July 8, 2017 by adamburt13
(Courtesy of WWE)
Written By Carter Cotrupi and Adam Burt
This Sunday is the debut of the newly added RAW exclusive pay per view “Great Balls Of Fire.” Now, you’re probably reading this thinking, who the hell named this thing Great Balls of Fire? Or if you’re a wrestling fan this might not surprise you in the slightest bit. But it’s here, the card looks pretty great, and a few of us here at The Nosebleeds are ready to break this thing down a bit and give you our thoughts on all of the potential excitement or failure.
Neville vs. Akira Tozawa- WWE Cruiserweight Championship (Pre-Show)
Story: Neville is one of the only things that the WWE Cruiserweight division has going for itself. Previously a part of the main Raw roster, Neville played the baby-face aerial mastermind who wowed fans with his moves off the top rope and overpowered his opponents with his impressive brute strength. Nowadays, Neville is still that same wrestler, but with a brilliant heel turn. He knows that he is the dominant force in the Cruiserweight division and it’s hard to argue with that mindset because it’s true. WWE has always had problems bringing these high-flying superstars to their full potential. Rather than integrate the cruiserweights into matchups with the more technical wrestlers, the company decided to isolate that roster and coup them up in 205 Live. As easy as it is to hate Neville as a heel right now, he is bringing more awareness to the cruiserweight division and casual fans are beginning to realize that there is a whole group of guys like him that have been waiting in line to be featured in the cruiserweight division’s designated one match per Raw show.
Akira Tozawa is an underrated performer because of the attention given to stars like Neville, Austin Aries, and Brian Kendrick. He is the best thing coming out of the Titus Brand (Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews’ little stable) right now talent-wise. Tozawa’s involvement with the Titus Brand has allowed more casual fans to start remembering his name as he challenges Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship.
Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
Story: The breakup of Enzo & Cass has broken the hearts of many wrestling fans while simultaneously allowing us to breathe a sigh of relief over the duo’s future. A few weeks ago, Enzo Amore was first blindsided backstage by an unknown attacker. Since then, he and Big Cass were both attacked in a similar fashion on alternating weeks. After going to the GM Kurt Angle and questioning a handful of possible suspects, it was finally revealed that Big Cass was the one who attacked Enzo. The two confronted each other in the ring and both cut impressive promos. Enzo brought emotion and passion into his delivery when discussing Big Cass’ betrayal and Cass himself had logical (albeit heelish) reasoning for breaking up the team.
The Miz (with Maryse, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel) vs. Dean Ambrose- WWE Intercontinental Championship
Story: Wrestling fans have seen this feud before between The Miz and Dean Ambrose. The Miz, being the “Hollywood A-Lister”, is offended that such a chaotic competitor like Ambrose is even allowed to challenge him for the Intercontinental Championship in the first place. One of the only things refreshing about this run at the Miz/Ambrose feud is the inclusion of mid-carders Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Both wrestlers have been absent from WWE tv for quite some time but both are solid wrestlers needing a new storyline/gimmick to build off of.
Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The Hardy Boys- Iron Man Match- WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Story: The Hardy Boyz returned at WrestleMania 33 after both were separated from the WWE by 2010 and won the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships. Cesaro & Sheamus, previously framed as a dysfunctional duo started to gain some serious chemistry and challenged The Hardy Boyz for the titles, winning a steel cage match at Extreme Rules by the narrowest of margins. Since then, both teams have feuded over the championship belts and have endured recent non-finishes or “ties” which have built up to a 30-minute Iron Man Match for the championships.
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
Story: After Rollins and Wyatt both lost to Samoa Joe in the #1 Contender Fatal Five-Way match at Extreme Rules, they’ve been booked in a rather pointless and unnecessary feud. Both guys separately are great wrestlers, but this “feud” has no foundation or solid reasoning behind it. Basically, the whole premise of the story is “Hey, I lost somewhat because you were an opponent in that match too, and I don’t like you for that”. I think everyone can agree that fans just want to see these two-part ways and move onto different storylines.
Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks- WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Story: After Charlotte lost the Raw Women’s Title for the last time (before getting shipped off to Smackdown Live), it seemed as if we would see a decrease in the importance of the championship belt. Although Charlotte played the ultimate heel of the women’s division, she embodied the type of strong figure that was needed to legitimize the Women’s Championship in its early stages. Now, a new heel has been strutting around with the belt: Alexa Bliss. Being one of the newer additions to the roster, many fans were questioning whether WWE was rushing her into the spotlight too early. However, thanks to Alexa’s heated personality and impressive skill with the mic, the championship is still a hot commodity. Earlier this year, Sasha Banks was involved in the back-and-forth tradeoff with Charlotte for the Women’s title. Just as Charlotte was sent to Smackdown Live, it seemed as if Sasha was demoted to being the female face of 205 Live, WWE’s newest program highlighting the cruiserweight division. Now, the starts have aligned and fans are getting a dream matchup with the return of Sasha Banks as the #1 Contender to Bliss’ Raw Women’s Championship. On the Monday Night Raw held on June 26th, Sasha Banks defeated a tired Nia Jax in the first ever Women’s Gauntlet match featuring the majority of the Raw Women’s division.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman- Ambulance Match
Story: After defeating (and retiring) The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33, Roman Reigns declared himself “the big dog” of Monday Night Raw. This upset some superstars on the roster, including Braun Strowman, a towering beast of a man who has been utilized as the token behemoth ever since he split from The Wyatt Family. Perhaps WWE was listening to the fans’ overall displeasure at having Reigns shoved in their faces every week because Strowman went ballistic on Reigns. Strowman injured him to the point of needing an ambulance and then deadlifted said ambulance and rolled it on its’ side. Ever since, the two have had 50-50 booking which seems to have cumulated up to this final point in their chapter together.
Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe- WWE Universal Championship
Story: In my opinion (Carter), Brock Lesnar has been the best holder of the Universal Championship belt since its creation about a year ago. Yes, he has been absent in nearly every Monday Night Raw show since he beat Goldberg in their heated feud. However, Lesnar is one of those rare superstars who can give outstanding credibility to any championship belt around their waist. The fact that he had to go and compete to win the Universal Championship instantly means that the title should be taken seriously. Brock Lesnar is a beast no matter which way you slice it. Lesnar defending the Universal Championship is like Cerberus guarding the gates of hell. Anyone looking to take that title away from him is in for a tough brawl.
This leads us to the challenger, Samoa Joe. Joe is entering the back half of his career and only recently joined WWE to extend his streak of carnage on cable tv. When you look at Samoa Joe, you can see why management is willing to pit him against the Beast. Joe is a bit on the shorter side, but harnesses great technical strength and surprising aerial skills. After defeating Finn Balor for the NXT Championship just last year, Samoa Joe cemented himself as a guy who fears no one and follows through on his destructive promises. Now, he faces the guy who went toe-to-toe with Goldberg on multiple occasions and finally came out with the Universal Championship.