Eric Ames takes you back to an event with that might have the oddest name in WWE history: Great Balls Of Fire!
Kickoff Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Akira Tozawa w/Titus O’Neil
Vic Joseph joins Corey Graves for play-by-play on this one, Tozawa gets his chant going as the bell sounds, they lock-up and Neville backs him to the ropes. The official forces a clean break and the champion mocks Akira, another collar & elbow and The King of the Cruiserweights, slaps on a side headlock, gets pushed off to the ropes and scores with a shoulder block. He goes back to the ropes, The Stamina Monster drops down, Neville somersaults over him, leapfrogs up, Tozawa rolls to his feet under another leapfrog and catches the champion with an arm drag.
He hooks in an armbar and Neville grabs the hair to back him to the ropes, looks to shoot him across, Akira reverses for a back body drop, The King of the Cruiserweight counters with a sunset flip, but the challenger rolls through and connects with a soccer kick. He squashes Neville with a jumping senton, rushes him in the corner, the champion gets a boot up into the jaw, steps out to the apron and Akira explodes back up with an enzuigiri. The King of the Cruiserweights falls to the floor, Tozawa builds a head of steam for an outside dive, Neville cuts him off from the apron with his own enzuigiri, then steps in and takes control. He puts the boots to The Stamina Monster, Titus issues some words of advice to the challenger, Neville launches him over the top and Akira spills to the floor.
The King of the Cruiserweights steps out after him, deposits Tozawa into the barricade and we head to a break….We return and the champion hits the ropes for a sliding kick, hooks the leg for a near fall, The King of the Cruiserweights stomps away at Tozawa’s head, then puts the bad-mouth on him. He starts toying with The Stamina Monster, Akira begins to battle back with a barrage of chops, Neville pushes him away, tries to block another and gets caught by a stiff right hand. The challenger measures for a roundhouse kick, The King of the Cruiserweights ducks it, Tozawa comes back around with a spinning roundhouse that’s off target, slides under Neville’s legs and plants him with a saito suplex. He heads upstairs for the Diving Senton, the champion wisely rolls away to the outside, Akira hops back down, hits the ropes for a suicide dive, slides back in and flies back out with another, then tosses Neville inside for a count of 2.
The Stamina Monster drags the champion back up, gets caught by a knee to the abdomen, The King of the Cruiserweights tosses him over the top, but Tozawa hangs onto the apron. He drives a shoulder to the midsection, slingshots back inside, Neville catches him in a fireman’s carry, but the challenger counters into an octopus stretch. The King of the Cruiserweights makes it to the ropes to force the break, Akira ascends the corner again, jumps over the top of Neville and rolls to his feet, goes downstairs with a kick and hits the ropes. The champion cuts him off with a stiff forearm, unloads with kicks to the chest, builds a head of steam and connects with a running dropkick. He crawls into a cover and only gets 2, The King of the Cruiserweights can’t believe it, Tozawa pulls himself to his feet in the corner, Neville charges in with a forearm, then climbs to the 2nd turnbuckle.
He comes off with a phoenix splash that’s off the mark, The Stamina Monster uses a victory roll that almost finishes it, hits the ropes and runs into a spinning back kick. The King of the Cruiserweights goes to the ropes now, Akira explodes up with a hurricanrana, rolls through into a soccer kick, goes up top for the Diving Senton and hits it, but the champion rolls to the floor. Tozawa goes outside to retrieve him, charges Neville in the corner, The King of the Cruiserweights elevates him, crotches Akira on the top rope, delivers a kick to the rope and The Stamina Monster crashes to the canvas. The official checks on the challenger, Neville goes to the abdomen with a spinning back kick, stacks him up and retains.
Winner and STILL WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Neville (Spinning Back Kick)
- EA’s Take: Great Kickoff match tonight, it looked like these two were out to steal the show and they gave a great performance with a finish that left the door open for the feud to continue, which I do expect. There’s really nothing left for Neville if he remains champion when it’s all said-and-done with Tozawa, except for Cedric Alexander. Certainly Austin Aries’ release will also hurt the overall landscape of 205 Live, but it will open a spot for someone else to step up or maybe even a new face to step in. 205 Live could use a shot in the arm, maybe an NXT call-up.
Open: Tonight, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman look to put an end to their rivalry and one another in an Ambulance Match. Alexa Bliss puts her RAW Women’s Championship on the line against Sasha Banks and then in our main event, Samoa Joe challenges Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title. This is Great Balls Of Fire.
Match #1: Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins
Collar & elbow tie-up to start things out, Bray grabs a waistlock, Rollins counters out to a side headlock, gets pushed off towards the ropes, but reverses to a snapmare, then hits the ropes for a kick to the spine. Wyatt crawls to the corner and laughs at The Kingslayer, they lock-up again and Bray backs Seth to the corner, looks for a big right hand, Rollins ducks it, looks to charge back in and The Eater of Worlds hangs upside-down, stopping Rollins in his tracks. Wyatt rushes out and gets caught by another snapmare, The Architect hits the ropes for a knee that misses, The New Face of Fear rolls to the outside, gets caught by a baseball slide and Seth measures for an outside dive.
