On The Mat – Great Balls of Fire 2017 Preview
July 8, 2017 (No Comments) by Evan Coughlan

The hype for this Raw exclusive pay per view has been dominated by the build up for the WWE Universal Championship match featuring Brock Lesnar, in his first defence of the title he won from Goldberg at Wrestlemania back in April. Lesnar is up against Samoa Joe who has looked like an absolute monster since winning the No. 1 contendership at Extreme Rules.

Of course, this is just one of several matches taking place this Sunday at the American Airlines Centre in Dallas, Texas, so let’s see if Great Balls of Fire is an event not to be missed.

Neville vs. Akira Tozawa (with Titus O’Neil) for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on the Pre-Show

great-balls-of-fire-2

On June 6th, episode of 205 Live, Titus O’Neil attempted to get Akira Tozawa to join his stable of wrestlers, known as Titus Worldwide. Tozawa unsure whether or not to trust Titus, looked on as Titus continued to try and recruit him to his stable. After Tozawa defeated TJP with Cruiserweight Champion Neville on commentary, Neville got on the microphone and complained about being disrespected by Tozawa. Titus responded that Tozawa could beat Neville and with the help of Titus Worldwide would become Cruiserweight Champion. On the June 26 episode of Raw, Titus informed both Neville and Tozawa that he had negotiated a title match between the two at Great Balls of Fire.

This feud is strange as the whole Titus Worldwide storyline has been going on for a while now with no real end in sight. Tozawa is still not sure whether or not to trust Titus or not, with Tozawa still a face, expect Titus to try some heelish tactics to try and win the match for Tozawa. Tozawa will try and stop Titus and get caught in a submission by Neville, allowing him to retain his title. With this match being on the pre-show expect it to get plenty of time and develop the story a bit more as we get ready for Summerslam.

Prediction: Neville

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

great-balls-of-fire-3

It’s really sad that both these guys have lost pretty much all momentum since Wrestlemania when they were both in marquee matches, Rollins up against Triple H and Wyatt walking in as WWE Champion. Ever since, both guys have sadly felt like afterthoughts with no real direction. This feud began during the build up to Extreme Rules and has continued on since then, with Wyatt doing his usual shtick of rambling promos that make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

The problem for these two guys at the moment is that with a crowded main event scene, this is unfortunately the best thing WWE has for them right now, and to be honest the sooner this feud is over with, and both guys move on to something new, the better. I think Rollins will win this match for the simple reason that Rollins was recently announced as the cover star for the new WWE 2k18 game to be released later this year and unlike the UFC, the WWE controls the destiny of the person the put on the cover of their game.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

great-balls-of-fire-4

At Extreme Rules, Alexa Bliss retained the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Bayley. The following night on Raw, GM Kurt Angle scheduled Bliss to defend the title against Nia Jax, as Bliss had said that she would give Jax a shot after she was through with Bayley. Bliss won the match by disqualification after getting Mickie James and Dana Brooke, who were at ringside, to attack her. Angle then scheduled a six-woman gauntlet match for the June 26th episode, where the winner would face Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship at Great Balls of Fire.

Jax dominated the match eliminating Bayley, James, Brooke, and Emma, before being eliminated by Banks, who made her tap out. Bliss then came out to confront her, but Banks attacked her and posed with the belt. If WWE are going to go with Sasha as the champ again, I feel that it would be better suited if they allowed more of a build up to her reclaiming the title and allow her to do so in Brooklyn at Summerslam. Another factor to consider is Nia Jax, who I see, getting involved in the women’s title match this Sunday, probably coming to the aid of Alexa Bliss and helping her retain her title.

Prediction: Alexa Bliss

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

great-balls-of-fire-5

I know some people were beginning to grow tired of the Enzo and Cass stuff, but I wasn’t and I was sad to see them break up, however in saying that the story line which has led to this break up has been excellent. It all began back in May when Enzo was found backstage unconscious, causing Big Cass and General Manager Kurt Angle to begin an investigation into who attacked Enzo, with the early suspects being The Revival. Eventually after a few weeks of backstage attacks and false accusations, Kurt Angle gathered all the suspects in the ring, and after clearing Big Show and The Revival of any wrongdoing, Angle was interrupted by Raw commentator Corey Graves who proceeded to show video footage of Big Cass staging his own attack. Cass admitted that he was behind the attacks on Enzo and proceeded to stomp on Enzo’s head.

The next week after a heartfelt speech about their friendship, Big Cass said that he was ashamed of himself for what he did. The two embraced in the ring, but on the stage, Cass attacked Enzo again. On the July 3 episode of Raw, in the promo of his career Enzo said that he would fight back and the two brawled until Angle separated them and made a match between them at Great Balls of Fire. I expect this feud to last until we reach the duo’s home state of New York for Summerslam, so to keep that momentum going until then I expect Enzo to pick up a cheap victory this weekend.

