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

WWE Clash at the Castle: How to watch, start time, PPV schedule, live stream

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For the first time in over 30 years, the WWE is holding an event in a UK stadium for the world to witness.

The 74,000-capacity Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales will be the epicenter of the wrestling world when Roman Reigns takes on Drew McIntyre in what is sure to be one of the best matches of 2022.

Not to be outdone by the main event of the evening, Liv Morgan looks to follow up her SummerSlam victory over Ronda Rousey with another win over an ex-UFC fighter in Shayna Baszler to defend her WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship title.

Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch WWE Clash at the Castle live now!

What time is WWE Clash at the Castle Today?

  • Date: Saturday, September 3
  • Pre-show: 12 p.m. ET
  • Main card: 1 p.m. ET

What channel is showing WWE SummerSlam 2022?

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 Clash at the Castle, 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.

Clash at the Castle will be available on pay-per-view or via Peacock for fans in the U.S.

What to know at WWE Clash at the Castle

After a controversial victory over Ronda Rousey in a rematch at SummerSlam, Liv Morgan finds herself in the ring against another established mixed martial artist in Shayna Baszlier, who overcame Raquel Rodriguez, Aliyah, Shotzi, Xia Li, Natalya and Sonya Deville en route to a title shot.

While there isn’t a belt on the line in this matchup, bragging rights certainly will be when Matt Riddle enters the ring against Seth “Freakin” Rollins in the fan’s main event of the evening.

After being scheduled to throw down at SummerSlam, Riddle withdrew due to injury which led to a postponement. However, he has not stayed out of the spotlight. A huge brawl on the August 15th of RAW sparked the rivalry between the two superstars once more, resulting in Riddle challenging Rollins once more to settle things once and for all at the WWE Clash at the Castle.

WWE Clash at the Castle matches

  • Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. The Judgment Day
  • Intercontinental Championship – Gunther (c) vs. Sheamus
  • Matt Riddle vs. Seth Rollins
  • Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss & Asuka vs. Bayley, Dakota Kai & IYO SKY
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship – Liv Morgan (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
  • Undisputed WWE Universal Championship – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

WWE SummerSlam 2022: How to watch, start time, PPV schedule, live stream

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Will Roman Reigns defend his undisputed Universal title against Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing match? Is Logan Paul the real deal or just a flash in the pan? Tonight at WWE SummerSlam 2022, these questions will finally be answered.

While Riddle’s highly anticipated showdown against Seth Rollins was scrapped earlier this week due to injury, tonight’s main card of matches is still one you won’t want to miss.

Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch WWE SummerSlam 2022 live now!

What time is WWE SummerSlam 2022 today?

  • Date: Saturday, July 30
  • Pre-show start time: 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Main card start time: 8:00 p.m. ET

What channel is airing WWE SummerSlam 2022?

SummerSlam will be available on pay-per-view or via Peacock for fans in the U.S.

In addition to Roman Reigns’ title bout, The Usos will put their undisputed WWE tag team titles on the line against The Street Profits. Ronda Rousey also makes her return with vengeance on her mind as she takes on Liv Morgan in a rematch for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship.

Logan Paul, who was teammates with The Miz at Wrestlemania, will now be on opposite sides of the ring with his former teammate tonight at SummerSlam. Can Paul get his revenge on The Miz after being humiliated by The Awesome One and prove who the bigger draw is in the WWE?

RELATED: WWE Power Rankings: Brock Lesnar’s rise threatens Roman Reigns’ dominance

WWE SummerSlam matches 2022

  • Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar: Last Man Standing Match for the undisputed WWE Universal title
  • The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) (c) vs. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford): Undisputed WWE tag team titles
  • Bianca Belair (c) vs. Becky Lynch: WWE “Raw” women’s title
  • Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey: WWE “SmackDown” women’s title
  • Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Theory: WWE United States title 
  • The Miz vs. Logan Paul
  • Pat McAfee vs. Happy Corbin
  • The Mysterios (Dominik Mysterio and Rey Mysterio) vs. The Judgment Day (Damian Priest and Finn Balor)

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 SummerSlam 2022, 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.

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