Bray cuts him off with an uppercut, steps back in and batters The Kingslayer with more right hands, Rollins staggers to the corner, Wyatt rushes in and gets sent face-first into the 2nd turnbuckle by a reverse STO. Seth sets for the Short-Arm High Knee, The Eater of Worlds avoids it and rolls away to the apron, Rollins heads out after him, unleashes a series of punches, but gets thrown off and lands face-first off the steel steps. The New Face of Fear goes out in pursuit, drives The Architect into the barricade, tosses him back inside and covers for 1, hooks in a seated cobra clutch and Rollins works to a standing position. Bray clobbers him across the back, pummels Rollins in the corner, props him on the top turnbuckle and climbs up to deliver a superplex.
The Kingslayer fights it off, knocks tries for a sunset flip bomb, The Eater of Worlds blocks it, finally scores with the superplex and hooks the leg for a 2 count. The New Face of Fear drags Seth up and they trade shots, Rollins looks to pull himself up using the ropes, Bray hauls him to his feet, buries a forearm to the spine, then brings him to the apron and spikes him with a DDT. The Eater of Worlds rolls Seth into the ring, hooks the leg for another near fall, wants to wear him down some more with a rear chinlock, The Kingslayer battles back to his feet, but gets ripped to the mat by his head. Wyatt hits the ropes for a senton and nobody’s home, Seth pulls himself to his feet, avoids Bray charging in and deposits him outside, The New Face of Fear slides back in for a clothesline, Rollins ducks it and attempts a falcon arrow.
Bray blocks it and tries a suplex, The Architect slips out after a knee to the head, sends him to the outside with a dropkick, hits the ropes and takes flight with a suicide dive. The Kingslayer throws Wyatt back in, climbs to the apron and springboards in with a clothesline, uses a lateral press and only gets 2. The New Face of Fear stumbles to the corner, Rollins charges in with a flying forearm, hits the ropes for a sling blade, gets set in the corner, Bray rushes in and eats a boot to the jaw. Seth comes off the 2nd rope with a blockbuster and still can’t finish it, hooks The Eater of Worlds from behind for the Short-Arm High Knee, Wyatt blocks it, gets battered by elbows and goes for a kick to the breadbasket. Bray blocks it, spins him around for Sister Abigail, The Architect avoids it, connects with an enzuigiri and hits the ropes, but gets turned inside-out by a clothesline.
He hauls Rollins up and hooks him for a suplex, The Kingslayer surprises Bray with a falcon arrow for a near fall, climbs to the high-rent district, Wyatt hits the ropes and Seth gets crotched on the top turnbuckle. The Eater of Worlds scores with a rope elevated jawbreaker that almost gets a 3 count, Wyatt gets angered, plants Seth with a uranage and Rollins again barely kicks out at 2. The New Face of Fear looks to be getting frustrated, calls for Sister Abigail, yells at The Architect to get up and fight, then slaps him in the face. Rollins explodes up with a furious flurry of fists and knees, Bray cuts him down with a kick to the knee, rolls to the floor, Seth reaches out after him and the official tries to break them apart. The Eater of Worlds seizes the opening and goes to the eyes, slides back in and delivers Sister Abigail, then covers for the win.
Winner: Bray Wyatt (Sister Abigail)
- EA’s Take: During the Kickoff, they gave some more hype for this match and I thought it could end up being our opener as it just made sense if you know how WWE usually lines their cards up. Good way to start the show and I found this one to be entertaining, however I haven’t felt like their angle has been very strong, which has really put a ceiling on my interest. That’s too bad for me because I’m a big fan of both of these guys’ work and if this is going to go further, which I believe it will, something needs to be tweaked in order for it to achieve its potential.
Backstage: Charly Caruso welcomes in The Hardy Boyz, Matt shares a story and speaks about watching superhero cartoons with his kids earlier. He claims tonight they are facing two super villains and thinks that’s ironic, stating that Cesaro is as strong as they come and Sheamus can kick your teeth out of your head. Jeff says he knows what that’s all about, reminds us of all the history they have made in the WWE before, stating they break barriers and bars.
Match #2: Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
The bell rings and Enzo charges right in, backs Cass to the ropes, the seven-footer clubs him across the back, then looks to corner him. Amore turns the tables and unloads with right hands, Big Cass shoves him to the mat, Enzo rushes back in, gets flattened by a shoulder block, the seven-footer bad-mouths him in the corner, then batters him with clubbing blows. Cass slaps on a modified chinlock, lets Amore drop to the canvas, Enzo tries to get back to his feet in the corner, the seven-footer starts toying with him, then heaves him across the ring with a fallaway slam. Smacktalker Skywalker crawls to his feet in the corner, Big Cass charges in with a splash, measures for another, Enzo collapses to the canvas, then tries to fight back.
