an “unsanctioned match” at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, I asked the man in charge of NXT, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque, about how plans changed for this match after Ciampa’s serious knee injury and the difficulties of figuring out how to lay out the plans for this story line.

NXT TakeOver: New Orleans will air live on the WWE Network April 7th starting at 8 p.m. ET.

So out of all of the matches that are scheduled for WrestleMania weekend, it feels to me like Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa has the most heat. With Ciampa on the shelf, Gargano really shined and came into his own in NXT. So what was the original plan before Ciampa got hurt?

“So we we’re still going in the same direction. The turn was happening and everything was in place, but then the injury happened. When we looked at that it was like, ‘Oh my God now what?’

But sometimes the most exciting things and great art takes place out of chaos. In the chaos of that moment we looked at that and said, ‘How can we make this even better?’ That’s one thing I’ve learned from Vince over the years. Anything can happen and you can do anything with it. You can never be married to an idea, or a thought, or a direction because it can change in the blink of an eye.

We had the emotional intensity for this story line between the two of them, but then the injury happened and we needed to reboot. I think it’s played out pretty well.

The tough part about it was trying to play out the story line of Johnny Gargano on television with the idea of knowing where you want to go, but not knowing Tommaso was going to be exactly ready to go. So you’re playing, ‘Where’s he at now?’ I certainly don’t want to rush his return until he’s 100 percent and I want to make sure he’s healthy and can capitalize on the opportunity, but at the same point in time, I’m glued to the updates on his health so I can begin to tell the story in a direction that gets us to match the timing of his return.

So far it’s all worked out great and I’m excited where that story line is. To your point from an emotional story standpoint, I don’t think you can compare it to the emotion of say Daniel Bryan’s return at WrestleMania, but as an angle between two talents it has the most emotional feel to it heading into the weekend.

To that point on things changing on a dime, it made sense when Ciampa appeared at TakeOver: Philadelphia because usually those shows end with a big moment, but when he appeared again in the Gargano vs. Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas title match with the stipulation that if Johnny lost he was done in NXT, I wondered if that should have been Ciampa’s return because it seemed more impactful . Did plans change in-between the appearance at TakeOver and his run-in during Gargano vs. Almas in Atlanta?

“TakeOver is a moment that is going to have the most eyeballs on it. If you do that on a TV taping and 80 percent of the world hears about it on social media, but they don’t see it live, so they don’t get the full impact of the moment and then have to wait three weeks to watch it play out. It’s a different feel and the excitement level is different.

The difference between the two is, at TakeOver, Ciampa was cleared to do what he did and then we had to buy some time to get to where he would be cleared to a little bit more than he was doing.

If it was live every week, it would be a tough puzzle, but it’s not live every week. I have to do a live TakeOver and then I have to tape three weeks and then I have to tape three more weeks, while figuring out to get to WrestleMania weekend. I want to back-pedal him into a certain spot of the tapings because I think he’s going to be cleared here, but you never know what can happen and I have to make sure these episodes are filmed on time.

It’s like putting together a puzzle, but they don’t show you the actual picture that you’re supposed to be working on.”

You gotta draw it in yourself.

(Laughs) “Yeah. Use your imagination, it’s a bridge and some trees, but we’ll show you the result in a couple weeks.”

Twitter: @ScottDargis

How to watch WWE Crown Jewel 2022: Live stream online, start time, PLE schedule, match card

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The WWE Crown Jewel 2022 match card is set and it’s all happening this Saturday live on Peacock. Tune in to watch the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match between social media star Logan Paul and the defending champion, The Tribal Chief Roman Reigns. We’ve got you covered on everything you need to know so you don’t miss a second of the action.

Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch WWE Crown Jewel live!

Where is WWE’s Crown Jewel event?

Crown Jewel is WWE’s main recurring event in Saudi Arabia and the 2022 event marks the fourth year in a ten-year partnership between the two sides. This year’s event will be held at Mrsool Park in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. 

What time is WWE Crown Jewel 2022?

WWE’s Crown Jewel Kickoff show begins at 11 a.m. ET and the main card PLE event should start around 12 p.m. ET.

  • WWE’s The Bump will be available on-demand beginning at 10 a.m. ET on Peacock
  • Kickoff Show: 11 a.m. ET
  • Main card:  12 p.m. ET

How to watch WWE Crown Jewel this year

Crown Jewel will be available on Peacock for fans in the U.S. and WWE Network for viewers outside of the U.S.

