Goodness gracious it’s another pay per view weekend. This time around it’s the “Monday Night Raw” side and that means a lot of stories are dragging on WAY beyond their expiration date. However, this time we have Brock Lesnar in town and that’s not something you get to see every day. Or every week. Or every month. Or every three months actually. Anyway let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Neville(c) vs. Akira Tozawa

We’re starting off with a tricky one here. Neville has been outstanding as the Cruiserweight Champion and I’m not sure I can imagine Tozawa being the one to take the title away. That being said, Neville is starting to make me think of Jim Ross’ call at the end of Undertaker vs. Kane at “Wrestlemania XIV” after the third Tombstone to Kane. Ross asked what it could possibly take to beat Kane if that didn’t do it. If Tozawa doesn’t win here, who in the world is going to take the belt from Neville?

We’ll get to find out because I’m going with Neville to retain here. Tozawa is on a roll at the moment but this seems like the kind of place to set up a big name coming up from NXT (Johnny Gargano maybe? Or perhaps Aleister Black, who Neville beat once and therefore has a history with the champ?) to take the title instead. Either way, Titus International doesn’t get its first gold just yet (or ever most likely).

Tag Team Titles: Sheamus/Cesaro(c) vs. Hardy Boyz

This is a thirty minute Iron Man match because, AGAIN, WWE feels the need to stretch feuds out far beyond their expiration date. I know that’s been a TNA problem for years but suddenly WWE is right there next to them. We’ve seen a ladder match, a 2/3 falls match, a cage match and a regular match (shocking I know) and now we get this, because we just needed more of the teams together.

I’ll take the Hardys to win actually, if nothing else because there aren’t many teams to challenge Sheamus and Cesaro otherwise. Think about it: aside from the Hardys and Heath Slater/Rhyno (When is the last time they had an important match?), there aren’t any other face teams on “Monday Night Raw”. I mean, unless you’re counting Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews, that’s all you’ve got. Insert my weekly complaint about American Alpha not having a televised tag match since April 25. Too much of them being gone drives a man insane.

Cesaro & Sheamus lash out at the WWE Universe: Raw, May 1, 2017

Intercontinental Title: The Miz(c) vs. Dean Ambrose

Speaking of feuds that need to go away for a long time (like ever), here’s another one that just can’t seem to die. These two have been feuding for what feels like ever and have traded the title multiple times. Save for a 37 day Dolph Ziggler reign, these two have held the title exclusively since the night after “Wrestlemania XXXII”. I have no idea what’s supposed to be so special about this feud but here we go again.

I’ll take Miz to retain here as he has so many people in his corner and it’s way too early to have the Miztourage fail him. Ambrose needs to move on to anyone else at this point and there’s enough talent going around to feud with Miz and take the title from him down the line. Just get this feud over with already because while I like both guys, I’m completely sick of seeing them fight.

Women’s Title: Alexa Bliss(c) vs. Sasha Banks

I’m not sure what to think of this one. Again I like them both and Bliss has been on absolute fire (not straight fire because that would be gimmick infringement but still fire) with the title. Banks needs a big win though as it feels like forever since she and Charlotte were having their great/historic feud.

I’ll take Bliss, likely through some sort of shenanigans. All signs seem to point to Nia Jax going after the title (because it certainly won’t be Bayley, who apparently just lucked her way into being the biggest star in NXT or something), likely at “Summerslam 2017” and it would make more sense for her to want to face Bliss, who she likely thinks she would squash, that someone who has beaten her multiple times now. Bliss retains, though it’s in a tough defense.

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

I’ll buy you a ham sandwich if you can make coherent sense out of whatever Wyatt is talking about with this one. I know it’s the usual stuff but that doesn’t mean it’s something that makes the most sense in the world. Basically Wyatt thinks Rollins deserves a beating for bragging about beating Triple H and Rollins is always ready for a fight. This feels like the biggest filler match for both of them that I could imagine and that’s not a good thing for two people going through the motions at the moment.

I’ll take Wyatt to win, as I tend to do in these things. The problem is he’ll win these matches but then never go anywhere with them because his character never changes and he chokes when the real pressure is on. I still have no idea why they took the Smackdown World Title off of him so soon when Jinder Mahal was their big idea. Rollins doesn’t have anything going on either but I’ll take Wyatt on a glorified coin flip.

Bray Wyatt shows Seth Rollins his “godlike” power: Raw, June 12, 2017

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

Now this one has me interested. The problem with the team was always simple: Amore was limited in the ring and there’s only so much that Big Cass can do on his own. The thing is, Amore might be hot enough on the mic to carry us past that. If he just throws everything he has at Big Cass, there’s a real argument to be made for him getting close here.

I say getting close here because, of course, Big Cass should win here. He has the potential to be a very solid heel character and that would start by having him kick Amore’s head off and plant him with whatever he’s calling his spinning side slam these days. Let Big Cass win here and start moving Amore over to “205 Live” where he belongs and everything will be fine.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Ambulance match. This one ENTIRELY depends on if you think they might be changing the main event of “Summerslam 2017” by having Reigns face Lesnar there. If that’s the case, of course Reigns goes over here and sets up the biggest match of the year to FINALLY makes Reigns the guy, because winning the last two Wrestlemania main events, including becoming World Champion again, just wasn’t enough.

That being said, of course I’m taking Strowman because you know full well that no one is taking away Reigns’ moment in the New Orleans sun. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not but Reigns is likely winning the Royal Rumble (in Philadelphia again, because Philadelphia just hadn’t had a Royal Rumble in three years and that’s not fair to the city and its fans) and going on to take the title from Lesnar in New Orleans because…..whatever Vince McMahon sees in him. But yeah Strowman wins here and gets F5’d at “Summerslam 2017”.

Roman Reigns battles Braun Strowman in an Ambulance Match this Sunday

Raw World Title: Brock Lesnar(c) vs. Samoa Joe

Now if you’re rather slow, you might not get who I think is winning here. First of all, Samoa Joe has looked AWESOME in this buildup and that’s a great thing. They’ve treated him like a legitimate threat to Lesnar and that’s not something a lot of people can say. Win or lose he’s going to come out of here looking like a much bigger deal than he went in as and that’s a very good thing.

But yeah, Lesnar wins here and he does it in a heck of a fight. The key thing here though is Lesnar’s motivation. If he’s willing to work, this could be one of the most entertaining brawls in a long time. If he’s just being Lesnar, I feel sorry for Samoa Joe who has worked this hard to get here. Lesnar wins though, but it’s going to take a fight that shakes his nerves and rattles his brain.

Samoa Joe traps Brock Lesnar in the Coquina Clutch: Raw, June 26, 2017

Overall Thoughts

This show has surprised me a bit actually. When you hear the name Great Balls of Fire, how are you supposed to take it seriously? Even WWE has made fun of the thing because there’s not much of a way to spin a Jerry Lee Lewis song as the name of a pay per view. You have SO many options to pick from (Great American Bash anyone?) and this is the best they can have?

The thing is though, they’ve managed to turn it into something interesting with a pretty solid card. I know the main event isn’t likely to be the biggest surprise in the world but it could be one heck of a fight, especially if Lesnar is feeling motivated. Throw in what should be a good match between Reigns and Strowman and all they need is one other match to come through to make it a solid show. I’m actually coming into this one with a positive feeling, though again, PLEASE don’t let Samoa Joe get squashed. Is that too much to ask?

Oh and in one last wrestling connection: Great Balls of Fire is where Ric Flair got WOO. Lewis says it different but Flair has said he took it from the song several times. So in case you’re a fan or it makes you think “come on baby, you’re driving me crazy”, you have someone to blame for it.

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