It’s time for the go home Raw for Great Balls Of Fire and yes, the name of the new Raw PPV is still hilarious. But the card is shaping up to be nothing to laugh at.
Not only will Great Balls Of Fire be capped off by Brock Lesnar vs Samoa Joe but it will also feature a pretty exciting encounter with Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks.
WWE recently booked Enzo Amore vs Big Cass for the show too and while we always saw this one coming it will still tug at the heartstrings a little bit to see Big Cass murder Enzo in the middle of the ring.
But the Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix was packed and ready to go. It was the middle of the afternoon for these Arizona residents but it didn’t feel like it by watching on television.
Raw opened up with a video package of the Enzo and Big Cass rivalry. It’s nice to see WWE putting the spotlight on this feud like that.
Enzo Amore’s music kicked off the show and the Certified G came out to a thunderous ovation. People love him just fine on his own. Enzo was dressed a little different in jeans and sunglasses. He wasn’t wearing his usual Enzo and Cass merch and instead had a colorful cartoon looking button-up shirt on.
Enzo said he’s been beaten up plenty of time this past year and listed them all in quick fashion. He said everything happened while the WWE Universe had his back. Then Enzo said Big Cass never had his back and looked past him. He said he always took advantage of Enzo’s silver tongue and Amore said his mouth was about to go platinum.
Enzo said he keeps getting back up after getting beat down. He said neither Conor McGregor or Big Cass can’t knock him out. He said he’s one of the toughest guys to step through the ropes in a long, long time. Enzo received a nice pop and “how you doing” chants after that.
Enzo said with the WWE Universe as his witness he is a Certified G and he is exactly himself. He said confidence is something you can’t teach people and that is what Enzo is. He said he is a grateful Smacktalker Skywalker. He said he is grateful of every kid he sees wearing a Certified G shirt because it helps him put food on the table (and sneakers on his feet).
Enzo continued to hype his match with Big Cass and the crowd seemed to be with him every step of the way. Enzo said don’t be surprised if next quarter when Big Cass’ merchandise check comes in it reads 0 Dimes unless he starts wearing a shirt that says “Cass Hole” — that was clever. Mic drop.
Enzo had them stop his music and picked up the mic again. Then he said the Big Cass boot he felt was like CPR and it gave him new life. It looked like someone wrote “New” where Enzo used to not have anything on next to his “life” tattoo like Tupac. Then Enzo left.
Big Cass was interviewed backstage and started talking about how Enzo keeps running his mouth. Suddenly Enzo jumped him from behind and they had to do a pull-apart as backstage officials rushed to the scene.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax
It’s Boss Time and Sasha Banks came out to introduce her tag team partner Bayley. The wacky waving arm flailing inflatable tubemen came out and these two looked like they were having a great time on the way to the ring.
Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax both looked so confident and they have plenty of reason to be sure of themselves.
Nia Jax and Bayley started off the match and it went pretty much like the first round of last week’s gauntlet match went. Jax beat The Hugger around the ring and Bayley didn’t really stand a chance. Bayley finally got the tag and they hit Nia with a double dropkick but Nia didn’t leave her feet.
Sasha hit Jax with a few corner moves and the final one sent her to the floor but she landed on her feet. Bayley took a bump into the barricade and Nia Jax drove a crushing knee into The Hugger. “It’s been all Nia, foe” Michael Cole said and he was correct.
Bayley was taken out on the outside and now it looked like a handicapped match after officials had to carry Bayley to the back. Alexa Bliss brought the pain to Sasha and though The Boss tried to upper hand but the number game was against her.
Sasha went for the double knees in the corner but Bliss moved to tag in Nia. Jax hit a devastating back breaker on Banks followed by an elbow drop.
Nia Jax soon had a massive bearhug latched onto Sasha Banks but The Boss fought off. Nia tossed Banks to her corner and tagged into Alexa Bliss. Alexa stood on top of Banks and stomped on her head. Sasha slapped Bliss but that seemed to only make her angrier. Alexa kicked Banks in the face and continued her abuse on The Boss.
She hit Banks with a few more strikes and screamed: “this is my division, Sasha!” Banks countered and kicked Nia Jax off the apron. Then she turned around and locked in a Bank Statement on Alexa Bliss.
Little Miss Bliss had no choice but to tap and Sasha Banks celebrated in the ring. But what is going on with Bayley? She lost in under three minutes last week and this week she can’t even finish a tag match? Hmm..
Kurt Angle was on the phone dealing with something that sounded personal. He turned around and Braun Strowman was there saying Roman Reigns won’t be at Great Balls Of Fire.
Braun said he felt Roman’s body go limp when he placed him in the ambulance last week. Kurt confirmed Roman wasn’t in Phoenix but he will be at Great Balls Of Fire. Braun said he wanted to fight someone and Kurt said nobody would want to face him this close to the PPV.
Strowman said by the end of the night he’ll find someone to destroy and he walked away.
