Great Balls Of Fire 2017

|Date: July 9, 2017
|Venue: American Airlines Center |City: Dallas, Texas
|Attendance: 16,579
|Brand: Raw

|tweet me: @bastionblogger

A video package kicks us off in the style of a drive-in cinema. Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman get top billing but also Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks and the main event between Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe.

Michael Cole welcomes us to Great Balls Of Fire.

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

Background: On the May 15 episode of Raw, Seth Rollins was scheduled to face Bray Wyatt as part of the buildup to their fatal five-way match at Extreme Rules. Wyatt and Rollins insulted each other prior to their match which Rollins won by disqualification after Samoa Joe interfered. On the June 5 episode of Raw, Rollins wrestled Joe. During the match, Wyatt’s music played and distracted Rollins, allowing Joe to win. The following week, Rollins confronted Wyatt, called him a coward, and wondered if the reason Wyatt cost him his match was due to Rollins previously calling him gutless. Wyatt, claiming himself to be a god, said that although Rollins slayed a king (referring to Rollins’ victory over Triple H at WrestleMania 33), he cannot slay a god. The next week, as Rollins introduced himself as the cover star of the WWE 2K18 video game, he was interrupted by Wyatt. Wyatt accused Rollins of contradicting the video game’s tagline “Be Like No One” by having conformed to the expectations of the audience. Rollins then attacked Wyatt. On the June 26 episode, Wyatt challenged Rollins to a match at Great Balls of Fire, which Rollins accepted. The two cut promos on each other the following week, with Wyatt’s promo emanating from a desert

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time singles match between these two men on pay per view.

Match: We’re told Seth Rollins has had more PPV matches than anyone else in WWE over the past five years. Big fact considering how long Rollins was out injured. Seth sets a quick pace to the start of the match but Wyatt stops him from hitting a suicide dive. Wyatt bounces Rollins over the ring steps and the barricade. Bray hits a superplex and then a DDT on the apron. Wyatt dominates until Seth hits a dropkick and then a suicide dive. Rollins hits a springboard clothesline for a near fall. Rollins picks up the pace with a slingblade and a blockbuster. Rollins counters Sister Abigail and then hits the falcon arrow for a near fall. Both men have unique offence and it’s making for a good match. Wyatt pokes Rollins in the eye and then hits Sister Abigail for the three!

Result: Bray Wyatt wins by pinfall.

Review: This was a good match. Nothing wrong with it. If anything the finish came out out of nowhere really. Bray Wyatt wins with a thumb to the eye which suggests that this feud may continue until Summerslam. Bray Wyatt wins tonight though and it’s a win I feel that he needed.

Rating: 7/10

There’s an ad for Battleground and then an ad for the WWE Network.

Charly Caruso is backstage with The Hardy Boys. Matt Hardy uses superhero innuendos and says that tonight’s iron man match is all about stamina. Jeff says that tonight they make history again when they break bars.

There’s a video package up next showing the rise and fall of Enzo and Cass.

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

Background: Enzo Amore was attacked backstage and it was revealed to be none other than his tag team partner Big Cass. Cass admitted to the crime and said that he was fed of carrying Enzo who was holding him back. Enzo cried a tear but vowed revenge on his former best friend.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first PPV match between these two former tag team partners.

Match: Enzo cuts a promo before the match and compares himself to Frank Sinatra’s “that’s life”. The bell rings and Big Cass, who has new music, is aggressive in his assault on Amore. He ragdolls Enzo around and then hits him with a fallaway slam and a big splash. Big Cass lifts Enzo high above his head and then throws his former friend out of the ring. Enzo just beats the count back into the ring. Cass hits a running boot and then pins Enzo for the three.

Result: Big Cass wins by pinfall.

Review: There wasn’t much to this match but it was physical and a very routine win for Big Cass. Enzo looked weak and was beaten up for the whole match. I don’t know if this feud is over. If it was to continue it would’ve been Enzo with the fluke win and a post-match beatdown from Cass.

Rating: 3.75/10

There’s an ad for a WWE Network documentary about Kurt Angle.

The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) vs. The Hardy Boys (Matt & Jeff) – 30 minute iron man match for the Raw Tag Team Championships

Background: At Extreme Rules, Cesaro and Sheamus defeated The Hardy Boyz (Jeff and Matt Hardy) in a steel cage match to win the Raw Tag Team Championship. The Hardy Boyz invoked their championship rematch for the June 12 episode of Raw in a 2-out-of-3 falls match, which ended in a no contest after the deciding fall ended in a double-countout. The following week, The Hardy Boyz teamed with Finn Bálor and defeated the team of Cesaro, Sheamus, and Elias Samson. On the July 3 episode, General Manager Kurt Angle announced that The Hardy Boyz would face Cesaro and Sheamus in one final match for the titles in a 30-Minute Iron Man match at Great Balls of Fire. Also that episode, The Hardy Boyz joined on commentary for Bálor’s match against Cesaro. Samson came out and tripped Bálor while Sheamus distracted the referee. The Hardys then came down to ringside to help and a brawl broke out between all six that ended with Bálor getting the win over Cesaro.

