Great Balls of Fire (GBOF) lays the groundwork leading into Summerslam for Raw with five title defense matches in its inaugural inception. Would we see any title changes or will the pecking order remain at least until Summerslam? Let’s dive in.
Cruiserweight Title: Neville (c) vs. Akira Tozawa (Kickoff Match)
Things kicked off with Neville entering the match with no clear threat to his run. The stunning release of Austin Aries along with 205 Live’s declining ratings further weaken the long-term viability of the Cruiserweight Division. The match was a typically high-speed affair in the beginning. Akira displayed some aggressive offense initially but he was no match for Neville’s explotation of the champion’s advantage and savvy, in addition to his own electric offense. Akira ultimately fell to a pinfall after receiving a low blow after landing on the top rope nether regions first after being knocked on to it. Despite a flat finish, the match followed the usual tendency of high quality that cruiserweight matches usually deliver. This feud may just be beginning as Akira demanded that Titus arrange a rematch shortly after the end of The Miz’s and Dean Ambrose’s match.
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray entered this match with a very underwhelming overall record (182-424-10) despite being a recent world champion. Needless to say, Bray needed a win tonight. This feud was a stellar matchup. Seth appears to have recovered from his recent spate of knee woes and moved with ease. He even had the move of the match as he reversed an assault by the larger Bray Wyatt and executed a falcon arrow. The match was a back and forth but Bray ultimately prevailed to notch a much needed win.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Big Cass vs. Enzo Amore
The classic discarded weak link/underdog storyline played out here. Enzo came to the ring and predictably cut a promo regarding dreams and heart. While Enzo did display some toughness, he didn’t provide any evidence that Bigg Cass was wrong as he cruised to the win. At this point, it seems that Cass will become a solo competitor. The pair had a huge following in NXT but they lost relevancy after their main roster debut. Enzo may cut it in solo action. He may even be a viable cruiserweight competitor, especially since 205 needs a boost.
Winner: Big Cass
WWE RAW Tag Team Title 30 Minute Ironman Match: Sheamus & Cesaro (C) vs The Hardy Boyz
This match was intense from start. Cesaro opened the match by distracting Matt Hardy by feigning rushing him. This allowed Sheamus to score an easy pinfall to an unsuspecting Matt with a brouge kick. The Hardys were fighting uphill from there on out.. The Hardys got pinned two more times but they eventually rallied to make it a match. the lack of time proved to be their enemy as time ran out just before the Hardys could force a tie.
Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro with a score of 4-3
Raw Women’s Title: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks
The buzz leading up to this match was huge. Sasha had faded from the radar a bit in recent months but she got back into the limelight thanks to this feud. The match went back and forth early on but Sasha eventually gained an advantage. Her momentum was halted when Alexa faked an injury to her arm and attacked Sasha while the match was halted by the referee. Alexa maintained her momentum for a time but Sasha came back and looked to have the match in hand. Little Miss Bliss took a page from Neville’s playbook and exploited champion’s advantage. Alexa allowed herself to be counted out and lost the match but not the belt. After the match, Sasha attacked Alexa and the two fought up the ramp. Sasha beat Alexa to gain a bit of retribution but it’s a certainty that this feud will continue, especially with the fashion of its disappointing finish for a match held on a Brand exclusive event.
Winner: Sasha Banks
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz (C) vs Dean Ambrose
The Miz tried to employ his usual early match tactics but Dean cut him off at the pass and attacked the Miztourage in an attempt to prevent their interference. The Lunatic Fringe had a sound plan but the numbers game eventually put a stop at his attempt to muster a multitasking offense and defense. Maryse provided an opening for rest of The Miztourage to interfere and it ultimately gave the him an opening for a Skullcrushing Finale to put on Dean for the win.
Winner: The Miz
Ambulance Match: Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
Braun attacked Roman but Roman’s speed kept Braun at bay for a time. Braun’s physicality was on full display throughout despite repeated shots from Roman on his surgically repaired elbow. Things eventually started going Roman’s way but Braun’s resilience and strength kept him in it. In what may’ve been the WTF Moment of the Night, Roman put Braun through the LED at the top of the ramp and kept coming after Roman. The two tried to the other inside the ambulance and shut the door but neither man would give in. Braun ultimately won the match after Roman missed a spear and was shut in the ambulance. This wasn’t the end as the two continued to brawl. Roman put Braun in the ambulance, took it to into arena’s docks, and crashed it with Braun inside by backing it into wall. EMTs had to pry the door open to check on Braun. Braun emerged bloodied and barely able to stand. He refused assistance and walked away from the wreck. It goes without saying that the war isn’t finished.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Heath Slater vs. Curt Hawkins
This impromptu match went down as a camera crew was sent to investigate efforts to check on the condition of Braun Strowman after he was trapped inside the wreckage of the ambulance. The affair was a brief one as neither competitor was ready and this was just a filler match. Heath got the win.
Winner: Heath Slater
Universal World Title Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Samoa Joe
This match was a brawl that began before the bell rang. Samoa Joe rushed Brock and beat him down during the announcement of the competitors. Brock was beaten badly and he crawled back into the ring. Joe continued his assault until Brock was able to get out of the Coquina Clutch and start battling back. Brock delivered three German Suplexes and reversed an attempt by Joe for another Coquina Clutch into an F5 for the win. This match was not a long one at all and gave Brock an air of invicibility leading to until the next time he graces the ring with his presence. Samoa Joe and Brock feud should continue but it’s unclear as to whether it would and for how long given Braun vs. Roman’s feud.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
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