The Rope Break #10: WWE Great Balls of Fire Review and Fallout!!!

By Curtis Suthard – 7/14/2017

 

The Rope Break #10:

WWE Great Balls of Fire Review & Fallout

 

Hey, now! A bit late to the party this time around with the review and all. I know. I know. But, better late than never or whatever, right? Anyway, let’s take a look back at this past Sunday’s show and the fallout that came thereafter. There were thrills and chills! Blood and attempted murder, even! Did Great Balls of Fire live up to the hype?

PRE-SHOW Match: Akira Tozawa VS. Neville (Cruiserweight Championship):  An incredibly good match to kick things off. Both guys are top-notch and showed it with this match. Tozawa showed himself to be a solid contender for the title as Neville was clearly on the ropes a few times and once again, had to resort to a cheap shot to win things. My only gripe with this match was that ending or at least the way it was pulled off. Neville almost gingerly sat Tozawa down on the top rope, before giving the rope a quick kick and inflaming Tozawa’s Great Ball’s a bit more. Neville then delivered a swift quick and Tozawa crumpled. I mean, I guess it makes sense, sort of, but Tozawa has been built up to be made of sterner stuff. A little shot to the balls and then a kick to the gut putting him down for the pin isn’t so plausible to me. Hopefully, we will continue to see these two go at it a bit more, though I don’t see Tozawa being the one who unseats the “King of the Cruiserweights”.

Speaking of which; who do we see being the one to take Neville down? Personally, I would love to see Cedric Alexander (because I’m a mark) get a solid shot at the title and possibly be the one to dethrone Neville. Also, how about this idea for how I think things in the Cruiserweight Division should be handled? We get a whole new tournament for the Cruiserweight title made up of the 205 Live roster and supplemented by some guys from the UK Division and NXT. Including guys like Tyler Bate, Hideo Itami, Mark Andrews and possibly even debuting the newly acquired Lio Rush in this whole shebang and leading up to a Cruiserweight exclusive Live Show on the network for the finals and/or the title shot. Maybe even bring in a few names exclusively for the tournament who are not full-time WWE employees, like they did during the Cruiserweight Classic with Kota Ibushi and Zack Sabre Jr. For these matches, Neville will preside over them by sitting on his own iron throne or something up on the stage. Watching over the festivities. Also, as an added bonus, include some sort of a confrontation between Pete Dunne and Neville which could easily lead to a Champion VS. Champion non-title match! Just something that could bring a little life to the division that definitely needs a little jolt.

Bray Wyatt VS. Seth Rollins: I thought that it was a bit odd to throw this match, between two of the seeming top guys on RAW, at the official start of the show. But, it was actually placed perfectly on the card, as this was one of the weaker matches overall. Not to say that this was a bad match, it wasn’t. Just that it was definitely the one match with the weakest build up and storyline leading into it. Rollins and Wyatt both did a good job and delivered a match that was a step or so above a RAW Main Event. Having said that, the rematch to this one WAS the Raw Main Event the next night and I sort of enjoyed that match a bit more.

The main take away from this match, for me, was that Wyatt got a win over Rollins. Not only that, but he got a win the following night as well on RAW, which is a good thing and gives Bray some momentum. Maybe we will get to see that feud between Wyatt and Finn Balor, which was hinted of during the whole “Superstar Shake-up”, which could be really fun. Wyatt winning puts himself in a position to remain in the top tier and seem like a potential enemy for someone on Balor’s level, unlike Elias Samson. Rollins also seems to be peeling off from this feud and headed toward a confrontation with the Miz, which could be really good as well.

Enzo Amore VS. Big Cass: 2017, at this point, could go down as the “Year of Betrayals” and Enzo and Big Cass’s split could be a top contender for the best. Fantastic build up lead to this so-so match that was kicked off with a powerful (though maybe a bit long-winded) monologue by Enzo, which was his main contribution to this match. Everything was Big Cass after the bell rang, as he tossed Enzo around, literally at times, and threw his former little buddy a massive heelish beat down to get the win. Lifting Enzo over his head and throwing him out of the ring was a great visual and only helps kick start Cass’s solo career, which, due to his size and youth, could be bright. Enzo, on the other hand, has got to find his nitch on the roster and, hopefully, he doesn’t end up as purely a comedy act. Though, if he excels in that role, then more power to the guy. Though, according to recent rumors (and I try not to traffic in those, too much), Enzo may be in the dog house a bit with the locker room in general, for similar reasons to those given by Big Cass for the on-air break-up. Supposedly, he runs his mouth a bit too much and may not be as focused on the business as others would like. Take all of that with grain of salt, though.

