7/9 Powell’s WWE Great Balls of Fire Live Review: Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Universal Championship, Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns in an Ambulance Match, Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship

By Jason Powell

Prowrestling.net Live airs at 3CT/4ET on Mondays following WWE pay-per-view events. Monday’s free, live audio show will be hosted by Jason Powell and special guest John Canton, who will be taking your phone calls regarding WWE Great Balls of Fire and any other pro wrestling related topics you wish to discuss. Listen to Prowrestling.net live online at PWAudio.net.

WWE Great Balls of Fire 2017
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Dallas, Texas at American Airlines Center

A drive-in themed video package opened the show and focussed on the top matches with match footage airing on the drive-in big screen… The broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T checked in (JoJo was the ring announcer). Cole said it was an old school drive-in movie triple play featuring a dog, a monster, a boss, and a goddess. He said the building was sold out with 16,559 fans in attendance…

1. Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins. Cole said it was only the second time that Wyatt and Rollins met in a singles match. Rollins was punching Wyatt with both men on the apron at 2:40. Wyatt grabbed Rollins by the back of the head and threw him off the apron and face first into the ring steps. At 5:00, Wyatt superplexed Rollins and followed up a short time later by spiking Rollins face first into the apron. Wyatt brought Rollins back to the ring and covered him for two.

At 7:10, Rollins dropkicked Wyatt to ringside and then performed a suicide dive. Rollins rolled Wyatt back inside the ring and then performed a springboard clothesline for a two count. Rollins performed a sling blade clothesline and a blockbuster for another two count. At 9:00, Rollins avoided Sister Abigail, but Wyatt connected with a clothesline. Rollins came right back with a falcon arrow for two.

At 10:00, Wyatt caught Rollins on the ropes and then pulled him off and drove Rollins’s face into his shoulder before covering him for another two count. Wyatt performed a uranage for another two count. Rollins fired up and threw punches at Wyatt, who kicked his bad knee. Rollins got upset and had Wyatt in the ropes, but Wyatt caught him with a thumb to the eye while the ref was trying to intervene. Wyatt performed Sister Abigail for the win…

Bray Wyatt pinned Seth Rollins in 12:10.

Powell’s POV: A good opener, yet not so good that it left me looking forward to seeing the feud continue as I suspect it will. It was another month of Wyatt going over the top in his promos. In this case, he talked so much about making Rollins burn that I was actually wondering if we would see a fireball at the Great Balls of Fire event. Instead, it was just a typical match.

After a WWE Network ad, Charly Caruso interviewed Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy about the Iron Man match. Matt said he watched superhero cartoons with his children and now they step into the ring with super villains. Jeff spoke about being in the first tag team tables match, tables and ladders match, and TLC match. The Hardys said they break barriers and bars…

The broadcast team set up an Enzo Amore and Big Cass video package…

Enzo Amore made his entrance and got a strong reaction, including the fans chanting his name. Enzo noted that he and Cass made their main roster debut in the same venue last year. He said 20,000 fans said their names and that was love, but this is not love, it’s war. He said all is fair in love and war, but the same can’t be said about life. He said life isn’t fair. He said his favorite song is Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life.”

Enzo said he was riding high with Cass in April at WrestleMania, but he was shot down by Cass in May. He said Cass could come out and stomp on his dreams, but he’s going to keep dreaming. He said he won’t roll himself up in a ball and die, he’s going to spread his wings and fly. He said Cass might be seven foot tall, yet he will always be in his shadow, and he will be larger than life. Enzo closed with the sawft bit and then Cass made his entrance to a generic rock instrumental…

2. Big Cass vs. Enzo Amore. Cass wore trunks with a circular Queens, New York logo in the front. Booker said Enzo doesn’t stand a chance, which is the same thing the Kickoff Show team said while predicting the match. Cass dominated the opening minutes. The fans chanted asshole or Casshole at him. Cass charged toward Enzo in the corner, but Enzo fell to the mat to sell the beating he’d taken. The fans chanted “Let’s Go Enzo.”

Cass picked up Enzo over his head and dropped him to the floor at ringside at 4:00. The fans booed Cass. Enzo barely beat the referee’s ten count. Cass blasted him with a big boot to the head and then covered him for the win. Two referees helped Enzo back to his feet after the match…

Big Cass pinned Enzo Amore in 5:25.