Cass hauls him up and slaps him across the face, planks Amore across the top in the corner, bludgeons him across the back, then mocks him. Smacktalker Skywalker still can’t get back to his feet, the seven-footer chokes him in the corner, drags him back to a vertical base, then tosses Enzo over the top to the floor with a military press. Amore drags himself back into the ring to barely beat the count at 9, Cass shakes his head in disbelief, hits the ropes for a Big Boot and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Big Cass (Big Boot)
- EA’s Take: This was exactly as I expected with Cass absolutely destroying Enzo. Reportedly, these two are moving on really quickly, but I don’t see how you can do that after splitting a team that is still synonymous with one another. I was always of the thought that it was too early to break them apart anyways, I didn’t think it made much sense for it until after they at least won the Tag Titles. For such a popular team, they never wore gold, even in NXT and I feel like that is a big moment that WWE didn’t capitalize on and absolutely should have. Cass will have a future on his own, but for me right now, the split is still too fresh and it just feels strange.
Match #3 is a 30-Minute Ironman Match for the RAW Tag Team Championships: The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) vs. RAW Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus
Matt & Sheamus will get things started, Cesaro rushes inside for a clothesline, Matt ducks it, The Celtic Warrior surprises him with a Brogue Kick and quickly picks up the first fall.
First Fall: Cesaro & Sheamus (1-0)
Jeff tags in and fires away with right hands and kicks, Sheamus battles back, makes a tag, the champion send Jeff to the ropes for a double clothesline, he ducks under it and takes them both out with a double dropkick. Order is restored and The Charismatic Enigma snapmares Cesaro over, delivers a basement dropkick to the spine for 2, grabs a rear chinlock and The Swiss Cyborg muscles his way to his feet, then drops Jeff on the top turnbuckle. He tags out and The Great White hammers Jeff in the corner, The Charismatic Enigma returns fire, backs Sheamus to his corner and tags, Matt goes to the 2nd rope, then delivers an elbow to the shoulder. He clotheslines The Celtic Warrior over the top, steps out after him, rams him face-first off the ring apron numerous times and the crowd accompanies him with “Delete” chants.
Matt rolls Sheamus back inside, hooks him for a Twist Of Fate, The Celtic Warrior blocks it, Matt spikes him with a DDT instead and gets a count of 2. Jeff re-enters the match and The Hardys send Sheamus to the ropes for a double back elbow, connect with the Spin Cycle The Charismatic Enigma covers and again finds a 2 count. He locks on an armbar to grind The Great White Down, Sheamus works to a standing position, launches Jeff to the floor, tries to step out after Jeff and the ref stops him. Cesaro drops to the floor, clocks The Charismatic Enigma with an uppercut, Matt comes around ringside, ambushes The King of Swing and gets dropped from behind by Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior turns back to Jeff and hammers him with uppercuts, tosses him into the squared circle, Cesaro tags in, comes off the 2nd rope with a double axe handle and covers for 2.
He grabs The Charismatic Enigma for a dead-lift gutwrench suplex, still can’t gain a 3 count, Sheamus tags in, hops to the 2nd rope for a knee drop, but Jeff kicks out at 2. The Great White looks to wear him down with an armbar, Jeff battles back up, gets ripped down to the canvas by the hair and Sheamus tags out. The Swiss Cyborg takes his time as he puts the boots to Jeff, dumps him to the outside, tags out and The Charismatic Enigma pulls himself back inside, tries to reach his corner, but Sheamus intercepts him with a front facelock. Jeff finds his footing and hits the ropes, gets planted by a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for a near fall, tag to Cesaro, the champions send Jeff to the ropes and score with a double clothesline.
The King of Swing with a lateral press for 2, grounds The Charismatic Enigma with a top shoulder lock, Jeff gains a vertical base, Cesaro quickly knocks Matt off the apron, turns back to Jeff and gets elevated by a back body drop. The Charismatic Enigma crawls to his corner and Matt’s still not there, The Great White tags in, Cesaro rocks Jeff with an uppercut from behind, the champions delivers an Assisted White Noise and Sheamus gets a 3 count.
Second Fall: Cesaro & Sheamus (2-0)
Jeff staggers to his feet in the corner, The Celtic Warrior charges in with a shoulder to the ribs, levels him with a short-arm clothesline for a count of 2, whips back him into the corner and rushes in for another shoulder, but only finds the steel post and falls to the floor. Cesaro hops off the apron and rolls Sheamus back inside, we get tags on both sides, Matt peppers The Swiss Cyborg with a barrage of fists, drives him face-first off all the turnbuckles numerous times, then charges in for a corner clothesline. He plants Cesaro with a running bulldog for a near fall, goes to the 2nd rope for an elbow to the back of the head, gains another 2 count, then makes a tag. The Hardys send The King of Swing to the corner for Poetry In Motion, Matt follows with a Side Effect, Jeff delivers the Twist Of Fate and pick-up the fall.