Previous PPV matches: This is a third PPV match between these two tag teams, both teams have previously won once on PPV.

Match: It’s a great start to the match as Matt Hardy and Cesaro look to start but Cesaro darts out of the ring which distracts Matt Hardy and allows Sheamus to hit a brogue kick for the three! The Bar go 1-0 up. Matt Hardy gets a lot of “delete” chants which go back to his gimmick in Impact Wrestling. The match is then back and forth with tags between both teams. All hell breaks loose at one point with all four men going at it on the outside. Sheamus and Cesaro dominate for a while, not allowing Jeff Hardy to make a tag. Sheamus hits white noise on Jeff Hardy with Cesaro coming off the top at the same time. Sheamus hooks Jeff’s leg and gets the 3! The Bar go 2-0 up. Jeff finally manage to tag in his brother Matt who picks up the pace. The Hardy Boys hit poetry in motion on Cesaro, Matt hits side affect and Jeff hits twist of fate to get a fall back! The Bar are now 2-1 up. The fight goes to the outside again where Cesaro pushes Matt Hardy into the ringpost. That then results in Matt getting counted out! The Bar go up 3-1. The Bar are very much in control of this match as we go into the final 10 minutes.

Matt hits a side affect out of nowhere for a near fall. Cesaro then locks on a sharpshooter but Jeff breaks it up. Jeff Hardy hits a big legdrop to get a fall back. The Bar are up 3-2. Jeff hits whisper in the wind on Cesaro for a near fall. Sheamus tags in and hits a knee version of the brogue kick but Matt tags in. Matt hits a tornado DDT for a near fall. Matt hits a moonsault on Sheamus for a near fall. I thought that was 3. Only 3 and a half minutes left. Matt hits a twist of fate off the top and gets a pinfall to tie it up! 3-3. Jeff tags in and knocks Sheamus down before heading to the top but Cesaro pulls his partner out. Jeff dives to the outside and then rolls Sheamus back into the ring. The Hardys then dive off together and hit a joint splash but Cesaro breaks up the cover. One minute left. Matt Hardy is bleeding from the face. Jeff tags in and hits the swanton bomb but Cesaro slides in and pins Jeff for the three! The Bar are up 4-3. Cesaro rolls out of the ring as the clock ticks down. Jeff chases Cesaro back into the ring, hits twist of fate and covers him but the timer runs out!

Result: The Bar retains their Tag Team Championships 4-3.

Review: This was a fantastic match. Two great tag teams putting on an awesome match. I genuinely thought that The Hardy Boys might have pulled it back. But Sheamus and Cesaro won the match in the end. One of the best tag team match I’ve ever seen. No exaggeration. Four great performers putting on a great match.

Rating: 8.5/10

There’s a VT of Xavier Woods at the Rocket League Championships.

There’s another ad for Battleground and the match between John Cena and Rusev.

There’s a VT next for Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks.

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks – Raw Women’s Championship match

Background: Sasha Banks won a gauntlet match to become number one contender to the Raw Women’s Championship. She’d already made it clear that she wanted a title match but winning the gauntlet confirmed the match.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two girls.

Match: It’s a back and forth start to the match but Sasha hits Bliss with a dropkick sending her to the outside. Banks continues to dominate and Alexa sells her arm but she’s double jointed and uses the distraction to cheap shot her challenger. Sasha hits a backstabber and looks for the Banks Statement but Alexa gets to the ropes very quickly and rolls out of the ring again. Bliss then heads back up the entrance way but Sasha goes after her and brings her back to the ring. Alexa regains the advantage and is relentless in her attack. Sasha hits a suplex into the corner and then a belly to back suplex. Bliss hits a nice sunset flip for a near fall. She’s working the back of Sasha Banks in this match. Alexa goes for Twisted Bliss but Sasha gets her knees up. Banks then locks on the Banks Statement. Alexa gets to the ropes and again rolls out of the ring. Bliss fights Banks away and then purposely gets counted out!

Result: Sasha Banks wins by count-out.

Review: This match was actually pretty good. I didn’t like the finish, nobody likes a count out. But it sets up the re-match in a feud that will probably continue until Summerslam. If that match is anything like this one then it should be really good.

Rating: 6/10

Sasha Banks attacks Alexa after the match and smashes her off the announce desk. Banks hits the double knees off the announce desk to the floor below on Bliss.