Powell’s POV: A good promo from Enzo before the match and then an uneventful match. Three broadcast team members acted so confident that Cass would win the match that I actually wondered if they were going to give Enzo a flukey victory. They could always do that in a rematch on Raw, but I wonder if they are rushing through this to get to Cass vs. Big Show at SummerSlam.

An ad aired for the WWE 24 documentary on Kurt Angle that airs on WWE Network on Monday night after Raw… A shot aired of The Miz posing with his title belt while Maryse, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas…

3. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy in a 30-minute Iron Man match for the Raw Tag Titles. Cole played up the Hardys being a tag title win away from moving within one of the Dudleys on the list for the most tag title reigns. Sheamus and Matt started the match. Cesaro distracted Matt by entering the ring and then ducking out to ringside, allowing Sheamus Brogue Kick Matt and pinned him just 18 second into the match. Sheamus and Cesaro lead 1-0.

Sheamus and Cesaro worked a slow pace and played up having the lead. Booker said the tag champs should not play defense despite having a 1-0 lead. He pointed to the Atlanta Falcons losing the Super Bowl despite having a big lead over the New England Patriots. They ended up getting a second fall by knocking Matt off the apron and then hitting a double team move on Jeff nearly ten minutes into the match. Sheamus and Cesaro lead 2-0.

Matt tagged in and slammed the head of Cesaro into each turnbuckle in one of the corners ten times. Matt tagged in Jeff and they performed Poetry on Motion on Cesaro. Matt hit a Side Effect on Cesaro, then Jeff followed up with a Twist of Fate and pinned him just before 13:00. Sheamus and Cesaro lead 2-1.

Illegal man Cesaro ran Matt into the post while the ref was distracted with Sheamus in the ring. The ref counted out Matt Hardy around 17:00. Sheamus and Cesaro lead 3-1.

Cesaro and Sheamus took turns working over the weary Matt Hardy. Sheamus started doing the ten forearm shots to the chest. When the fans chanted along, he stopped, smiled, and pushed Matt off the apron to the floor. Cesaro performed a running forearm on Matt against the barricade and yelled, “All the time in the world.” Made came back with a Side Effect on Sheamus and covered him for two with a little over 8:00 remaining. Cesaro took out Jeff with a shot in the corner and then applied the Sharpshooter on Matt. Jeff recovered and broke it up. Matt tagged in Jeff and then performed a backslide on Cesaro. Jeff dropped his legs on Cesaro’s legs and held him for the pin with a little over 7:00 remaining. Sheamus and Cesaro lead 3-2.

Matt tagged back into the match and performed a tornado DDT on Sheamus for a two count with 5:00 remaining. With 4:00 remaining, Matt performed a moonsault on Sheamus and covered him, but Cesaro barreled into them to break up the pin. With 3:00 remaining, Matt hit a Twist of Fate on Sheamus off the ropes and pinned him. Both teams are tied 3-3.

Graves noted that the tag champions would retain the titles if they were tied at the end of the 30-minute period. Jeff performed a big leap off the top rope onto both champions on the floor. Booker said he wanted to see sudden death. “We’ve gotta have a finish here,” Booker said. Cole said he was getting ahead of himself because they still had a minute and 45 second left. The Hardys performed simultaneous top rope splashes on Sheamus, but Cesaro broke up the pin. Matt took an uppercut from Cesaro on the floor and was rolled up by Sheamus for a near fall. Jeff tagged in and hit a Swanton Bomb on Sheamus, but legal man Cesaro race in and covered Jeff and pinned him with rough 25 seconds remaining. Sheamus and Cesaro lead 4-3.

Cesaro rolled to ringside to kill time. Jeff chased Cesaro and Jeff got him back inside the ring where he hit a Twist of Fate. Jeff covered Cesaro, but the time expired before he could get the pin. The broadcast team put the match over as a classic…

Sheamus and Cesaro defeated Matt and Jeff Hardy 4-3 in a 30-minute Iron Man match to retain the Raw Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: A really good match that was laid out nicely in terms of playing into the Iron Man rules. The early fall Sheamus and Cesaro scored was clever. I’m normally not a fan of quick falls, but they set that one up nicely as a distraction. The first ten minutes were slow paced, yet told the story of Sheamus and Cesaro being in no rush because of their early lead. It also set the stage for a really good final ten minutes of the match. I’m pleasantly surprised that they delivered a real finish rather than booking a draw. The tag champions gained something with the win, yet the Hardys lost nothing in defeat.

