Welcome to another edition of Knotfest Wrestling! It's a big weekend for pro wrestling, especially for hardcore fans who follow Japanese wrestling, as it is the start of New Japan's summer tournament series, the G1. But for those of you who like to stick to American wrestling, there's plenty going on stateside as well. Before we start, I want to mention that if you haven't seen AEW Dynamite this week and are looking to dive into AEW, this week's episode was a perfect place to start. Great action all around.
Don't forget, this Monday and every Monday at 7pm eastern, 4pm pacific, my colleagues Alicia Atout, Colin Young, and Jordan Olds talk about all the news in the world of wrestling on the Knotfest Youtube page. Anyway, let's dive right in.
Is RAW Changing to A TV-14 Rating?
Is the PG era of WWE ending, or is this just a semantics shift? F4W's Andrew Zarian reported that a memo was sent to USA Network employees that Raw's rating will change from a PG rating to a TV-14 rating. An initial memo stated the change would happen on the July 18th episode, but that was since redacted and the plan is not yet finalized.
The language on the show has gotten bluer as of late, and it will likely head in that direction. Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting that this is a decision made by USA Network and not by WWE. Smackdown on Fox will likely remain a PG rating. The Observer notes that WWE will likely still shy away from blood, wanting to avoid upsetting sponsors, but we might be hearing more crass language in promos. Don't expect any bra & panties matches either, but we might get some similar women's content as the NXT 2.0 show has been experimenting with as of late. WWE has yet to officially confirm the change.
According to Fightful Select, the rating is completely a self-imposed rating and not a rating that is assigned by a governing body, like with movies. It's more used as a guide for sponsors about what type of advertising is suitable for the programming.
The so-called "PG Era" began on July 22, 2008, so WWE programming has been that way for a solid 14 years.
The Rock's daughter, Simone, Makes Her Pro Wrestling Debut
The Rock's daughter, Simone Johnson, officially made her debut in front of an audience at a NXT house show last weekend in Florida. The first fourth-generation wrestler in WWE history is performing under the name "Ava Raine."
Entertainment Today spoke to The Rock about her debut during the premiere of his new movie, DC League of Super-Pets, and asked Rock about his daughter's debut “She’s made history. Very, very proud of her. She is fiercely independent — it’s very important for her to make her own way, blaze her own trail, blaze her own path. She doesn’t come to me looking for a lot, which, I respect that, and I’m here watching and supporting.”
Simone began working with WWE when she signed a contract in February of 2020, and has been training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Unfortunately, she suffered a series of set backs with multiple knee injuries, resulting in surgeries before even making her debut in front of an audience.
As her father points out, Simone is trying to blaze her own path, not relying on her family lineage to make a name for herself. We'll be on the lookout.
What's on TV this weekend?
Smackdown is live tonight at 8pm on Fox and here's what's announced:
- Angelo Dawkins faces Jimmy Uso
- The special referee of the Street Profits vs. Usos Summer Slam match will be revealed
- Liv Morgan faces Natalya
- Madcap Moss vs. Theory
Also look for advancements in the story of Dre McIntyre vs. Shemus to see who battles Roman Reigns at Clash at the Castle, and the continuation of the storyline of Shinsuke Nakamura looking to take the IC title from Gunther.
AEW Rampage airs at 10pm on TNT tonight, and here's the lineup:
- ROH World Championship: Jonathan Gresham (c) vs. Lee Moriarty
- Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs. House of Black
- Lucha Brothers vs. Private Party
- Athena & Kris Statlander vs. TBA
- Gunn Club explain why they turned on the Acclaimed
Don't want to wait for results to Rampage? Here are the spoilers.
Also, the first two nights of New Japan's big summer tournament, the G1 Climax take place this weekend. The G1 is four series of round-robin tournaments featuring seven people in each block, who face the other six people in that block. The wrestler in each block with the best record advances to the semi-finals, facing the winner of another block. The two winners of the semi-final matches face in the finals. This is close to Olympic-type competition wrestling gets and it can be really fun. If you're looking to get into New Japan now is the perfect time.
Here's the news:
Sasha Banks has announced her first public fan signing since walking out on WWE in May. She was announced, under her real name, Mercedes Varnado, appearing at the C2E2 convention next month in Chicago. She is not taking any wrestling bookings until January, according to some reports and her asking price for signings is believed to be around $30,000.
Big E told ESPN that doctors told him he expects to make a full recovery, but it will take at least a year. He is scheduled for evaluations in September and December, but likely won't know when or even if he could return to the ring until next March. He said he holds no ill will towards Ridge Holland for injuring him telling ESPN “I have no issue whatsoever with Ridge. He's reached out and said some very kind things. ... What we do is dangerous, and there are inherent dangers. And to that degree, we all kind of know what we sign up for, and it was unfortunate that it went down that way. But I'm not dead. I'm alive. I'm doing well.”
Cody Rhodes revealed in an interview with Busted Open that his insane performance at Hell in a Cell where he performed with a torn pectoral muscle almost resulted in hemorrhaging during surgery. He said doctors have yet to give him a timeline for return because they are worried he will try to jump ahead of the timeline.
While Triple H is back and working at the WWE offices after his scary heart attack last year, he is not currently involved with the NXT 2.0 brand, according to Dave Meltzer. Shawn Michaels and his crew are still running things.
Ring of Honor's PPV is next weekend and the world title match looks to be Jonathan Gresham vs. Claudio Castignoli. The previously announced ROH tag team title match between FTR and the Briscoes will now be a two out of three falls match.
While it was initially reported that Io Shirai would be leaving WWE when her contract expires, negotiations are still ongoing. Shirai is still interested in performing on the main roster but no offer has been agreed to yet.
Adam Cole will be forgoing shoulder surgery and instead doing physical therapy to recover from his bad shoulder. He also suffered a bad concussion at the AEW Forbidden Door PPV. He is still recovering from the concussion. No timeline set for his return yet.
Matt Jackson suffered a stinger to his neck during that incredible main event on this week's AEW Dynamite. Jackson has been dealing with neck and back issues for years.
While fans assumed the plan was for the Young Bucks and FTR to meet for the unification of all their tag titles, according to Dave Meltzer, AEW sources told him that was not the plan for the two teams and they will likely be kept apart for a while. Bucks were slotted to team with Kenny Omega to feud with Adam Cole and reDragon, until all those injuries started piling up.
According to Chris Jericho during a recent appearance on the True Gordie Podcast, Santana will be out eight months after suffering a bad knee injury during Blood & Guts. “He fucked up his knee from doing a simple Rock Bottom,” Jericho said. “That’s not on top of a cage, that’s not falling off a cage, that’s not getting hit with a barbed wire bat, or whatever. It’s doing a wrestling move, and he’s out eight months.”