Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Great Balls of Fire
Date: July 9, 2017
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T., Corey Graves
It’s time for the most oddly named pay per view in a long time and yes they’re actually going to call it this. Brock Lesnar is getting back in the ring for the first time since Wrestlemania to defend the Universal Title against Samoa Joe. This has the potential to be a war and that’s what the title needs. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Neville vs. Akira Tozawa
Tozawa is defending and has Titus O’Neil in his corner. They run the ropes to start and flip away from each other. Neville gets sent to the floor but blocks a dive with a kick, allowing Neville to yell at Titus. Tozawa gets sent into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Neville getting two off a kick to the chest. Tozawa gets in a kick of his own and goes up so Neville bails, meaning Tozawa gets in a suicide dive for two.
An Octopus Hold sends Neville to the ropes before he can kick Tozawa in the head for two more. Neville’s Phoenix splash misses and Tozawa gets in the top rope backsplash, only to have Neville roll outside again. Tozawa heads up but gets crotched hard. Neville kicks the ropes to make it even worse and a kick to the chest retains the title at 11:26.
Rating: C+. What in the world is supposed to stop Neville? The division is pretty much empty now, though that finish seems to set up a rematch. I don’t really need to see these two fight again but that’s never stopped WWE before. Summerslam is up next and Tozawa vs. Neville II doesn’t seem like the most interesting match in the world. Then again that would allow the creative department to not have to do anything so look for it to happen. The match didn’t really click the way I was expecting as Tozawa just kicked and did his dives but at least he was a fresh challenger.
A longer than usual opening video has a drive-in movie theme with the matches being treated as old school trailers.
Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins
Standard Bray feud: Rollins is popular so Bray wants to beat him up. Seth kicks him down to start and Bray smiles in the corner. It’s too early for the suicide dive though as Bray punches him back and hammers away. They head to the apron for a slugout and Seth is sent hard into the steps for his efforts.
One heck of a charge sends Seth into the barricade and we hit the chinlock. Seth fights up and heads to the top, meaning it’s a superplex to bring him back down. Bray has cut him off almost every time so far like he has Seth very well scouted. Rollins knees out of a suplex and sends Bray outside for the suicide dive.
The Sling Blade and Blockbuster get two on Bray but he breaks up the momentum with a heck of a clothesline. That hard release Rock Bottom gives Bray two and he runs his mouth about being a god. Rollins slugs away until a poke to the eye cuts him off. Sister Abigail gives Bray the pin at 12:05.
Rating: B-. Well it was short but at least Bray won, even if that’s not going to mean anything in his future. He’s done this kind of thing before and it never goes anywhere because he’ll lose the next time there’s anything remotely resembling a big match. WWE has made it clear that they’re not going to do anything with him long term and that gets very annoying for anyone who wants to get behind him.
The Hardys have been watching superhero shows to prepare for facing Sheamus and Cesaro. Jeff talks about being in the first tag team tables match and tag team ladder match. Not only do they break barriers but they also break bars.
We recap Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass. They were a popular team but Big Cass got tired of bailing Enzo out of trouble for running his mouth. Cass finally had enough of it and turned on him, sending Enzo into a more emotional place than ever before. Enzo is in way over his head physically but his heart could carry him through.
Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
Before the match, Enzo talks about how they debuted here last year in the same arena but now it’s war. He quotes some That’s Life and says if Cass wants to stomp on him, come on because he’s always going to be a dreamed. Enzo goes on for a LONG time and basically says he’s here to fight because he won’t give up. Cass debuts some new music, which might not be the most original but at least it’s something new.
Enzo charges right at him and gets tossed around like he’s not even there. Something like a crossface chickenwing slows Enzo down and Cass splashes him for good measure. Some forearms to the back have Amore in more trouble and Cass tells him to bring it on. A gorilla press drop sends him outside but he gets back in at nine. The big boot ends Enzo at 5:22.
Rating: D+. Total and complete squash and that’s exactly what it should have been. Amore isn’t someone who is going to be able to get in any significant offense on someone like Cass and that’s what happened here. This is a good example of a perfectly booked match and that’s not something you get anymore.
Tag Team Titles: Hardys vs. Sheamus/Cesaro
Sheamus and Cesaro are defending and this is a thirty minute Iron Man match because we haven’t watched them fight enough. Cesaro distracts Matt to start and it’s a Brogue Kick for the first fall at 20 seconds. Jeff tries his luck and dropkicks both of them down, followed by Matt ramming Sheamus’ head into the apron a few times. It’s Cesaro cutting Jeff off to save his brother and they head outside with the champs taking over.
Back in and Cesaro grabs a gutwrench to keep Jeff in trouble as the announcers get in “playing defense” as many times as they can. Jeff is sent outside and the match is going so slowly that we look back at the first fall. Cesaro grabs a side choke as we’re not even ten minutes in yet. Matt gets knocked off the apron and the assisted White Noise gives Cesaro the second fall on Jeff at 9:48.