Prediction: Enzo Amore

The Miz (c) (with Maryse, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel) vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

great-balls-of-fire-8

Miz now has an entourage, known as his Miztourage featuring Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, although they may seem like a bit of a side show to the great work Miz has been doing for the past year, expect them to play a role in the outcome of this match this Sunday. Ever since Miz won the title from Dean Ambrose at Extreme Rules, the two have been involved in a strange/entertaining feud involving champagne, grandfather clocks and bear mascots.

The feud between these two has been going on for several months now and it would be nice to see both men face fresh opponents, Miz can go off and do interesting things with his new Miztourage and Ambrose can go and be a lunatic with someone else, expect to see a good entertaining match on Sunday with the Miztourage of Dallas and Axel playing an important role in The Miz retaining.

Prediction: The Miz

Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz in a 30-minute Iron Man match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

great-balls-of-fire-1

On last week’s RAW, GM Kurt Angle announced that The Hardy Boyz would face Cesaro and Sheamus one last time in a 30-Minute Iron Man match at Great Balls of Fire, after Cesaro and Sheamus defeated The Hardy Boyz in a steel cage match to win the Raw Tag Team Championship at Extreme Rules. Then The Hardy Boyz invoked their championship rematch for the June 12th episode of Raw in a 2-out-of-3 falls match, which ended in a no contest after the deciding fall ended in a double-count out, causing GM Angle to announce this Iron Man match.

This match will definitely be a show stealer, as all four men have put on great matches for the past couple of months now. It’s very rare for WWE to do Iron Man matches nowadays, so it’s nice to see that both teams will have time to tell a story, that being said the match will probably be a slow affair until the final few minutes when it will be an all out spot fest. I see Cesaro and Sheamus retaining the titles on Sunday, and this will be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back and The Hardy Boyz will finally become BROKEN and it will be WONDERFUL.

Prediction: Cesaro and Sheamus

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman in an Ambulance Match

great-balls-of-fire-7

Ok, firstly an ambulance match is fought under extreme rules, and the only way to win is for one wrestler to force their opponent into the back of an ambulance and close the door. I know it’s weird, but remember Braun Strowman did tip over an ambulance with Roman Reigns inside of it a couple of months ago so it makes sense in the mind of Vince McMahon and co. Anyway, the feud between Roman and Braun has been stop start since the Royal Rumble. After Roman attacked Braun with a chair back in May, it was believed that Braun would miss six months of action.

However, after Roman announced that he would face the winner of the Universal Championship match at Summerslam in his match later that night, an ambulance pulled up on stage and Strowman appeared costing Reigns his match. After beating down Reigns, Strowman challenged him to an ambulance match.

Ever since Reigns and Strowman began to beat one another down on a weekly basis, to be honest it’s very hard to decide who’ll come out on top in this match. I can see Reigns winning and going on to face the Universal Champion in a big Summerslam main event, although I can also see Strowman winning and going on to do the same. Roman doesn’t need the win and I think if Braun wins on Sunday it will cement him as a main event player for the foreseeable future, well that’s what I’m hoping for.

Prediction: Braun Strowman

Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Universal Championship

great-balls-of-fire-6

A dream match of epic proportions will take place this Sunday in Dallas as two mammoths of that hard hitting style of professional wrestling go toe to toe. Samoa Joe has looked like a million bucks so far in this feud, which has left Lesnar and his advocate, Paul Heyman, rattled on a couple of occasions. Joe has applied the Coquina Clutch to both Lesnar and Heyman in the build up to this match, with both men nearly passing out from the hold. This is interesting for two reasons: one, nobody ever gets physical with Paul Heyman,  and Heyman knows that Joe putting him in the Coquina Clutch ramps up the intensity for this match tenfold. Secondly, Lesnar never looks weak in the build up for a match and usually laughs off his opponents as mere cannon fodder.

But not this time as Joe has left Lesnar shook and gasping for air, more than once. Unfortunately, even though Joe has all this momentum right now and has never looked better during his time with WWE, I see Lesnar winning at Great Balls of Fire, due to the fact that Lesnar is not going to lose his title in his first defence. Expect an all out slugfest on Sunday, in what could easily be the match of the year, in my opinion.

Prediction: Brock Lesnar

Although it may be the most ridiculous name for a Pay Per View ever, expect Great Balls of Fire to feature hard hitting match after hard hitting match, and let’s be honest, what else would you be doing in the wee hours of Monday morning. Make sure to be on the lookout for our preview of WWE Battleground, which takes place on July 23rd and until next time, keep it On the Mat!

Evan Coughlan
Writes about sport and stuff. When Evan thinks of a witty comment it will appear here.

