WWE Great Balls Of Fire Pay-Per-View Event® airs this Sunday, July 9, live on WWE Network. The Raw exclusive event is headlined by (gasp) Brock Lesnar actually defending the Universal Championship, as well as an Ambulance Match and Bray Wyatt losing.
Here’s the complete Great Balls of Fire card as we know it.
WWE Great Balls Of Fire Card:
1. Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Samoa Joe
2. Ambulance Match: Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
3. Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins
4. Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks
5. WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (c) vs. Akira Tozawa
6. 30-Minute Iron Man Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Sheamus and Cesaro (c) vs. the Hardy Boyz
7. WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
8. Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
As always, we’ve got a complete rundown of the event including analysis and predictions for all eight matches. If Finn Bálor vs. Elias Samson gets added to the card, Finn Bálor wins. Because duh.
And now, Great Balls of Fire, an event named after a song from 50 years ago with a logo that looks like dick and balls.
Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
What Should Happen: First of all, how funny is it that the promo image has Enzo looking taller than Cass? They did that with their Funko Pop two-pack, too. Maybe they’re building to the reveal that Cass is a dude on stilts? He talks slow because he’s afraid of toppling over.
Anyway, the logical story to tell here in my opinion is Enzo doing his very best and fighting a passionate, tough-as-nails battle, but ultimately losing. Like, there’s a 0% chance Enzo Amore pins Big Cass without some crazy stuff happening, but he can kick out of some boots and elbows he has no business kicking out of and at least put a little regret in Cass’ face before the finish.
What Will Happen: That, I think. I think it’ll be interesting to see how this match plays out, and if the great character work Enzo’s been doing the past few weeks will be enough to keep fans interested in what he’s doing in the ring. The dynamic of a talker who can’t wrestle and a wrestler who can’t talk helped disguise both of their weaknesses, and a one-on-one match seems like it might do the opposite.
Bill Hanstock – Seems like this is going to just be the first match in a series, honestly. This might have a non-finish (maybe Cass beats Enzo so badly, Enzo can’t continue, or the match needs to be stopped?), and we move on to SummerSlam, where Cass will win emphatically and go on to something resembling the main event scene (possibly with a layover at Intercontinental Championship valley), and Enzo becomes, I dunno, chief chicken-f*cking officer of the Titus Brand.
Chris Trew – We’re gonna look back at this and be like “wow remember when Enzo Amore, the current Cruiserweight Champion, somehow hung with Big Cass, the current reigning WWE Galaxy Champion, for much longer than we expected at the first annual Great Balls of Fire? Also I can’t wait for Great Balls of Fire 10, very happy they committed to the name and started numbering them.”
LaToya Ferguson – I guess I should let you all know that I’ve gone into these predictions slightly unprepared. I am two weeks behind on Monday Night Raw and have really only kept myself aware through various reviews and recaps (including The Best & Worst of Raw — only on With Spandex). I do know, if Big Cass wins, he basically proves everything he said about Enzo Amore holding him back right. If Enzo wins, I don’t know, the good guy prevails? Actually, if Enzo wins any part of this feud, it could possibly push him to the next level… But the problem with that and most parts of this is Enzo’s deficiencies on an in-ring, wrestling ability front. At least no one decided to put him in an Iron Man match, though, right? I’m pretty sure this match is going to end with brutal, ex-best friend shenanigans though.
Scott Heisel – CAAAAAAAASSSSSSHOOOOOLE… CAAAAAAAASSSSSSHOOOOOLE… CAAAAAAAASSSSSSHOOOOOLE… Cass wins at #WWEBalls with authority, to the boos of all in attendance.
John Canton – This will be a big win for Big Cass because he’s big and Enzo is not. After the match, Big Show will save Enzo from Big Cass’ post match attack because Show is so big they named a show after him. That can lead to Cass beating Show at SummerSlam for the rights of the word “Big” as a wrestler’s first name. Thrilling. I’m still waiting for The Undertaker vs. The Berzerker to see who was the best wrestler with “The” in their name.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
What Should Happen: How long have these guys been feuding? How long are they going to feud? I thought it was funny two cycles ago when we were like, “they came over in the brand split together and just kept feuding with each other.” Is there a single human being in the world who is chomping at the bit for another Dean Ambrose vs. Miz match? Weirdly this is the only on-paper dud on the card for me. Miz wins, God willing, because the last thing the Intercontinental Championship needs is another pairing with jeggings.
