Hello Misfits! It’s the Wrestling Classic here with my Great Balls of Fire review. It is the inaugural Great Balls of Fire and the last PPV stop for Raw before Summerslam. There were mixed thoughts about the name and theme which lead to the WWE having more pressure on themselves to make this show more memorable. I think they accomplished that. The first ever Great Balls of Fire has set the bar for its future and the name was the last thing people were thinking abut when the show ended. This had to be Raw’s best PPV since the brand extension last year. I was 5-3-1 with my predictions for the event. Lets now get to my review for the show.
WWE Great Balls of Fire
Image via wwe.com
The first ever Great Balls of Fire comes from the American Airlines Centre in Dallas, TX
– The opening video package was actually pretty awesome and got me hyped for the event. I actually really like the theme and song. I was one of the few people that laughed at the name at first. cracked some jokes but it never really bothered me much. I actually felt it unique and different. The drive-in theatre nostalgia opening video package was very well produced and they have song they can use every year.
– The announce team tonight is Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T. There was no pyro and ballyhoo to start the show.
Bray Wyatt def. Seth Rollins
in 12:10 by pinfall They kicked off the show with The King Slayer facing off against the self proclaimed god. I am a fan of both guys but wasn’t really invested in their rivalry. The promos for the build up were great but I just couldn’t figure out any specific reason for them feuding. They dropped the Wyatt vs. Balor feud because Strowman got injured and they needed Joe to fill his role to face Lesnar. Plus Rollins became the 2K cover star and I guess that means he was a higher priority than Balor at the moment. I wish I cared about either man right now because I really am a big fan of both of them, but WWE has done an outstanding job of making both characters unlikable and in no way relatable; getting invested in them on any real emotional level feels impossible. Rollins is missing that sense of purpose he once had. Wyatt continues to make bold claims, cut random promos in forests and desserts with no actual direction. They worked a very basic pro wrestling beginning, with Wyatt showing no real fire, which goes against his whole deal in wanting to take out Rollins. The one thing that was really cool about this was the fact that Rollins and Wyatt haven’t really wrestled each other much in singles matches. The match got super competitive near the end finally picking up pace but it wasnt anything too special. The stuff they did was fine, it was just hollow. It was just like two guys going through the motions on a house show. Wyatt used a poke to the eyes to set up Sister Abigail and get the win. The finish could be the end of their feud but also leaves the door open for them to continue the rivalry but I guess we’ll have to wait to find out. Rating – **3/4
Big Cass def. Enzo Amore in 05:25 by pinfall Enzo cut a pretty awesome promo before the match where he related his situation to a favourite song of his (and of mine too) in “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra. It had a great message and I really liked it. It worked in this situation. I’d actually suggest any Sinatra/Wrestling fans check it out. Cass came out to new entrance music that is just as bland as his look and character. I mean he does end up showing more character in the Raw Talk that followed this event. However, for the most part there isn’t nothing real special about him besides thats he’s really tall.The match itself was pretty much exactly what it needed to be. Enzo got his ass kicked and had all his comeback attempts cut off. Cass won with the big boot. It was pretty much was what it should have been. Cass is who the WWE is invested in building as a big star and it wouldn’t have been believable for Enzo to over come him. Also this further makes us feel sympathetic towards Enzo Amore for whenever he does eventually return. Rating – **
30-minute Iron Man Match
Tag Team Championship Match Sheamus & Cesaro (C) def. The Hardy Boyz in 30:00 ending 4-3 for Sheamus and Cesaro Personally, I was already tired of seeing these two teams face off and knowing I had to watch them do so for another 30 minutes didn’t really get me excited at all. However, I know what all four guys are capable of so I decided to change my perspective and give this match the benefit on the doubt when it kicked off. Ironman matches can be difficult to book as their are many routes you can take with it. No falls until near the end. Multiple falls where it’s a close game or you could just have one side totally dominate which is rarely ever done. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick for the 1-0 lead within the first 20 seconds of the match which really set the pace for this match. For the next little bit they had the babyfaces trail behind having to fight back and catch up. This is a formula WWE loves using a lot. The Hardy’s were down 3-1 until the Hardy’s were able to tie it up through perseverance and a strong effort. The end stretch of the match is when things really picked up and really had be invested.Matt got a nasty cut after a dive off the top. Jeff hit the Swanton, but Cesaro rolled him up to take a 4-3 lead with about 25 seconds left. He ran away but got caught with a Twist of Fate, only for time to expire before Jeff could get the three. The WWE once again goes to the well trying to use the pressure of the clock to create drama for the final seconds of the match where the babyface’s were on the brink of either winning or tying it up. Solid match and better than I expected but hopefully this is the final match between the two teams. Rating – ***1/2
Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss (C) in 11:40 by count out Boy, was I looking forward to this match. Sasha Banks is hands down still my favourite female wrestler of all-time regardless how I feel about hows she’s booked at times. Alexa Bliss has impressed the living crap out of me since her move to the main roster. They’re both great characters, scrappy wrestlers, egotistical attitudes and hot. They’re also both on the smaller size which made me feel like they would compliment each other styles. I didn’t know this ahead of time but found out afterwards that these two really dislike each other in real-life. Personal heat in most cases always translate great in the ring. Sasha seemed to touch upon it on Raw Talks, saying Alexa doesn’t have any respect for the business and is fake. Considering how poorly Sasha has been booked since her rivalry with Charlotte last year while Alexa has been thriving, some could suppose their was some jealousy involved.The match was snug and felt more intense than any main roster women’s match since Sasha/Charlotte at SummerSlam. There was a great spot where it looked like Alexa’s arm popped out of socket or something, but it was just a trick to lure Sasha in. The finish came when Bliss missed a twisted Bliss, and Banks locked in the Banks Statement. Bliss made the ropes in a great fight spot, escaped to the floor and slammed Banks off of the apron. They then brawled on the floor, with Bliss being sent to the barricade. Banks rolls back into the ring and Bliss bailed back to the floor. When Sasha goes back to the outside, Bliss hits Banks with a right punch and took the countout loss. Poor finish but makes sense if they’re planning to continue the rivalry. It seemed more likely that the rivalry would continue with the post match brawl.
Salsa Banks was pissed about the finish and she attacked a celebrating Bliss on the ramp. The two brawled up the ramp. They fought to the commentary position and Banks fought off Bliss who tried to DDT her through the table. Sasha then sent her to the floor and then followed with the double knees off the table and to the floor on to Bliss. Bliss’ mouth was busted open after that. There was a moment here when Sasha was standing tall where she kicked Alexa in the stomach and Alexa kicked her back and it felt like real tension. I’m glad to see two women who feel like they have legitimate heat with each other trying to out-do each other. I thought that this was a very good match overall, with good aggression, a nice sense of urgency and both women playing their roles extremely well. No need to force the fact that history is being made here rather it just is. Rating – ***1/2
The Miz (C) w/ Miztourage def. Dean Ambrose
in 11:20 by The feud that never ends between Miz and Ambrose continues but just involving more people. It feels as if these two have been feuding forever, and I feel that they really need to move on from the pairing. Miz really needs someone fresh to work with. I thought it was clever how Ambrose early on tried to gain the advantage by attacking the Miztourage.It quickly was too much and Miz got him down. Miz focused on the leg, which Dean sold well at times. He held it in pain, couldn’t stand at points and limped. However, he also shook it off enough to hit a few one too many high flying moves. There were many close calls where it seemed as if Ambrose could pick up the victory and overcome the odds. One time it seemed like he had the victory but Maryse put Ambrose’s foot not the rope. In the end, the odds ultimately defeated Ambrose and he fell victim to the skull crushing finale. This was very average and what you expected this match to be like. It was similar to all the other Miz/Ambrose matches but just more bodies Ambrose had to be concerned about.Inoffensive and it told a solid story, yet nobody cared. It felt like something I’d see in the middle of Raw. I hope this was the blowoff for this feud too so both guys can move on. Rating – **1/2
Braun Strowman def. Roman Reigns in 16:35 by locking his opponent in the ambulance I can only recall like two other ambulance matches at the moment and I do recall enjoying both of them. However, that also means there must be a ton I don’t remember and that says a lot but I don’t think this one will be one I’ll forget anytime soon. The greatest thing about Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman is that it actually feels like their characters want to kill each other. Well as if Braun wants to kill Roman and Roman just wants to get this nightmare out of his life forever. It felt like a war between two guys who hate one another as it always does. They threw bombs at one another and brought the big moments, like Strowman getting thrown through the stage. Hate Roman all you want but his facial expressions in this match really told a story. He really looked shocked, frustrated and completely fed up with Braun throughout this match. He couldn’t keep the monster among down no matter what he tried. The finish was funny with Roman just flying into the Ambulance missing a spear.
