Welcome to Bleeding Cool's live SummerSlam coverage. Usually, we have a couple of writers trading off articles, but it looks like I'll be doing this myself tonight. So instead of match-by-match articles, I'm going to submit hourly reports like I do for our weekly television show reports, except instead of publishing them the next morning, they'll be published tonight as soon as they're done.
WWE SummerSlam Report Part 1 – Kickoff Show
Charly Caruso introduces the kickoff show panel. Booker T is there. Renee Young is too, and she announces it's her last PPV panel since she's leaving WWE. JBL is there too, and finally, Peter Rosenberg. The panel runs through the card for the night. Then we get a video package for Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt.
After that, Charly asks for everyone's opinions. Booker T says Braun Strowman knows Bray Wyatt better than anyone so he has the upper hand. Renee (who has switched seats with Charly for some reason) also thinks Strowman has the advantage. JBL says they're playing Bray's game and so The Fiend has the edge tonight. Rosenberg says that Strowman is trying to out-Fiend The Fiend.
Charly kicks it off to Sarah Schrieber, who has Zelina Vega, Andrade, and Angel Garza backstage. Angel is disappointed that Charly isn't there, but he makes the best of it and gives a rose to Sarah instead. Zelina takes it and tosses it on the floor. Asked about poisoning Montez Ford, Zelina avoids the question and says there are more important things happening tonight. And anyway, even if she did poison Ford, it turns out he's fine now so it doesn't matter. Zelina complains about Bianca Belair attacking her. Andrade says they'll be the next Raw tag team champions.
Renee asks Charly what's going on with Zelina. Charly says she's always been very rude to her. She's self-absorbed and focused on her clients. Charly believes she poisoned Ford. Booker says a lot of people don't like Charly, according to what he's been hearing. He refuses to elaborate. JBL says the video of Zelina poisoning Ford is fake news and suggests it could be CGI. Rosenberg preaches the dangers of leaving your drink unattended.
Charly kicks off a video about AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy from Smackdown a few days ago. Booker T talks us through the video. Rosenberg says Hardy's victory was the perfect way to christen the WWE Thunderdome. Charly points out it's been about twenty years since the first time Hardy won the intercontinental title. JBL brings up losing the tag team titles to the Hardys back in the APA days. The panel applauds Hardy for being open about his addiction issues and they claim that this helps others out there suffering from addiction. How? By sending the message that the way to overcome their demons is to fight an Irishman in a bar fight?
We see a video of Mark Henry and his kids being interviewed during WWE's The Bump podcast SummerSlam preview earlier. It was basically a commercial for Welch's grape juice. Henry is rooting for Drew McIntyre against Randy Orton tonight. We get a commercial for WWE on Hulu and then see some headlines about the Thunderdome. Hey, want to know what the rules of Thunderdome are?
The SummerSlam panel shills for the Thunderdome and makes fun of other sports leagues that use cardboard cutouts. Then they play a video about Sonya Deville vs. Mandy Rose. Charly asks Renee why she thinks Sonya was so mad about Mandy's offer of an olive branch. Renee says Sonya wants the spotlight. She's also sad that it's no longer a hair vs. hair match, which I guess makes that official. Rosenberg wants to know why wrestlers would get involved in a loser leaves town match and potentially lose their jobs. JBL rolls his eyes at Rosenberg and talks about how Sonya sees an opportunity in beating Mandy Rose. Renee predicts Sonya will win. Booker predicts Mandy Rose. JBL predicts Sonya. Rosenberg predicts Mandy.
Charly shows us the Mysterio family (Dominik's mom is there) arriving at the Thunderdome. Then we get a commercial for WWE ice cream sandwich bars. Then we see a video package for Sasha Banks and Bayley against Asuka. Charly asks the panel what Asuka's strategy will be. But before anyone can answer, Shayna Baszler interrupts. Shayna says it doesn't matter how the Raw Women's Championship goes tonight because Shayna will win it from whoever holds it. Charly asks what about Nia Jax. Shayna says Nia is clearly obsessed with her, and Nia knows where to find her. Shayna will be happy to put Nia to sleep after her suspension is lifted.
Booker T points out that Shayna is one of the people who don't like Charly. JBL chimes in to say he's also heard people hate Charly. They say that Renee is much more likable. Charly changes the subject to Retribution and plays a video about their antics. Booker T says he wants nothing to do with Retribution. JBL brings up Booker being part of the WCW Invasion. Rosenberg asks if they all went to Target at the same time to buy their hoodies. JBL names all of the people who have invaded in wrestling history who have gone on to become Hall of Famers.
Charly introduces a video for Seth Rollins vs. Dominik Mysterio. Charly asks what getting hit with a kendo stick feels like. Booker T says the photos of Dominik Mysterio bruised up is the Shucky Ducky Quack Quack moment of the night. He thinks the beating shows Dominik is ready for a fight. JBL says just because someone's dad is great doesn't mean that they're gonna be great, bringing up David Sammartino. JBL talks about he and Booker getting beat up with kendo sticks in Japan back in the day.
Charly passes it to the Raw announce team of Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton, and Tom Phillips. for the one and only SummerSlam Kickoff Show match. Apollo Crews comes to the ring. We see a brief video promo from Crews about winning tonight. Then MVP comes out with Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin, though those two are not allowed to stay at ringside for the match. MVP walks down to the ring alone.
Apollo Crews vs. MVP – United States Championship Match
- Bleeding Cool television section head Ray Flook is in the Thunderdome tonight. I'm trying to find him on the screens. I want to see the exact moment when he gets my first pre-show report and has to edit it and correct all my typos.
- MVP gets the early upper hand in the match, but Crews uses his athletic prowess to fight back and take control.
- Crews charges at MVP in the corner, but MVP dumps him over the top rope. Crews falls straight to the floor and slams his face into the stairs on the way down. Nice bump.
- Despite that bump, the match continues to go back and forth.
- MVP hits a big Superplex but it's not enough to put Crews away.
- Crews hits a big tope con hilo and both men struggle to get back in the ring in time.
- They trade blows, with Crews coming out on top. He hits two big splashes, a spinebuster, and a standing moonsault, getting a two-count.
- Crews reverses a Playmaker into a Powerbomb and gets the win.
Kind of a pointless rematch if MVP wasn't going to win, wasn't it? I guess that's why it was on the pre-show. Lashley and Benjamin try to run out and jump Crews after the match but Crews escapes. With 8 minutes to go until SummerSlam, we see a video package for World of Tanks.
Charly Caruso introduces a video for Drew McIntyre vs, Randy Orton. Charly asks for thoughts. JBL doesn't think McIntyre can get the job done. Orton may be the greatest of all time. Booker says Randy is dealing with something, believing his own hype. It's a problem with ego. Maybe he'll have to check himself after facing McIntyre. Rosenberg predicts Orton wins tonight and says this is the best Orton has been in years. Renee says Orton is unstoppable right now and on another level.
Before the show goes off the air, Charly wants to pay tribute to Renee. She thanks her for everything she's done. Renee thanks WWE and the WWE Universe for changing her life. That's the last we'll ever see of Renee on WWE TV.
Asuka is seen walking backstage as the pre-show ends and SummerSlam begins. After commercials for Raw and SmackDown.