There’s an ad for Rocket League.

And another ad for Battleground, focused on Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton.

We’re shown some footage from the Great Balls Of Fire kick-off show with Neville defeating Akira Tozawa. Backstage Akira Tozawa tells Titus O’Neil that he wants a rematch. Tozawa is a part of the Titus Brand these days.

The Miz (c) vs. Dean Ambrose – Intercontinental Championship match

Background: At Extreme Rules, The Miz defeated Dean Ambrose to win his seventh Intercontinental Championship. The following night on Raw, Ambrose wanted a rematch, but Miz denied him. Later, Maryse threw Miz a celebration party which consisted of champagne, a bear mascot, and a huge red gift. Miz attacked the mascot because he thought it was Ambrose. Miz also thought that Ambrose was hiding in the gift and he knocked it over and proceeded to destroy it. Maryse said that it was a grandfather clock that he had always wanted, which caused Maryse to run to the back upset. Miz apologised to Maryse for destroying the clock and for accidentally knocking her off the apron the previous week. Maryse accepted the apology, but after Ambrose interrupted, the clock was accidentally broken again by Miz, and Maryse left the ring in tears. Following this, Ambrose was attacked by two men dressed in bear costumes who were revealed to be Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas, who Miz had earlier invited to be part of his entourage. The following week on Raw, Ambrose teamed with Heath Slater and Rhyno in a losing effort against The Miz and his Miztourage (Axel and Dallas). The following week, Miz retained his title in a match against Slater. Ambrose was then granted his rematch for the Intercontinental Championship at Great Balls of Fire.

Previous PPV matches: This is a second PPV match between these two men, Miz beat Ambrose at Extreme Rules.

Match: The bell rings and Ambrose goes right after Curtis Axel before getting back into the ring. Ambrose then goes after Dallas! The numbers become too much and Miz takes the advantage. Ambrose catches Miz coming off the top and looks for dirty deeds but Miz counters. The crowd seem really flat for this match. Ambrose fires up to little reaction from the crowd and hits a double underhook suplex off the top for a near fall. Ambrose looks like he’s bleeding from the mouth following some kicks. Miz counters dirty deeds again and then locks on the figure four. Ambrose gets to the ropes but Maryse distracts the referee which allows Axel and Dallas to get involved. Ambrose fights them all off and then heads to the top and hits the vertical elbow drop which takes out all three men. Dean then hits dirty deeds but Maryse puts Miz’s foot on the bottom rope. Ambrose sells his knee following a suicide dive on Miz and then pulls Axel into the ring. The referee sees to Axel which allows Bo Dallas to hit a cheap shot which sets up Miz to hit the skull-crushing finale! and that’s enough for the three!

Result: The Miz wins by pinfall.

Review: This match was decent enough but the crowd didn’t seem to get into it. Miz won with help from Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel as well as Maryse. This is a good spot for Miz and I like him having the Miz-tourage. I think Dean Ambrose needs to go in a different direction now. I wouldn’t actually mind a heel turn.

Rating: 6/10

There’s another ad for the WWE Network.

There’s a VT next showing the recent history between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman – Ambulance match

Background: Strowman defeated Reigns at Payback, and assaulted him after the match and again on Raw Talk, when Reigns was about to be taken to a medical facility. However, Reigns retaliated by slamming an ambulance door against Strowman’s arm multiple times. The next night on Raw, General Manager Kurt Angle informed the audience that both men were injured. The following week, Strowman, wearing a sling on his arm, indicated that he would target the Universal Champion after finishing off Reigns. Later that night, Reigns attacked Strowman during the latter’s match, targeting his arm with a steel chair. Strowman required surgery and was expected to be inactive for up to six months. On the June 19 episode of Raw, Reigns proclaimed himself to be the number one contender for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. Later that night, Strowman returned in an ambulance, costing Reigns his match against Samoa Joe. Strowman attacked Reigns and challenged him to an ambulance match at Great Balls of Fire. The following week, Reigns accepted the challenge and an ambulance appeared at the stage; Reigns went to investigate, but Strowman attacked him and put him into the ambulance. On the final Raw before Great Balls of Fire, Strowman attempted to put Apollo Crews, who he had just defeated, in an ambulance, but as he opened the door, Reigns was in the ambulance and attacked Strowman. The two brawled that ended with Reigns executing a spear on Strowman off the stage and both crashed through a table and boxes

Previous PPV matches: This is a third PPV match between these two men. They have both previously won one match a piece.

