Two championship matches were featured on the WWE SummerSlam kickoff: the Cruiserweight title and the Raw Tag Team Championship. There are two schools of thought when it comes the WWE featuring title matches on the SummerSlam preshow; the first one is that it gives fans a reason to tune into the kickoff, and the second is that it diminishes the value of the titles being featured since the championship isn’t being shown on the main card.
Reportedly, 205 Live has always struggled with ratings. Many analysts feel that if the WWE wants fans to care about the Cruiserweight Championship, then they may be better served by featuring the phenomenal athletes in that division on the main card of their pay-per-views. Regardless, WWE Cruiserweight champion Cedric Alexander and his opponent, Drew Gulak, put on an impressive match at SummerSlam.
Alexander’s and Gulak’s style really compliment each other well, and the two had great in-ring chemistry. The duo started the match with some classic back-and-forth chain wrestling. However, the WWE tipped their hand early on who was going over in this championship contest, as challenger Drew Gulak got a ton of heat and controlled most of the match. Gulak delivered a series of snug kicks and moves on the champion, and then once again, the action was interrupted by a WWE commercial advertising SummerSlam.
Cedric had a few false-comeback spots, and each time he got a little bit of shine, his opponent quickly cut him off. After fighting off a series of submission moves, Alexander hit an impressive flatliner that seemingly hurt the champion’s neck as well. Cedric ended up delivering an impressive dive over the top rope on the challenger.
The two had some more seesaw spots in the ring, and in a rare moment for either individual, both delivered sloppy moves during their closing exchanges. For the finish, the champion rolled Gulak up for the pinfall and retained. Minus the messiness at the end of the contest, these two had an impressive outing that would have worked well on the main card, and the finish allows their program to continue.
Cedric Alexander wasn’t the only champion to retain a title on the SummerSlam kickoff, as The B-Team defended the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against The Revival successfully. Breaking away from the usual formula, this contest started out with some heat on the faces. Early on, The Revival hit an impressive missile dropkick on Bo Dallas, and then for the third time during a preshow match, another SummerSlam commercial interrupted the action. Given the fact that the kickoff was two hours long, the WWE had plenty of time to advertise the pay-per-view other than during the preshow contests.
Back from the unneeded commercial, The Revival continued dishing out the heat. After controlling the match, in true heel fashion, Dash and Dawson started gloating. This gave Bo Dallas time to hit a neckbreaker and make the hot tag to Axel. For the finish, per their comic usual, Dallas inadvertently knocked Axel on top of Dawson to seal the victory and retain.
SummerSlam is live now on pay-per-view and the WWE Network.