Back up and Sheamus goes shoulder first into the post, allowing the hot tag back to Matt. Sheamus is rammed into three buckles ten times each, followed by Poetry in Motion and a Side Effect. The Twist of Fate ends Cesaro to make it 2-1 at 12:55. Sheamus comes in and gets caught with the slingshot dropkick in the corner for two as we hit the halfway point. Jeff flip dives onto everyone but Cesaro posts Matt for a countout to go up 3-1 at 16:55.
Sheamus grabs a chinlock, followed by the very slow forearms to the chest. We hit ten minutes to go as Sheamus gets two off a double suplex. Cesaro kicks Jeff off the apron and grabs the Sharpshooter on Matt. Sheamus gets dropped as well though and Matt makes a fast tag so Jeff can cradle Cesaro to make it 3-2 at 22:55. A basement dropkick gives Jeff two more, followed by Matt’s tornado DDT for two at 5:00 to go.
Matt hits the moonsault for what looked like three with Cesaro diving in (possibly too late) for the save. A super Twist of Fate drops Sheamus and we’re tied at 2:55 to go. Sheamus is still down so a top rope splash/elbow give the Hardys two. Jeff gets a blind tag and hits the Swanton but Cesaro, the legal man, rolls him up for the pin at 25 seconds left. Time runs out and the champs retain 4-3 at 30:00.
Rating: D. WOW this was boring and one of the most boring matches I’ve seen in years. There was no need for this to be thirty minutes long and this better wrap up the feud already. The last few minutes were a bit better but this felt like it was about an hour and a half long, which really isn’t something you want happening, especially on a pay per view with no breaks. Now PLEASE let them be done.
Xavier Woods was at the Rocket League World Championships.
We recap the Women’s Title match. Alexa Bliss is tired of being judged and if she has to beat up Sasha Banks to prove herself, so be it.
Women’s Title: Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks
Banks is challenging. Sasha knocks her outside to start and Bliss takes a breather while feeling her own jaw. Back in and Bliss does her dislocated arm thing, which the announcers are all shocked by because they’ve never watched her matches before. Bliss teases walking out and rams Bliss into the apron to take over. The double knees and moonsault knees to the back give the champ two and it’s off to a modified surfboard.
One heck of a backbreaker gives Bliss two more but Sasha comes back with some forearms to the face. Bliss catches her with a sunset bomb out of the corner for two (nasty landing). Twisted Bliss hits knees (kind of) and the Bank Statement has Alexa in trouble until a rope is grabbed. Banks sends her into the barricade but Bliss slaps her in the face and takes the countout at 11:48.
Rating: C. The ending hurt it a bit but this is clearly there to set up a rematch. The dislocated elbow thing is still creepy and Banks is good for a challenger. I’m sure this is going to set up a rematch in some form of gimmick match, probably at Summerslam, which might not be the worst idea in the world. It’s good enough but felt like a longer TV match.
Post match Sasha fights her up to the announcers’ table. Bliss gets shoved off and the double knees off the table drops Bliss to the floor.
We look at the Kickoff Show match.
Tozawa is in pain and tells Titus he wants a rematch. Titus will work on it but wants Tozawa to get looked at by the trainers.
Intercontinental Title: The Miz vs. Dean Ambrose
Miz is defending. Dean goes after the Miztourage to start and grabs a rollup for two. Miz gets in the short DDT and kicks Dean in the chest to stay in control. Dirty Deeds is broken up but Ambrose throws Miz down to get a breather anyway. A butterfly superplex gives Dean two but he tweaks his knee on the way down.
Dirty Deeds still doesn’t work and we hit the Figure Four. Dean, with a bloody lip, makes the bottom rope but the knee is done. Miz fires off the YES Kicks but gets slapped in the face. The top rope standing elbow gives Dean two but the Miztourage pulls Dean to the floor for a beating.
Dean dives on all three of them but bangs up his knee even more. Back in and Dirty Deeds connects with Maryse putting the foot on the ropes. Dean hits a suicide dive (partially taking Maryse out in the process) but Dallas hits him in the back of the head, setting up the Skull Crushing Finale to retain at 11:15.
Rating: C-. They had a long way to go to get over the boring story and they didn’t get there. The Miztourage is a great addition for Miz as they fit him so well and Dallas looking like a Duck Dynasty/Sons of Anarchy hybrid helps a lot. I hope this doesn’t lead to another rematch but these two have only dominated the Intercontinental Title picture for fifteen months now. WWE can get at least three more months out of this thing before they have to come up with something new.
