By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE SummerSlam Kickoff Show
Aired live August 11, 2019 on WWE Network and social media
Toronto, Ontario at Scotiabank Arena
-The first hour of the pre-show was hosted by Jonathan Coachman, Charly Caruso, Beth Phoenix, and David Otunga. Phoenix noted that she had her very first tryout match in the same venue. The hosts ran through the lineup.
-Sam Roberts and JBL checked in from ringside and set the table for a video package on how the Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler match came to be.
-The Miz joined the panel at their desk on the arena floor. Miz said he would have a match with “whatever’s left of” Ziggler on Raw.
-A video package aired Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. Miz said Orton is driven and at his best. Roberts and JBL checked in from ringside. Roberts said he was in the crowd at MSG for the controversial match between Kingston and Orton. JBL said Kingston was not ready then, but he is today. They debated whether Kingston was ready. They went back to the table where Miz checked out by showing off his “Toronto Is Awesome” t-shirt.
-A video package recapped the build to Charlotte Flair vs. Trish Stratus. Backstage, Flair was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Flair said it was legitimate athletes like her who started the revolution. She said nostalgia is never as good as you remember, and Trish will bow down. The panel then put over Flair vs Stratus as a true dream match.
-A video package set up the Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor match. Roberts and JBL spoke about it at ringside.
-Mick Foley joined the panel. He spoke about being attacked by Wyatt’s Fiend persona and his use of the Mandible Claw. Foley described it as a nerve hold while Phoenix looked disgusted in the background of the camera shot. Funny.
-Coachman hyped Drew Gulak vs. Oney Lorcan for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, Apollo Crews vs. Buddy Murphy, and Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The IIconics for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles as the Kickoff Show matches.
-A video package spotlighted the Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon feud. Backstage, Braxton asked Owens if this is the biggest night of his career. Owens said he is fighting for his career. Owens said people have asked why he didn’t make sure Shane’s career was also on the line. Owens said Shane can say and do whatever he wants because his last name is McMahon and he also has no integrity. Owens said he put his career on the line to get Shane in the ring.
Powell’s POV: They are spending a lot of time attempting to explain away this poor story. It would have worked if Shane had refused to wrestle Owens for a few weeks and then Owens put his career on the line to make it happen, but they just rushed through it.
-Roberts and JBL spoke about the Owens vs. Shane match. JBL said to ask the Crockets or Ted Turner what it’s like to fight a McMahon while adding that he thinks Owens bit off more than he can chew. The panel also discussed the match. Foley signed off on the pre-show.
-The OC trio of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson paid a visit to Finn Balor’s locker room. Styles referred to Balor as their little brother and said maybe he’s the one who needs good luck in his match against The Fiend. Balor said he’s ready to play Balor’s mind games. Styles said that if Balor needed help all he had to do was throw up the too sweet hand sign. The OC left the room. Balor didn’t look like he was on the same page with The OC.
-The U.S. Title match between AJ Styles and Ricochet was featured in a video package.
-The focus shifted to the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, which included a video recap.
1. Drew Gulak vs. Oney Lorcan for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. The 205 Live broadcast team of Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Aiden English was on commentary and said it would be one of the hardest hitting cruiserweight title matches to date. The bell rang to start the match and Gulak charged Lorcan and dropkicked him into the corner. Lorcan came back and lit up Gulak with some chops in the corner, then shot him into the other corner and clotheslined him. Gulak returned the favor with a running clothesline and then bodyslammed Lorcan into the corner and covered him for a two count heading into a split screen commercial break.
Later, the wrestlers traded strikes in the middle of the ring. Gulak got the better of it. Lorcan covered up while Gulak continued to fire away. Gulak applied a submission hold, but Lorcan countered into a pin for a good near fall. Lorcan stood up and grabbed Gulak’s face, then struck him three times. Lorcan performed two running forearms and eventually connected with a third. Lorcan let out a primal scream and the crowd responded. Lorcan pulled at Gulak, who held onto the ring skirt. While the ref was tending to the ring skirt, Gulak punched Lorcan in the throat and then followed up with his finisher and scored the pin…
Drew Gulak defeated Oney Lorcan in 8:45 to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Powell’s POV: A fun match while it lasted and when it wasn’t being interrupted by the needless commercial. But, hey, at least it was a split screen and we didn’t get a silly restart.
