By: Brian McDonald (@sackedbybmac)
This Pay-Per-View has a terrible name, but an interesting card, so it could end up as the rare July WWE PPV worthy of watching.
Seriously, they named it Great Balls of Fire?
They needed a name for a new PPV in 2017, and their answer was to use a song title from 1957? What percentage of their audience was alive in 1957, or has even heard of that song?
Jerry Lee Lewis was a rock-n-roll pioneer, but he was also a weirdo and that song also came out SIXTY YEARS AGO!
Had to be a decision Vince McMahon pushed through.
Anyway, let’s get to the predictions.
WWE Universal Championship Match – Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar (C)
This matchup was a surprise to many, including myself, when it was made by Samoa Joe winning the No. 1 contender Fatal 5-way match last month. While it wasn’t what I expected or even wanted initially, WWE and the two performers have done a great job building up this feud over its short run so far.
Didn’t expect to feel this way a month ago, but I’m looking forward to the match. The term “Strong Style” gets used to describe Shinsuke Nakamura, but this has potential to be a very snug, tough, rough, and as close to a real fight as wrestling can get type of match.
This would be a great spot for a surprise result, but don’t expect that to happen.
They want Brock Lesnar as the champion and headliner to book SummerSlam around next month, and will likely keep him strong all the way to next year’s WrestleMania before Roman Reigns takes the belt from him.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar by pinfall
Ambulance Match – Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Compelling arguments and reasons for both guys winning could be made, but my pick is unfortunately Roman Reigns.
I get the feeling a big spot for Braun Strowman is coming, like taking on Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam next month, so if that’s the case, it’d make sense to keep him strong with a big win over Reigns.
Plus, if they want to book him and present him as the unstoppable “monster among men,” then he needs to win most extreme matches like this where his strength and mean streak can be showcased, or that moniker will fail to ring true.
On the other hand, Reigns already took one loss to Strowman a couple of months ago at the Payback PPV, so booking another loss to the same opponent in their next meeting seems unlikely given the track-record of how creative handles Reigns.
Plus—and this is admittedly in part my Undertaker fandom speaking—it makes no sense to give Reigns the monster bump and push of retiring the Undertaker, to then follow that up with a third straight PPV defeat (loss to Strowman at Payback, didn’t win Fatal 5-way at Extreme Rules, and now this would be the third).
Not only is the Undertaker one of the biggest stars of all-time, but part of his character was being nearly unbeatable, especially at WrestleMania. Just seems like a waste of that push and moment to have Reigns retire him, but then be on the losing side for three straight PPV matches.
Also, this type of match seems like something a long, bitter feud would end with—a big bang—and usually those matches go in the favor of the baby face.
Prediction: Roman Reigns
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz (C)
Dean Ambrose is boring, his character is flat, and until that changes there’s no reason to put the Intercontinental Championship back around his waist. Especially not at the expense of a character who’s on fire with the best heel work and promos on the entire RAW roster.
The Miz is the best heel they have, he gets reaction in every city they travel to, so I’d be surprised if they take the belt off him in not only his first PPV defense, but also the first defense since his entourage was formed with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel; expect those two to get involved in the outcome.
Prediction: The Miz by pinfall, after distraction from Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
30-Minute Iron Man Match for the RAW Tag Team Titles – The Hardys vs. Cesaro and Sheamus (C)
Like Ambrose, the Hardy Boyz have fallen a little flat since their momentous return at WrestleMania 33.
If we’re being honest and not just thinking under the influence of nostalgia, Matt Hardy is a terrible wrestler at this point, and they haven’t delivered a single meaningful promo since returning. Matt stumbles around, nothing is smooth or fluid, all the transitions are awkward looking; he looks like a smaller Kane or Mark Henry.
The point on promos isn’t entirely their fault with WWE seemingly not acquiring the rights to the Broken Matt Hardy character, but regardless of why it’s happened, the result has been like what became of the Dudley Boyz return.
Huge pop for the return, a couple of months of big reaction, then the newness wears off, and without a major push or the quality matches/crazy stunts fans were used to seeing in their prime, the act gets old and repetitive.
The Hardy Boyz shouldn’t be pushed aside completely, but I’d like to see The Revival take their spot as the team competing against Cesaro and Sheamus for the tag team titles.
Prediction: Cesaro and Sheamus, 4 pinfalls to 3
RAW Women’s Championship Match – Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss (C)
Sasha Banks makes sense as the person to take the belt off Alexa Bliss eventually, but that won’t happen just yet.
The feud and build up was just too quick and rushed for them to pay it off immediately with a title change, so instead expect a non-finish with this match being the first of several more to come.
Alexa Bliss is a great worker, the best promo among females on the RAW roster, and is a great champion, so honestly, I don’t want to see her lose the belt for a long time, but when she does, it should come at the end of a great feud with a meaningful build up.
To have her drop the belt after a two-week build-up that has no intensity and hardly any story-line feels like a waste.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss gets herself DQ’ed, sets up a SummerSlam rematch
Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins
I’m a big fan of both performers, but I’m not into this feud at all; just feels forced.
They set up a potential program between Bray Wyatt and Finn Bálor a couple of months ago, but didn’t pay it off for whatever reason. At least that would have been something new between two guys who hadn’t faced each other before, but here we are.
They’ll probably have a good match, but the winner won’t receive much of a push from it because this feud comes off as being only a time filler for the PPV card, and a way to keep both guys busy.
Big picture problem: The WWE still has no idea how to effectively push, book, promote, or get Bray Wyatt over to the level of his potential. Every feud he has emerges from thin air with no background reason or motivation. Nothing is ever natural about the way they set up his feuds, just random run-ins and surprise promos from his backstage darkroom.
What is his goal? What are the motivations behind his actions? What things are most important to him?
Those questions have never been consistently answered about his character.
Wyatt just floats around feud to feud with the same lines about whoever he’s facing falling prey to the lies of mainstream society, how he’s going to show them the way, that he’s the savior for the WWE universe, that he’s the only one with all the answers, and that he has powers beyond the mere mortals that make up the rest of the roster, but none of that is ever paid off with sustained success or made tangible.
It’s frustrating because I really like his in-ring work, his promo ability, and what his character could be with some direction and a consistent, long-term push, but WWE doesn’t know what to do with him. Wyatt loses nearly every feud he’s in, and his only title runs have been disappointingly short.
He lost the SmackDown tag team belts without competing in the match, and only held on to the WWE Championship for a single month, and those two reigns make up the entirety of his championship runs.
Anyway, WWE creative will likely drag out this feud for another month to keep these guys busy, so expect Wyatt to win the first match before Seth Rollins ultimately wins the feud.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt by pinfall
Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
Enzo Amore will get a cheap, surprise roll-up type win like the smaller or weaker baby face often gets in feuds like this, but that moment will probably come during a rematch on RAW to extend the feud to another PPV.
For this match, expect Big Cass to win and win convincingly.
Prediction: Big Cass by pinfall