By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE SummerSlam 2018 Kickoff Show
Aired live on August 19, 2018 on WWE Network and social media
Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center
-Renee Young hosted the show and was joined by the panel of Booker T, Sam Roberts, and David Otunga. Booker said SummerSlam is the show that always makes him want to come back and do a little something.” Booker played to the limited number of fans who were in the building at this point.
-JBL and Peter Rosenberg checked in from the SummerSlam stage and set up a video package. They also ran through the Kickoff Show lineup. After additional video packages, JBL and Rosenberg set up a video on SummerSlam week in Brooklyn.
-The Miz and Maryse were shown pushing a stroller while Young and company spoke. A video package on Daniel Bryan vs. Miz aired.
-Aiden English told Rusev and Lana that he had the perfect plan to make up for his recent mistakes. Rusev told him no and ordered him to stay behind.
1. Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega vs. Rusev and Lana. The Smackdown broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton called the match. Almas worked the left arm of Rusev while they aired a split screen ad for SummerSlam that focused on the Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns match. Just before the end of the ad, Rusev reached out to Lana for a tag, but Vega pulled Lana from the apron.
The women checked into the match a short time later. Lana did a rough variation of the Spinaroonie as she controlled the offense. Late in the match, Lana became distracted by Almas on the apron. Lana slapped Almas, only to be rolled up and pinned by Vega, who had her feet on the ropes…
Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega defeated Rusev and Lana in 7:00.
Powell’s POV: Let me guess, a rematch on Smackdown and that’s when English gets involved?
-Jerry Lawler replaced Roberts on the panel for a stretch and they ran through the main card lineup.
-Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Paul Heyman in front of Brock Lesnar’s locker room. She asked a long question about the ruse they pulled on Roman Reigns on Monday. Heyman asked if they were live and said he couldn’t even follow her question. Heyman spoke about Lesnar becoming a two-sport champion and finally ridding himself of Reigns. Heyman said that when Lesnar is done with Reigns tonight the Big Dog would not come back for more. Heyman said Lesnar would F5 Roman and pin him 1-2-3. Heyman closed with his spoiler line.
-The panel questioned whether Lesnar and Heyman are actually on the same page.
-Backstage, Raw general manager Kurt Angle, Smackdown general manager Paige, and 205 Live general manager Drake Maverick spoke with one another in one of the offices. Angle and Paige were complimentary of the other’s brand. Baron Corbin entered the room and asked if Angle had Lesnar’s private locker room ready. Angle said it was all set and then told Corbin he should prepare for his match with Finn Balor. Corbin said he would take care of Balor in short order, then nudged Maverick and asked, “Get it?”
2. Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gualk for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. No wrestlers are allowed at ringside. The broadcast team was Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson. They aired another split-screen advertisement for SummerSlam a few minutes into the match. You know, because the entire Kickoff Show isn’t an advertisement for SummerSlam.
Alexander threw a series of punches at the head of Gulak while both men were on the match around 6:40. He let out a primal scream and looked to the crowd, which was unresponsive. The fans did react when he performed a nice flip dive roughly 30 seconds later. Alexander went for a springboard move a short time later, but Gulak tripped him up on the ropes. Alexander came back with a back elbow.
At 10:15, Guak applied an ankle lock. Alexander rolled out of it and into a pin for a two count. Alexander performed a Spanish Fly. They countered for pins and eventually Alexander ended up on top and got the win…
Cedric Alexander beat Drew Gualk in 10:15 to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Powell’s POV: Good effort from both men, but the live crowd clearly wasn’t engaged in their storyline and only reacted to bigger moves. Gulak has gone through significant character changes since the show started. That said, it’s hard to imagine fans who are not watching 205 Live being excited by the idea of seeing the same wrestlers who were around when they first launched the show. The entire division was severely damaged and somehow the company needs to send a message that the show is new and exciting. Having spectacular talker Drake Maverick fail to get a word in while Angle and Paige were talking wasn’t a bright move either.
-The panel put over the cruiserweight match and then turned it over to JBL and Rosenberg, who broke down the Smackdown Women’s Championship match on the entrance ramp…
-Samoa Joe was interviewed from backstage by Young and the panel. Joe congratulated Young for becoming a two income household after carrying the weight for her husband (Dean Ambrose). Hilarious. Joe questioned why AJ Styles is so upset if his words don’t have any merit. Joe claimed he spoke the truth. Booker asked Joe what his advantage is. Joe said he has Styles mentally broken. He said he’s in the head of Styles, who is acting like a phenomenal victim.
Lawler asked if Styles had to win the match for his wife. Joe said Styles absolutely had to. He questioned whether Styles has done it all for his family or if he’s really an egomaniac. Joe also said Styles has won championships wherever he has gone and then he has shown up and taken those titles from Styles. Booker asked Joe what advice he would give Styles. Joe said Styles needs to have a pillow ready in the back because he’s putting him to sleep.
3. “The B-Team” Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder for the Raw Tag Titles. The Raw team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman called the match. The Revival hit an early Shatter Machine on Axel, but Dallas was the legal man. There was another SummerSlam ad a couple minutes into the match while the Revival worked over the knee of Dallas.
Dawson had a visual pinfall on Axel. Wilder clotheslined Dallas with the top rope. In the process, Dallas stumbled back into the pin and it resulted in Axel being rolled on top of Dawson and getting the pin…
The B-Team beat The Revival in 6:15 to retain Raw Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: Let me guess, a rematch on Raw and maybe this time The Revival get the win? Man, this Kickoff Show has been such a waste of time.
-The panel spoke and then a shot aired of Ronda Rousey sporting some wild black eye makeup. Charly Caruso tried to interview Alexa Bliss, who said she wasn’t doing the interview and told her to get out of her face.
-The panel discussed the Raw Women’s Championship match.
-A lengthy video package aired on the Lesnar vs. Reigns match. JBL and Rosenberg spoke on the stage. JBL said it’s the most important night of Roman’s life. They had a long discussion on the main event.
-A shot aired of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose walking backstage to close out the Kickoff Show.
Join me for full coverage of WWE SummerSlam in a separate post on the main page.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...