Triple H Tells Us How Close SummerSlam 2020 Was to Being on a Boat

Our fingers were crossed (and sea legs steadied)

Paul “Triple H” Levesque says WWE did indeed look into having this year’s SummerSlam on a boat, as had been reported, and that the crazy/awesome idea actually “had about as much chance as all the other options.”

But: “As you can imagine, things on a boat aren’t quite so easy,” Levesque told TheWrap on a Wednesday conference call ahead of the latest “NXT” weekly episode. “Even just the motion of the water.”

Here’s the former WWE Superstar’s full answer to our SummerSlam-on-a-boat question: “So every option was looked into… I think that option had about as much chance as all the other options. Everything was looked into across the board, of any way that we can come back to doing what we do safely and in the best way possible. As you can imagine, things on a boat aren’t quite so easy, I would imagine. You know, even just the motion of the water and anything else. So there’s issues with everything across the board.”

Instead, WWE went with the “ThunderDome” residence at Orlando’s Amway Center, where “SmackDown,” “Raw” and main-roster pay-per-views will take place “for the foreseeable future,” one company insider told TheWrap.

Fans will be able to “attend” the arena, virtually, via video boards. Levesque, a many-time champion, founding member of DX (D-Generation X) and current executive vice president of WWE’s global talent strategy & development, promised the setup will knock our wrestling boots off.

“I think that when you see the ThunderDome concept, when you see ‘SmackDown,’ when you see ‘SumerSlam’ in that environment, I think you’re going to understand why we went in the direction that we did,” he said. “It’s spectacular. I think it’s different from anything anybody else is doing out there, the level of it.”

“I think you have read or heard stuff that Kevin Dunn has said about it. You know, one thing about Kevin’s team, they never cease to amaze me,” Levesque, who founded and runs WWE’s NXT wrestling brand, added. “So usually when they tell me something is going to be ‘spectacular’ and then I see it in person, I’m like, ‘Wow, you completely undersold it.’ So I think when you get there and you see it, you will understand why we went in the direction we did. Because even if you did it on a boat, there’s no fans, there’s nobody there. So I think that that weighs in as a factor as well.”

TheWrap has actually seen a bit of Dunn’s concept, and now our readers can too. A worker inside of the Amway Center sent us the above video of the setup, which is getting ready ahead of Friday’s “SmackDown” on Fox.

Yes, it’s vertical — not everyone is a professional cameraman.

“NXT” airs Wednesdays from 8 to 10 p.m. on USA Network. “SmackDown” occupies the same hours Fridays on Fox’s broadcast network, and “Raw” runs from 8-11 Mondays on USA.

In addition to his weekly “NXT” show, the former Hunter Hearst Helmsley held the conference call to promote the 30th “NXT Takeover,” Saturday’s “NXT Takeover XXX,” which begins at 7/6c on streaming service WWE Network.

“SummerSlam” starts the next night at 7/6c on WWE Network. Both pay-per-view events technically have a one-hour preview show beginning at 6 p.m. ET.

Every WWE Champion Ever, Ranked by Number of Reigns (Photos)

  • Pro-wrestling championship belts change hands (or waists) like grapplers change ring gear these days, though it wasn’t always that way. The current WWE Champion is Drew McIntyre, who won professional wrestling’s top title at WrestleMania 36.  

    We’ll see how long the Scottish Psychopath can hold the gold.  

    Scroll through our gallery to see every WWE Champion ever, ranked by their number(s) of title wins. Remember: this is a list of those who won the WWWF Championship, the WWF Championship or the WWE Championship. So don’t come after us, Universal Champions, et al.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Drew McIntyre  
    # of Reigns: 1   

    Scottish Psychopath unseated Brock Lesnar at the first-ever audience-free WrestleMania 36.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Kofi Kingston  
    # of Reigns: 1    

    The power of positivity.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Jeff Hardy  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    The un-“Broken” half of the Hardy Boyz has had the more storied singles career.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Bray Wyatt  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    Abigail’s brother used to go by “Husky Harris” — we’d say this run is working out better for him.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Sgt. Slaughter  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    Camel Clutch, Cobra Clutch — whatever “C”-animal it was, it hurt.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Dean Ambrose  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    And “The Lunatic Fringe” pulled this off while wearing jeans.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Chris Jericho  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    You’re a “stupid idiot” if you didn’t know this guy made “The List.”  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Eddie Guerrero  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    Generally considered one of the best ever to have done it held the big-boy belt for 133.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: The Miz  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    The kid from “The Real World” made good on his over-the-top MTV promos. One of the best on the mic, Miz has been holding down the Intercontinental Championship more than any other Superstar of the past few years.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Jinder Mahal  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    Shortly before this publishing, the “Modern-Day Maharaja” dropped the title to A.J. Styles, ending a somewhat confusing run right before the WWE went to India.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: John “Bradshaw” Layfield  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    JBL has taken his heel persona from the ring to the announce table. Never without a cowboy hat, Layfield thankfully leaves his lariat clothesline at home.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: The Ultimate Warrior
    # of Reigns: 1  

    The muscle-bound maniac who handed Hulk Hogan his first-ever “WrestleMania” loss died after suffering a heart attack three days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: “Superstar” Billy Graham  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    “Superstar” Billy Graham was a bodybuilder and buddy of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yeah, blame Graham’s body for Jinder Mahal.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Kevin Nash  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    You mean Tarzan from “Magic Mike”?!?!?   Yes, yes we do.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Pedro Morales  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    History lesson: Back in the WWWF days, Morales became the first guy in wrestling history to win all three of the major men’s titles — the WWF Championship, the Intercontinental Championship and the WWF Tag Team Championship — in the company.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: André the Giant  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    The stories about André the Giant sometimes feel as tall as he was.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: The Iron Sheik  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    This guy is as big a hit on Twitter as he was in the ring.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Kane  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but Kane is one of the smartest Superstars in WWE history.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Rey Mysterio    
    # of Reigns: 1  

