WWE SummerSlam preshow recaps and ratings

Andrew Feldman for ESPN

SummerSlam is one of the biggest nights on the WWE calendar and for the third straight year, the action will come from a sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. As the night rolls on, Tim Fiorvanti, Matt Wilansky and Andrew Feldman will provide recaps of the action match-by-match in real time, and ESPN Stats & Information's Sean Coyle provides in-depth ratings for each contest on a one-to-five scale.

The Usos def. The New Day (c) for the SmackDown Live tag team championship


If only the WWE could have predicted this match would have brought this much energy and excitement. Not only could it have been saved for the main show -- but arguably the main event.

The New Day and The Usos put on a memorable high-flying affair that had the fans chanting, singing, yelling and in utter awe.

Oh, and new champions were crowed. The Usos, after a back-and-forth battle, finally ended the match when Jimmy and Jey Uso simultaneously landed top-rope splashes to pin Big E.

Coming in, given the popularity of The Usos, and the fact this was battle was relegated to the Kickoff Show, there was little reason to believe it would end with new champs.

But Jimmy and Jey Uso withstood an onslaught of attacks from both Big E and Xavier Woods.

At one point, Woods deadlifted his much bigger partner, dropping him on Jimmy Uso but could only get a two-count in.

Two years ago, at this very arena, The New Day won the tag titles, a reign that lasted for a record 478 days. It seemed as though they had begun another run at Battleground last month that would last for quite some time as well.

As they entered the ring, Kofi Kingston, the odd man out in this battle, boldly predicted his teammates would walk out and retain their belts.

Not so much.

It's true SmackDown Live has a death of tag-team star power at the moment, especially with the dismembering of American Alpha and the inactivity of Breezango, but The Usos alone are reason enough to care about the tag division on Tuesday's show.

More often than not, we become jaded by feuds that seem to linger too long (The Miz-Dean Ambrose, anyone?), but after this performance, please bring on more Usos-New Day.

When all is said and done, this is the match that might steal, the SummerSlam show -- even if it was buried before things officially got underway.

Cruiserweight championship: Neville def. Akira Tozawa (c) via pinfall

Sometimes it's hard to understand why WWE makes a certain decision, but there are certain justifications that can be made. Neville losing his cruiserweight title in an impromptu match last Monday on Raw, only to win it back during the first hour of the kickoff show, can certainly be listed alongside some of the bigger WWE head-scratchers in recent memory.

Neville was churning along at a blistering pace as an unstoppable champion, defeating every credible challenger put in front of him, and defeating him should have been a major feather in the cap of the next top guy in the cruiserweight decision. It can be deflected or explained away as a fluke loss, done with little preparation on Monday, but is there an end-game in play?

There's no doubt that Tozawa's win on Monday was a big moment in his career, but if he was just going to turn around and lose the title, shouldn't he have won a couple weeks ago and allowed Neville to get really into his unhinged mental state before turning things around?

Anyways, let's dig into the match itself. It was intensely physical from the beginning, as you might expect from these two guys, with Tozawa seeming to be every bit of the confident champion and Neville, for the first time in a long time, uncertain, slower and doubting himself.

His hesitation earned Neville a boot to the face as he climbed in, and the early stages of the match were all Tozawa's. He hit the flying cannonball from a standing position and continued to dominate the action, but Tozawa would eventually lose control as Neville dropped him neck-first onto the top rope and then shoulder-first into the ring apron.

With the crowd half-empty, Neville did his best to try to slow the action down with a side headlock on the ground, in an attempt to get everyone behind Tozawa, and there were some half-hearted ha's ringing out through the crowd, but it still took a considerable amount of time before the crowd would get into things.

It was enough to bring Tozawa to his feet, though, and he reversed an Irish whip into his own throw into the ropes, followed by what continues to be the best suicide dive in the business.

They rolled back into the ring, Tozawa locked in an octopus stretch, and a scramble to the mat earned him a two-count near-fall.

Tozawa hit three kicks including a high kick to the head, Neville responded with a kick of his own, and then Tozawa followed with an enzuigiri and a low running kick on a sitting Neville. Both men went down.

Neville got up first and regained control, working the arm, only for Tozawa to hit a stiff forearm, a kick and a punch to Neville's face, finally putting him down. Tozawa took his time climbing to the top, allowing Neville a chance to cut him off.

Neville went for a superplex, Tozawa reversed it and hit a face-first suplex while still perched atop the top turnbuckle. But as attempted to hit his finishing cannonball from the top rope, Neville got his knees up.

Neville climbed to the top, and after a moment's pause, hit the red arrow (for the first time in a long time) to Tozawa's back, which earned him the three-count and a return to his mantle as the king of the cruiserweights.

It was a good match regardless of the action that led to it, but a contest of this caliber deserves a platform better than the first hour of the kickoff show, with more than half the crowd still filing in. It certainly doesn't seem to indicate very good things for 205 Live and the cruiserweight division going forward.

The Miz and the Miztourage def. The Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan

On the surface, pairing up Jason Jordan with the Hardy Boyz was random -- but it was a way to keep not only all three a part of the spectacle of SummerSlam, but begin the Kickoff Show with some energy.

After being reveled as Kurt Angle's illegitimate child recently, Jordan has failed to leverage any tag-team cachet he had as a member of American Alpha. The WWE, it seems, is struggling to figure out what to do with Jordan, now that he is a singles competitor -- one who has not caught on with the fans yet.

Jordan showed off his athleticism prowess early, with a huge suplex and drop kick on Bo Dallas, but it was Jordan who ultimately failed in the end, as he was the victim to The Miz's skull-crushing finale.

Of the nine current titles, The Miz, who currently holds the Intercontinental championship, is the only performer whose belt was not up for grabs. Since winning the title or the seventh time at Extreme Rules, The Miz hasn't had a bona fide beef with anyone, hence part of the reason he was relegated to the Kickoff Show.

While his cronies, Dallas and Curtis Axel, did little in the match, The Miz walked away with his music blaring and the first winner to SummerSlam 2017.