WWE Great Balls of Fire Recap
Welcome to Great Balls of Fire, the pay-per-view that will answer the question once and for all: “Do these pay-per-view titles actually matter?” I’m going to go with an emphatic no.
Akira Tozawa vs. Neville (c) for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The King of the Cruiserweights looks to defend his title against Akira Tozawa. Accompanied by Titus O’Neil to the ring the Akira Tozawa looks to de-throne Neville. Early in the match the American Airlines arena erupted with Tozawa’s signature “AH!” chant with some high powered offense. Neville answered with an attempted dive to the outside with a kick from the apron. Tozawa fought back with a series of head-first dives. Not long after escaping an octopus hold from Tozawa, Neville makes contact with a spinning heel kick to the crotch and gets the pin. This match was okay, I wasn’t expecting much but unfortunately it did not meet my expectations.
Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins
Bray Wyatt comes out first and is telling us about his greatness, Seth Rollins appears to disagree. I’m sorry, but I just can’t buy into this feud. This match felt very perfunctory. At some point during the match Wyatt told the crowd he was a god and Rollins is just a man. This causes Seth to go full Beast Mode who unleashes a flurry which causes the ref to pull him away. Wyatt then uses the good ol’ eye poke to set him up for a Sister Abigal and get the pinfall. Wyatt wins…meh. Maybe if Wyatt can really sell this “I’m a god” thing and go full Kanye I can buy into it, but for now it just feels like Wyatt isn’t taking the necessary talent to prove his greatness. We’ll see how this does leading up to Summerslam.
Ezno Amore vs. Big Cass
Enzo comes out cutting another amazing promo. If he keeps doing this there’s no doubt he can excel in the WWE despite his size. He tell the audience that his journey has been similar to “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra. We get allusions to war, to Enzo climbing up to the top, how he’s high on life, and how he had the pleasure of being in another 7 footer’s arms (The Big Show). Enzo has such a way of giving the crowd hope. At one point the stadium is deafening “ENZO! ENZO!” the crowd is eating this up. Enzo spits hot fire on the mic, telling Cass he’s in Enzo’s shadow and that he can’t take him down. We then get Enzo leading the SAWFT chant.
Big Cass comes out to some new dubstep which sounded like it was done during an all nighter by Diplo’s cousin. He says nothing and the match begins. Enzo is very scrappy during the match and Cass just plays the role of the big man. Squashing Enzo at every turn. Big Cass smacks around Enzo and throws him across the ring a few times. Cass effortlessly picks up Enzo and throws him out of the ring. Cass raises a fist as if to declare he is the future of WWE. Enzo barely gets back into the ring to avoid the count out.
Unfortunately for Enzo, Cass easily gets the pin after a boot to the face and wins the match as Enzo gasps for breath. As Cass walks up the ramp Enzo is helped up by the referees, looking devastated. This is what everyone expected but it still sucks that this is where these two had to go. I wanted so badly for these two to have a tag team title run. For now, it seems that Cass is going to get the big push, it’s unclear what Enzo’s future is but I hope WWE is smart enough to understand what an amazing talent Enzo is on the mic.
The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (c) for the WWE RAW Tag Team Championship
Here we have our first ever 30 minute iron man match for the Raw tag team titles. The first pin comes in seconds as Cesaro came in with a deke to fool Matt Hardy. Sheamus who started in the ring Brogue Kicks Matt to go up 1-0. 10 minutes in we get the same tandem to go up 2-0. Everything’s looking good for Cesaro and Sheamus. A couple minutes later the Hardys get a Poetry in Motion, Side Effect, and A Twist of Fate on Cesaro. 2-1 Ce-Sheamus up 2-1. The next fall comes after a count out on the Hardys to put Cesaro and Sheamus up 3-1. The Hardys come back to make it 3-2 after a backslide on Cesaro. We then have an onslaught of nearfalls, until Matt goes all in on a Twist of Fate from the top rope to tie it up 3-3 with just under three minutes remaining. The final fall comes with only 20 seconds left as Jeff tags in for a Swanton Bomb on Sheamus, but Cesaro, the legal man, comes in for a pin on Hardy to make it 4-3. The Hardys scramble to pin Cesaro as he runs out and around the ring. Jeff Twist of Fates Cesaro but begins the pin with only 2 seconds left leaving no time to pin Cesaro. Cesaro and Sheamus retain the belts.
Sasha Banks v Alexa Bliss (c) for the RAW Women’s Championship
The match starts off pretty slow, a lot of cornering to the ring ropes back and forth between Sasha and Alexa. Sasha is the aggressor early in the match tossing around Alexa with multiple arm drags and flips. Then something really weird happens. After an arm drag Alexa feigns her shoulder being dislocated and holds it reeling in pain, only for it to be revealed that she was faking it and then goes onto the attack on Sasha. Pretty unique move, I honestly thought it was real given Sasha’s history of recklessness in the ring. Sasha and Alexa trade blows back and forth with some good tosses by Sansha including a back suplex to Alexa Bliss. Sasha lands a Bank Statement on Alexa and while it looks like Alexa is going to tap out she makes it to the ropes forcing Sasha to release the hold. After trading some blows Sasha throws Alexa out of the ring who loses by countdown but remains RAW Women’s Champ. As Alexa makes her way up the ramp Sasha ambushes Alexa as they start trading blows. Alexa then attempt to throw Sasha into the announcer’s table but Sasha counters with a double knee jump into the champ. Great ending to a pretty good match.
Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz (c) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Miz in all his glory comes out with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas (aka the MIztourage) and Maryese. Having a belt on the Miz is good for everyone, he knows how to ham up being the champ. As the Miz’s crew takes to ringside Dean Ambrose comes out. Dean Ambrose comes out, he’s Dean Ambrose, there isn’t much else to say. This match starts out very similar to many of the previous Miz/Ambrose matches. They trade a lot of heavy bumps in the beginning of the match. After a figure four leglock by the Miz, Dean Ambrose is helpless and can’t stand. Ambrose takes a flurry of kicks cheered on by the crowd. Ambrose gets up and puts an elbow drop on Miz and nearly gets the pinfall. After a dirty deeds by Ambrose he attempts to get the pinfall but Maryese puts the Miz’s foot on the rope to avoid the pinfall. Ambrose then gets ambushed by the Miztourage which allows the Miz to get the pin and retain the belt. There wasn’t much to discuss during this match, it was very by the numbers for a Miz match. Hopefully the Miz can start a new feud because at this point the Ambrose-Miz shtick is getting old.
Roman Reigns v Braun Stroman Ambulance Match
Braun begins pummelling Roman Reigns with multiple slams as we get a BRAAAAUUUUNNNNN from Stroman. Roman gets a few bumps on Braun but nothing that can hurt the big man. Roman perseveres as he lifts up Stroman into a fireman’s carry and drops him. He then goes after the elbow of Stroman that was recently surgically repaired. Roman exits the ring and retrieves a chair as he continues to target Braun’s elbow. Braun finally gets up as Roman hits him square in the elbow with the chair but Braun continues unphased. As Roman continues to hit Braun with the chair Braun marches toward Roman unphased. Braun then begins to toss Roman around into the barricades and throws him up the ramp. Roman is able to regain his composure and lands some punches on Braun. Unfortunately for Roman, Braun easily shakes it off as he throws Roman into the ambulance. Braun drags Roman to the ambulance and attempts to put him inside, Roman fights his way out from Braun’s grasp and superman punches Braun into the ambulance. Braun struggles as Roman tries to put him in. Braun breaks free as he hits Roman with the backboard from the ambulance. Roman struggles up as the two work their way back up the ramp. Braun picks up Roman, Roman breaks free and pushes Braun through the LED screen! Braun gets up, picks up Roman and throws him down toward the ambulance. Roman counters by picking up a lighting fixture and hitting Braun. Roman then goes for the spear but misses Braun and flies into the ambulance! Braun shuts the doors and wins the match.
What happens next is crazy. Roman comes out of the ambulance and starts beating up Braun. He then puts Braun in the ambulance, hijacks it, and then slams in rear end into a car in the back garage.
Next there’s a match between Curt Hawkins and Heath Slater which does not matter. What matters is that the fire department comes in with the jaws of life to rescue Braun Stroman from the ambulance. Braun comes out look bloody as hell stumbling throughout the back. This was so cool! I have to say folks if Roman isn’t heel after this I don’t know if I have any faith in WWE. Roman is going full heel and it is glorious! I don’t know how they justify him being a face of the company after this, Braun somehow comes out as the sympathetic character at the end of this, what a great match, best part of the night…so far.
Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar (C) for the WWE Universal Championship
There is a somber tone as the announcers bring up the final match, Samoa Joe v Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. As Paul Heyman introduces Brock Lesnar, Joe comes in with a cheap shot from behind, takes Lesnar out of the ring and throws him through one of the announcer tables. Brock gets back into the ring as the match gets ready to officially begin. The match gets off to a quick start as Joe gets a lot of hits on Lesnar. Lesnar tries to counter as Joe begins a series of grappling moves. Joe tries to get in a coquina clutch but can’t lock it in. Brock responds by taking Joe to SUPLEX CITY! We start with 3 suplexes. As Brock tries to get the fourth Joe grabs onto the ropes, as the ref gets nearby Joe obscures the refs view so we can kick Brock right in the junk. Joe tries to lock in another coquina clutch but Brock drives Joe into the mat to escape. Brock responds with another flurry of suplexes. Another 3 which brings us up to 6. Joe tries for another coquina clutch but Brock gets the reversal into an F5. 1-2-3, pinfall as Brock retains his title.
Not a bad PPV, the highlight of the night is easily the Roman Reigns/Braun Stroman fallout. I’m really excited to see where these two take their feud but it is pretty clear WWE has some big plans for these two, and I for one am actually excited for something involving Roman Reigns.