What Will Happen: Dean Ambrose will hit 4-6 moves with the velocity of Precious Moments figurine and look like he’s about to win, but he’ll be distracted by either Axel or Dallas, actually hit by the other one with the referee’s back turned, and pinned by Miz. Or he’ll win and we’ll get six more weeks of creative winter.
Bill Hanstock – I could really go either way here. I believe, of course, that Ambrose should do something, anything else, and that we can have a fun set of unlikely challengers to Miz’s title (like Heath Slater, Rhyno, whomever) for the next month. But I think Ambrose gets the title back here, and Miz moves on to bigger and better things. Did I say “bigger and better?” I meant “other.”
Chris Trew – We all probably need a break from Dean Ambrose and we’re never getting a break from future hall of famer, commissioner, general manager, and greatest intercontinental champion of all time The Miz. I vote for the Miz digging his legacy heels in even deeper and retaining.
LaToya Ferguson – Let The Miz win, this feud die, and every human-sized bear costume in WWE’s possession burn like they’re in the WWE 2k18 commercial. (Officially starting a Miz/Rollins feud? Wait, why have we not had a Miz/Rollins feud?)
Scott Heisel – This morning on Cleveland sports talk radio, there was a debate about the five most recognizable faces active in Cleveland sports. LeBron and Kyrie were 1 and 2, obviously, with Stipe Miocic coming in at 3. Amazingly, the Miz made the list at 4. (Dana Brooke, however, was nowhere to be found.) That’s all I need to know. Miz forever.
John Canton – Like both guys, but sick of talking about this match. I’ve wanted Ambrose to turn heel for two years with the hope that maybe he’ll take off as a bigger star in that role like CM Punk (remember him?) in 2009. Miz retains thanks to his Miztourage buddies Dallas and Axel interfering for him. Who’s ready for Miztourage vs. Singh Bros match at WrestleMania?
30-Minute Iron Man Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Sheamus and Cesaro (c) vs. the Hardy Boyz
What Should Happen: This is Sheamus and Cesaro’s chance to prove they’re the better team, and defeat the Hardys on an even playing field with no flukes, no weird stipulations and no booking loopholes. If I’m booking this, I give it the Johnny Mundo/Willie Mack treatment where Sheamus and Cesaro score a bunch of pinfalls and go out to an insurmountable lead, only for the Hardys to close the gap throughout the final stretch of the match and almost (but not quite) tie it up in the last few seconds. The Bar need to win this strong and definitively, and with as little extraneous bullshit as possible. The Hardy Boys are the Hardy Boys, they don’t need the gold. Silver. Whatever.
What Will Happen: If we know anything about the bad luck of Sheamus and Cesaro, this will somehow end in a tie to set up another match down the road. I feel like WWE would want the Hardys heading into SummerSlam as champions, but I hope my instincts are wrong.
Bill Hanstock – And all of a sudden, Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view experience, the second-most thrill ride, has the potential to be one of the most radical events of the year from an in-ring standpoint. I believe in the wonderfulness of the potential in this match, and I think Sheamus and Cesaro will pull out something so dastardly and horrific in the final moments of the match that Matt Hardy becomes … shall we say … damaged.
Chris Trew – Whatever happens here I’d like for it to end up with Sheamus and Cesaro getting a formal name for their partnership. If you’re reading this right now let’s see how the match plays out on Sunday then decide a new name for the duo based on how the match goes. I think this is going to be a fun collaborative adventure for all us. (We’re gonna end up calling them the Good Enough Boys, aren’t we).
LaToya Ferguson – Wait, this is a real match on the card? I honestly missed it while glancing at these matches, then only realized it was a thing on maybe my third pass through. I want Sheamus and Cesaro to win, just to put an end to these matches, but at the same time, they have no face team to go against other than the Hardy Boyz. (Unless we go with the teased face Club on the past episode of Main Event — they went against The Revival and the match was dope.) Hardy Boyz can win if WWE throws in a last minute “no rematches” clause on the kickoff show.