A Rocket League commercial featuring Xavier Woods appearing at one of their events aired… A shot aired of Dean Ambrose firing himself up backstage… A video package showcased the Raw Women’s Championship match…

4. Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship. The international broadcast teams checked in during the ring entrances. Ray Rougeau missed his cue. Early in the match, Sasha grabbed Alexa by the left arm and drove her face into the mat. Alexa stood up and held her left arm in a manner that made it look severely dislocated. Suddenly, she punched Banks with her other fist and her arm was normal again.

Sasha came right back and performed a Backstabber and went for a Bank Statement, but Bliss rolled to ringside. Bliss recovered and tripped up Banks on the apron, causing Banks to take a back first bump on the edge of the ring. Bliss targeted the back of Banks. Cole really put over one move in which Bliss wrenched Sasha’s back over her knee.

At 10:00, Bliss leapt off the top rope and into the knees of Sasha, who then applied the Bank Statement. Bliss eventually reached the ropes to break the hold. Late in the match, Bliss was at ringside when Sasha grabbed her and tried to pull her back inside the ring. Bliss caught Sasha with a punch, then sat down against the barricade and was counted out. After the match, Sasha chased Bliss up the stage and eventually performed a double knee press off the broadcast table and onto Bliss on the floor…

Sasha Banks beat Alexa Bliss by count-out in 11:40.

Powell’s POV: We’ve seen Bliss do the double jointed arm bit once before on Smackdown when she sold Becky Lynch’s Disarmer. I’m surprised they didn’t save it for a match finish because it quite the visual. I’m okay with the finish in that I assumed they would stretch this one out until SummerSlam and Bliss taking the easy way out is logical. That said, this hasn’t been a good night for live crowd pleasing finishes thus far with the heels winning the first four matches including the Kickoff Show, and Bliss retaining her title here. By the way, Bliss appeared to bleeding from the nose or mouth after taking the double knee press, which Banks appeared to overshoot.

An ad aired for WWE Battleground… The broadcast team noted that A.J. Styles won the U.S. Championship and then set up footage of Neville beating Akira Tozawa to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on the Kickoff Show…

“Earlier tonight” in the backstage area, Tozawa told Titus O’Neil to make things right by getting him a rematch due to the low blow finish. Titus said he would work on it and sent Tozawa to the trainer’s room…

5. The Miz (w/Maryse, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas) vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. No in-ring introductions despite the title being on the line. At 5:20, Ambrose performed an underhook superplex and got a two count. Ambrose came up with a bloody mouth a short time later. Miz kicked Ambrose’s knee and applied the figure four, which Ambrose broke by reaching the ropes at 7:45.

The Miz threw his Daniel Bryan-like kicks and it appeared the majority of the fans were chanting Yes rather than No. Ambrose came back and performed his flying elbow off the top rope for a two count. At 9:45, Ambrose dove onto Miz, Axel, and Dallas at ringside and sold knee pain. Ambrose went for a top rope move, but Miz caught him and set up for his finisher, but Ambrose countered into Dirty Deeds. Ambrose covered Miz, but Maryse put Miz’s foot on the bottom rope without the ref seeing her.

Ambrose performed a suicide dive on Miz and rolled him back inside the ring. Ambrose pulled Axel from the apron and into the ring. Miz charged Ambrose, who hit him with a forearm. Dallas climbed onto the apron and hit Ambrose from behind. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale and scored the pin…

The Miz defeated Dean Ambrose in 11:20 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

Powell’s POV: The crowd was flat for the majority of the match. Perhaps it’s because they haven’t been given much to cheer about finish wise or because this feud has been completely overexposed. I’d love to think this is the end, but I have a bad feeling the finish sets up the need for yet another rematch. Worse yet, I continue to hope the Miz-tourage isn’t the three-man team that will lead to The Shield reuniting.

