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Was WWE "Great Balls Of Fire" As Ridiculous As It's Name?
For a Pay Per View with such a ridiculous name, "Great Balls Of Fire", the WWE show has a main event that is anything but. Brock Lesnar v Samoa Joe for the Universal Championship is one of the most anticipated title matches of recent history. It promises to be an intense and stiff match-up that should not disappoint.
On July 9 WWE Great Balls Of Fire was broadcast live from The American Airlines Centre in Dallas Texas. PPV's from Texas are exciting due to the slight chance of a guest appearance from Texas Ex-Wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels or The Undertaker (Is he even officially retired?).
No suprise that the theme song is the Jerry Lee Lewis song "Great Balls Of Fire". The old classic rock 'n' roll tune is a fantastic song, it just doesn't suite the hard hitting heavy rock attitude of the WWE.
Bray Wyatt v Seth Rollins
Does Bray actually look nervous as Seth enters the arena?. This should be a fantastic match. The exchanging of punches dominates the match early. The two young talented wrestlers end up exiting the ring. Wyatt tackles him into the outside barricade. Rollins is sent face first from the ring to the stairs. Wyatt executes a suplex from the second rope. Seth runs through the ropes hitting a Suicide dive followed quickly by a stiff forearm from the tope rope on 'the eater of worlds'.
Sister Abigail is countered and then Bray is hit with the falcon arrow. An akward looking face plant from the top rope fails to put Seth down. Stiff knee's and kicks rain down on both men before Bray sneaks in an illegal eye poke that the referee doesn't see (That's unbelievable the ref would miss that!). Bray then hits sister abigail for the win.
This was a good match to start off the night and their next encounter should be given abit more time to ensure a classic.
The Hardys are interviewed backstage.
Big Cass v Enzo Amore
It was shocking when Big Cass was finally revealed as the person who attacked Enzo on RAW. There were rumours that WWE planned to break up the team but when it finally happened it still was the biggest break up since The Shield. These guys are legit friends out of the ring and it is a big risk to break up such an 'over' team. Time will tell if it was the right move.
Enzo still gets his promo which is good news. It is his strength. It was probably one of his more emotional speeches. Big Cass enters with boo'es fom the crowd and new entrance music. Enzo struggles with the size difference early in the match. Cass is getting some huge heat from the Texan crowd. Amore is on the end of a one sided beatdown.
Big Cass throws Amore over the top rope and onto the mats below, that's one hell of a bump!. After the slow, brutal work over Cass hits the big boot for the one...two...three. Big Cass wins round one in the battle of the former tag partners. This match was good for what it achieved, it was slow paced and effective.
An advertisement for the upcoming WWE 24 special on Kurt Angle entitled 'Homecoming' is shown. The fallout of Vince McMahon and Angle and each men's side of the story is shown. It looks interesting.
The Miz is shown backstage.
30 Minute Iron Man Match For The RAW Tag Team Titles
It is The Hardys v The Champions Sheamus and Cesaro. The Iron Man match involves getting as many falls (pins, submissions and count-outs) in the allocated time. A distraction from Cesaro and a Brogue Kick early helps Sheamus pin Matt Hardy. They lead the match 1-0. Some nice early double teaming from Matt and Jeff. The Champs dominate the next 5 minutes.
The next fall comes from The Champs doing some Double Teaming of their own. Sheamus pins Jeff to give them a 2-0 lead. The Hardys both individually hit there finishers on Cesaro for the pin-fall to take the match to 2-1. The match hits it's halfway mark, it is refreshing to see a match which is given the time to have a good pace and tell a story. Jeff dives over the top rope onto both opposing competitors. Matt Hardy gets smashed head first into the ring post and is counted out. The Champs lead 3-1.
Sheamus and Cesaro start trying to run down the clock playing very defensive. A Side Effect can't put Sheamus down for the pin. Cesaro puts a Sharpshooter on Matt but he doesn't tap. Yet another double team enables Jeff to pin Cesaro's shoulders to the mat for a 3 count. The match is now 3-2 in favour of the reigning champions.
A Moonsault from the top rope executed by Matt onto Sheamus doesn't score a pin but a Twist of Fate on the 'Celtic Warrior' does. This evens the match up at 3-3. Instantaneous splashes from the Hardys can't put Sheamus down. A Swanton Bomb on Sheamus looks to give Jeff Hardy a pin but a speedy Cesaro pounces on Hardy for a quick roll up first. The match goes to 4-3 with 20 seconds remaining. Jeff hits a Twist of Fate but only gets a 2 count before the final buzzer sounds.
Sheamus and Cesaro retain the titles with a 4 count to 3 victory. This was an excellent match because it was given the time to pace perfectly and at no time was rushed. A shot after the match shows Matt disorientated and laughing like a maniac with a split over his eye brow. Is this the moment he becomes 'Broken?'.
Dean Ambrose is shown warming up backstage.
Alexa Bliss v Sasha Banks for the RAW Woman's Championship
Finally Sasha Banks is back from storyline limbo and is the number one contender. Being in mid card mixed tag matches and dancing in the ring after victories really was beneath her at this stage.
Early on Sasha smashes Alexa's elbow to the mat and it actually pops out of it's socket. As it looks like the match will be called off, Alexa pops her elbow back in (Yes that's correct, she pops it back in) and the match continues. She is obviously double jointed?. This was quite unique.