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On The Mat – Great Balls of Fire 2017 Preview
July 8, 2017 (No Comments) by Evan Coughlan

The hype for this Raw exclusive pay per view has been dominated by the build up for the WWE Universal Championship match featuring Brock Lesnar, in his first defence of the title he won from Goldberg at Wrestlemania back in April. Lesnar is up against Samoa Joe who has looked like an absolute monster since winning the No. 1 contendership at Extreme Rules.

Of course, this is just one of several matches taking place this Sunday at the American Airlines Centre in Dallas, Texas, so let’s see if Great Balls of Fire is an event not to be missed.

Neville vs. Akira Tozawa (with Titus O’Neil) for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on the Pre-Show

great-balls-of-fire-2

On June 6th, episode of 205 Live, Titus O’Neil attempted to get Akira Tozawa to join his stable of wrestlers, known as Titus Worldwide. Tozawa unsure whether or not to trust Titus, looked on as Titus continued to try and recruit him to his stable. After Tozawa defeated TJP with Cruiserweight Champion Neville on commentary, Neville got on the microphone and complained about being disrespected by Tozawa. Titus responded that Tozawa could beat Neville and with the help of Titus Worldwide would become Cruiserweight Champion. On the June 26 episode of Raw, Titus informed both Neville and Tozawa that he had negotiated a title match between the two at Great Balls of Fire.

This feud is strange as the whole Titus Worldwide storyline has been going on for a while now with no real end in sight. Tozawa is still not sure whether or not to trust Titus or not, with Tozawa still a face, expect Titus to try some heelish tactics to try and win the match for Tozawa. Tozawa will try and stop Titus and get caught in a submission by Neville, allowing him to retain his title. With this match being on the pre-show expect it to get plenty of time and develop the story a bit more as we get ready for Summerslam.

Prediction: Neville

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

great-balls-of-fire-3

It’s really sad that both these guys have lost pretty much all momentum since Wrestlemania when they were both in marquee matches, Rollins up against Triple H and Wyatt walking in as WWE Champion. Ever since, both guys have sadly felt like afterthoughts with no real direction. This feud began during the build up to Extreme Rules and has continued on since then, with Wyatt doing his usual shtick of rambling promos that make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

The problem for these two guys at the moment is that with a crowded main event scene, this is unfortunately the best thing WWE has for them right now, and to be honest the sooner this feud is over with, and both guys move on to something new, the better. I think Rollins will win this match for the simple reason that Rollins was recently announced as the cover star for the new WWE 2k18 game to be released later this year and unlike the UFC, the WWE controls the destiny of the person the put on the cover of their game.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

great-balls-of-fire-4

At Extreme Rules, Alexa Bliss retained the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Bayley. The following night on Raw, GM Kurt Angle scheduled Bliss to defend the title against Nia Jax, as Bliss had said that she would give Jax a shot after she was through with Bayley. Bliss won the match by disqualification after getting Mickie James and Dana Brooke, who were at ringside, to attack her. Angle then scheduled a six-woman gauntlet match for the June 26th episode, where the winner would face Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship at Great Balls of Fire.

Jax dominated the match eliminating Bayley, James, Brooke, and Emma, before being eliminated by Banks, who made her tap out. Bliss then came out to confront her, but Banks attacked her and posed with the belt. If WWE are going to go with Sasha as the champ again, I feel that it would be better suited if they allowed more of a build up to her reclaiming the title and allow her to do so in Brooklyn at Summerslam. Another factor to consider is Nia Jax, who I see, getting involved in the women’s title match this Sunday, probably coming to the aid of Alexa Bliss and helping her retain her title.

Prediction: Alexa Bliss

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

great-balls-of-fire-5

I know some people were beginning to grow tired of the Enzo and Cass stuff, but I wasn’t and I was sad to see them break up, however in saying that the story line which has led to this break up has been excellent. It all began back in May when Enzo was found backstage unconscious, causing Big Cass and General Manager Kurt Angle to begin an investigation into who attacked Enzo, with the early suspects being The Revival. Eventually after a few weeks of backstage attacks and false accusations, Kurt Angle gathered all the suspects in the ring, and after clearing Big Show and The Revival of any wrongdoing, Angle was interrupted by Raw commentator Corey Graves who proceeded to show video footage of Big Cass staging his own attack. Cass admitted that he was behind the attacks on Enzo and proceeded to stomp on Enzo’s head.

The next week after a heartfelt speech about their friendship, Big Cass said that he was ashamed of himself for what he did. The two embraced in the ring, but on the stage, Cass attacked Enzo again. On the July 3 episode of Raw, in the promo of his career Enzo said that he would fight back and the two brawled until Angle separated them and made a match between them at Great Balls of Fire. I expect this feud to last until we reach the duo’s home state of New York for Summerslam, so to keep that momentum going until then I expect Enzo to pick up a cheap victory this weekend.