    We’re not going to talk about how ridiculous the setup to his finishing move, “The 6-1-9,” became. This is a happy list.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Stan Stasiak 
    # of Reigns: 1  

    Unfortunately Stasiak only held the belt for nine days.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Rob Van Dam  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    One of the most popular ECW wrestlers of all-time, RVD has brought his three initials to seemingly every pro-wrestling promotion with three initials.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Ivan Koloff  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    The “Russian Bear” was actually Canadian.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Buddy Rogers  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    Rogers was kinda-sorta the first champion in the company. It’s complicated — ask Killer Kowalski and Bruno Sammartino.  

  • Rank: 30 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Vince McMahon  
    # of Reigns: 1  

    Hell, Mr. McMahon runs the damn company — of course he made this list.  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Batista  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    Guardian of the Galaxy, defender of WWE Championship.  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: The Big Show  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    You can’t miss this two-time champ — not even in a mega-arena.  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: A.J. Styles  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    “The Phenomenal One” held the belt for 371-straight days, which is a record for a “SmackDown” wrestler.    

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Alberto Del Rio  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    Si! Si! Si! Si! Si! Si! Si!  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Sycho Sid  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    It was a long way down from Shawn Michaels’ former bodyguard’s power-bomb.  

     

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    If you haven’t watched ESPN’s new “30 for 30: Nature Boy,” do that. Oh, and look up Flair’s ridiculous NWA runs too.  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Sheamus  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    Master of the Brogue Kick, Rocksteady in the “Ninja Turtles” movies — which is the greater accomplishment?  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Seth Rollins  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    He’s BURN(ed) IT DOWN more than once.  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Yokozuna  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    That belt needed a few extenders to fit around the sumo.  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: CM Punk  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    Let’s just say he was a little less successful in the UFC.  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Randy “Macho Man” Savage  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    Before he snapped into Slim Jims, the “Macho Man” was snapping dudes in half.  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Bob Backlund  
    # of Reigns: 2  

    Backlund couldn’t “Make Darren Young Great Again” — or even keep the guy employed — but the master of the cross-face chicken wing had a pretty incredible career of his own.  

  • Rank: 17 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Bruno Sammartino
    # of Reigns: 2  

    Google him, kids.  

  • Rank: 13 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Mankind  
    # of Reigns: 3  

    Mick Foley nearly killed himself to raise these titles.  

  • Rank: 13 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Roman Reigns  
    # of Reigns: 3  

    Go ahead and boo him, Universe — WWE is still the Big Dog’s turf right now.  

  • Rank: 13 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Shawn Michaels  
    # of Reigns: 3  

    Before he found God, the “Heartbreak Kid” found jaws with his foot, popularizing the Superkick.  

  • Rank: 9 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Daniel Bryan  
    # of Reigns: 4  

    Welcome back, (current) champ.  

  • Rank: 9 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Edge  
    # of Reigns: 4  

    On this day, you can see clearly… that Edge is one of the best to ever lace up.  

  • Rank: 9 (tie)  
    Wrestler: The Undertaker  
    # of Reigns: 4  

    The Dead Man is truly a living legend.  

  • Rank: 9 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Kurt Angle  
    # of Reigns: 4  

    Top 10, it’s true — it’s damn true.  

  • Rank: 7 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Brock Lesnar  
    # of Reigns: 5  

    Eat. Sleep. Win Titles. Repeat.  

  • Rank: 7 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Bret “Hitman” Hart  
    # of Reigns: 5  

    The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.  

  • Rank: 5 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Hulk Hogan  
    # of Reigns: 6  

    Hulkamania was real. Then again, so was Gawker at one point.  

  • Rank: 5 (tie)  
    Wrestler: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin  
    # of Reigns: 6  

    On the Mt. Rushmore of all-time greats, and that’s the bottom line.  

  • Rank: 3 (tie)  
    Wrestler: The Rock  
    # of Reigns: 8  

    He may be Dwayne Johnson now, but he’ll always be “The Rock” to us.  

  • Rank: 3 (tie)  
    Wrestler: Triple H  
    # of Reigns: 8  

    Boss of The Authority has two words for the other guys on this list. We can’t reprint them.  

  • Rank: 2  
    Wrestler: Randy Orton  
    # of Reigns: 9  

    The Viper has RKO’d a lot of dudes outta nowhere.  

  • Rank: 1  
    Wrestler: John Cena  
    # of Reigns: 13  

    U Can’t See Him.  

  • Who’s next — err, NXT?  

From Buddy Rogers to Drew McIntyre, here are all the guys from the old WWWF and WWF days — and beyond

Pro-wrestling championship belts change hands (or waists) like grapplers change ring gear these days, though it wasn’t always that way. The current WWE Champion is Drew McIntyre, who won professional wrestling’s top title at WrestleMania 36.  

We’ll see how long the Scottish Psychopath can hold the gold.  

Scroll through our gallery to see every WWE Champion ever, ranked by their number(s) of title wins. Remember: this is a list of those who won the WWWF Championship, the WWF Championship or the WWE Championship. So don’t come after us, Universal Champions, et al.  

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