Third Fall: The Hardy Boyz (1-2)
Cesaro pulls himself up in the corner, The Charismatic Enigma rushes in with a splash, plants him with a sit-out gorbuster for a 2 count, hauls The King of Swing to his feet and gets rocked by an uppercut. The Great White gets the tag, drills Jeff with an uppercut, The Charismatic Enigma fires back with a kick, it’s blocked, but he flips into a mule kick and Sheamus stumbles to the corner. Jeff bludgeons him with heavy right hands, buries a slingshots dropkick to the chest for a near fall, drives him face-first off the top turnbuckle and tags out. The challengers send Sheamus spine-first into the turnbuckles, deliver a double suplex for a 2 count, Matt makes a cover and Cesaro just makes it back in to break it up at 2. Matt deposits him to the apron, knocks The Swiss Cyborg to the floor, sends Sheamus to the outside and then gets on all fours for Jeff.
The Charismatic Enigma launches himself off Matt’s back with a somersault plancha, Matt goes outside and cracks The Celtic Warrior with stiff punches, bashes him head-first off the ring apron, then rolls him back inside. Cesaro grabs Matt from behind, drives him face-first off the ring post and he doesn’t beat the count.
Fourth Fall: Cesaro & Sheamus (3-1)
The referee goes out to check on Matt and he staggers into the squared circle, Sheamus meets him with a knee to the chin, Cesaro tags in and covers for 2, hits a snap suplex and eggs on the crowd. The Swiss Cyborg buries a forearm into the spine, The Great White re-enters the match, the champions putting the boots to Matt in the corner. Matt gets a rush of adrenaline and tries to leap towards his corner, Sheamus cuts him off, slaps on a rear chinlock, Matt tries to fight to his feet, The Great White buries knees to the spine, then hooks him on the apron for 10 Beats of the Bodhren.
He shoves Matt down to the floor and allows the official to count, Cesaro gets the tag and comes off the apron with a double axe handle, deposits him into the retaining wall, then follows in with an uppercut. He throws Matt into the ring and tags out, the champions hit a double suplex, Sheamus hooks the leg for a count of 2, then grinds him down with a seated cobra clutch. Matt fights to his feet, counters a clothesline into the Side Effect, falls into a cover for 2 and The Celtic Warrior crawls to a tag. The Swiss Cyborg steps in, drops Jeff off the apron with a big boot, turns around for a sunset flip to Matt, picks the legs for the Sharpshooter and Jeff slides back in to break it up. Sheamus comes around ringside and rips Jeff off the apron, Cesaro shoots Matt into the corner, rushes in with an uppercut, unloads with a barrage of more uppercuts, then sends him back across for another. The Charismatic Enigma reaches up and tags himself in, Matt counters another uppercut into a backslide, Jeff follows with the split leg drop and gets the 1-2-3.
Fifth Fall: The Hardy Boyz (2-3)
The King of Swing quickly goes on the attack and shoots Jeff to the corner, charges in, The Charismatic Enigma surprises him with a back elbow, scales the corner for Whisper In The Wind and gains a near fall. He grabs a side headlock and Cesaro backs him to the ropes, the official steps in to force the break, The Celtic Warrior clocks Jeff with a cheap shot, then tags in. The champions set for the Assisted White Noise, Matt pushes Cesaro off the ropes to the floor, Jeff slides into a sunset flip on Sheamus for a near fall, both guys are back up quick and he splits The Great White with an inverted atomic drop. He brings The Celtic Warrior down with a double leg takedown, scores with a leg drop to the lower abdomen, scores with a basement dropkick, gets another 2 count, then shoots Sheamus to the ropes for a back body drop.
The Great White prevents it with a kick, drives Jeff backwards with a high knee, Matt tags himself in and Sheamus lifts him into the ring for a rolling fireman’s carry. Matt slips out to the 2nd rope, spikes The Celtic Warrior with a tornado DDT, hooks the leg for a near fall, then gets ready for a Twist Of Fate. Cesaro slides in and Matt peppers him with punches, dumps him over the top, Sheamus grabs Matt from behind, almost gets caught in a Twist Of Fate, but pushes him away into the turnbuckles. The Great White props Matt on the top turnbuckle for a super back suplex, Matt fights it off, knocks Sheamus to the canvas and connects with a moonsault. He makes the cover and Cesaro slides in to break it up, it appears as if the ref counted to 3, but they wave it off. Jeff chases The Swiss Cyborg to the outside, Sheamus rolls to the apron, Matt scores with right hands, but gets surprised by a hot shot. The Celtic Warrior heads up top, Matt meets him with a shot to the breadbasket, climbs up for a Super Twist Of Fate, rolls to a cover and ties it up.
