Dallas Texas played host to perhaps the most oddly named PPV in WWE, and despite it’s ridiculous and/or fantastic name, WWE Great Balls of Fire delivered perhaps the Best B-Level PPV in recent memory. A fantastic show from start to finish, there was not a bad match (well expect maybe one if you actually count it). A show stacked with storytelling at its very best, one of the most incredible things you’ll ever see in WWE, and a match many thought they could only ever dream of. Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire Delivered on every level.
The kick-off show saw Neville retain his WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Akira Tozawa. There was no reason for the champion to come out first in this case, it’s really not a big deal but just a sense of tradition please. This was a really great match. There were a few near-falls that genuinely caught me out thinking Tozawa may actually win. Neville rolling out of the ring after the Senton from the top showed how smart Neville is. A bit of an odd anticlimactic finish, with what looked like a low blow. Titus was great as a manager here as well, when he doesn’t talk and the Titus Brand isn’t being jammed down our throats, O’Neil performed well here. Great work all round for the Pre-Show
Bray Wyatt picked up a much-needed victory against Seth Rollins. A relatively clean victory for Wyatt despite the use of a thumb to the eye at the finish. A pretty good match considering the feud had been incredibly disappointing in the build-up. The feud will continue and hopefully it can kick it into overdrive in time for a major marquee Summerslam match.
A side note; Booker T is a worse commentator than the worse David Otunga & Byron Saxton have to offer. Give me a commentary booth of Otunga, Saxton & Percy Watson before I have to hear Booker T again. Dreadful all night.
Big Cass absolutely destroyed Enzo Amore. Enzo gave another perfect promo before the match; coming out to a big reaction, his passion and delivery is second to none. Whatever you do WWE, do not forget about Enzo after this feud, he is money and is the best mic worker perhaps in the company. This was slow and brilliantly brutal. Genuinely uncomfortable to watch at times, seeing such a big man just destroy what was his best friend and little brother. I’d love for this to get another run at Summerslam. Big Cass on Raw Talk after the show was brilliant as well.
Cesaro & Sheamus retained their Raw Tag Team Championships in a 30-minute Iron Man Match against the Hardy Boys. This was great from start to finish. Not since recent NXT Tag Team Title matches have we seen Classic Tag Team Wrestling mastered so beautifully. The psychology was outstanding. From the first fall coming with Cesaro & Sheamus’ great heel sly tactics, to taking out Matt to not allow Jeff to finally make a tag for another fall, to a count-out fall, to the finish where Cesaro steals a pinfall after Jeff hits a Swanton, only to run away and get caught in the Twist of Fate but for the clock to run out as the referee was counting. This was brilliant. Some refereeing blunders took away from the match slightly, but that’s nit-picking. On a side note Matt Hardy busted himself open, with an awful lot of blood resulting from a diving headbutt from the top. Not sure where the Raw Tag Title scene goes from here with the recent thinning of the division, but surely Gallows & Anderson can fit in there somewhere.
Alexa Bliss escaped with her Raw Women’s Championship after getting herself counted out against Sasha Banks. Bliss did that incredible double-jointed arm spot that is just beyond belief, using it to gain the advantage. This was easily Alexa’s best in-ring work of her career, while she has never been great in the ring, pairing her against someone the calibre of Sasha Banks will do exactly that; bring out the very best in Alexa. Alexa Bliss has her character down to perfection at this point. The post-match brawl indicates this is probably going to Summerslam and that will certainly be something to look forward to given both women’s work here. Given the match though and particularly Sasha Banks Raw Talk appearance, either these two women really do not like each other, or they are playing us all to perfection.
Putting the Cruiserweights on the Pre-Show to only recap them during the PPV itself really defeats the purpose, it makes the PPV just feel like another episode of Raw. It was also about 10 minutes shorter than your average Raw.
For what feels like the hundredth time, the Miz retained the Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose. This was really nothing special, some good aspects of storyline with the numbers game, Ambrose selling a knee injury, and the work on the outside by Maryse, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas, but the match itself was nothing too special. The Miz’s interaction on Raw Talk with Renee Young was far more entertaining.
The show until this point was really good, but the following took it to a whole new level. Perhaps the best Co-Main Event in the WWE in a long time, Braun Strowman & Roman Reigns raged absolute war on each other in easily the best Ambulance Match to date. From Roman targeting Braun’s surgically repaired elbow with a steel chair, to Braun completely No-Selling chair shots and unleashing on Roman, this was an all-out war from start to finish…and beyond. Roman sent Braun crashing through the LED screens. The finish came when Roman went for a spear but Braun moved and roman went flying into the ambulance, giving Strowman a relatively cheap win, keeping both men looking strong; but this would soon be all but forgotten. Roman came back out of the ambulance and spears Strowman, sending Braun into the back of the ambulance. Roman then drove the Ambulance to the backstage area before Reversing the Ambulance, with Braun in the back, into a Production Semi! Crushing the ambulance and Braun inside it, this was perhaps the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen! Roman essentially tried to Murder Strowman! We’ll forget about the whole Curt Hawkins Heath Slater thing, that did nothing but to take away from the severity of driving an ambulance into a truck with a human being inside! WWE did an excellent job in making this feel like a huge deal, bringing in emergency services and the Jaws of Life to free Braun (understandably so, he was just in a CAR CRASH)! Braun eventual is freed from the ambulance but refuses help, but is looking in a dreadful way, covered in blood with obviously severe injuries. Credit to WWE, the presence of blood was used incredibly effectively here. Was this a double turn? Strowman seems like a face surviving and refusing help after such an ordeal, and Roman did essentially throw a tantrum after losing and attempt to murder a man? Perhaps Kurt Angle who looked very distressed will take Roman’s Summerslam title match away as punishment, leading to another instalment at Summerslam. How Roman & Braun can top this though I have no idea.
The dream match so many had been waiting so long to see, Brock Lesnar vs Samoa Joe for a WWE World Championship (WWE Universal Championship). Arguably hurt by what came before it and it’s almost impossible expectations, this was still a short but unbelievable encounter. Samoa Joe jumped Lesnar as Paul Heyman was introducing him slamming him through a table. Both men battled with an intensity so unique to them using MMA Strikes and grapples. Joe went several times for the Coquina Clutch but Lesnar would barely just escape, Joe even reverted to a low blow, continuing to establish that he was indeed the heel here. Lesnar eventually took Joe to Suplex City before once again falling victim to the Coquina Clutch; just as it looked like Joe may have it won Lesnar countered beautifully straight into the F5 for the victory. While many may find this slightly underwhelming, this was near perfect and everything it needed to be, an absolute war. Brock Lesnar is still the unbeatable beast who no one can conquer, while Samoa Joe proved that he is a main eventer in every sense of the word, and that he belongs in the main event. Both men came out of this looking like unstoppable beasts. If anything, this only made us want to see a rematch even more, hopefully it comes at Summerslam.
Goodness Gracious, I can’t wait for Raw.