Brock Lesnar may have got the better of Samoa Joe, but it was a thrilling Ironman match that stole the show in Dallas, Texas as the inaugural Great Balls of Fire lived up to expectations.
It was one of the better Raw pay-per-views since the brand extension twelve months ago, but after all the hype of the Beast against the Samoan Destroyer, their clash felt a bit underwhelming after a short main event.
Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman also put on an entertaining Ambulance match, but it was the fallout after the match that had people in shock as Reigns crashed the ambulance in the parking lot with the Monster Among Men trapped inside.
However, it was a thrilling Ironman match that saw Cesaro and Sheamus scrape to victory over Hardy Boys that stole the show. It was a really strong showing from Raw, so lets take a closer look as to why this was one of the better pay-per-views in 2017.
The build-up to Wyatt and Rollins’ match at Great Balls of Fire has not been the greatest, but the Eater of Worlds managed to snatch the win against the Architect in a solid match to open the show.
It was a strong back and forth 12 minute battle with Rollins pulling nearly everything out of his move set against Wyatt, but nothing seemed to put the former WWE Champion away.
Wyatt claimed the win after raking the eyes of Rollins and followed up with Sister Abigail for the win. I still don’t know what is next for either man, but it was good to see Wyatt avoid another loss and pick up an impressive win against the Kingslayer.
There were no surprises in this one as the seven footer Big Cass destroyed his former tag team partner Enzo Amore to prove that he is the next big thing on Raw.
Cass just proved too strong for Amore by sealing victory with a big boot, after Amore somehow managed to avoid a countout after being body press slammed from the ring into the barricade.
It was the right move for Big Cass to win, but I think there is still a lot of work to do in terms of character development. He will likely fued with Big Show in the near future, which will either be make or break for Big Cass.
They put on a great Cage match at Extreme Rules, but The Hardys and Cesaro & Sheamus put on another great match as the champions managed to sneak away with the Raw Tag Team titles in tact after a thrilling end to a 30 minute Ironman match.
There was shades of WrestleMania 28 as Sheamus brogue kicked Matt Hardy after a matter of seconds to gain the opening fall and after nearly ten minutes, they went 2-0 up and a double team White Noise and diving neckbreaker on Jeff Hardy.
However, Team Extreme fought back to level the match and while a countout put the champions ahead once again, Matt levelled the score 3-3 with a eye-catching Twist of Fate off the top rope to the Celtic Warrior.
In the dying minute, Cesaro’s blind tag allowed him sneak Jeff from the behind with a pin to go 4-3 up and while Jeff hit the Twist of Fate on the Swiss Superman, the clock ran out in the middle of the pin to allow Cesaro and Sheamus retain by the skin of their teeth.
It was without a doubt the match of the night and I am glad Cesaro and Sheamus retained. They did lose my interest mid way through the match, but all four men put on a thrilling display in the final few minutes to steal the show.
It was one of the better women’s matches in recent memory and with Alexa Bliss purposely getting counted out to retain the Raw Women’s Championship, that signals that she is not yet done with the Boss.
They were given plenty of time to put on a solid match and Bliss even faked a serious arm injury, but it turns out she is just double-jointed in a very clever move from the champion.
Bliss got counted out to retain but The Boss was not done with her. In a post-match attack, she hit Bliss with the double knee strike off the announcers desk. It was a very good match between the two women and I look forward to a rematch at SummerSlam.
The Miz and Dean Ambrose’s rivalry has long gone past it’s sell-by date as this proved to be the least interesting match on the card, as the Miztourage helped the Awesome retain his Intercontinental Championship.
It is not that the match was bad or included a lot of botches, but there was just nothing memorable about it. As expected Miz’s new buddies Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas got involved and the champion hit the Skull Crushing Finale off the distraction to retain the strap.
I just hope this is the end of this rivalry and this match showed why it is time for both men to move on. I think The Miz could do good work with Finn Balor in a fued for the Intercontinental Championship.
It all started back in January when Strowman cost Reigns the Universal Championship and after what transpired after their match at Great Balls of Fire, I don’t think this is the last we have seen of this gripping rivalry.
When Strowman and Reigns go at it, they never disappoint and Great Balls of Fire was no different as they put on an entertaining Ambulance match, including the Big Dog sending Strowman crashing through the titantron.
It was Strowman who picked up the win when Reigns’ spear missed the target and he flew into the back of the ambulance, before Strowman shut the doors to seal the win. However after the Big Dog’s costly mistake, he was not finished with the Monster Among Men.
Reigns assaulted Strowman and put him in the back of the ambulance, before he drove it into the parking lot and backed it up crashing into a production truck in one of the OMG moments of the year.
It reminded me of the good old days when Austin would destroy vehicles and as Heath Slater and Curt Hawkins were thrown into an impromptu match, the crowd were more interested in the fallout which was still being shown on the screen.
They eventually got a battered and bloodied Strowman out of the ambulance, but he managed to walk away from the wreckage. It was a great moment in what could be the beginning of a long-awaited heel turn by the BIg Dog.
After all the hype around this Universal Championship clash, I was left underwhelmed by their encounter as once again a match featuring the Beast failed to go beyond ten minutes in a short main event.
Samoa Joe put in a dominant display against the Beast, blindsiding him before the bell rang and kept the momentum going in the match, nearly having Lesnar’s number on a few occasions when he wore the champion down with the Coquina Clutch.
However, the Beast somehow managed to avoiding passing out to the submission hold and countered into the F5 to secure the win, after just over six minutes and successfully retain the Universal Championship in his first defence.
It was no surprise that Lesnar left Dallas with the title still in tact but Samoa Joe proved he has what it takes to be a big star in the WWE. He has been in top form in recent weeks and despite the loss, he still looked very strong against the Beast.
It looks like Roman Reigns will be next to challenge Lesnar for the title at SummerSlam after destroying Strowman in a rematch of their WrestleMania 31 encounter.
I honestly would have preferred Lesnar v Strowman but I think WWE are realising that they need to take the title off Lesnar and have it on Raw more often, so it looks like Reigns will be the man to take the title away from the Beast.
Great Balls of Fire was another very good pay-per-view from Raw, following up on a solid Extreme Rules in June. There was plenty of hard-hitting action, drama and even an attempted murder.
Reigns crashing the ambulance with Strowman trapped in the back certainly got people talking after another great match between the two, while the Tag Team Ironman match was also another brilliant match on the card.
I was disappointed with Brock Lesnar v Samoa Joe but it did have a big fight feel despite it only lasting six minutes. Overall, it was a very solid Great Balls of Fire and gets me excited for the build-up to SummerSlam.