On Monday night we got to see Big Cass possibly set up his first feud post-Enzo. As he was doing a decent job on the mic, laying out his future plans, Big Show interrupted and went after Cass. Big Show even took Big Cass down on the ground and rolled him around a bit. Something you don’t see from Big Show too often. I’m actually sort of looking forward to this head-to-head that we are sure to get coming up. Never thought that I’d be typing about looking forward to a Big Show feud!

The Hardy Boyz VS. Sheamus & Cesaro (30-Minute Tag Team Championship Ironman Match): I honestly wasn’t expecting too much from this match. Sure, I thought it’d be good, as the other matches between these two teams have all been solid. But, I expected it to still be around the same level as those others, but, man, was I wrong! This match was great. These four guys work so well together and I never expected it. But, then I never really expected to like the team of Sheamus and Cesaro, either and I was wrong about that one as well. Anyway, both teams looked great and busted their respective ass’s out there. There was even blood! Now, as an old school wrestling fan, blood shouldn’t be that big of a deal to me. But, oddly enough it is nowadays. Does it really add anything to the match overall? Yes, it does. It amps up the realism and the brutality of the match. I can live with bleeding and blood not being a regular thing anymore, especially in WWE, but it always helps to get things hyped up. Not only did Matt Hardy get busted open, but Sheamus clearly got his bell rung as well. This match was really hard-hitting. The ending was great, with Cesaro getting a blind tag and as Jeff Hardy tried to pin Sheamus post-Swanton, Cesaro leapt in and pinned Jeff. And, just as the time ticked down, Jeff went for a pin only to have time expire before the three count, keeping the titles around the waists of Sheamus and Cesaro.

On Monday, The Hardy’s didn’t just hint at the whole “Broken”-gimmick, they seemingly tested the waters. They also lost to Gallows and Anderson and then also suffered an ambush from The Revival. Which made me aware that RAW’s Tag Team Division is lacking in the good guy column. Besides Matt and Jeff, the only other “faces” are Slater & Rhyno and it’s not like they’re probably rising to the top of the division anytime soon. So, maybe the whole “Broken”-thing could eclipse the overall division, if it’s handled correctly. Though, it is slowly approaching, for me at least, the point where either WWE pulls the trigger or The Hardy’s need stop bringing it up. Yes, I know that there is a legal issue here, but if there is even the slightest chance that things aren’t going to work out favorably, then stop teasing it. If the Hardy’s end their run in WWE in a year or two, one thing everyone will remember will be that they never got to see Broken Matt Hardy and Brother Nero during this final (?) hurrah and that could spoil the whole thing for some people.

Sasha Banks VS. Alexa Bliss (RAW Women’s Championship): What a match! I mean seriously, this was a really good match between two of the top ladies in all of WWE’s Women’s Divisions. I know some people are not too sold on Alexa just yet. But, I think that she has shown enormous improvement and deserves to be the only woman who has held both the RAW & Smackdown Women’s Championships. As far as Banks goes, do I really need to attempt to convince you she is great? C’mon. Maybe with the exception of Joe & Lesnar, this might just be one of the hardest hitting matches of the night. The way Sasha’s back bounced off of the ring apron when Alexa tripped her up was cringe-worthy indeed. And, that wasn’t the only time that Sasha got slammed hard or folded up in a way that just ain’t right. Not to mention that Alexa fooled everyone, even me, with the whole double-jointed elbow thing, that makes it look as if her arm is out of joint or maybe even broken. I know I’ve seen her do that at least once before in a match, I just wasn’t expecting it at all and it freaked me out. Not to mention just how cool it was as the evil heel, that she would use that to fool her opponent. For anyone out there not sold on Alexa, I ask: How? She’s killing it.

Anyway, Alexa lost through a count out, but retained her championship. I really think that she’s going to end up dropping it at Summerslam in either a Triple-Threat or Fatal Four-way match, with Sasha, Nia Jax and, possibly, Bayley. I’m not sure about Bayley being involved too much though, as it seems, that WWE may not have the confidence it had in her up until just recently. If she is included in the match, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ending lead to a heel turn by either Sasha or Bayley herself, which could be interesting. Who knows, maybe Nia will even take it as she has been looking pretty good lately and being booked strong? Either way, I’m looking forward to whatever comes down the line if things keep on this pace.

