By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE SummerSlam Kickoff Show
Aired live August 23, 2020 on WWE Network and social media
Orlando, Florida at Amway Center
-The Kickoff Show was hosted by Charly Caruso, Renee Young, JBL, Booker T, and Peter Rosenberg. Their desk was set up on the floor of the Amway Center. Booker said it felt good to be back in the building (after doing the shows from home). Caruso worked in a plug for Renee Young’s cookbook. Young noted that it was her last hurrah with the company.
-The hosts ran through the lineup and noted that Bayley vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship would kick off the main show.
-A video package spotlighted the feud between Braun Strowman and The Fiend over the WWE Universal Championship.
-Young acknowledged that she changed place and was now on the other side of the table when they came back from the video package.
-Sarah Schreiber stood in a small ring backstage and interviewed Andrade, Angel Garza, and Zelina Vega. Garza tried to give Schreiber a rose, but Vega stepped in. Vega claimed she didn’t poison Montez Ford. She said even if she did, he’s fine now.
-Caruso spoke about how Vega has always been rude to her and is only concerned with herself and her clients. She said she could see Vega doing something scandalous for her clients.
-The focus shifted to Jeff Hardy beating AJ Styles to win the Intercontinental Championship on Friday’s Smackdown.
-A video package aired on the Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville feud. Young admitted that she was disappointed that the hair vs. hair match stipulation is off.
-Rey Mysterio, his wife, and Dominik Mysterio were shown arriving.
-A video package aired on Asuka’s feud with Sasha Banks and Bayley. Back at the desk, Caruso started talking about Asuka when Shayna Baszler showed up with a mic. She said it doesn’t matter how the Raw Women’s Championship match goes, she has next. Caruso brought up Nia Jax. Baszler said Jax is clearly obsessed with her.
-Caruso said she was happy that Baszler showed up rather than Retribution. She set up a video package on WWE Antifa. Rosenberg said he wished Retribution would show up since they had two Hall of Famers in JBL and Booker T at the desk. “Who are these hoodlums?” Young asked.
-A video package recapped the Seth Rollins feud with the Mysterio family.
1. Apollo Crews vs. MVP for the U.S. Title. The Raw broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe were on commentary. Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin were banned from ringside. The duo accompanied MVP onto the stage and all three men wore their new “The Hurt Business” t-shirts. Lashley and Benjamin headed to the back.
MVP tossed Crews over the top rope, and Crews intentionally book a bump face first onto the ring steps. Back in the ring, MVP performed a superplex. A short time later, Crews rallied and performed a standing moonsault for a two count. Crews hoisted up MVP and hit his powerbomb finisher for the clean win.
Apollo Crews defeated MVP in 6:40 to retain the U.S. Championship.
Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin ran out after the match. Crews awkwardly escaped and went to the stage where he held up his title belt and said, “It’s still mine”…
Powell’s POV: Cedric Alexander didn’t interfere and cost Crews the championship. They’re right. I never saw it coming.
-A video package recapped the build to Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. The hosts spoke about the WWE Championship match. JBL predicted an Orton win. I think Booker T predicted a McIntyre win. No one cares what Peter Rosenberg predicted.
-Caruso said she wanted to give Young a tribute and knew she was speaking for everyone. Young thanked WWE and the fans and said the truly changed her life.
-Asuka was shown walking backstage to close the pre-show.
Join me for live coverage of the SummerSlam main show in a separate story on the main page.