Match: It’s a fast paced high impact start to the match as the two heavyweights go at it. Strowman takes the early advantage until Reigns launches him into the ringpost. This match main evented Payback but it takes second billing tonight. Strowman manages to counter anything Reigns throws at him. Braun hits a powerslam and pins Reigns before remembering pins get you nowhere in this match. Roman manages to hit a Samoan drop and then brings a chair into the match, hitting Strowmans recently repaired elbow with it. Braun keeps on fighting off Reigns, not selling the chair shots. He takes Reigns up the aisle and sets him up for a powerbomb but Reigns fights out of it. Strowman throws Reigns into the side of the ambulance before opening the back doors but Reigns fights back. Roman hits a superman punch but he can’t get Strowman into the ambulance. Braun looks for a powerslam on the stage but Reigns escapes his clutches and pushes him through the LED wall. Reigns then hits Strowman with a light which sends the big man backwards. Roman then lunges at Braun with a spear but Braun moves and Reigns goes right into the back of the ambulance! Braun shuts the doors and wins the match!

Result: Braun Strowman wins.

Review: This match was ok. It didn’t blow me away but it was entertaining in parts. There were a few decent spots, the LED wall for example. I’m not totally content with the finish and it definitely looks like it could go to another match.

Rating: 5.75/10

After the match Reigns spears Strowman and then throws him into the back of the ambulance before driving off! Reigns drives to the back where he then reverses the ambulance into another truck, smashing the ambulance (and Strowman) up. Some nice editing in this one.

Heath Slater vs. Curt Hawkins

Background: We’re told this is an impromptu match to fill some time whilst officials see to Braun Strowman in the back of the ambulance.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.

Match: Well it’s quite a nice start to the match with some back and forth wrestling. A “we want Balor” chant breaks out from the crowd though. It seems so weird just to have this match now. It makes no sense at all. Hawkins takes the advantage as we hear sirens and shown ambulances backstage turning up. At one point they go full screen on the backstage stuff. No idea what’s happening in the match. Oh, the bell rings and we hear the announcement that Heath Slater has won. God knows how.

Result: Heath Slater wins somehow.

Review: Why did this happen. A win for Heath Slater on pay per view though!

Rating: N/A

Backstage and fire crews back into the ambulance. Strowman is laying on the ground. A bloody Strowman crawls out of the ambulance and shoves away anyone trying to help him.

There’s a video package for Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe next.

Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Samoa Joe – Universal Championship match

Background: Samoa Joe won a fatal five way match at Extreme Rules to become number one contender to the Universal Championship. Since then Paul Heyman has goaded Joe, calling him the Samoan that the great Samoan dynasty don’t have anything to do with. Samoa Joe says that he doesn’t fear Lesnar. Joe has taken Brock Lesnar out, locking on the coquina clutch showing just how much of a threat he is.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.

Match: Brock Lesnar’s music will never not get a pop. Joe attacks Brock Lesnar as Heyman is making the introduction and sends him out of the ring, into the barricade and then through the German announce table! Lesnar slowly gets back up to his feet and crawls back into the ring which allows the referee to call for the bell. Samoa Joe goes right back to work on Lesnar. The two men exchange knee shots but it’s advantage Joe. Joe looks for coquina clutch and locks it on but Brock manages to break it. Lesnar hits his first German suplex of the match and follows it up with a few more. Joe hits a low blow which the referee doesn’t see and follows it up with a uranage for a near fall. Joe goes for the coquina clutch again but Brock fights out of it. Lesnar hits three German suplexes and attempts an F5 but Joe counters and locks on the coquina clutch. Brock fades but then springs to his feet and hits an F5! Lesnar hooks the leg and gets the 3!

Result: Brock Lesnar wins by pinfall.

Review: This was a different match for Lesnar. Samoa Joe dominated for most of the match and Brock hits the F5 out of nowhere to win. I enjoyed it though, like I do with most of Lesnars matches. Brock retains the Universal Championship, who will be his next opponent for Summerslam? A good showing for Joe who comes out of this looking very strong.

Rating: 7/10

And that was Great Balls Of Fire! There were definitely more highs than lows on this show. I loved the Hardy Boys vs. The Bar match, a surprising match of the night considering the card. I’d go as far to say that this was one of the greatest tag team matches of all time which I guess isn’t a massive surprise considering the teams involved. The other two really solid matches were between Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt in the opener and the main event between Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe. The match between Enzo and Big Cass was the only poor match (discounting Heath Slater vs. Curt Hawkins), everything else made this a really watchable show and one I would recommend you go back and watch.

Overall Rating: 62.85/10 (ranked joint 90th out of 347)

Match Of The Night: The Bar vs. The Hardy Boys
Worst Match Of The Night: Enzo vs. Big Cass
Surprise Of The Night: Braun Strowman beats Roman Reigns
Worst Booking Of The Night: N/A
Superstar Of The Night: Brock Lesnar
Great Balls Of Fire Will Be Remembered For: Its ridiculous name. And Brock v Joe.

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