Skip to main content

Week in Wrestling: Nakamura draws Vince McMahon’s ire, Terry Funk returns to the ring

Despite McMahon’s anger, he has not lost faith in the Japanese star.

News of the Week

Sports Illustrated has learned that Vince McMahon was reportedly furious with ShinsukeNakamura after last Tuesday’s SmackDown.

Nakamura dropped John Cena on his head during a reverse “xploder” maneuver near the end of the match. Despite the inherent danger, Cena luckily escaped any serious injury.

Yet Nakamura did not escape the wrath of McMahon, who has come to depend on Cena as the face of his company for the past decade.

Despite McMahon’s anger, which was more in defense of Cena than it was an indictment of Nakamura, he has not lost faith in the Japanese star.

However, if Nakamura makes another mistake on a grand stage, Sports Illustrated learned through channels close to WWE, then McMahon will have an entirely different opinion of Nakamura.

****

WWE’s creative team did a phenomenal job of casting doubt this past Raw that Brock Lesnar will lose the Universal championship at SummerSlam.

Right at the start of Raw, The Miz detailed on Miz TV that Lesnar is the overwhelming favorite to leave SummerSlam as the former champion. The odds are certainly working against Lesnar, especially since a consistent presence as champion on Raw would be best for the show. Unlike Lesnar–whose appearances are intermittent at best–Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, and Samoa Joe would all add credibility to the Universal title on a weekly basis.

But what if Lesnar wins?

With Jinder Mahal likely to retain the WWE championship until after the WWE goes on a tour of India, WWE needs a powerful way to end the SummerSlam pay per view.

Enzo Amore facing heat from WWE after latest locker room antics

It is possible that Baron Corbin cashes in his Money in the Bank contract, and it would be a major surprise if Corbin cashes in for the Universal title and moves to Raw (which would also allow John Cena a reason to follow him), but ending the second most important PPV with Corbin as the last man standing is a risk.

Lesnar winning the match and keeping the Universal title would be a genuine surprise, as well as allow the WWE to have its world champion in one of the most relevant headlines of the summer as UFC teases a Lesnar-Jon Jones fight.

In other news…

• At the age of 73, Terry Funk is returning to the wrestling ring.

Fans will never be able to see baseball legend Ted Williams take another swing or Wayne Gretzky score a meaningful goal, yet they can witness Funk climb inside the ropes again this September.

“I’m back doing what I love,” said Funk, who will be wrestling in two “Rock, Funk, and Roll” six-man tag matches with the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express against Jerry “The King” Lawler, Brian Christopher, and Doug Gilbert for the Big Time Wrestling promotion on Friday, September 22 at the Dorton Arena in Raeleigh, North Carolina, as well as on Saturday, September 23 at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium in Spartanburg, South Carolina. “I’m really honest about this, I don’t need the money.”

Funk, who was raised by the legendary Dory Funk, admitted that wrestling still runs in his blood supply.

“My pop was in the business and he loved it very much,” said Funk. “He actually went ahead and passed away while wrestling. We used to have a few parties out at the house and invite the wrestlers. There was one by the name of Lance Thornton, and he thought he could take my father. My father went ahead and said, ‘Dah gumit, I don’t think you can do that.’ So everybody pushed by the tables and chairs in the house, and they went at it.