Sixth Fall: The Hardy Boyz (3-3)
The Charismatic Enigma tags in and Sheamus staggers to his feet, Jeff clobbers him from behind, goes upstairs for the Swanton Bomb, but Cesaro drags his partner to the outside. Jeff turns and takes out the champions with a crossbody to the floor, rolls The Great White into the squared circle, The Hardys climb up opposite turnbuckles, deliver the Event Omega and Jeff covers, but Cesaro breaks the count up at 2. Matt gets the tag and looks to picks Sheamus back up, gets pulled throat-first into the 2nd rope, The Swiss Cyborg rocks him with an uppercut from the floor, The Celtic Warrior follows with a schoolboy and gets a near fall. He drags Matt back up and gets surprised by a jawbreaker, falls backwards and Cesaro makes a blind tag, Matt knocks The King of Swing to the floor, turns back around and Sheamus picks him up for a powerslam.
Matt slides out of it and goes for the Twist Of Fate, gets pushed off to the ropes, Jeff makes a blind tag now, Matt catches Sheamus with a Twist Of Fate and Jeff goes upstairs for the Swanton Bomb. The Charismatic Enigma connects, Cesaro slides in quickly, holds Jeff down and steals a 3 count.
Seventh Fall: Cesaro & Sheamus (4-3)
The Swiss Cyborg rolls to the outside and Jeff gives chase, they head back in the ring, The Charismatic Enigma hits a Twist Of Fate, but time runs out.
Winners and STILL RAW Tag Team Champions: Cesaro & Sheamus (4-3)
- EA’s Take: I was on the fence about this one heading into it and there was one pretty notable botch on a pinfall, but it was an exciting match and the people bought into The Hardys possibly regaining the titles. I’m still of the opinion they will dive into singles action here at some point, so I saw no need to put the titles back on them after losing them just at Extreme Rules. Cesaro & Sheamus have really grown on me as a team and are working out excellently as heels, so this was the right call. You have to wonder what’s next for them as there’s a real lack of babyface teams on RAW now, you’re only left with Slater & Rhyno who are nowhere near the popularity level they had last fall when winning the SmackDown Tag Titles.
Match #4 for the RAW Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks vs. RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss
The challenger picks the arm as they go in for a lock-up, gains a waistlock, Alexa reaches for the ropes to get the break and The Boss shoves her. They go into a collar & elbow and jockey for position, Bliss backs Sasha to the corner, Banks comes out and grabs a side headlock, then gets pushed off to the ropes. Little Miss Bliss follows her in for a misdirection and scores with a shoulder block, goes back to the ropes, the challenger drops down, leapfrogs over and connects with a dropkick, Alexa rolling outside to regroup. She climbs back on the apron and drives a shoulder into the midsection, hooks The Goddess by the arm, scales the corner for an arm drag and Alexa pulls herself up in the corner. The Boss charges in with double knees, snapmares her out for a count of 2, Little Miss Bliss tries to beg her off, attempts to surprise the challenger with a slap, it’s blocked and she gets arm-whipped to the mat.
The champion acts like her elbow is dislocated, the official checks on her, she surprises Banks with a stiff forearm shot, then chokes her against the ropes. Alexa looks to shoot Sasha to the ropes and The Boss reverses it, blocks a clothesline, connects with a backstabber and goes for the Bank Statement. The champion quickly squirms away under the bottom rope, yells that she doesn’t need this and starts to walk off to the back. The challenger goes out in pursuit, bounces Bliss face-first off the apron multiple times, climbs up and Alexa sweeps the leg. Banks falls spine-first across the apron, The Goddess stands on her back, drives her face-first off the floor numerous times, then deposits her back inside for a 2 count.
Alexa pulls the challenger to her feet, Sasha tries to battle back, gets caught by the throat and planted by a modified STO, the champion follows with Insult To Injury to the spine and gains a near fall. Little Miss Bliss grinds her boot into The Boss’ spine and wrenches awya at the back, kicks her away, gets caught walking in by a schoolboy and Sasha steals a count of 2. She begins fighting back with forearms, Alexa counters one, cracks her with a modified backbreaker, then unloads with heavy right hands for a near fall. The Goddess puts the bad-mouth on Sasha and slaps her across the face, sets for a suplex, the challenger blocks it, buries knees into the ribs, then hits a snap suplex into the turnbuckles. Both women struggle back to a vertical base and trade shots, The Boss gets the better of it, looks to shoot the champion into the corner, but it’s reversed, Alexa rushes in and meets double boots to the jaw, Banks explodes out of the corner with multiple clotheslines, scores with a dropkick, blocks a kick to deliver one of her own and Bliss tries to escape to the outside.
