The era of Paul “Triple H” Levesque has officially begun.
And it was through the women’s division that Levesque wanted to send her first message.
He put Becky Lynch back on the side of the favorites. He brought Bayley back, rehired Dakota Kai, and promoted Io Shirai (Iyo Sky). In addition, he opened his real, first Raw with his favorite star, Lynch, and his master, Bianca Belair, and gave that department plenty of room throughout the show. And finally, he would bring back Sasha Banks and Naomi, who have been absent since May.
The focus on the women’s division following Vince McMahon’s allegations will not make up for the damage done to the victims. However, he sends out the message that women are important in his company. And it’s not like Levesque did it for the wrong reasons. Along with Stephanie McMahon, he is one of the people who have given women a more prominent place within the organization, first in NXT, then in WWE.
On Saturday night, a friend made it clear to me that Levesque really does have all control of WWE. Not only is he the leader of the creative team, but in his capacity as hiring manager he is the one who chooses which talent to sign or which talent to drive from NXT.
A revived women’s section
And it’s exactly a mix of the two that we saw at SummerSlam and Raw.
Bayley’s return was long overdue. She had recovered from her injury for several weeks but we had nothing for her. The reinstatement of New Zealander Dakota Kai shows how ready Levesque is to right the mistakes he made in losing his power in WWE. Kai was fired last April. Then, despite a name change, the arrival of Sky, who had been on NXT and would no doubt have returned to his native Japan had he not been promoted, also shows how much we want to improve the women’s division of Raw and SmackDown.
We also gave better roles to Alexa Bliss and Asuka, two wrestlers who haven’t gone anywhere since their respective comebacks. With Bianca Belair, they will be the answer to the trio of Bayley, Kai and Sky. In fact, between promos, interviews, two matches and two arguments on Monday night, the women’s section of Raw had plenty to do.
I particularly liked the double disqualification in the match between Belair and Sky, rather than, say, Belair winning by disqualifying for heel interference. It was a good fight and the double disqualification helps further the future of this rivalry. With Sky failing to win the title, it was the best ending possible.
The only downside to all of this is Becky’s injury. During her match with Belair, she dislocated her right shoulder and will be out for a few months. So it’s important to have more depth in this department. You never know when an injury can happen.
For their part, Banks and Noami had left because they realized they were being abused, an issue Levesque was set to resolve. Only the return of Charlotte Flair remains to complete the whole thing and I think that will be sooner rather than later. With everything we’ve done for the women’s division of Raw, I wouldn’t be surprised if these three women, or some of them, return to SmackDown this Friday.
The Next Male Stars
As for the men, it’s already clear who the new talents Levesque will give chances will be: Montez Ford, Dominik Mysterio, Logan Paul and Ciampa.
With a physical transformation reminiscent of Barry Bonds in the 1990s, Ford has all the makings of a star. On Raw, we first saw him looking to excel in singles when he quickly passed Angelo Dawkins to take a fight against the Miz. And even if he loses this game, you have to think long-term. We’re about to see Ford turn against his partner.
With the same kind of ideas, we are getting closer and closer to a rethink on the part of Dominik Mysterio. He suffered the loss on Raw and was also accidentally hit by Edge. I think doomsday will be a clan where he could find his account and start his career as a villain.
For his part, Logan Paul’s outstanding performance at SummerSlam silenced many of his critics. And for the first time he was really cheered on by the crowd. Maybe he has a babyface future after all? But regardless, he has shown he has the talent to work in WWE.
More meaning in United States title
Levesque killed two birds with one stone with Ciampas’ two wins on Raw.
First he puts his cards on the table: Ciampa will get his chance. He’s one of those Levesque wants to protect. Don’t forget that when Ciampa did
At his last fight in NXT at WrestleMania weekend, Levesque had come out to congratulate him.
Ciampa won a triple threat match to then beat AJ Styles, not by counting on the outside like I feared would come towards the end of the fight, but by pinfall in the middle of the arena. He will get a championship match for the US title against Bobby Lashley next week. Having the Miz by his side makes up for any shortcomings he might have while also ensuring he’s a true mass hater.
For the same reason, we place great value on the United States title. First, a promotional video featuring some of the greatest champions in United States history was shown. Then we had two playoff triple threat matches and one between the winners of those two fights, also we had Booker T as the commentator who won that title four times.
Levesque knows all too well that a Unified Champion who is primarily on SmackDown and has a reduced schedule needs to have a strong singles championship on Raw, and this is a great way to do that.
A good Summer Slam
I really enjoyed SummerSlam.
It wasn’t a perfect event, but I thought he was a good listener. It started off strong with Lynch and Belair and the comebacks of Bayley and company. We wanted to send a message from the beginning of the show.
Then it was on to the match of the night between Paul and The Miz. Also, the first two games were the two best for me.
We didn’t last long in the match between Lashley and Theory, the Mysterio vs Judgment Day saw the predictable but expected return of Edge while Pat McAfee put on an honest display against Happy Corbin. There’s a difference between going up against a guy like Adam Cole or even Theory and going up against Corbin. This match showed the former soccer player’s worst since arriving at WWE.
We continued to lay the groundwork for a possible change in Ford’s attitude in the game between the Usos and Street Profits, while taking the opportunity to establish Ronda Rousey as a heel in her match against Liv Morgan. A good decision as she is more proficient in this role. I’ll admit I was surprised that we kept the belt with Morgan, but with everything that’s going on in this division I hope it was the right decision.
The finale will have been entertaining. A much longer match than I expected as previous matches between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns averaged 12 minutes. On Saturday night we were treated to a game of 23
Protocol. A good game interrupted by Lesnar coming in with a mechanical shovel to lift a corner of the arena, quite a confusing scene. The optics were impressive!
In the end, Reigns survived and beat Lesnar, which we suspected, and he will face Drew McIntyre in Wales on September 3rd. For his part, Lesnar’s future remains uncertain. He’s on the promotional poster for the January 1 special event, which is a good sign, but at the same time, a lot can happen in five months.
The end of an era on several levels
What I particularly remembered from SummerSlam were the subtle messages we sent to the old management.
Alongside the women’s division, we’ve seen the return of the terms “wrestling” and “fans” at the expense of “sports entertainment” and “WWE Universe.” Vince McMahon became almost obsessed with the language of his talents.
I also liked a conversation between Corey Graves and Michael Cole:
– Cole, I liked you better when you weren’t allowed to have opinions!
– It has changed. A lot has changed!
Apparently, this exchange refers to the commentators having McMahon on their ear, constantly telling them what to do and how to say it while they yelled into their headphones.
That era is now over.
While not everything will change with a snap of the fingers, the 2022 edition of SummerSlam and the following Raw will mark Paul Levesque’s accession to the throne. He’s firmly in place and for the first time in a long time, the future of WWE is looking very bright.