In two weeks, either Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman is leaving the first-ever WWE Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view in the back of an ambulance. For Reigns, it may be a case of history repeating itself.
Moments after The Big Dog formally accepted Strowman’s challenge for an Ambulance Match, an actual ambulance pulled in next to the ramp, and the former WWE Champion immediately checked the back of the vehicle, clearly expecting The Monster Among Men to burst out and attack. He was on the right track: Strowman charged from behind, threw Reigns into the side of the ambulance, hurled him inside and closed the doors. And even though Michael Cole revealed that Reigns eventually escaped the ambulance, on this night, at least, locking him inside it was all too easy.
Make that two weeks in a row that Elias Samson has been upstaged by Finn Bálor, though at least this time the guitarist has company to share in his misfortune: He and Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus were defeated by the all-star team of Finn Bálor & The Hardy Boyz, who even interrupted a planned musical performance by the trio (the champs were mic’ed up and were very upset they didn’t get to sing).
But while they didn’t get the chance to show off their pipes, Samson, Cesaro & Sheamus did play a tune on their opponents; The Celtic Warrior took charge with “Transformers” star and guest commentator Josh Duhamel watching from commentary, and Cesaro quickly followed up by isolating Jeff Hardy.
Bâlor sealed the deal when he tagged in, though, spiking The Swiss Cyborg with the Coup de Grâce while the Hardys neutralized the rest of their foes outside the ring.
It’s showtime. After weeks of touting the debut of his new film, “The Shattered Truth,” Goldust’s first in-ring action since decimating R-Truth and returning to his roots ended in a twist M. Night Shyamalan himself would be proud of.
The Bizarre One brought a personal cameraman to the ring and seemed, at first, to be using him as a human shield. As Truth and the ref attempted to get the shutterbug out of the ring, Goldust attacked, pulverizing R-Truth about the ring while the cameraman captured every second of it. And, cut.
First, the bad news for The Miz: Despite landing one of the bigger coups in “Miz TV” history when he had Los Angeles Lakers draft pick Lonzo Ball, his brother LaMelo and his father LaVar as guests, LaVar passed up an opportunity to merge The Miz with Big Baller Brand in favor of Dean Ambrose, who wore a Big Baller Brand shirt to the ring as proof of the collaboration.
The good news, at least, is that the Intercontinental Champion and his Miztourage won the day nevertheless: Heath Slater & Rhyno joined Ambrose in a Six-Man Tag against the entire Miztourage, and despite a formidable effort by Slater & Rhyno, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas came through for their new benefactor.
While Ambrose chased Miz around the ring and commanded the ref’s attention, Axel hit Rhyno with a cheap shot, and Bo rolled up The Man Beast for three.
Big Cass broke the hearts of the WWE Universe when he turned on Enzo Amore last week, and this week, he did the only thing that could possibly be worse: He turned on him a second time.
After Smacktalker Skywalker attempted to reconcile with his “brother” in an emotional confrontation, the big man seemed to accept both the olive branch and Enzo’s proposal that they finish what they started and become Tag Team Champions. Cass apologized for his actions and gave Enzo a true-blue bro-hug. Seemingly unified once more, The Realest Guys in the Room exited up the ramp and took a bow … and then Cass clotheslined Enzo and ruthlessly gorilla-pressed him down the ramp.
Suffice it to say, for anyone who was uncertain about Cass’ feelings on his old partner, the seven-footer has spelled it out for them.
Say this for Curt Hawkins: He genuinely gave it his all in a match against Seth Rollins, swarming The Kingslayer from jump to try to convince all the naysayers that he could topple The Man if given the opportunity.
Rollins, alas, would not be denied so easily. Despite Hawkins’ smothering efforts, The Prince of Queens was dismissed with a Sling Blade, Blockbuster, superkick and knee to the face in quick succession.
Bray Wyatt was quick to respond — he appeared on the TitanTron moments after the bell tolled to proclaim, once again, that he would "cleanse" Rollins with fire and allow The Architect to embrace his true self. He even had a time in mind for such a potential purification: Sunday, July 9.
Paul Heyman claimed a couple weeks back that Samoa Joe wasn’t “man enough” to lock in his dreaded Coquina Clutch on Brock Lesnar in their Universal Title Match, but he might be changing his tune after what happened on Raw: The Beast and his advocate arrived to call out the No.1 contender, and Joe responded by attacking Brock from behind on the ramp and trapping The Conqueror in his near-ironclad hold.
Brock tried, unsuccessfully, to escape, and while referees and a small cadre of Superstars separated the two before Joe could put the Universal Champion to sleep, The Samoan Submission Machine did his damage: What goes down on July 9 at the first-ever WWE Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view is still anyone’s guess, but it’s fair to say that Joe's “victimization” is much less of a foregone conclusion than Heyman would like everyone to believe.
For a couple weeks now, Neville has been bristling at the idea of Akira Tozawa challenging him for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Now, thanks to Titus O’Neil, The King of the Cruiserweights has no choice but to accept such a proposal.
What began as a vulgar display of power on Neville’s part — he submitted a game Lince Dorado with the Rings of Saturn — quickly turned on its head when the champion attempted to lure Tozawa from the VIP seat arranged by what is now known as Titus Worldwide.
O’Neil quickly interjected, proclaiming that he has secured Tozawa as a client and finalized a deal that would pit “The Powa of Tozawa” against Neville for the Cruiserweight Title at the WWE Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view.
For weeks, the ladies of the Raw Women’s division have been fighting among themselves to get an opportunity at Alexa Bliss. And, in a historic Women’s Gauntlet Match to determine who will contend for the Raw Women’s Title at the WWE Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view, one woman finally rose above the pack to get such an opportunity: Sasha Banks.
The Boss had to go through the toughest possible opponent: No. 2 entrant Nia Jax, who started the bout by snuffing out Bayley’s (No. 1) attempt to get back in the Raw Women’s Title picture and followed up by dispatching Mickie James, Dana Brooke and Emma at Nos. 3, 4 and 5, respectively, before The Boss finally made her entrance at No. 6.
Despite a veritable onslaught by the powerful Jax, Banks slowly chipped away at her foe by simply refusing to stay down, finally finding daylight with a Shining Wizard and muscling Nia down with a modified Bank Statement that earned the submission victory. After Raw General Manager Kurt Angle arrived to congratulate Banks, Bliss hit the scene to mean-mug her, but The Boss got the last word by dropkicking the champ and snatching the Raw Women’s Title for a demoralizing game of keep-away.
Of course, complacency is not an option. One big fight is over, but another is two weeks away.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sasha Banks defeated Nia Jax by submission in a Gauntlet Match (30:00)
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