The challenger pulls her back in for a back suplex, hits the ropes for a running knee, hooks the leg and still can’t put it away, Little Miss Bliss pulling herself up in the corner. She catches Banks charging in with a back elbow, hops up for a sunset flip bomb that nearly finishes it, throws a tantrum that she couldn’t put it away, then climbs to the top rope for Twisted Bliss. The Boss gets the knees up, slaps on the Bank Statement and Bliss crawls her way to the bottom rope to force the break. She rolls to the floor to recoup, Sasha reaches out after her, gets surprised by a hot shot across the bottom rope and spills to the floor. The champion goes to drive her into the barricade, The Boss turns the tables, deposits Alexa into the retaining wall instead, sends her into the squared circle and grabs her by the foot. Little Miss Bliss kicks Banks away and goes back outside, the challenger reaches out for a handful of hair, gets caught by a stiff right hand, Alexa takes a seat and the count reaches 10.
Winner: Sasha Banks (Count-Out)
- After The Bell: Alexa gloats as she heads up the ramp, Sasha charges out after her, ambushes the champion from behind and drives her into the LED board. She turns back towards the ring, Bliss clobbers her with a forearm, sends The Boss into the announce table, then drags her on top of it for a DDT. Sasha counters out and pushes her down to the floor, takes flight with double knees
- EA’s Take: Just as Corey Graves said, hell of a match here with an exciting post-match to take the place of the title change and make the fans “happy”. This is easily the best match of Alexa’s career and I’d say that’s mostly on Sasha’s shoulders, so while I stand firm in thinking the champion is weak in the ring, I’m open to a rematch. I think we’ll get it too, I always saw this match-up taking place at SummerSlam, so I was surprised when it got added to Great Balls Of Fire, but always felt like it would just lead to Sasha taking the championship in Brooklyn.
Video: Following the Kickoff match earlier tonight, Akira Tozawa & Titus O’Neil were in the locker room. The Stamina Monster tells O’Neil he saw what happened and needs to make things right, informing him that he wants a rematch against Neville. The Real Deal says he will make it happen, but first Akira needs to go get some ice from the trainer’s room.
Match #5 is for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz w/Maryse & The Miztourage vs. Dean Ambrose
The champion gives his orders to The Miztourage and they surround ringside, Ambrose slides outside, clobbers Axel and heads back in, catches The Miz with a right hand, then puts the boots to him in the corner. The challenger rolls back to the floor and levels Dallas with a clothesline, sends him head-first off the steel steps, slides into the ring, ducks a clothesline from Miz and hits the ropes for a crossbody, firing away with fists. He quickly goes upstairs and Axel climbs on the apron, The A-Lister ambushes Dean from behind, stomps away and buries knees into the spine, then hooks on a rear chinlock.
The Lunatic Fringe works to a standing position, hits the ropes, counters a knee with a schoolboy for 2, both guys pop up quick, Miz goes to the knee with a kick, then spikes the challenger with a short DDT for a count of 2. He chokes Ambrose across the 2nd rope, the champion charges in with a seated senton to the back, peppers Dean boots, then tears at his face. The A-Lister continues battering the challenger with boots, hits the ropes for another, The Lunatic Fringe ducks it for a schoolboy and gains another 2 count. He staggers to the corner, Miz rushes in with the Awesome Clothesline, climbs the corner for a double axe handle, gets caught coming down by a kick, Ambrose hooks him for Dirty Deeds, but the champion slips free and hits the ropes for a clothesline.
The challenger counters into a swinging neckbreaker, both guys stumble back up, Dean builds momentum with running forearms, goes to send the champion to the ropes, but it’s reversed. The Lunatic Fringe flattens The Miz with a clothesline, lines him up in the corner for another running forearm, props him on the top turnbuckle and hits a super butterfly suplex for a near fall. Dean lifts The A-Lister to his feet and attempts a suplex, Miz slides out into a waistlock, the challenger with a standing switch, but gets surprised by a shot to the knee. The champion hits the ropes, ducks under a clothesline, takes Ambrose out with a dropkick to the knee, locks him in the tree of woe, then rushes in with more dropkicks to Dean’s leg.
The Lunatic Fringe falls to the mat, Miz charges back in, runs into a clothesline, the challenger goes for Dirty Deeds again, gets brought down by a double leg takedown and The A-Lister slaps on a figure four. Dean drags himself to the bottom rope to earn the break, gets to his feet and his knee gives out, The Miz connects with the It Kicks, looks for a final shot to the head, Ambrose ducks under it and slaps him across the face. He staggers to the corner, The A-Lister rushes in for an Awesome Clothesline and nobody’s home, the challenger scales the corner to the top, scores with the diving elbow drop, but only gets 2. Maryse hops on the apron and distracts the ref, Ambrose’s attention is taken, the champion grabs him from behind for a Skull Crushing Finale, Dean rolls him away, turns around and gets clocked by a big boot. He rebounds off the ropes for the Lunatic Lariat, The Miztourage pulls him to the outside, Ambrose fights them both off, avoids a dropkick through the ropes from The A-Lister and floors him with a clothesline.
