Tuesday, July 11, 2017

WWE Great Balls of Fire 2017: In Perspective (A 1-2-3 Podcast Feature)

Comic Frontline & Zone 4's 1-2-3 Podcast presents another installment of the regular written feature here on Comic Frontline: In Perspective!

Brant Fowler, co-host of the quarterly 1-2-3 Podcast breaks down and discusses each match on the card. This month, it's WWE GREAT BALLS OF FIRE, a RAW only Pay-Per-View available on the WWE Network!

(NOTE: This article was written before the events of this week's episode of RAW.)

Welcome back to "In Perspective!" I think I'm going to change things up a bit going forward. This feature became a glorified recap article, and that's not what I want it to be. So I'm going back to my original premise and making this about my perspective of the matches, feuds, action and overall event. Hence "In Perspective."

If you would like me to add an audio segment to these, I've actually been contemplating it myself. Let me know if that's something you'd be interested in.

Now, without further ado, let's get on to this month's RAW only Pay-Per-View, WWE GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!



Before I even get into the match, I have to address the release of Austin Aries. He seems happy, and I'm gathering it's something he wanted. I just think it's a complete waste of his talent keeping him in the Cruiserweight division. Missed opportunities, WWE.

Back to this match, I don't think there was any question who was going to win. Neville has been riding high with no real competition aside from Aries, who is now gone. The Powah of Tozawa just wasn't up to the Neville Level. See what I did there?

What I did like about this match was the fact that we have a stable. It's a small stable of lower card superstars, but it's still a stable. They finally found the perfect use for Titus O'Neil. It reminds me of the Heenan Family, only on a MUCH smaller scale, talent and status wise. It's not a faction like Evolution or the Horsemen because they're not connected. I like where this is going, and the boost it has given Tozawa and Crews, who would both just have vanished by now sadly. And may still. But it's fun while it's here.

This match was a solid match between two talented competitors. But I'm not sold on Tozawa and this match did nothing to really help that. And maybe that's why it was on the pre-show. 

WINNER BY : NEVILLE (Retains Championship)


These two have been battling each other since they stepped foot on the main roster. The Shield vs. the Wyatt Family is where it began, and they are still at each other's throats all these years later as the biggest stars from each of their factions. While I haven't really enjoyed the broken record Wyatt has become, I still enjoy his in-ring performances, and this was classic Bray.

Rollins was at the top of his form, giving Bray as much as he got, but in the end, Bray was able to hit the Sister Abigail for the win after a well-placed thumb to the eye.

This is a feud that will definitely continue past this match. Nothing was solved. They both put it all out on the line, but there was nothing really to gain but momentum over the other. There's no real end game here, so while the feud is fun to watch because they bring out the best in each other, it's really a pointless feud. Unless they take it to another level, introduce a title, or make it very personal. Then we can step into grudge match territory. And that may be where this is headed. We know Rollins won't settle for being one-upped by Wyatt.



First off, Enzo on the mic was, as usual, amazing! Better than ever with his Frank Sinatra comparisons. He made you believe he could actually give Cass a run for his money. And then the match happened.

This match was honestly a joke for poor Enzo. Aside from a couple of small flurries, he had no offense whatsoever and was completely owned by Cass.

I have to say that I HATE this feud! WWE is notorious for breaking up tag teams. They just can't be happy with a tag team division. Somewhere down the line, teams will break up. And I get that Vince likes big guys, and I get that every superstar's dream is to be the champ. But come on, when you have a duo as golden as Enzo & Cass you don't break them up! You have Cass become champ with Enzo at his side. It was predictable and disappointing, and quite frankly embarrassing to go this route. Not to mention this completely buried Enzo who may find himself challenging Neville for the Cruiserweight title... and failing. Waste of potential.



I've talked about in previous articles how I'm not the biggest fan of Sheamus and Cesaro, but I am enjoying this feud. It's a long-running feud that has seen these teams go from friends to enemies and compete in various specialty matches. This being the first ever Tag-Team Iron Man Match where the winning team is the team with the most falls furthers that point.

This match came with unexpected happenings from the bell. Sheamus Brogue Kicked Matt to gain their first fall right off the bat. And they kept the lead for most of the match. The Hardys managed to even the score for a few minutes, but then Sheamus & Cesaro pulled out one more with too little time on the clock to do anything about it.

Both teams pulled out all the stops. Every finisher, every double-team move, every kind of exchange and counter you could think of. They were all innovative, creative and entertaining. This was a fantastic tag-team match regardless of who won. Sheamus & Cesaro won me over a bit, and the fact that the Hardys keep losing either means they win big soon or maybe they go through a little transformation... DELETE!



I love both of these women. Seriously, I think right now these two are the best the WWE has to offer. And they pair up very well. The fact this ended in a no-contest just heightens the excitement of them squaring off again.

While I really like Alexa as a heel, I think either of these two could play face or heel. But she is the perfect villain. She's entitled, selfish, throws a fit, cheats, runs away, and she's very skilled and dominant in the ring.

Sasha is just the best there is in the women's division wrestling wise. Heck, she's better than a lot of the guys. She's got it. She worked hard to get it, but she's got it. And she belongs right at the top.

This was another very good match and it was fun to watch these two beat the crap out of each other. And while we had seen the double-jointed trick before (don't believe the announcers), it was still a sight to see.

Whatever the outcome would have been for this match I would have been happy. The aftermath of the match up by the stage with Banks leaping off the announce table onto Bliss proves my point.



Can this feud be over now? Or at least for now? I love long-running feuds that are built up over years and many altercations and circumstances bringing two guys back together. Steamboat and Flair, Hogan and Macho Man, Cena and Orton, etc. They work. Miz and Ambrose work too. But it's too much too soon, you know? I'm ready for something new so that I'm excited when these two cross paths again. But I don't think this is ending anytime soon.

The Miztourage cost Ambrose here as could be expected. I like Axel, Dallas though just doesn't seem to fit to me, but whatever. Either way, that's the only way this could have gone without Rhyno and Slater running down. Ambrose put up one heck of a fight leading up to that point though. 

WINNER BY PINFALL: THE MIZ (Retains Championship)


On paper, this feud looks boring. I know Vince McMahon likes to pit big guys against each other. It's Andre and Hogan, Andre and Studd, Hogan and Bundy, so on and so forth. It's an old school mentality that, in today's landscape, usually fizzles out. But this feud for whatever reason works.

The thing is, even though Strowman is the heel and Roman is the face, the crowd would tell you different. And the fact that both of these guys are young, agile and super strong makes it all the more exciting.

This match was probably their best outing to date. Each of them took charge during the match. There was one point where Roman was nailing Strowman with chair shot after chair shot, but Strowman shook them off and took the fight back to him. There were big and meaningful spots in this match that just furthered the feud and made this a long-term grudge match, or rather continued that nature of this feud that was already set in motion. These two will repeatedly cross paths. And if you go back in time to when Strowman was introduced as a new member of the Wyatt Family, their feud really started there. It's beautiful and continuous storytelling like that that sells matches the most.

While Roman lost the match by spearing himself into the ambulance, he got the last blow. Many are calling it attempted murder, but we've seen these kinds of spots before. Strowman in the back of the ambulance, and Roman runs it into another vehicle smashing it with Strowman inside.

I'll give credit where credit is do. Calling an impromptu filler match and bringing in the Fire Department with the jaws of life made this feel epic. Braun then refusing help, crawling out of the ambulance bleeding all over the place, making it to his feet and storming off made him look incredible, unbeatable. This match did exactly what it needed to for him and for this feud.



While dealing with the carnage backstage left from the ambulance match, Kurt Angle supposedly sent these two out for an impromptu match to fill time. It was nicely done, and both pulled it off well. Hawkins came out pulling down his loose shirt, without his usual gimmick, and Heath came out still wrapping his wrist with tape before chucking it off camera.

The match itself we didn't really see much of. The beginning was shown, then we went backstage with the ambulance as Heath disposed of Hawkins. 



This was a dream match for me. The Beast vs. The Samoan Submission Machine. And the match honestly lived up to the hype. I was honestly afraid given Samoa Joe isn't a home grown talent that he would be buried here, but he took it to Lesnar before and during the match. He rocked him, had him reeling, and put him down more than once. He almost had Lesnar's number. Almost. And then out of nowhere, an F5.

While I'm not happy with the outcome, this match did a lot to make both Lesnar and Joe strong. Yes, Lesnar got beat up most of the match, but he also took Joe to Suplex City multiple times, and pulled out the victory against the overwhelming odds. Joe, on the other hand, took The Beast to school and made sure he'd remember his name. Though he lost, he could have easily won and Lesnar knows that.

It's rare that a main event lives up to hype as big as this match had. This was Wrestlemania level excitement and these two should and hopefully will fight again.


I have to say that this was one of the most all-in-all enjoyable PPV events in recent memory. I think they have really stepped up their game and are delivering great action with compelling stories and just the right amount of drama, intensity and humor. There wasn't one match I felt like I could have done without except the Enzo & Cass match, but that was more for the lunacy of breaking them up in the first place. Silly name for a PPV, but a fantastic payoff. Loved it.

The one complaint I do have is that not one single title changed hands. That took just a little of the buzz out of this one. There should have been at least one title change in my opinion. It reset nothing in that way. But it's really a nitpick.

What did you think of GREAT BALLS OF FIRE? And more importantly, what did you think of this feature?!  Let me know in the comments below!

And if you've never listened to or watched 1-2-3 Podcast, you can find the playlist here:

And if you're really bored, you can find my old wrestling blog, Kayfabe here before I eventually delete it!:

Join me next month as I cover SMACKDOWN LIVE's BATTLEGROUND!

Brant Fowler is the co-founder of Zone 4 and one of the Frontline Six. He's also Co-Publisher of Last Ember Press. Check out his YouTube channel every Monday for Monday Musings, and find him most Tuesday nights on Frontline LIVE!

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