WWE Great Balls of Fire 2017
July 9, 2017
American Airlines Center
Dallas, Texas

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our previewers:

  • Lee Malone: VOWs resident OTT reviewer, about to have a week at home alone full of wrestling so send any and all match/show recommendations to me on Twitter @Malone_713
  • August Baker: I promise to not make too many jokes about “Great Balls of Fire” *snicker*. Follow on Twitter @augustbaker12 for hot takes on wrestling (it’s good), politics (they’re bad), and cute animals (also good).
  • Jeff Martin: Keeping the streak (of previewing WWE B-shows) alive, it’s that guy who draws comic books and tells you to buy them before he talks about wrestling. So go buy some and then let’s talks about wrestling. On Twitter @HEATcomic.

Pre-show WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville (c) vs. Akira Tozawa (with Titus O’Neil)

Lee Malone: Post Aries, Tozawa always seemed like the logical next challenger for the King of the Cruiserweights. Although I could do without Titus O’Neil being anywhere near this feud, the match has MOTN potential. Tozawa is over with the audience and Nevilles current title reign will go down as the best Cruiserweight Championship run in WWE history thus far and when he does lose it will be a massive moment. Unfortunately that moment won’t be here. A non-finish leading to a match at SummerSlam seems like the logical way to go. Prediction: Tozawa by DQ

August Baker: Tozawa laughed at the Titus Brand when he thought it was funny. But Titus came along and moved him with money. And a title match. Tozawa has some great facial expressions when dealing with Titus O’Neil, and some great moves in the ring. But 205 Live is Neville’s show. What used to be a directionless show has become the best hour of WWE television each week, and a large part of that is the man with the title. Even undercard feuds have a purpose when there’s a strong champ. Neville will have to lose eventually, but unless WWE wants to push the Titus Brand, it’s not likely to be to Tozawa. Winner: Neville

Jeff Martin: I don’t watch 205 Live, but Neville’s title defences are always a highlight of RAW pay-per-views. Akira Tozawa rules, so hopefully he and the former PAC can bring some Dragon Gate fire to a WWE ring and make the half of the arena that hasn’t sat down yet regret their dawdling. Based on how the cruiserweight title programs have been structured, odds are this is just part one, and this will go until SummerSlam. Prediction: Neville

30-Minute Iron Man Match – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Jeff and Matt Hardy)

Lee Malone: Who would have thought we would ever see a 30 minute Iron Man Tag Team Title match in WWE?! Cesaro & Sheamus have proven to be an inspired choice to develop the Raw tag division around. They are entertaining as the shit talking heels and they always deliver in ring because really when does Cesaro ever have a bad match. The Hardys have done well since returning at WrestleMania and are still as popular as ever. However it just feels like they are in a holding pattern until we get to see some form of the Broken Universe in the WWE. I expect a fast start with one or two quick falls leading into a slow middle full of rest holds before the final 7-8 minutes or so which should be pretty insane. The Hardys don’t really need the titles right now so I think The Bar (that name is growing on me) will retain. Prediction: Cesaro & Sheamus

August Baker: Too many hard fights drive a man insane. Just ask Matt Hardy, who continues teasing the return of the BROKEN gimmick at every opportunity. Personally, I’ve given up on seeing the Hardy’s as anything other than a nostalgia act, and they’ve just about run their course. I hope Cesaro and Sheamus win this eight falls to zero. While that much of a difference seems unlikely, I predict a lopsided victory for the two Europeans. Winner: Cesaro and Sheamus

Jeff Martin: Remember when the Hardy Boyz returned at WrestleMania and everyone lost their minds and it was awesome? That seems like it was a hundred years ago, now. I’ve really taken a liking to the Cesaro and Sheamus team, but watching the Hardyz do anything for half an hour that doesn’t involve drones and wacky editing is not something that gets me fired up. I think Lee has the right idea on how this one will go, with a hot first and third fall, and a nap in the middle. Hopefully the Hardyz become Broken soon, but it’s a safer bet to assume Jeff Hardy’s face will become more broken. Prediction: Cesaro and Sheamus, 2-1

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

Lee Malone: Well the turn we all expected finally happened and lets be honest, its been pretty damn good so far. Cass has been more believable since turning on Enzo than at any other point of his career. He has shown a real understanding of how to be hated and has said and done all the right things so far. Enzo is Enzo and love him or hate him you know he is going to do what he has to to get his boy over as a killer. I would love to see Cass just destroy Enzo for 5 minutes with Enzo having no offense at all, similar  to  the Matt Hardy vs Edge match from SummerSlam 2005.  Prediction: Big Cass

August Baker: Big Cass is fine, but not kind, and he’s going to show the world that Enzo is behind him. If nothing else comes from this break up, at least Enzo has proven he can have coherent promos that convey a lot of emotion and isn’t just a catchphrase-spewing troll doll. I’m predicting an upset here, because while Big Cass is 7 foot tall, he’s also kind of dumb. He got outsmarted by Corey Graves, c’mon. Enzo wins with a surprise roll up, and gets destroyed post-match. Winner: Enzo Amore

Jeff Martin: This is probably my second favourite storyline coming into Great Balls of Fire. Also, I just restrained myself from making an Enzo Amore STD joke there, so I expect my award for that will be arriving in the mail shortly. Anyway, Enzo has been hot fire (balls) on the mic since the Cass turn, and this has potential to be really memorable feud if developed properly. I’m thinking Cass wrecks Enzo, which leads to Amore embracing his inner Scrappy Doo and refusing to go away, ending in a SummerSlam blow-off. Does that count as a Great Balls of Fire joke? You decide. Prediction: Big Cass

The Miz vs. Dean Ambrose was erroneously omitted from our preview document. Sorry! 

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

Lee Malone: I like Bray Wyatt. He is goofy and makes no sense and always loses yet somehow I still enjoy him. I want to like Seth Rollins. He has been improving in the last 4-6 weeks and the crowd has slowly begun to accept him as one of their guys. However, this feud has been total horse manure. I just don’t care at all. There is no consequences to be had in this match. As its their first outing I think Bray wins and the feud continues……sigh…. Prediction: Bray Wyatt

August Baker: Both these guys are chewing their nails and twiddling their thumbs as they wait for something else to do. I would comment on the build to this match, but what build has there been? Bray is a god because he never wins? He hates Seth because… reasons? I don’t know why they’re fighting, but I do know that Bray doesn’t win on Pay Per View and Seth is on the cover of the new video game. Winner: Seth Rollins

Jeff Martin: This hasn’t really had a build, but there were a bunch of segments dedicated to it, so… good use of TV time? Seth Rollins roams around WWE having good-to-great matches and struggling to connect with human beings (watch a Seth Rollins promo and tell me he’s 100% a human being and not an animated mannequin). Bray Wyatt thinks Raven’s purposely silly emo promos were the deepest, most intellectual things to ever be spoken, and made that his whole personality. These two people are going to fight because of a video game cover, I think? Help me out, here, folks. This feud will probably continue, but precedent suggests against picking Bray Wyatt to win any given match, so… Prediction: Seth Rollins

WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss © vs. Sasha Banks

Lee Malone: So Sasha is back in the good books. From WrestleMania title match to 205Live demotion and pre-show filler to now rushed back into the title scene, life is never dull for The Boss. Granted defeating Nia, who stole the show that night, a few weeks ago in the gauntlet match has given her a bit of momentum this just seems like a strange moment to put the title back on Sasha. Where would she go from here? Alternatively Alexa has been doing well as the lynchpin of the Raw Womens division and her relationship/friendship/fear of Nia Jax has been the highlight of the division recently. I just can’t see any reason to have Sasha win here other than the fact that heels might have gone over in all of the previous matches but even then that shouldn’t be a good enough reason. Prediction: Alexa Bliss

August Baker: Bliss’ feud with Bayley nearly broke my will, but Sasha Banks should provide quite a thrill. I find Bliss annoying. Her matches are unremarkable. Where some people see good character work, I see someone who goes through the same motions with every promo. I’m just not impressed. Fortunately, Sasha should mesh better with Bliss than Bayley did. There won’t be any bullshit about if Sasha is too nice. This could go either way. No matter who wins this one though, the threat of Nia Jax is looming. Winner: Sasha Banks