He rolls back into the ring and heads upstairs, leaps off with a diving elbow, takes out the champion and The Miztourage, but tweaks his knee in the process. The challenger throws Miz into the squared circle, ascends back to the top rope, comes off for another diving elbow drop, The A-Lister catches him for a Skull Crushing Finale, Dean reverses into Dirty Deeds and makes the cover. Maryse reaches in and puts the champion’s foot on the ropes at 2, pulls him to the outside, The Lunatic Fringe hits the ropes for a suicide dive, tosses the champion back in and slides inside. Axel hops on the apron now, Dean hauls him into the ring, the ref is distracted, Dallas climbs to the apron, clocks Ambrose on the back of the head, Miz follows with the Skull Crushing Finale and picks up the victory.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: The Miz (Skull Crushing Finale)
- EA’s Take: Solid match, predictable finish and a feud that has been going on for far too long now. Ambrose bores me to death these days and people talk about Roman Reigns being stagnant, but I’d argue Dean is just as bad, if not worse. I haven’t been invested in this for weeks and outside of Axel & Bo finally getting something to do, there’s nothing that made me even take a second look at the screen when Miz & Dean were on it. Can we please move on now?
Match #6 is an Ambulance Match: Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
The bell sounds and Braun immediately charges in for a clothesline, The Big Dog ducks under it, gets pushed across the ring, fires back with right hands and hits the ropes, but runs into a brick wall. Strowman sends him to the corner and rushes in with multiple splashes, drives him face-first off the top turnbuckle, clubs Reigns down to the canvas and Roman rolls outside. The Monster Among Men steps out after him, wants to drive The Big Dog into the ring post, Reigns pushes Braun into it instead, then tries to pick him back up. Strowman rams Reigns into the post spine-first, deposits him into the steel steps, lifts the top-half of the stairs and clobbers him with it numerous times. The Monster Among Men attempts to squash Reigns with the steps against the ring post, The Big Dog side-steps out of harm’s way, avoids Strowman rushing in to send him into the post, then heads back into the squared circle.
He catches Braun coming in with kicks and uppercuts, staggers him with multiple clotheslines, hits the ropes, ducks a shot for a flying clothesline, but gets caught by the throat. Strowman lifts Roman up and drops him to the mat, picks him up for the Running Powerslam, Reigns slides out, stumbles to the corner, The Monster Among Men charges in and takes a boot to the chin. The Big Dog calls for the Spear and gets cut off by a big boot, rebounds off the ropes, Braun plants him with a Running Powerslam, then drags him out of the squared circle. He carries Roman over his shoulder towards the ramp, The Big Dog slips away, slides back into the ring, Strowman marches back inside and measures for a splash in the corner. Reigns avoids it, powers him up for a Samoan Drop, stumbles back to the corner, Strowman rushes in again and runs himself shoulder-first into the ring post.
Roman rolls to the floor, connects with a Drive-By to the arm, drives Braun’s surgically-repaired elbow into the post, then reaches under the ring for a steel chair. He cracks it over Strowman’s arm multiple times, smacks him across the back, The Monster Among Men absorbs numerous shots, blocks one and launches Roman into the barricade over-and-over. He throws The Big Dog up the ramp onto the stage, drives him off of the LED screen, cleans off the announce table and hooks Roman for a powerbomb through it. Reigns slides out of it and scores with big right hands, gets The Monster Among Men reeling near the edge of the stage, Braun grabs him by the beck, then throws him into the side of the ambulance. Strowman opens the back door and drags The Big Dog over to it, Roman bashes Braun face-first off the back door multiple times, The Monster Among Men muscles him up to put him inside, but Reigns fights his way out of the compromising position.
He rocks Strowman with a Superman Punch, tries to pick him up into the ambulance, Braun battles back with boots, gets drilled by another Superman Punch, but The Big Dog still can’t stuff him into the ambulance. The Monster Among Men reaches into the ambulance and pulls out a backboard, smacks Reigns across the back numerous times, rips the stretcher out of the back of the ambulance, then launches The Big Dog back onto the stage. Roman stumbles to his feet, Braun rushes in to squash him with a splash against the LED screen, Reigns side-steps it and charges in himself. The Monster Among Men lifts him up for a Running Powerslam, The Big Dog slides down to his feet, drives Strowman through the LED wall and struggles back to a standing position.
Braun starts to stir and Roman can’t believe it, he drags Strowman towards the ambulance, gets pushed away and flies off the stage to the floor. The Monster Among Men pulls himself to his feet, Roman surprises him with a shot from a light, charges for a Spear into the ambulance, Braun side-steps it, The Big Dog flies into the back of the ambulance the doors get shut.
Winner: Braun Strowman
- After The Bell: The doors pop back open, The Big Dog explodes out with a Spear, uses the ambulance door to bash Braun in the head numerous times, puts him inside and closes the doors. He hauls the driver out and takes a seat, speeds off o the backstage area and comes to a stop, floors it in reverse and crashes into the back of a WWE production truck. The Big Dog stumbles out of the ambulance and RAW General Manager Kurt Angle comes in, bystanders surround the vehicle and Jamie Noble tries to pry the door open with a crowbar to no avail.