Dean Ambrose VS. The Miz W/ Maryse & The Miz-tourage (Intercontinental Championship): I haven’t really hid my disdain for this feud and the fact that it seems like it will never end and this match didn’t really sway my opinion. It was not a bad match and the inclusion of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas definitely adds a bit of a new twist to the whole thing, but doesn’t really do anything to help make it seem fresh. I did enjoy Dean going after Axel and Dallas at the beginning of the match, but then everything devolved into the same-old, same-old that we have gotten from these two for the last couple of months. Now, not only is there Maryse to interfere and/or cause a distraction, there are two other douchely-dressed individuals to help the “Hollywood A-Lister” cheat to win. Well, at least Dallas looks like a moron. I guess Axel dresses pretty well. But, what do I know about fashion? I mostly wear t-shirts that are more than a few years old and tend to have at least a hole or two or ten in them from wear and tear. Anyway, Ambrose lost, yet again. Once more giving me hope that this whole feud was over and done with. Unfortunately, I’ve thought the same thing at the end of every other match that these guys have had.

Though, on Monday night, we may have finally gotten a twist that could finally really add something different to the whole thing. The Miz seems to now have his eyes set on Seth Rollins, after Rollins goofed on him or something. Miz Vs. Rollins. Ok. Now I can get behind that for a little while. But, nope! Here comes Ambrose to still be involved. UGH! Maybe this will be good? Maybe this will lead to a feud between Rollins and Ambrose, with the roles reversed this time as Rollins will be the face and Ambrose will be the heel. Maybe? Please! Anything, but another straight up Ambrose VS. Miz match.

Braun Strowman VS. Roman Reigns (Ambulance Match): Going from a feud that I’ve been done with for a while now, to one that just keeps getting better and better. Strowman has been built up excellently as an unstoppable monster. I mean, except or the occasional loss to Kalisto. But, let’s just forget about that. Braun is the perfect opponent for Reigns, the man who seems to have ended the Undertaker. Everything has been done right, so far in this feud. We get a ton of rough and tumble beat downs between the two. But, then, we pull back and take a breather just long enough to keep it from getting stale and/or predictable. So that when it all starts up again, it feels exciting and different. The only thing is that, following the outcome of this match, I’m not so sure WWE or either Reigns or Strowman can top it.

Both of these guys did a really good job throughout the whole match. Reigns came off really strong, which is a must if he is going to keep reminding us all that he’s the guy who ended ‘Taker’s career. As well as the guy who can just proclaim himself number one contender for the Universal Championship, even after losing a number one contender match recently. Somehow though, Reigns still seemed to be the underdog throughout, which made it understandable that he would resort to beating on Strowman’s recently injured elbow with a steel chair and spearing the guy through the LED screens on the stage. And, yet, Strowman still got the win, by seemingly outsmarting Reigns. You see, since it was an “Ambulance Match”, the whole way to win the match is to simply put your opponent into the back of a waiting Ambulance and close the doors. And, the “Monster Among Men”, Braun Strowman didn’t win by overpowering Roman and tossing him in the back. Instead, he set Roman up and, as Reigns went for a spear, Strowman sidestepped the guy, causing Reigns to dive into the back of the vehicle and then he just slammed the doors shut. It adds a whole new dimension to the seemingly mindless oaf. I mean…sort of. Because, Braun wasn’t smart enough to realize that Reigns had just jumped in and probably wasn’t really out of it. So, as he stood there celebrating and turning his back to the doors of the ambulance, Reigns popped right back out and took Braun down. That’s when everything went wrong.

Reigns threw Braun into the back of the ambulance, pulled the oblivious driver out of the cab and took off. Roman drove backstage and sat there for a moment, contemplating his life. Only to reach the conclusion that murder is always the answer and he reversed the ambulance, full speed, into a semi-trailer. I mean, how else are we supposed to view this? Did Roman think that Strowman would only be mildly injured, but not killed? If so, how was he so sure? It was attempted murder! There’s no other answer. WWE is trying to convince us all that we should cheer a murderer! And then, Reigns just flees the scene of an accident. I mean there were so many potential felonies being committed in such a short span of time. Anyway, some firemen show up and use the Jaws of Life to pry open what looked, to me, to be a relatively undamaged door and try to give some assistance to a beaten and bloody Braun. Only, Braun refused the help, “Leave me Alone!” & “Don’t Touch Me!” and then limped off into the sunset while the end theme from “The Incredible Hulk” T.V. show played. Ok, that last part didn’t happen. But it should’ve.