Jeff Martin: Alexa Bliss is entertaining on the microphone and not great at wrestling, and Sasha Banks is good at wrestling and bad at talking. Remember when Sasha was getting “best woman to ever work for WWE” hype? The main roster sure did a good job of stomping that fire out. Now I just find her annoying unless she’s in a match. This will probably be fine, but Nia Jax is clearly the next challenger to matter, so I don’t think it’s going to mean much in the long run. Jax and Bliss’ relationship has been a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to that turning into a proper feud. Prediction: Alexa Bliss





Ambulance Match
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Lee Malone: Romans road to redemption and inevitable crowning moment at WrestleMania continues as he overcomes the Monster among Men. For all the ups and downs of the Roman push this is the perfect match for him and Braun to go out and absolutely tear into each other and give the fans a reason to react. Braun is good enough to be able to bear a loss to The Big Dawg and come back even stronger. Is winning here going to get Roman anymore over? Nope not a chance. Will that stop WWE from continuing on down the Roman road? Nope not a chance. Prediction: Roman Reigns

August Baker: I’ve changed my mind, this feud is fine. These two fell into a vortex of internet irony and come out the other side more interesting. I have high expectations for this match, as everything with Strowman and an ambulance has been gold. He flips them over, he bursts out the doors like the Kool-Aid Man, and he lawn darts Roman into the side of them. In fact, maybe we can remove Roman and just have Braun play with an ambulance. No? Fine. This match could be a boring slog, but I’m really hoping they go out and try to outdo Lesnar/Joe. Roman has a date with Lesnar sooner rather than later, so he’s getting the win. Winner: Roman Reigns

Jeff Martin: I think the ambulance match rules are going to hurt this bout in comparison to the previous Reigns/Strowman matches, but every time an ambulance has been involved in this feud it’s been great, so maybe those factors will cancel each other out. Braun Strowman is the closest thing to watching Godzilla wrestle, and I full expect some sort of ambulance-tipping tease that I will get inordinately excited about. I have no idea what Braun is going to do after this feud, but I hope it involves throwing people around like they’re stuffed toys and not full-sized human beings. Prediction: Roman Reigns

WWE Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar © vs. Samoa Joe

Lee Malone: 2017 and we have a legit dream match headlining a WWE B level PPV. And it has been built absolutely perfectly. From the moment Joe joined Paul Heyman in the ring on Raw 4 weeks this feud has been like no other Brock Lesnar feud. Joe is the first full time roster member who has been elevated to Brocks level since his return in 2012. Cena was already there, so was Undertaker, HHH and even Roman was an established main eventer by the time of the WrestleMania match. Everything about this has been spot on, from their pull apart brawl, to Joe sneaking up on Heyman in the back to their sit down interview, it has all built to this PPV. This is a money feud. To blow this off as one time thing would be a huge mistake. This match doesn’t need to go long. All we need is 10 minutes of these two just going balls to the wall and giving us the match we all know they can have. I am going to go big here and say Joe is going to choke out Brock Lesnar. Prediction: Samoa Joe

August Baker: Goodness gracious this has the potential to be one heck of a slobberknocker. I’m hoping Lesnar brings half as much intensity as Joe is going to bring. It’s the biggest match of Joe’s career, but we’ve seen Lesnar mail it in big matches before. I’m still bitter about his WrestleMania match with Ambrose. When Joe first won the fatal five way to get a title match, I assumed it was just going to be a throwaway match for Lesnar to give him a title defense before Summerslam. But Joe has been made to look so strong during this build that to not make this a tough, hard-hitting match would be insane. Joe winning would be a huge upset, but I just don’t see it happening. Winner: Brock Lesnar

Jeff Martin: This is the best storyline in WWE right now. Samoa Joe has come out of this build looking like a complete killer, and like it wouldn’t be an upset if he beat Lesnar. That moment on RAW where Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch on Lesnar and it looked like Brock’s head was going to explode was an amazing visual. I’ve seen some people comment about wanting to get a 20 minute WWE main event out of Brock, but I agree with Lee that this needs to go a hundred miles an hour for ten minutes and look like a car wreck. I think there’s a chance that Joe winning could make him a full-fledged star, but I think it’s more likely Brock retains and headlines SummerSlam. Winner: Brock Lesnar