Booker T and Jerry Lawlor joined Coachman and Caruso on the pre-show set. Drake Maverick showed up without his shirt and asked why they were talking about everyone but him. He handed them “wanted” signs with R-Truth’s face on them. Maverick told the panel to let him know if they see R-Truth. The camera pulled back and showed that R-Truth and Carmella were lying in front of the desk eating concession food.
After Maverick left, Lawler addressed R-Truth and Carmella, who spoke with them briefly. Maverick returned with a referee and chased R-Truth. Carmella tripped Maverick as he chased Truth around the desk. Truth put Carmella on his back and they ran off with a limping Maverick and the referee in pursuit…
The pre-show panel ran through the SummerSlam lineup…
-The Raw Women’s Championship was spotlighted in a video package, then Natalya was interviewed backstage. Natalya said she will win the title with the Sharpshooter. Lawler put over the Sharpshooter as the most painful hold he was ever put in.
2. Apollo Crews vs. Buddy Murphy. The Smackdown broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. They put over Murphy as “the best kept secret” and Graves told viewers not to blink. The bell rang and Murphy ran across the ring and drilled Crews with a knee to the head and then covered him for a two count. Crews came back with a standing moonsault for a two count. Murphy caught Crews on the ropes and ended up slamming him down with a running powerbomb for a near fall.
A short time later, Crews went for a moonsault off the apron, which Murphy avoided. Murphy ran Crews into the post and then returned to the ring and performed a flip dive onto Crews on the floor. Murphy rolled Crews back inside the ring. Rowan showed up and gave Murphy a big boot for the apparent DQ finish.
Buddy Murphy beat Apollo Crews by an apparent DQ in 4:20.
Rowan destroyed Murphy and picked him up in powerbomb position and tossed him back first into the ring post. Daniel Bryan was shown watching the attack on a backstage monitor. Rowan told Murphy to leave his name out of his mouth…
Powell’s POV: I was hoping that the match would serve as a way to launch the talented Murphy, but what they did was perfectly logical given the story they are telling with Bryan, Rowan, and the Roman Reigns whodunnit.
Ads aired for WWE Network and then the “Good Boys” movie…
Elias was introduced for a musical bit on his stool in the ring. Elias sang a song in which he heeled on Toronto and how he knows he’s there because he the Stanley Cup is not. He said he can’t wait to leave and join his friend Kawhi Leonard in LA.
Edge’s entrance music played. Edge headed to the ring, soaked up some cheers, and glared at Elias. Edge speared Elias. Edge went to the middle rope and played to the fans. Edge went to the stage, smiled, and headed backstage…
Powell’s POV: Now that was an unexpected surprise. Edge showing up in Toronto? Sure. Edge getting physical with a spear? No. That was fun.
3. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. “The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. The Smackdown broadcast was on the call again. Kay came out wearing horns on her head. They cut a promo saying that Bliss and Cross never beat them to win the titles. Bliss wore a Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story” inspired outfit. She acted like she had a laser beam on her wrist or something, which Graves flipped out over and said she only had a blinking light and toy that inspired her gear doesn’t even have that.
Later, Kay caught Bliss with a big kick and had her pinned, but Cross broke it up. Bliss hopped onto the back of Kay and put her in a sleeper, then they rolled to ringside. Royce hit a neckbreaker on Bliss in the ring and flipped when she didn’t get the three count. Bliss dropped her with a punch, then went up. Kay tried to stop her, but Cross pulled her back to ringside. Bliss hit Twisted Bliss on Royce and pinned her…
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross beat “The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Titles in 6:15.
Powell’s POV: So are Bliss and Cross babyfaces now? Cross basically has been all along, but it seems like they wanted Bliss to be cheered too. I guess we’ll see if this is just for the night since they were working against the heel IIconcis. By the way, after months of no major network glitches after making the switch from PS4 to Roku, I’ve had several issues and even restarts tonight. It could be on my end, but it may also be the new network app. And don’t even get me started on the misfires that occur when I attempt to back up the feed by ten seconds.
The panel ran through the SummerSlam main show card again…
A video package focused on the WWE Universal Championship match. The panel spoke about the match to close the pre-show…
Check out my review of the actual SummerSlam card in a separate post on the main page.