Note: I’m sure a lot of you were shocked and confused when I dropped a few bombs. One is that the WWW Roundup that I’ve wanted to happen since the start of the website was canned two episodes in. Another being that I’d be stepping away from producing content for WWW. I have no big reason or excuse to explain my absence lately, but I’m back to keep the ball rolling faster, and 110% weirder, than ever before. I appreciate everyone that supports us. I appreciate everyone that reached out. Let’s now preview #WWEBALLS happening this Sunday.
The show starts at 4:00 PM PT/7:00 PM ET with the kickoff (Neville vs. Tozawa) with the main card starting at the usual slot of 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET. Great Balls of Fire emanates from Dallas, Texas and can be watched live on the WWE Network.
Neville (c) vs. Akira Tozawa for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
In execution, Neville’s Cruiserweight Championship reign has been a home run. He’s had consistently good-great matches on TV and PPV. He’s been a standout character of not just the Raw/205 Live crop, but the entire product. I’ve noticed my enjoyment of the reign decline as it seemed to rely on the same people (Aries, TJP, more, among the sometimes refreshing one off challengers) – now step to the plate Akira Tozawa (with Titus O’Neil)! The feud has had plenty layers to it, not just because of the PAC/Tozawa history precluding this big time match in the making. The most interesting dynamic to the match is the story to be had, or not to be had, with Neville retaining into SummerSlam, or Titus Worldwide continuing a stranglehold on segments on the product. One would assume Cedric Alexander, since his return, is being primed for a future title shot. To me, it seems as if the choice will be between Tozawa (with an excellent manager and backstory) or Alexander (someone crowds clamor for, after the excellent CWC match with Kota Ibushi, also someone who can get naturally over in many environments with raw talent). Regardless of what happens, this has potential to be one of the best Cruiserweight Division matches thus far, since its inception NEARLY A YEAR AGO!
Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. The Hardys in a 30-minute Iron Man match for the Raw Tag Team Championship
Te WWW Slack, aka many of my close friends and fellow staffers, had to endure me losing my mind upon this being announced on Monday’s Raw. The Sunday night prior, a few of us were discussing why there hasn’t been any, if all but a few, tag team Iron Man matches in the United States throughout wrestling’s history. Fast forward 24 hours to WWE experimenting with this refreshing stipulation, on a feud that should be coming to an end after this match. These teams have faced in regular matches, a Ladder match, a Steel Cage match, a 2 Out of 3 Falls match, among singles encounters and more. They’ve run the gauntlet of a situation in which “WWE makes a feud interesting due to gimmicks and not so much build”. Though many online have already questioned whether it was smart or not to have The Hardys in a match as strenuous as this type, I believe this will be a huge test for them. It’s a situation in which you’re either forced to hang with the younger and stronger tag team, or you look past your prime/washed/more of a nostalgia act than ever. The Hardys want to be able to stick around paving their path, not rehashing their prior paved paths in the company. This is why the match is crucial beyond a result.
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
A lot of you are eye rolling upon being reminded that this is a part of the show. I don’t expect the people in our hardcore bubble to give this match a chance, but for some reason, I’ve felt compelled to let things play out between the two to wait and see how they perform in the ring together. The feud has been overshadowed (loose use of the word, since it’s essentially mid card fodder) by everything else on the GBOF card, for better, not worse. Rollins has taken up a character that is onward and upward looking, as evidenced by his actions in the WWE 2K18 reveal trailer. He wants to shine a light on the future of the company, moving away from the current “part-time era” that’s ongoing. Wyatt has to be doing something on the card! Not meant in a meta sense, it’s true. The deranged man we’ve all grown to push to the side for a long time has targeted Rollins and there’s not a huge explanation behind it. Everyone knows this is a feud in place for both to be doing something. I don’t expect a MOTY here, but I have faith they’ll deliver, because not only is it a first time ever, but it’s something that seems odd on paper, which I take pride in looking forward to!
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship
When this isn’t even a co-main event or presented as a big, integral part of this card, you come to realize that this might even make the upcoming SummerSlam show look like a dwarf in areas. Everything has been masterfully crafted to fill in a slot perfectly. This is a match that I’m amped for, being that it was one of the matches most hoped for once Alexa arrived on Raw during the Superstar Shakeup. While we all know Alexa isn’t the perfect opponent for Sasha (see: Bayley), I can buy, even off an on the paper scenario, that this can be one of Alexa’s best matches ever. Her match with Bayley at Payback was evidence that if you give them enough time, and a story to build, that Alexa will have zero problems coming up in the clutch. Same with Sasha – recent evidence being the fantastic Raw gauntlet match in which she earned the right to face Bliss by submitting Nia Jax. Bliss and Banks seem to be a match made in heaven in ring, with similar stature, similar motivations when it comes to in-ring performance, and HYPE behind their interactions – this is one of my most anticipated matches on the card. I love this, even with a minimal build.