After another WWE Network commercial aired, the broadcast team hyped Sasha Banks, Big Cass, Miz, and his Miz-tourage for the Raw Talk show that will follow the pay-per-view… A video package set up the ambulance match…

6. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman in an Ambulance Match. An ambulance was backed into the usual spot near the side of the stage. Strowman entered first. Cole said this was the fifth ambulance match in WWE history. Reigns entered to a mixed reaction. Reigns threw punches to start the match. They went to ringside and Reigns ran Strowman into the ring post and knocked him down. Cole hyped that Strowman was off his feet. Strowman came right back by driving Reigns into the post and then the ring steps. Cole reminded viewers that Reigns suffered “internal injuries” at the hands of Strowman leading up to the match. “He’s turning the Big Dog into a puppy so far in this match,” Cole said at 3:10.

At 5:50, Reigns performed a Samoan Drop inside the ring. Strowman shoved Reigns off, then got up and charged Reigns, who moved, causing Strowman to run into the corner. Reigns wrenched Strowman’s surgically repaired arm around the ring post several times. Reigns grabbed a chair and slammed it against the post/elbow twice. Strowman stood up at ringside and Reigns hit him with the chair. Strowman no-sold it and Reigns started backing up. Reigns hit him again, but Strowman no-sold it. Reigns swung again, but Strowman caught the chair and then ran Reigns into the barricade.

Strowman took Reigns to the stage and tried to pick him up for a broadcast table powerbomb, but Reigns slipped away and fired punches. Strowman grabbed Reigns and tossed him off the stage and at the side of the ambulance. Strowman opened one of the rear doors of the ambulance. Reigns fired back and then slammed Strowman’s head into the closed doors. Strowman picked up Reigns and tried to put him inside the ambulance, but Reigns blocked it. Reigns threw shots at Strowman and tried to put him inside the ambulance, but Strowman blocked it. Strowman grabbed a stretcher backboard and struck Reigns with it at 12:30.

Strowman tossed Reigns onto the stage and then charged him. Reigns moved and Strowman ran into the video screen. Reigns charged Strowman, who picked him up, but Reigns slipped away and shoved Strowman through a piece of the video wall. Cole said the problem was that Reigns somehow had to get Strowman to the ambulance. Strowman crawled his way back to the stage where Reigns expressed disbelief. “The monster is wounded, but he’s not out,” Cole said of Strowman. Reigns winced as he stood up and then tried to drag Strowman across the stage.

Strowman shoved Reigns off the stage and down to the floor by the rear of the ambulance at 15:45. Strowman followed Reigns to the floor where Reigns hit him with some production lights. Reigns tried to spear Strowman, who moved, causing Reigns to slide into the back of the ambulance. Strowman closed the doors of the ambulance to win the match…

Braun Strowman defeated Roman Reigns in an Ambulance Match in 16:35.

After the match, opened the ambulance doors and speared Strowman from the back of the ambulance. Reigns slammed the ambulance door into Strowman repeatedly and put him in the back of the ambulance. Reigns hopped in the driver’s seat and drove the ambulance through the backstage area and stopped near a bus. Reigns started into a rearview mirror and then they cut to a shot of the ambulance racing backwards into a production truck. Reigns got out of the ambulance. A bunch of random people showed up with photos and suits and one said he was calling 911. Kurt Angle showed up and questioned what the hell Reigns was doing. Jamie Noble used a crowbar in hopes of prying open the side door. They cut away before they could open the door…

Curt Hawkins made his entrance. They went to a split screen shot of Curt Hawkins making his entrance, then Heath Slater made his entrance for an impromptu match…

7. Heath Slater vs. Curt Hawkins. The broadcast team spoke about the Strowman situation as the match got started. A little over a minute into the match, sirens could be heard. Angle was shown motioning for a U.S. Air Force rescue truck that pulled up near the ambulance. The bell rang in the ring. Slater won, but the finish was not shown.

Heath Slater beat Curt Hawkins in 2:10.