Long recap of Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman. They were fighting back in February, then took a break for Wrestlemania, then Strowman shoved over an ambulance with Reigns inside, then they took another month off because of an elbow injury. Tonight it’s an ambulance match in what should be the blowoff.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Ambulance match. Strowman goes right after the ribs and throws Reigns outside with ease. A shot with the steps crushes Roman again but Strowman hits the post with the steps. Back in and Roman’s comeback is cut off by the powerslam with Strowman going for a cover out of instinct.
Reigns slips off of Braun’s shoulders and manages a Samoan drop. Strowman goes shoulder first into the post and Roman wraps it around the post. Some chair shots make the elbow even worse but Strowman just gets up and shrugs them off. Strowman tells Reigns to hit him and then knocks him off the stage and into the side of the ambulance. Reigns send him head first into the ambulance for a breather, followed by a Superman punch to put him halfway inside.
Strowman hits him with a backboard and throws Reigns back onto the stage. A hard shot knocks Strowman through the LED screen but Reigns can’t follow up. Instead Braun pops up and throws him off the stage again. Roman misses a spear though and winds up in the ambulance to give Braun the win at 15:30.
Rating: B. It was a fun brawl and should end the feud (oh just wait a minute) but now it’s clear that we’re getting Reigns vs. Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Why? We’re just that lucky I guess. Strowman vs. Lesnar could be a heck of a war like this one, though hopefully with an ending that doesn’t look like the Cowardly Lion diving away from the Wizard of Oz. This was about what you had to expect, but that’s not a bad thing in this case.
Roman pops out of the ambulance and spears Strowman into it. He jumps into the driver’s seat and speeds to the back where, after a few camera cuts, backs the ambulance into a production truck to pretty much kill Strowman. Kurt Angle and company come up to try and open the ambulance….and we’re going to the ring?
Heath Slater vs. Curt Hawkins
This is an impromptu match and I have no idea why it’s been added. Hawkins is barely ready and the announcers ignore the match to talk about Strowman being in trouble. We cut to the back again where a fire truck is coming in to get Strowman out. With the camera away from the ring, Slater wins with something we don’t even see at 2:28.
Still in the back, the Dallas fire department is here to use the jaws of life to open the ambulance. Braun crawls away and refuses medical help. Angle is STUNNED as Strowman walks away to applause. If they didn’t do this for the sake of a double turn, I have officially lost the ability to understand this company. That was every possible sign of a Strowman face turn and Reigns, who lost and ATTEMPTED TO MURDER STROWMAN, is now about as heelish as you can get.
We recap Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe became #1 contender last month and has showed that he’s not afraid of Lesnar, even nearly choking him out at one point. Lesnar has shown no signs of being afraid of Joe and laughed at him for even trying. Tonight it’s going to be a fight.
Universal Title: Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar
Lesnar is defending and Joe’s music hits at 10:51pm. Joe jumps him during the Big Match Intros and they head outside with Lesnar being Rock Bottomed through the table. The bell hasn’t rung yet and Lesnar is dragging himself inside. Joe enziguris him in the corner and starts laying in the headbutts. Lesnar can’t overpower him and Joe hammers away in the corner. He can’t get the full Koquina Clutch in though and Lesnar sends him into the buckle for the break.
There’s the first German suplex, followed by the second and third but Joe kicks him low for the break. Another Rock Bottom gives Joe two but he still can’t get the Clutch. A weak version of the Clutch goes on until Lesnar escapes with a side slam. Lesnar charges into the post, only to slip between Joe’s legs and turn on the German suplexes again. We hit the sixth but Joe slips out of the F5 and puts on the Clutch. Lesnar grabs the ropes but the referee casually lets it stay on. Brock is turning purple but he powers up into the F5 to retain at 6:29.
Rating: B+. THIS is what I’ve been wanting from Lesnar for a long time. Joe got in some serious offense and beat on Lesnar for a good chunk of that match. This was FAR from what we had to sit through with Lesnar just wrecking people as he was put to the test and caught Joe in the end. I had a great time with this and it was certainly acceptable rather than having Lesnar destroy him. Very good match and a big relief.
Joe glares at Lesnar with the announcers emphasizing that Joe got caught and Lesnar was in big trouble to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. The two main events are enough to carry it but SWEET GOODNESS the rest of this show was weak. The Tag Team Title match felt like it went on for longer than ever, Banks vs. Bliss was there for the sake of setting up a rematch, Bray vs. Seth was exactly what you would expect and Miz vs. Ambrose is likely continuing for no logical reason.
That being said, this show was the modern day In Your House: a lot of nothing and a major match on the end to draw the fans. It’s certainly not terrible but there’s no hiding the fact that it’s a pit stop on the way to Brooklyn for Summerslam. That’s not a bad thing and the fact that it’s the same price at Wrestlemania makes up for a lot of it. Check out the main event but that’s all you really need to see.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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