Who is the current WWE Universal Champion?

Roman Reigns, who last defeated Drew McIntyre at WWE Clash at the Castle. He will defend this title against Logan Paul in the main event on Saturday. This will mark Paul’s third official match inside a WWE ring, and he’s coming off defeating The Miz at Summerslam and knocking out Jey Uso at WWE Smackdown. Jake Paul, Logan’s brother, is fresh off his defeat of Anderson Silva last weekend and will be in Logan’s corner for support against the rest of The Bloodline.

WWE Crown Jewel 2022 match card

  • The Usos vs. The Brawling Brutes
  • Alexa Bliss and Asuka vs. Damage Control
  • Bianca Belair vs. Bayley
  • Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kross (with Scarlett)
  • Braun Strowman vs. Omos (with MVP)
  • The O.C. vs The Judgment Day
  • Brock Lesnar vs Bobby Lashley
  • Roman Reigns vs Logan Paul

“At WWE Crown Jewel, the WWE Universe will once again go down the rabbit hole as Bray Wyatt is scheduled to appear.”

Are there any WWE events after Crown Jewel?

After Crown Jewel, WWE will wrap up the 2022 schedule with Survivor Series in Boston on November 26 and NXT Deadline on December 10.

How to watch and stream WWE live on Peacock:

Peacock is now the exclusive streaming home of WWE. With an upgrade to Peacock Premium, you will have access to all WWE Premium Live Events like WWE Crown Jewel, as well as original series, groundbreaking documentaries, and your favorite shows from the WWE Archives.

Select a Premium Plan to create a new account or to upgrade. You can also upgrade or change your existing plan at any time. Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a recurring charge, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

Crown Jewel will be available on Premium Live Events (PLE) or via Peacock for fans in the U.S.

WWE Extreme Rules: How to watch, start time, PLE schedule, live stream

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The WWE returns to Philadelphia to host Extreme Rules for the first time in October.

The Wells Fargo Center, which housed the event in 2019, will be the center of the wrestling world when Ronda Rousey looks to avenge her controversial loss at SummerSlam in a no holds barred match against Liv Morgan for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.

Also on the card are Seth “Freaking” Rollins and Matt Riddle continuing their grudge match inside the fight pit with special guest referee and UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier.

Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch WWE Extreme Rules!

What time is WWE Extreme Rules?

  • Date: Saturday, October 8
  • WWE’s The Bump: 3 p.m. ET
  • Kickoff Show: 7 p.m. ET
  • Main card: 8 p.m. ET

What channel is showing WWE Extreme Rules?

What to know about WWE Extreme Rules

Ronda Rousey is on a rampage to reclaim the SmackDown Women’s Championship, dominating a Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match for the opportunity to get champion, Liv Morgan, in a match, with no rules, no disqualifications and no mercy.

Matt Riddle continues his ongoing feud against Seth “Freakin” Rollins inside the fight pit, where a steel cage will hold these two brawlers in what is looking to be a brutal match.

Don’t forget: the day kicks off at 3 p.m. ET with WWE Extreme Rules edition of WWE’s The Bump, with Kayla Braxton, Matt Camp and Ryan Pappolla preparing for the night’s action and chatting with special guests ahead of the showdowns to come.

WWE Extreme Rules matches

  • SmackDown Women’s Championship Extreme Rules Match – Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
  • Raw Women’s Championship Ladder Match – Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley
  • Inside the Fight Pit (Guest referee UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier) – Matt Riddle vs. Seth “Freaking” Rollins
  • Strap Match – Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kros
  • “I Quit” Match – Edge vs. Finn Balor
  • Six-Man Tag Team Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook Match – The Brawling Brutes vs. Imperium

How to watch and stream WWE live on Peacock:

Peacock is now the exclusive streaming home of WWE. With an upgrade to Peacock Premium, you will have access to all WWE Premium Live Events like WWE Extreme Rules, as well as original series, groundbreaking documentaries, and your favorite shows from the WWE Archives.

Select a Premium Plan to create a new account or to upgrade. You can also upgrade or change your existing plan at any time. Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a recurring charge, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

Extreme Rules will be available on Premium Live Events (PLE) or via Peacock for fans in the U.S.