X

Roman Reigns' WWE Future, Asuka's Face Turn, SummerSlam Schedule Rumors

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 19, 2020

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - WWE superstar new world heavy weight champion Roman Reigns celebrates his victory at WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, April 3, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (Brandon Wade/AP Images for WWE)
Brandon Wade/Associated Press

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.  

Roman Reigns Not Rushing Back

WWE has been without Roman Reigns since the March 27 episode of SmackDown, and it doesn't sound like The Big Dog will be back anytime soon. 

Per Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com, one WWE source said Reigns "does not seem in any rush to return, and nobody here faults him for it."

Sapp noted that Reigns isn't figured into any booking plans "at this point."

Reigns was originally scheduled to challenge Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania before pulling out of the show amid the coronavirus pandemic. He said in an Instagram video "I had to make a decision for me, but it doesn’t take anything away from what I’ve done and what I’m going to do."

WWE made a quick pivot to have Braun Strowman challenge Goldberg for the championship at WrestleMania. The Monster Among Men won the title and successfully defended it against Bray Wyatt at Money in the Bank. 

Given how many years WWE spent making Reigns the top star, it seems likely he will reclaim his spot whenever he decides to return. The company certainly needs his star power in the main event picture on SmackDown, which is lacking top babyfaces in the men's division right now. 

Reason for Asuka's Babyface Turn

Prior to Money in the Bank, Asuka was positioned as one of the top heels on the Raw brand. The Kabuki Warriors were coming off a long tag title reign that ended at WrestleMania, but both Asuka and Kairi Sane were being pushed as villains. 

Coming out of the pay-per-view, which saw Asuka win the ladder match and subsequently be awarded the Raw Women's Championship with Becky Lynch going on hiatus after announcing she's pregnant, the red brand needed a top babyface. 

Per Wrestling Observer Radio's Dave Meltzer (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats), Asuka was given an immediate face turn because her first two challengers will be Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. 

The match with Jax seems to be first up at Backlash based on the angle from Monday night:

WWE @WWE

Crashing @WWEAsuka's celebration on #WWERaw? That's a problem, @NiaJaxWWE! https://t.co/oW2uMCqirj

From a booking standpoint, it makes sense to have Asuka as the top babyface and Jax as her first challenger. Asuka is great as a hero or villain, but her in-ring ability makes her the best suited to hold down Lynch's spot as the top star in the women's division. 

Assuming Asuka retains the title at the pay-per-view, having her defeat a monster heel will make for a natural progression to the match with Baszler whenever that happens. 

  

SummerSlam Potentially Delayed?

As the wait for fans to be allowed to attend sporting events continues, Vince McMahon is reportedly thinking about what to do with his biggest pay-per-view of the summer. 

Per Meltzer in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Ortman), McMahon is "determined to have a live crowd" for SummerSlam and that could lead to the event being delayed from its traditional August date. 

SummerSlam is currently scheduled for Aug. 23 and was going to be held at TD Garden in Boston. 

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh previously announced that sporting events, parades, festivals and other events with large gatherings of people won't be allowed to take place until at least after Labor Day on Sept. 7. 

The WWE pay-per-view calendar typically features SummerSlam in August, followed by Clash of Champions in September. No date has been announced for Clash of Champions this year, so either moving it back or pulling it from the schedule this year wouldn't be that difficult. 

WWE has been able to adjust its schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic. The biggest change was turning WrestleMania 36 into a two-night event that was filmed primarily from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. 

Given how valuable the SummerSlam name is to WWE, keeping the option open for a live event in an arena makes sense at this point since the show is still three months away.