Scott Heisel – Shesaro retains by a total of 3 to 2 falls, and I am officially ready for this feud to end so all four guys can move onto something far away from each other.
John Canton – Best match of the night most likely. With all the rumors of the Hardys “broken” gimmick coming back soon, there’s no reason for them to win the titles again. I’m also happy that Cesaro gets to be in a 30 minute match on a PPV. Finally! Oh right, Sheamus is there too. He’s okay. Champs retain.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (c) vs. Akira Tozawa
What Should Happen: WWE should open the show with this, follow the Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Brian Pillman template, and give fans of cruiserweight wrestling something exciting to talk about on Monday. Also, Neville should win, because as good as Tozawa is, Neville should never lose.
What Will Happen: Another strong defense for Neville. I’m picturing Tozawa connecting with his big Dick Togo-ass senton, but getting crucifixed back into the Rings of Saturn for a surprise submission loss. During the match there should be a picture-in-picture of Mustafa Ali backstage googling, “why do they only book me as a stop-gap.”
Bill Hanstock – Oh man, this match might end up completely ruling, and very hard to boot. I don’t feel like Tozawa ends up being the person to end Neville’s incredible and dominant reign, but I love the idea that the Titus Brand could make it a win for the first time because of this tiny shouting man. I also hope the Titus Brand continues growing forever, and that between them and the Miztourage, we welcome a new golden age of stables of dudes who deserve to be on television, but get to be tangentially fun and interesting by orbiting a bigger personality. Oh, Neville wins, by the way.
Chris Trew – My feelings about Neville have led me to friendships with people who don’t live in the same country as I do and that I’ll probably never meet. It’s for that reason that I will always predict Neville victories because I know when he loses the cruiserweight title I am losing a friend. I’ll be watching this match standing up 3 feet from my TV the way wrestlers watch Raw from backstage monitors.
LaToya Ferguson – I love Akira Tozawa. But if Akira Tozawa doesn’t fully accept the Titus Brand into his heart and life, I want nothing but the worst for him. So Neville it is, until Tozawa makes the right choices for his future.
Scott Heisel – If Titus Worldwide is ever going to be viewed as anything beyond a way to continually humiliate POC in WWE, there needs to be gold around someone’s waist, and it sure as shit ain’t gonna be Apollo Crews any time soon. Tozawa dethrones the King of the Cruiserweights in an upset.
John Canton – Isn’t it Neville vs. Titus O’Neil? That’s what it feels like anyway. I’m a fan of Tozawa’s work, but am afraid he’s only going to be known as the guy that yells a lot during his matches. Neville’s reign of dominance continues.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks
What Should Happen: Alexa Bliss shouldn’t lose the championship until her story with Nia Jax gets an actual, real blowoff, right? We already did the Sasha Banks belt-hopping thing last year, so let’s be ambitious and say Bayley tries to help Sasha cheat to win, accidentally causes her to lose, and gets the crap beaten out of her by Sasha, Alexa, or possibly both.
What Will Happen: This screams “non finish” to me. I’m going to say Alexa takes a count-out loss on purpose to avoid losing the championship, only for, I don’t know, Nia to toss her back into the ring by her cotton candy hair and tap out to a post-match Banks Statement. Something in that ballpark.
Bill Hanstock – The end result of Alexa Bliss’ title run is finally having to face Nia Jax, who is the ultimate monster at the end of this book. Bliss may cheat to win against Sasha, but either way, she’ll retain. Bring on the SummerSlam match of Little Miss Bliss against Queen Nia.
Chris Trew – Alexa Bliss is Top 5 things in WWE right now and I want the train to keep on trucking. But one of the things so great about her is she is captivating whether she’s on top or on the chase. That said, my money and my family’s business on Alexa Bliss.
LaToya Ferguson – Does Sasha Banks really need the championship? Follow-up: Given the way the women have been written on RAW lately, does anyone really need anything other than a competently built feud and match? Alexa Bliss and nihilism win.
Scott Heisel – Alexa retains at #WWEBalls via Bayley coming down to help out Sasha but accidentally costing her the match, leading to Sasha’s oft-rumored heel turn on Bayley and moving Alexa onward to face Nia Jax. (Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?)
John Canton – Bliss is the kind of champion that I like watching in terms of promos because she does a great job as a cocky heel. However, when I think of Bliss’ wrestling ability I lose that excitement quickly. This title has been booked poorly all year, so while I am leaning towards Bliss retaining, it wouldn’t shock me if Banks got the win.
Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins
What Should Happen: Seth Rollins should V-Trigger Bray in the goddamn larynx so hard it comically knocks off his trilby, and then Bray Wyatt goes to a different wrestling promotion without cameras or sound recording equipment for like, two years.
What Will Happen: Please consult our staff picks for the best in “Bray Wyatt will lose” jokes. So of course Bray Wyatt’s going to win, when whoever’s feuding with Seth Rollins next cheats on his behalf.
Bill Hanstock – [hits “simulate match” option] Hey, look at that: Bray Wyatt loses.
Chris Trew – Hey, speaking of Seth Rollins on the cover of WWE 2k18, is it true that Bray Wyatt also has a career 11% winning percentage in video games? Rollins in ten minutes. Or ten moves.
LaToya Ferguson – Alright, now I’m done thinking about genuinely compelling programming. I promise. For this, I think the only way Bray Wyatt wins is if we suddenly get last minute undeniable proof that Windham Rotunda is the legit second-coming of Jesus Christ. With that, Rollins apologizes for everything he’s said about false prophets and gods being faker than pro wrestling, saying, “My bad. I guess that proves at least one god is real.” And then Wyatt smites — I don’t know — anyone who has ever written for his character at all. And any person who has ever thought any version of the Punjabi Prison Match was a good idea.
Scott Heisel – Officially the #WWEBalls match I care about the least, although I actually dug Bray’s desert vignette on Monday, as he painted himself as the true Loki of the WWE Universe, responsible for everything going wrong. Titus O’Neil touching Vince McMahon? That was him! Daniel Bryan’s brain damage? Him too! The purple ropes? His idea! The Club being DOA? Bray all day, baby. With all that said, I hope to hell he wins here because he needs to win *something*, right? (WWE Creative: “Wrong!”)
John Canton – It’s hard to believe Wyatt was WWE Champion five months ago, but he was. He’s fallen so far since then. At least he can keep calling himself a God in EVERY F’N PROMO FOR FIVE YEARS! We get it. Poorly booked feud, but at least these guys have long hair and beards like most of the roster. Rollins will win this match while hopefully something more exciting to do at SummerSlam.
Ambulance Match: Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
What Should Happen: Ambulance matches are underrated corn in the pantheon of bad WWE gimmick matches. The finish is usually anticlimactic, or involves someone standing on top of the ambulance and slamming someone through the roof. My only prophetic image of the match is Roman spearing Braun into the ambulance and then slowly recovering to stagger out and close the door, but since this is the “what should happen” section, I’ll type, “Braun Strowman should start the match by running over Roman with the ambulance, then use a shovel to put him in the back and win.”
What Will Happen: This one and the main event go together. So much of the news about SummerSlam has been “Brock Lesnar will face Roman Reigns” that it sorta renders Great Balls Of Fire an afterthought. If SummerSlam is the important pay-per-view and this isn’t, we hit all the notes and fill in all the blanks and get to the thing we think makes money, right? And brother, as much as I want to see Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman for the Universal Championship or Braun vs. Brock Lesnar, I’m not confident they’ll avoid a chance to have Roman win another match without having to pin Braun again.
Bill Hanstock – Braun’s modus operandi is basically trucking the hell out of Reigns for weeks, but then losing the actual PPV matches against him. I was hopeful Reigns spearing him off the stage on Monday means Strowman will get the big win here, but both men were still standing when Raw went off the air, so I think Strowman takes the ambulance ride. The silver lining: I don’t think this loss will hurt Braun too much, because people love the hell out of him.
Chris Trew – Which WWE era do you think these two would be most effective in? I’m going with WrestleMania 12-ish for Braun Strowman and WrestleMania 40-ish for Roman Reigns. Because the more I think about it the more I realize that Roman Reigns is AHEAD OF HIS TIME. Roman Reigns wins the match and the ambulance (wouldn’t it be dope if the winner won an ambulance and had to take it everywhere? No? Okay).
LaToya Ferguson – Roman loses (because in a Roman Reigns match, it’s about whether he wins or loses, not the other guy) and actually gets called out for his #1 contendship. Because think about it: There’s no drama if he declares himself #1 contender (even though their should be) and wins. This was just a roadblock (end of the line). But if he can’t beat Braun, why exactly should anyone let him fail upwards? He can’t use the “I know no one can beat” me thing — which, to be fair, he shouldn’t have used when Seth, Finn, and Joe had all already beaten him, relatively recently even — when he just got beat. It’s crazy how easy it is to make interesting stories, why has no one hired me to do that yet? (No, not WWE. I wouldn’t want to be the only writer who menstruates in any writer’s room.)
Scott Heisel – *endless sigh* Roman wins LOL. :( :( :( On the plus side, the match will probably be dope as hell, though!
John Canton – If Reigns loses then that’s three straight PPV losses for him. Seems unlikely? Nope. I know there are rumors that Reigns may win to face Lesnar at SummerSlam, but I think WWE is headed towards Strowman vs. Lesnar. In order to get there, Strowman should win this match.
Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Samoa Joe
What Should Happen: CHAOS AND MASS DESTRUCTION.
What Will Happen: God, all I want is for this match to be good. It’s been a long time since Brock Lesnar actually wrestled a good match, you know? The WrestleMania match with Goldberg was fun and crazy, but it was about four minutes long and just finisher spamming. The SummerSlam match with Cena was just German suplexes, and the Roman Reigns WrestleMania match was great, but was also just suplexes. Just one time, for the love of Paul Heyman’s love of Samoa Joe, give me Brock wrestling again. And if Joe has to lose, which he pretty obviously has to, let him look like the dude who made Brock Lesnar bring his fucking worker boots.
Bill Hanstock – My entire heart and being and everything you might want to refer to as a “soul” wants Joe to win this match, but I really don’t think it’s happening. Kudos to WWE for making me think Samoan Joseph has a chance of winning this, but I think Lesnar is destined to lose to … oh, let’s say Roman Reigns at SummerSlam. And this is probably foolish of me to think, because of how badly we’ve been burned over the past year, but I think Lesnar will be motivated in this match, and it will be hard-hitting and awesome, albeit likely brief.
Chris Trew – This is like the Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers for me as I don’t really have a dog in the race. Also both are really good at what they do, but it’s kind of unfair that Golden State (Brock Lesnar) also gets to have Kevin Durant (Paul Heyman). Lesnar retains.
LaToya Ferguson – You want a moment, WWE? Have Samoa Joe win and see how everyone — the WWE Universe, the WWE Superstars, the commentary, Paul Heyman — reacts to the unexpected. And it wouldn’t just be “shits and giggles” unexpected either: It would be the kind of unexpected that literally leads to something interesting and arguably more entertaining than… so much. There’s really nothing interesting about a juggernaut who’s never around, but there is something about the “worst case scenario” knocking him off his block that is. It would be a true Superstar Shake-up. But then again, I just want there to finally be a good main title situation on one of these brands, y’all.
Scott Heisel – Here’s my spiciest #WWEBalls prediction: Joe wins this match. But the title won’t change hands. So either Lesnar gets counted out after Joe chokes him out outside the ring, or somehow Brock gets disqualified — I dunno for sure, but they’ve done such a damn good job building Joe up to be a contender that it seems wasted if he’s not able to leave this feud with at least a little rub.
John Canton – Best build to any PPV main event match this year because they’ve kept it simple and kept us wanting more. It should teach WWE Creative that you don’t need to put guys in a bunch of tag matches to hype up a match. The best case scenario is they have a competitive match where they go 15 minutes and the crowd believes Joe might actually. Worst case is Lesnar winning in seven minutes or less. I’m excited about it and cautiously optimistic too. Lesnar wins.