Curt Hawkins VS. Heath Slater: Yeah, this happened while they were trying to cut Braun out of the back of the ambulance. Heath won. I think? They didn’t even show the ending of the match on-air. Must be a boost in confidence for both of these guys knowing that Vince would rather air an ambulance door being jimmied open for a few minutes than these guys working in the ring, doing things that they have worked hard and sacrificed for.

Samoa Joe VS. Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship): So, finally, we come to the Main Event. I was hoping for a mediocre to possibly good match. And, though, it was relatively short, it delivered. For starters, as short as it was, it was maybe one of Brock’s longest matchs in the last few years. Second, Joe was phenomenal. Right out of the gate, before the bell even rang Samoa Joe took it to Brock, threw him outside of the ring and put him through an announce table. That was before the match officially even began. Even after Brock got his wind back and starting giving it back to Joe, Joe somehow still came off strong. Joe took a slew of shots from Lesnar, blocking and defending all the way. This came off as a perfect mix of pro-wrestling with a dash of a shoot fight and the legitimacy that brings. Though, there was only a bit of that, it was enough to make this feel sort of real. Of course, Brock threw Joe around a bit with suplex after suplex, but Joe still kept coming back for more and got Brock in the Coquina clutch. In the end, Brock managed to lift Joe onto his shoulders and deliver an F5 to end things and retain the championship, though there is no doubt that Joe had to not only earn the respect of any doubters, but possibly Lesnar as well. It was a good, fast-paced and hard-hitting battle that was nearly perfect.

On Monday, Lesnar came out and was confronted by Reigns, who was free not only not be charged with obvious crimes but to demand his shot at the Universal Championship at Summerslam. Of course, Samoa Joe made his presence known and demanded a rematch with Lesnar. This lead to a match being setup for the upcoming RAW, where Reigns and Joe are going to go at it to see who gets the shot. I’d be cool with a Triple-Threat at Summerslam, honestly, as that would open up the very real possibility that Joe or Reigns could win the title by pinning each other and keep Lesnar out of it, thus keeping the whole mystique surrounding him as the “Beast”. Which will inevitably lead to Reigns defeating him somewhere down the line. I just don’t see it happening so soon. Not when that is a Wrestlemania-sized match. Can you imagine the hardcore, internet fans (of which we may be counted amongst, I guess) and how quickly their head’s will explode when faced with the fact that Roman Reigns will have beaten Undertaker and then Brock Lesnar at back-to-back Wrestlemanias. Oy! We will have to just wait and see.

All in all, the inaugural Great Balls of Fire turned out to be a really solid show. A bunch of really great, hard-hitting matches, mixed with some well-done story-driven stuff throughout its entirety. Those are just a few of the reasons that I give this PPV a 4 out of 5 on The Official Nerd Nation Radio Pocket Protector Scale!

A whole bunch of other stuff happened over on Smackdown this week, which is all leading up to the Smackdown PPV Battleground. We’ll talk about that a little next time, probably along with my predictions for that show. We are also going to find out who this mysterious person is that Kurt Angle has been talking to next week on RAW. My prediction: EC3 is Kurt’s secret lover! You wait and see. Also, over on NXT, Bobby Fish made his debut. Though, I was aware of this for the last few weeks, as NXT is taped, it was still enjoyable seeing Fish in a WWE/NXT ring. The guy’s great and I have high hopes for him. Maybe, Kyle O’Reilly will finally get things cleared up and make the jump as well, to reunite ReDragon in WWE/NXT. Though, I like both of those guys as solo performers, I have always enjoyed them teamed up. Also, I briefly mentioned earlier that WWE seems to have picked up Lio Rush, an incredibly talented young man, who could really build something great in WWE, if given the chance. Also, the Mae Young Classic is gearing up to start taping, even though it’s not going to air until sometime in August. And, finally, G1 Climax is right around the corner and I’m pulling for my man, Naito! I will touch on all of that and more next week, when I return right back here. Same Rope Break Time! Same Rope Break Website!

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