The most match theatrics were the real deal. Roman reacted poorly to losing. Reigns was pissed and threw Braun into the ambulance. He drove to the parking lot and we got cheesy camerawork as we watched his “internal struggle” with the decision he was about to make. Roman backed the ambulance into a parked truck, crushing the back. THAT’S ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE! I was hoping Braun would still pop out and brush it off like nothing. Kurt Angle and other officials arrived as Roman walked off, to try and free Braun. There was a ton of drama and it kind elevated the show regardless how cheesy it was. Rating – ***3/4
Heath Slater def. Curt Hawkins in 02:10 by pinfall This match was just to fill time while we got split screen action of what was going on backstage with people trying to save BRAUN’S life. So they try to work a match as the fire department arrives and we hear the sirens. During the rescue attempt Slater pins Hawkins. Rating – NR – They use the jaws of life and get the ambulance open. BRAUN refuses help and crawls out of the ambulance a bloody mess. Braun Strowman: Super Babyface stumbles away on his own; like a movie monster leaving the final battle.
Universal Championship Brock Lesnar (C) w/ Paul Heyman def. Samoa Joe in 06:25 by pinfall Listen..I wasn’t expecting a technical and innovative classic so this match didn’t disappoint me. It told a story and Brock didn’t finish Joe quickly. It had me on the edge of seat and thinking Joe might actually pull this off to create a buzz in the wrestling world. The build to this match has been rather perfect; Brock is a cocky asshole that doesn’t sweat Joe, which puts him in the frame of mind he had when he lost to Goldberg. Add onto that the fact that Joe has been presented like a bad ass killer who has gotten over on Brock a few times and it not only heavily teases the Joe win, but makes it extremely believable. I thought the attack by Joe on Lesnar before the bell while Paul Heyman was introducing Lesnar was brilliant. Joe had no patience and just wanted to gain the advantage right away. Brock made it back in to start the match and we got Joe kicking his ass. Brock fought back with several German suplexes, but Joe kept coming back with the Coquina Clutch. The submission has been expertly built and each time it was applied, you felt like Brock was vulnerable. Brock came in prepared and managed to counter or escape it each time. When Joe started losing the advantage again, he hit a low blow on Lesnar, Joe countered the F5 into the Clutch, which Heyman sold masterfully at ringside falling to his knees. Joe was taking Lesnar down with the coquina clutch again but Brock is alive, hits the desperation F5 and retains. I really liked this match but I was kind of shocked it only took one F5. Everyone kicks out of the F5 these days, so one seems flat. I don’t like people kicking out of finishers, so I’d have had Brock hit it and deliver another for good measure, to make sure his monster opponent was down for good. Rating – ***1/2
Final Thoughts Overall, I think this was the best and most exciting Raw PPV since maybe Hell in a Cell last year. There was solid wrestling, great drama and some great stories told. There were some rivalries on here that made no sense or need to end but still had solid matches. I enjoyed watching it and the show just felt fun. There was a sense of unpredictability in the air for this show and it was felt throughout the entire card. I wouldn’t mind watching it again and I think this event left you with some new memories. Final Rating – 8/10
What were your final thoughts on the first ever Great Balls of Fire? What final grade would you give the event? Where would you rate it on a scale of ten? Do you agree with my review? Leave your comments, opinions and thoughts below in the comments section.