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GREAT BALLS OF FIRE 2017 Round-up

WWE has given us a few questionably titled pay-per-views over the years, but Great Balls of Fire may quite possibly be the silliest. Putting that aside, the match card we were presented heading into this event left me more than a little excited. Despite there being a couple of uninspiring additions, the likes of a 30-minute Iron Man Tag Team match, an Ambulance match, and Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe for the Universal title gives us plenty of promise and potential.

WARNING! There will be spoilers beyond this point.

The kickoff show saw The King of the Cruiserweights, Neville, put his Cruiserweight Championship on the line against Akira Tozawa (w/Titus O’Neil). Heading into this contest, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, as regardless of both being tremendous athletes, their styles are rather different. What we got, on the other hand, was an amazing match, as despite initially seeming a little sloppy and one-sided, things would quickly heat up. It was, however, Neville retaining, as in spite of a couple of near falls for Tozawa, the challenger would get caught up on the top rope, with The King of the Cruiserweights taking advantage of this for a relatively easy pinfall victory.

7 Stars (7 / 10)

Opening the main card we saw Bray Wyatt attempt to slay The Kingslayer, Seth Rollins, in the match that I was least looking forward to heading into the PPV. Despite not stealing the show, the contest was surprisingly a lot more impressive than I expected, with both superstars giving us some exciting moments. This back and forth action would, however, eventually come to an end, as following a cheap shot to Rollins‘ previously injured knee and a poke to the eye, Wyatt would hit Sister Abigail for the 1, 2, 3.

6.5 Stars (6.5 / 10)

Next up we saw Enzo Amore look to get a measure of revenge against former best friend, Big Cass. Having spun an intriguing tale heading into this match, I was rather eager to see what would happen, with both superstars having their own unique skillsets. That said, I did expect this to be a rather one-sided contest, with Big Cass annihilating Enzo. Though Enzo would try and use his speed to compensate for the size difference, this did come to pass, with a meaner attitude and terrible new entrance theme driving Big Cass. This lead to a rather mediocre outcome, as despite being as expected, building off this story, the content was rather basic. When all was said and done, it was off course Cass picking up the win, pinning Enzo following a Big Boot.

4 Stars (4 / 10)

The first title match on the main card saw The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) look to regain the Raw Tag Team Championships from Sheamus and Cesaro, in the first ever 30-minute Iron Man Tag Team match in WWE history. Having already given us tremendous contests at both Payback and Extreme Rules, as well as on Raw, I was expecting something amazing here. Not wasting any time, we got our first fall in less that 30 seconds, with Cesaro distracting Matt, allowing Sheamus to hit a Brogue Kick. The champions would dominate for most of the time between the first two falls, eventually going up 2-0 following a double team White Noise to Jeff. The Hardyz would regain some momentum thanks to Matt, with Jeff taking the third fall, pinning Cesaro after a Twist of Fate. This comeback was, however, short lived, with Cesaro sending Matt into the ring post, gaining a fall via count out. Though the champions would once again dominate between falls, The Hardyz did manage to claw one back, with Jeff pinning Cesaro with an unique pinning combination. Matt would eventually tie things up pinning Sheamus after a Twist of Fate from the top rope. Despite this, the champions managed to get a final fall with just 30 seconds remaining, as Cesaro pinned Jeff after a Swanton Bomb to Sheamus, winning four falls to three.

8.5 Stars (8.5 / 10)

The Raw Women’s Championship was on the line next, as Sasha Banks looked to become a four time champion by beating current title holder, Alexa Bliss. Given how much the women’s division has floundered on both Raw and SmackDown Live, we were due to get a decent performance. We got that here, as despite some questionable moments the two superstars gave us an exciting contest. As momentum shifted back and forth, we’d see Bliss miss a Twisted Bliss and Banks fail to make the champion submit to the Bank Statement, with it looking as if either woman could win. When all was said and done, it was Banks picking up the win via countout, though due to this Bliss would retain the title. After the contest, however, we’d see the two fight on the ramp with Banks hitting the double knees on Bliss from the announce table.

7.5 Stars (7.5 / 10)

Our fourth title match came next, with Dean Ambrose looking to regain the Intercontinental Championship from The Miz (w/Maryse, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas). Despite having given us a surprisingly impressive match at Extreme Rules, I honestly wasn’t that excited heading into this, hoping Miz would win just so we’d get a new feud for both superstars. Though this match wasn’t as good as their last encounter on PPV, it was still a solid contest, with Axel and Dallas proving their worth on the outside. As for the action inside, it was pretty much standard for these two, with both men getting the upper hand at one point or another. Nevertheless, it was Miz retaining, as between Maryse putting his foot on the ropes to break up the pin following Dirty Deeds, and Axel and Dallas interfering, Miz was able to hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.

7 Stars (7 / 10)

The rivalry between Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns would continue next, with the two fighting in an Ambulance match. Having already given us two fantastic performances at both Fastlane and Payback, I was expecting something special here. Not disappointing, the two superstars gave us one hell of a match. Despite Strowman dominating the early portion of the match, Reigns would turn things around by attacking the surgically repaired elbow of Strowman, using the ring post and a steel chair to cause damage. The Monster Among Men did, however, quickly recover from this, gaining the upper hand once more, sending things closer to the ambulance. With this being a sign of things coming to a close, we got a couple of exciting moments, including Strowman getting put through the LED screen on the stage. Though this flurry of offence made it look as if Reigns was going to win, Stowman would shift to one side and use The Big Dog’s momentum to put him into the ambulance for the win. The action didn’t end here though, with Reigns continuing to attack Strowman, putting him in the back of the ambulance and driving to the backstage area. Here he would reverse the ambulance into a truck, wrecking the rear end and apparently injuring Strowman in the process.

8.5 Stars (8.5 / 10)

Due to the aftermath of the Strowman/Reigns match we got an impromptu contest between Curt Hawkins and Heath Slater. Given that most of the attention was focused on removing Strowman from the ambulance, there was very little to see from this match, with the actual finish coming off screen.

0 Stars (0 / 10)

The main event eventually came, with Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) defending his Universal Championship for the first time since winning it at WrestleMania 33, taking on Samoa Joe. Not wasting any time, Joe would attack Lesnar before the match even began, sending him into the barricade and then through an announce table. When the match officially started, Joe would continue to get a marginal offensive advantage, though Lesnar was able to fight back. What followed was a frantic exchange of momentum, with Lesnar sending Joe to Suplex City on multiple occasions and Joe locking in the Coquina Clutch several times. This would eventually lead to a sudden finish, with Lesnar countering the final Coquina Clutch into an F-5 for the win.

8 Stars (8 / 10)

The first ever Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view was ultimately a bit of a mixed bag, with a terrible impromptu bout and a squash match lowering the overall quality of the event. Despite this, there was more than enough to enjoy, with the outcome of the Ambulance match and the 30-minute Iron Man Tag Team match being the highlight of the show.

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About the author

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. there lived a nerd. And as we all know, nerds are cool. Anyway, enough of that. I’m John, your Friendly Neighborhood Managing Editor, and I’ll be doing my best to give you the best nerd content on the web. And why? Because you deserve it. Having been a comic fan and all round geek for as long as I remember, loving Batman, Star Wars and various other forms of fandom, I have certainly had my share of opinions. Naturally I eventually starting writing about this love, whether it be rant or rave, enjoying every minute in the process.

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