- EA’s Take: I’m sure some enjoyed this match, but I was personally hoping for a lot more after they really crushed it back at Payback. Looks like WWE is sticking with their original plans for SummerSlam, but they just couldn’t allow Strowman to get the win without Reigns getting the last laugh. Doesn’t look like this is over yet as we go to the ring for an impromptu match.
Match #7: Curt Hawkins vs. Heath Slater
So apparently this match has just been thrown together to fill some time, the bell rings and they tie-up, Hawkins with a side headlock takeover and Slater counters out with a headscissors. They lock-up again and now Heath grabs a side headlock takedown, Hawkins breaks free after his own headscissors, both guys pop back to their feet, Hawkins calls for a test-of-strength and baits The One Man Band into a kick to the breadbasket. He looks to send Heath to the corner, Slater reverses it, scores with an arm drag off the rebound and hooks on an armbar. He switches to a wristlock, takes Hawkins to the mat for a 1 count, attempts to shoot him to the corner, but Hawkins reverses it. The One Man Band tries to hop up-and-over, nobody’s there and Hawkins clotheslines him from behind, covers for 2, then puts the boots to Heath before hooking on a chinlock. We hear sirens in the arena, Kurt Angle directs the fire department on where to go and the match ends while we’re watching what’s going on out back.
Winner: Heath Slater
- After The Bell: They pull out the jaws of life and start ripping at the ambulance door, Angle looks on and appears to be praying, they finally get the door open and medics try to help Braun, but he refuses. He is covered in blood and can’t gain his footing, finally rises to his feet and fights off medical attention before limping away.
- EA’s Take: Did we really need to include a match that literally nobody cared about to fit this in? The only thing I can think is maybe they needed time backstage to get Braun prepped, for example using fake blood since they don’t want the real thing anymore. Pure speculation on my part though.
Match #8 for the WWE Universal Championship: Samoa Joe vs. WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman
Joe ambushes Lesnar as Heyman introduces him, knocks him to the outside and unloads with right hands. He drives the champion into the barricade, sends him cashing through the German announce table with a uranage, The Submission Specialist slides back into the squared circle and lays in wait. The Conqueror pulls himself back into the ring, finds his footing, the official calls for the bell and the challenger charges in with an elbow in the corner, then clocks Brock with an enzugiri. He buries knees to the midsection, The Beast Incarnate comes back with some of his own, they go into a clinch, The Destroyer drives Lesnar backwards into the corner and unloads with right hands and elbows.
The champion turns the tables, buries shoulders to the breadbasket, Samoa Joe comes back with a big headbutt, locks in the Coquina Clutch, but Brock rams him face-first into the top turnbuckle to break free. He tosses the challenger with multiple german suplexes, The Beast Incarnate goes for another, Joe hangs onto the ropes to block it, grabs the ref and delivers a low blow, which the official doesn’t see. He plants Brock with a uranage for a count of 2, slaps the Coquina Clutch on again, Lesnar powers back to his feet, hits a back suplex and both guys struggle to a vertical base. Samoa Joe pulls himself up in the corner, the champion charges in for a shoulder, nobody’s home and he meets the ring post instead, The Submission Specialist looks to grab him from behind, Lesnar drops down, slides under Joe’s legs and throws him with another series of german suplexes. The Conqueror lifts him up for an F-5, the challenger slides out into the Coquina Clutch again, Brock starts to fade, but gets a boost of adrenaline and hits the F-5 to put it away.
Winner and STILL WWE Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar (F-5)
- EA’s Take: This may not have been a long match or even full of innovative maneuvers, but it definitely felt like a big fight and delivered on it. Strowman’s victory earlier pretty much cemented that we wouldn’t be seeing a title change here, but it was a good job to make Joe look really good in a loss. I’m sure some people won’t be satisfied because it wasn’t a marathon, but this is what you get with Lesnar and I think this makes Joe seem even more legitimate. Besides, the chances of him winning the title were always slim, so what better way to take a loss with Lesnar having to struggle to pull off the win.
EA’s Finisher: I saw a lot of other people with the same feeling as me heading into this show, believing it could possibly be the best RAW PPV since WrestleMania. I think it fell short of that although it had a loaded card, mostly because nothing really stood-out and the spot where I felt like we could see some extra sizzle either didn’t get it or got it in a totally different way than what I thought should happen. For example, I wanted to see much more of a hardcore-type war from Braun & Roman, but instead we get the post-match assault from Reigns where he crashed the ambulance. Honestly, I think the Cruiserweight Title match was my favorite and that was on the Kickoff show, plus you had other areas like the RAW Women’s Championship match that are really just leading us into more at SummerSlam. Was this a bad show? No, definitely not. Was it as good as everyone thought it could be before the night started? No, definitely not.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The Hardy Boyz
2 – Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
3 – Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman