One of the most well-built cards that WWE has put together in months, and they still go ahead and try and ruin it by naming it after a song written by a dude who married his cousin.
Seriously, Great Balls of Fire?! I feel like Vince McMahon has to be sitting somewhere right now in a throne made of diamonds saying something along the lines of “these guys really will buy anything – and only for $9.99 on the WWE Network®!”
However, despite itself, GBOF has the potential to do exactly what Bennedict Cumberbatch has done – taken an incredibly stupid name and done something great with it.
Great actor, difficult name to say while eating peanut butter.
Eight matches make up the card for this RAW exclusive event, including Brock Lesnar’s first Universal title defence since winning it from Goldberg at WrestleMania. Outside of the main event, matches include a 30-Minute Iron Man Match for tag team gold between the Hardyz and Shesaro, a highly-anticipated Ambulance Match between Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns, and for some godforsaken reason another IC Championship match including Dean Ambrose.
Behold, the new whipping boy of the IWC!
After going 5-1 on my MITB predictions, let’s keep the hot streak going and make some predictions!
Cruiserweight Championship Match – Neville © vs. Akira Tozawa
In another Cruiserweight pre-show match, Neville takes on recent Titus Brand® acquisition Akira Tozawa for the championship belt.
Admittedly, I’ve been making fun of Titus O’ Neil since he decided to kiss his son on the lips at last year’s Money in the Bank PPV.
Seriously, guys, this is always weird.
But since beginning his Titus Brand gimmick a few months ago, first recruiting Apollo Crews and now Tozawa, he’s grown on me. It’s entertaining enough for the lower card, and character development is something that wrestling fans have been praying for in the years since the Attitude Era ended.
But I stand by my earlier prediction; Neville won’t lose this title for a long, long time. If WWE wasn’t ready to have him drop the title to the recently released Austin Aries, then I don’t believe that Tozawa is the man to do it.
In fact, I don’t think anyone will claim the championship from Neville – at least not until this man comes up from NXT.
Prediction: Neville retains the Cruiserweight Championship
Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
I didn’t think I’d be this upset about the breakup of Cass & Enzo. I’ve been part of the contingent lately that believed a change of some sort was needed; the team hadn’t touched tag team gold in NXT or on the main roster, and their schtick had grown tired. After weeks of backstage attacks, it had been speculated that it would be used to break up the Realest Guys in the Room, and I was excited at the prospect.
But then the breakup happened.
It was played perfectly; truly, there’s not much I can say about it other than that it was great.
The two former friends now will face off at Great Balls of Fire in a bitter rivalry match; or at least it would be if Enzo had any sort of wrestling skill.
Say what you will about Big Cass, but he’s said one thing that was completely correct in his promo – he’s where the money is. He’s got a limited moveset, but he’s not a truly atrocious wrestler on the level of Enzo.
While it could be valuable to have Enzo pull out the win here to legitimize him as a solo wrestler, I don’t see any way he pulls out the victory here.
Prediction: Big Cass defeats Enzo Amore
RAW Tag Team Championship Match – Shesaro © vs. The Hardy Boyz (30-Minute Iron Man)
I can only assume that this will be the blowoff match of this feud, and it should be a good one.
There’s no arguing that the Hardyz have slowed down as they’ve aged, but I don’t necessarily believe that they’re “worse” wrestlers. In fact, they’ve become more methodical as they’ve grown older, something that works well with the bruising style of Sheamus and Cesaro. They’ve put on two solid matches so far, and I definitely believe that this match can top the both of them.
Saying that, I don’t think that the Hardyz have a chance in this one. If rumours are to be believed, the Hardy men are close to winning the legal rights to their Broken Universe – and regardless, I think they’ll move on to a new feud in time for Summerslam.
— REBORN by FATE (@MATTHARDYBRAND) July 2, 2017
Prediction: Shesaro retains the RAW Tag Team Championships.
Intercontinental Championship Match – The Miz © vs. Dean Ambrose
Nothing, absolutely nothing has changed about this program, other than the fact that Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel are now part of the Miz’s entourage, and he looks to be splitting from Maryse soon.
Oh, and Dean Ambrose is still growing a bit of a beard.
Prediction: The Miz retains the Intercontinental Championship
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
In yet another feud that features Bray Wyatt claiming to be a god, he faces off against WWE 2K18 coverboy Seth Rollins. I can’t say it’s a feud I’m excited about, to be honest.
It’s getting fairly tiring watching Wyatt have the same feud with everyone; while I still feel he’s got great promo skills, they’re tired – it’s hard to believe anyone is a threat when they’ve literally never won a major match in their life.
The way I see it, I’m pulling for Rollins; after just being named the cover star of the franchise’s video game, it makes sense to have him win here. However, I don’t see this feud being one-and-done, and sadly that requires at least one Wyatt victory before WWE creative disappoints us all.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt defeats Seth Rollins.
RAW Women’s Championship Match – Alexa Bliss © vs. Sasha Banks
After winning the first ever women’s gauntlet match on Monday Night Raw, Sasha Banks earned the right to number one contendership for Alexa Bliss’ title.
Frankly, I’m just happy they’ve moved away from the Bliss/Bayley feud. It seems as though they’ve decided to almost fully reset Bayley’s character in the last few weeks, having her eliminated quickly by Nia Jax in the aforementioned gauntlet.
It’s also nice to see Banks back in the title picture after her foray into 205 Live. She’s one of the most talented women on the roster, and deserves her high placement on the card. Does she deserve the title yet? I don’t think so; while she very well may be the lady to take the title off Bliss, I don’t think it’s the time yet.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss retains the RAW Women’s Championship
Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns (Ambulance Match)
I’M NOT FINISHED WITH YOU!
With those words, the collective minds of the WWE universe exploded, as Braun Strowman returned to the ring out of the back of an ambulance.
It was a return only rivalled by that of Jesus, and even then there’s still some debate.
Seriously guys, I can’t tell you how happy I am that Braun is back. He’s truly become the best part of RAW since Jericho left; he’s a unique presence on the show, and I can’t get enough.
I mean, the fact that he’s been absolutely destroying Roman Reigns as of late may have a little to do with it, but I digress.
It’s tough to pick a winner for this match; with rumours flying earlier that Strowman would challenge Brock Lesnar at Summerslam, he appeared to be a lock to defeat the Big Dog. However, the scene has been muddled with the declaration that Reigns will challenge the Universal Champion at the next interbrand event – so when in doubt, #LOLREIGNSWINS
Universal Championship Match – Brock Lesnar © vs. Samoa Joe
It’s an easy winner to pick, but man has the build to this match been fun.
While it’s obvious that Lesnar will continue to carry the strap after this PPV, WWE has done their best to create doubt in the minds of it’s fans and built Samoa Joe as an absolute monster. Highlighting the devastating nature of the Coquina Clutch has been incredibly effective in the last few weeks; it shows that at any moment, Joe can strike – and do so effectively.
However, this is still Brock Lesnar we’re talking about. Outside of his recent feud with Goldberg, he’s been built like no other superstar before him. If rumours are to be believed, Lesnar has a date coming up with Roman Reigns – and he has to keep the title to make that happen.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar retains the Universal Championship
And that’s it, that’s all WWE fans! Tweet me @Spennylove and give me your thoughts!