The Miz (c) vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship
I will never not be pumped for more matches between these two because Miz in the IC Champ slot is one of the best “go to’s” that WWE can pull off. However, it’s odd to see how this feud has unraveled since Extreme Rules. There hasn’t been any escalation beyond the match at that PPV. It felt like the definitive battle where The Miz prevailed, even with the odds stacked against him. Now that The Mizterage has been formed, and Dean has been granted a rematch, we’re back at square one with a regular ol’ defense – as one would assume this will open the show. The match should be stellar, the antics from the squad will probably get them thrown out, and I’ll likely bite down hard on some of the title switch teases – but it feels like we’ve been there and done that with this combination. I wanted to see Slater thrown in here and not made a TV sure-fire win defense (which was damn good). I’m not going to play armchair QB and act like this is terrible. It’s going to be a helluva time, but past this PPV and match I hope for a constant refresh in the IC picture on Raw.
Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
I thought that this would have been saved for SummerSlam, given the magnitude it had been built and launched to the top priority of TV – but the less time we have to wait for the fun to commence the better! In a long-standing line of epic tag team breakups this year, Enzo/Cass is the latest. I don’t think it could have been executed better given the story that had to be told (Cass took a dive, oh wait, he’s laying down pretending to be hurt to screw Enzo, yeah). Aplenty are debating whether or not this was done too soon considering the pair never won the NXT Tag Team Championship nor the Raw Tag Team Championship. Valid arguments, but if this is any indication, the WWE knew it was the right time to make something happen a la the impulse to split the Shield. This is not comparing it to the Shield, but if you take a look at what’s going on right now, they tend to want to take chances on young talent quickly and prematurely. A perfect example of this isn’t even Cass, who’s doing just fine in the giant bully role. It’s Enzo Amore, who I was doubting could hang weeks ago. He’s cutting the promos of a lifetime a week into his singles run, selling me on anything he’d ever do, while making me never want to see him lose on this new underdog adventure. Nothing but positivity so far as I expect this to be a boatload of fun. Comment/Tweet what you think the odds will be we get a “I’m sorry, I love you” moment!
Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns in an Ambulance match
Meant to take place at the Extreme Rules PPV, the blow off Ambulance match between Reigns and Strowman has been something I’ve clamored for ever since Reigns spat blood on the wall and had the ambulance incident post-Payback. Since then we’ve got nothing but multiple segments full of exciting encounters, usage of doors/hide and go seek, and huge spots capped off with the go-home angle seeing Strowman speared through a table off the stage, only to get back up about 20 seconds later as Raw went off the air. There’s nothing else currently going on aside maybe Joe/Lesnar that gets me as hyped as these two do during their matches. Everything feels big time, everything feels smartly laid out – that’s why I have faith these two are going to deliver a home run in the always odd to watch gimmick match. It feels like the current goal for each is to face Lesnar. If Roman wins he’ll be going through to SummerSlam to face the champ. If Braun wins, one could assume he’d cancel out Roman’s “Big Dog envisionment of a PPV main event” for a singles pitch, or hell, maybe we’ll get Roman/Brock/Braun in the most emotional of triple threats. I’m happy this is finally happening. No matter the result, I’ll be off my seat yelling in enjoyment. Gimmick match king Roman is going to rule again. This is one of the bigger tests of Braun’s career as well. Lesnar will be waiting. Speaking of him…
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Universal Championship
Before we get into the main event of the evening I’d like to point out how fucking INSANE the lineage of the Universal Championship is: Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Goldberg, Brock Lesnar
Literally what? In the off chance Samoa Joe wins, because I’ll be pulling for him more than anyone in recent memory, what a first five holders that would be. I digress, but dive into how good the build to this prizefighter clash has been. WWE took the angle of presenting this as if it were an MMA fight, complete with a split screen altercation on the go home Raw. Fireworks gradually set off bigger and louder as the weeks progressed after we found out Joe would challenge Lesnar at Extreme Rules. It ~FEELS~ like Joe is peak Joe right now. He’s an unstoppable man on a mission who nearly assassinated Heyman via chokeholds on multiple occasions. Him and Lesnar haven’t locked up or really got hands on each other. We’ve gotten a few teases/shots, as they held back perfectly when Joe finally located Lesnar’s dressing room on Raw, only to be removed by boatloads of security.
This PPV is big time. This match is larger than life. It’s been presented as a world-class sports event. I won’t be able to put a leash on my hype for the same reasons why I couldn’t during Brock/Goldberg: this is likely to be a sub 10-minute sprint that brings out the best in both guys in every way imaginable. For not only this match, but the entire outlook of the card, and the suspicious inclusion of the tag team Iron Man match stipulation, I ask…
Did I Somehow Accidentally Book This Card?!