This devious move managed to get Alexis the upper hand and she dominates Sasha with stiff fists. Alexa pulls off two perfect manouvers from the top rope before Sasha slaps on a sleeper. Bliss refuses to tap. Just when the match reaches it's zenith Alexa takes a cheap count out victory to retain the title.
The good news with this ending is this fued is not over and we will see them collide again. Even more proof of this is the brawl the girls have after the match where they end up near the entrance ramp. Sasha dives from the announcer's table landing full force on Alexa's head and chest, but luckily both girls walk away uninjured.
We are shown highlights of the pre-show Cruiserweight Championship match when Neville hit a low blow on Akira Tozawa to retain. Akira and manager Titus O'Neill are backstage (Not convinced if they are suited to each other, Good guy wrestler and annoying manager?). Tozawa demands Titus "make this right, I want a rematch".
The Miz v Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship
It's good to see Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel being involved in a major storyline (Miz's entourage). They are to talented not to be involved somewhere. There is no doubt Miz and Ambrose can have a great match it is just hard to get excited about something seen so many times before.
Ambrose sells a leg injury early on after a submission from Miz. Daniel Bryan's 'Yes Kicks' are used by Miz (he also uses Ric Flair's Figure Four Leg Lock, is he becoming a tribute wrestler?). Dallas interferes enabling Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale.
The Miz retains against Dean Ambrose in one of there shortest, mostly unspectacular matches to date. One would think it may be time to lay this feud to rest.
Roman Reigns v Braun Strowman in an Ambulance Match
This Pay Per View started off with a bang having some fresh match-ups and spectacular action. After the last match and this upcoming match though WWE is falling back into the trap of giving us to much of what we have seen before. It his highly unlikely Braun and Reigns can give us anything we haven't seen before.
Braun shows some amazing speed early on charging at Roman while he was prone in the ring corner. A big Samoan Drop on Strowman shows the strength of Roman. Braun shocks everyone by taking 2 brutal chair shots to the shoulder and hardly flinching.
The competitors wander up to the stage entrance area, are they going to try to top the girls' brawl from earlier in that area?. Amongst many weapons already used, Strowman finds a stretcher in the back of the ambulance and proceeds to smash his opponent with it.
Roman launches Braun spectacularly through part of the video screen set on the stage. Crowd chants "This is awesome" but is it really?. It seems to be a chant that's used way to much these days. I still think the women with one move outshone this brawl in the same part of the arena.
With Strowman back on his feet and near the back of the ambulance Roman comes soaring in for the Superman Punch but Strowman side steps the big man, sending him into the back of the ambulance. Braun shuts the door for the win. The guys continue to brawl afterwards but then something actually unpredictable happened.
Roman locks Braun into the back of the emergency vehicle, drives it backstage and then backs it at high speed into the back of a WWE production truck. Kurt Angle and Jamie Noble are shown trying to get the back of the locked vehicle open. WWE then give us the impression that because they didn't know this was going to happen there is an unplanned match between Heath Slater and Curt Hawkins, all the while there is a split screen updating us on the ambulance situation.
Emergency services finally free Strowman from the back of the vehicle, he pops out covered in fake blood and refuses help. While he is limping away Kurt is shown standing near some ladies who are filming all this on their phones! Seriously!. Not sure if WWE wanted some heartless bystanders going live on the broadcast. Unpredictable finish but a very short unspectacular match. Unfortunately it looks as if this feud will continue even longer.
Brock Lesnar v Samoa Joe for the Universal Championship
The match everyone has been waiting for has finally arrived. For years people have wanted Joe and Lesnar to butt heads. They are two of the hardest hitting, stiff and fast big men in the industry.
In typical Joe fashion he hits Lesnar in the back by suprise before the match starts. He then scrambles Brock's brains by Rock Bottoming Lesnar on the announce table. A short while later still looking groggy Lesnar pulls himself into the ring and gives the referee the go ahead to ring the bell to start the match. Samoa Joe continues his assault.
Out of knowhere Brock recovers and sends Joe to 'Suplex City' with 4 huge suplex's. Joe recovers to hook on the Coquina Clutch not once but twice, Lesnar doesn't give up. Two more huge suplex's to Joe doesn't put him away. The Samoan manages to lock in the Coquina Clutch for a third time and Lesnar looks visibly wounded.
'The Beast Incarnate' is down but not out. He fights out and manages to hit an F5 on Joe. 1...2...3!. Joe is unable to kick out and Brock Lesnar wins to retain the Universal Championship. A longer match would have been ideal but nevertheless this match was everything that was expected. It was hard hitting, very stiff and two monsters going head to head.
It would be fantastic to see a rematch but with Lesnar's schedule and Roman Reigns being No.1 Contender for Summerslam who knows if it will happen. Alot of the internet fans will no doubt be complaining about not having a full time Universal Champion but the crowd reaction when Lesnar entered the arena is why WWE keeps the belt on this Mega Star.
So the did the ridiculous 'Great Balls of Fire' name of this PPV make the show ridiculous. The answer is....NO. It started of greatly and overall was close to the best show of the year for WWE. It actually had very few ridiculous moments (we all know WWE can get pretty ridiculous at times). Parts of the ambulance brawl and repeating match-ups can arguably be said were the only ridiculous parts of 'Great Balls Of Fire'. In future though it would probably be good if WWE stayed away from 60's rock 'n' roll and concentrated on wrestling.