Prediction: Enzo Amore

The Miz (c) (with Maryse, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel) vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

great-balls-of-fire-8

Miz now has an entourage, known as his Miztourage featuring Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, although they may seem like a bit of a side show to the great work Miz has been doing for the past year, expect them to play a role in the outcome of this match this Sunday. Ever since Miz won the title from Dean Ambrose at Extreme Rules, the two have been involved in a strange/entertaining feud involving champagne, grandfather clocks and bear mascots.

The feud between these two has been going on for several months now and it would be nice to see both men face fresh opponents, Miz can go off and do interesting things with his new Miztourage and Ambrose can go and be a lunatic with someone else, expect to see a good entertaining match on Sunday with the Miztourage of Dallas and Axel playing an important role in The Miz retaining.

Prediction: The Miz

Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz in a 30-minute Iron Man match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

great-balls-of-fire-1

On last week’s RAW, GM Kurt Angle announced that The Hardy Boyz would face Cesaro and Sheamus one last time in a 30-Minute Iron Man match at Great Balls of Fire, after Cesaro and Sheamus defeated The Hardy Boyz in a steel cage match to win the Raw Tag Team Championship at Extreme Rules. Then The Hardy Boyz invoked their championship rematch for the June 12th episode of Raw in a 2-out-of-3 falls match, which ended in a no contest after the deciding fall ended in a double-count out, causing GM Angle to announce this Iron Man match.

This match will definitely be a show stealer, as all four men have put on great matches for the past couple of months now. It’s very rare for WWE to do Iron Man matches nowadays, so it’s nice to see that both teams will have time to tell a story, that being said the match will probably be a slow affair until the final few minutes when it will be an all out spot fest. I see Cesaro and Sheamus retaining the titles on Sunday, and this will be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back and The Hardy Boyz will finally become BROKEN and it will be WONDERFUL.

Prediction: Cesaro and Sheamus

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman in an Ambulance Match

great-balls-of-fire-7

Ok, firstly an ambulance match is fought under extreme rules, and the only way to win is for one wrestler to force their opponent into the back of an ambulance and close the door. I know it’s weird, but remember Braun Strowman did tip over an ambulance with Roman Reigns inside of it a couple of months ago so it makes sense in the mind of Vince McMahon and co. Anyway, the feud between Roman and Braun has been stop start since the Royal Rumble. After Roman attacked Braun with a chair back in May, it was believed that Braun would miss six months of action.

However, after Roman announced that he would face the winner of the Universal Championship match at Summerslam in his match later that night, an ambulance pulled up on stage and Strowman appeared costing Reigns his match. After beating down Reigns, Strowman challenged him to an ambulance match.

Ever since Reigns and Strowman began to beat one another down on a weekly basis, to be honest it’s very hard to decide who’ll come out on top in this match. I can see Reigns winning and going on to face the Universal Champion in a big Summerslam main event, although I can also see Strowman winning and going on to do the same. Roman doesn’t need the win and I think if Braun wins on Sunday it will cement him as a main event player for the foreseeable future, well that’s what I’m hoping for.

Prediction: Braun Strowman

Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Universal Championship

great-balls-of-fire-6

A dream match of epic proportions will take place this Sunday in Dallas as two mammoths of that hard hitting style of professional wrestling go toe to toe. Samoa Joe has looked like a million bucks so far in this feud, which has left Lesnar and his advocate, Paul Heyman, rattled on a couple of occasions. Joe has applied the Coquina Clutch to both Lesnar and Heyman in the build up to this match, with both men nearly passing out from the hold. This is interesting for two reasons: one, nobody ever gets physical with Paul Heyman,  and Heyman knows that Joe putting him in the Coquina Clutch ramps up the intensity for this match tenfold. Secondly, Lesnar never looks weak in the build up for a match and usually laughs off his opponents as mere cannon fodder.

But not this time as Joe has left Lesnar shook and gasping for air, more than once. Unfortunately, even though Joe has all this momentum right now and has never looked better during his time with WWE, I see Lesnar winning at Great Balls of Fire, due to the fact that Lesnar is not going to lose his title in his first defence. Expect an all out slugfest on Sunday, in what could easily be the match of the year, in my opinion.

Prediction: Brock Lesnar

Although it may be the most ridiculous name for a Pay Per View ever, expect Great Balls of Fire to feature hard hitting match after hard hitting match, and let’s be honest, what else would you be doing in the wee hours of Monday morning. Make sure to be on the lookout for our preview of WWE Battleground, which takes place on July 23rd and until next time, keep it On the Mat!

Evan Coughlan
Writes about sport and stuff. When Evan thinks of a witty comment it will appear here.

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