Backstage, the rescue team used the jaws of life to open the side door of the ambulance. They eventually opened the side of the ambulance and brought a stretcher inside. Strowman emerged from the ambulance with blood on his arms and face. Strowman crawled and shoved away anyone who tried to help him. Strowman eventually got to his feet, but fell down again. He got up again and walked into the side of a bus, which he used to keep himself upright. Angle was shown looking shocked as Strowman limped off saying, “Leave me alone”…

The broadcast team spoke in hushed tones. Cole questioned what was going through Roman’s mind when he drove the ambulance into the semi-trailer. They showed footage of the attempted murder repeatedly.

Powell’s POV: What a match. Slater and Hawkins killed it! Okay, so let’s ignore that one just like the production crew and the live crowd seemed to. The Reigns and Strowman madness was a blast. The ambulance match was entertaining and the finish was protective of Reigns. The post match angle was over the top fun in the same way that Strowman’s backstage attacks have been. Roman’s character should face attempted murder charges. Instead, I assume Angle will take away the SummerSlam title shot that Reigns gave himself.

A video package set up the main event… Samoa Joe made his entrance. Cole spoke about Joe making his MSG debut on Friday and calling it the biggest moment of his career before tonight (he left out the result of the tag match). There were some Joe chants. Lesnar and Heyman made their entrance…

8. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Universal Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Heyman took the mic and delivered the introduction for Lesnar, who held up the title belt. Joe attacked Lesnar from behind and knocked him to ringside where he put Lesnar through one of the broadcast tables with a uranage. Heyman knelt down by Lesnar and put his hand over his mouth to express shock and concern while Joe returned to the ring and waited for Lesnar.

Lesnar slowly made his way back to the ring and a “Joe’s gonna kill you” chant broke out. Heyman barked at the ref. Lesnar got to his feet and then smiled and nodded at the referee, who then started the match. Joe attacked Lesnar in the corner. Cole said he didn’t think Lesnar knew where he was when he agreed to start the match. Lesnar threw some knees at Joe, who backed him into the corner and threw shoulder blocks and punches. Joe took Lesnar down for a second, but Lensar stood up and drove Joe into the corner. Lesnar fired shoulder blocks and then knees at Joe, who came back with a headbutt.

Joe applied the Coquina Clutch at 1:10. Lesnar moved to the corner and ended up driving Joe into the turnbuckle pad. Lesnar performed a German suplex on Joe and followed p with a second one at 1:45. Lesnar performed a third German suplex. Lesnar went for another German suplex, but Joe held the ropes and then kicked Lesnar below the belt while shielding the referee’s eyes. Joe performed a uranage and covered Lesnar for a two count. Joe applied the Coquina Clutch again, but Lesnar was able to pull Joe’s top hand down a few times. Joe put the top hand back in position and Brock’s head started changing colors. Lesnar suddenly picked up Joe and slammed him down to break the hold at 4:20.

Lesnar charged Joe in the corner. Joe moved, causing Lesnar to slam into the corner. However, Lesnar used his quickness to get around Joe and then performed three more German suplexes. At 5:10, Lesnar picked up Joe for an F5, but Joe slipped away and reapplied the Coquina Clutch. Lesnar backed into the corner, but Joe held on and got Lesnar down on one knee in the middle of the ring. Heyman screamed for Lesnar, who eventually slipped out of the hold and then hoisted up Joe and put him down with an F5 for the win. Cole said Lesnar was in a hell of a fight, but he survived tonight.

Brock Lesnar pinned Samoa Joe in 6:25 to retain the WWE Universal Championship.

After the match, Lesnar got his title belt and smiled briefly. He headed up the ramp with the belt over his shoulder while clutching at his throat to sell Joe’s finisher. Joe was up on his knee and glared at Lesnar. Brock stopped on the stage and continued to sell throat pain to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A brief yet suspenseful main event. I didn’t care for Lesnar just throwing off the Coquina Clutch and then hitting his finisher, but this was still well done and I do believe Joe gained something during the build and even in the match. The key is how creative follows up with him. Overall, this was a fun show with the crazy Reigns vs. Strowman match and angle, and a main event that was able to get the crowd reinvested despite the madness they had just sat through. I will have a lot more to say about the show when Jake Barnett and I get together for our members’ exclusive audio review momentarily. Join us on the ad-free version of the website and mobile website via the Dot Net Members’ Signup Page


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