Cedric Alexander vs Noam Dar
It’s purple rope time on Raw, and they’re hyping the Noam Dar/Alicia Fox/Cedric Alexander love triangle.
Cedric got on the mic and said this story is over. He said Dar needs to come down to the ring and he would send Noam Dar back to Fox in a magic neck brace.
Noam Dar came out and introduced Alicia Fox complete in a fashionable neck brace.
As soon as the bell rang Alexander went right after Dar with some shot in the corner. He quickly hit a top rope elbow and Dar rolled out of the ring.
Foxy confronted Alexander when he went out to get Dar and kept him occupied while Noam got back in the ring.
The two traded a few moves when they came in and Dar countered with a heelish kick to Alexander’s chest for a two count. Noam Dar pinned Alexander to the mat with a submission hold and buried his elbow into Cedric’s chest.
Cedric caught Noam Dar with a stiff looking back elbow and Foxy jumped in the ring to distract Alexander. Noam Dar tried to roll him up for a pin but Cedric rolled out of it and hit his finishing move for the three count.
Alicia Fox ripped her neck brace off and threw a temper tantrum.
For some reason the Raw announce team plugged the fact that the Ball Family was on Miz TV last week. Michael Cole said they made headlines… he didn’t specify why they made headlines, but the Balls certainly got people talking.
Miz TV was next and Michael Cole said Miz promised to address the controversy.
Miz came down with his two A-Lister associates Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Miz said Lonzo Ball will be the biggest bust in NBA history and the Pheonix crowd cheered. Then Miz said he will let down more fans than Steve Nash ever did and the crowd booed. Miz is awesome.
Miz said Lavar Ball embarrassed himself by taking his shirt off and walking around like a raving lunatic. He said it was ridiculous they wanted Dean Ambrose to represent the Big Balla Brand.
Then Miz started talking down to Dean Ambrose saying he was supposed to be the next Roddy Piper but instead turned into “Wacky Dean Ambrose” and he said Dean Ambrose can’t handle success. He said it twice actually.
Miz said every time Dean Ambrose got a main event shot he caved under the pressure and he can’t beat a top guy like Miz. This promo was very intense and Miz was on his game during this segment. He wore a white suit and Maryse was wearing a dress to match.
As Miz said the biggest joke is going to be Dean Ambrose, The Lunatic Fringe’s music hit and he came out to wave hello to the crowd. Dean looked slender and sure of himself. He called the Miztourage a “goon squad” and congratulated Miz for his new posse.
Dean said he didn’t care if Miz was standing behind two bodyguards and he wanted a rematch for the IC Title and he wanted his rematch right on the spot. Suddenly Heath Slater and Rhyno’s music hit and they came out.
Rhyno was wearing a shirt that said “I’m with Heath” and he Slater said he was the last person to beat Miz in the ring. He said he’s been in the WWE for eight years and he’s never gotten a singles title shot.
He said he’s tired of going home to his kids and telling them “daddy’s got this” when he doesn’t know if he does. He said he wanted this opportunity, needs it, and has earned it… for his kids.
Dean Ambrose told Heath Slater that he was going to go to the back of the line. Miz said he bet everyone in West Virginia was adjusting the rabbit ears on their black and white tv hoping to see an IC Title match but he’ll decide when he defends his title.
Suddenly Kurt Angle came out and said Miz doesn’t get to determine when and where he competes. Miz told Angle to go talk to Corey Graves about his personal problems and mind his own business.
Kurt told Miz to watch his mouth and Miz replied by saying he was the biggest ratings draw on Raw. Miz said he’ll defend the IC Title at Great Balls Of Fire, Kurt just needs to decide who he defended it against either Dean or Heath.
Kurt said Miz will defend his IC Title against both of them. Dean will get his shot at Great Balls Of Fire but Heath Slater will get his shot tonight. What a way to spoil the ending of the Slater match. Odds are Miz will win this one in order to defend his IC Title match against Dean Ambrose on Sunday.
Miz vs Heath Slater (IC Title Match)
Miz was still wearing his suit which means how serious he was taking this match. The crowd chanted ECW as Dean Ambrose hung out at the announce table and shot the breeze with Booker T.
Miz shot Heath off the ropes but Slater returned with a shoulder block. He got Miz in a backslide pin but the A-Lister kicked out at two. Slater got on a headlock and Miz tossed him off the roped and lifted a knee into Heath’s stomach.
Miz tried to chop Heath in the corner, but Slater reversed it and tore Miz’s shirt open as he hit a couple loud chops against the turnbuckle.
Heath hit an inverted atomic drop and covered for a two count. Miz rolled out of the ring to catch his breath and complain like the true heel he is.
Miz came back in and quickly took control over the One Man Band. Miz’s pants were split big time but it didn’t seem to slow down this match. The two men stayed on their knees while they traded shots and moved to their feet while hitting each other. Miz knocked Slater down with a powerful blow and got another two count while Dean called Miz cunning and said he was one of the best entertainers in WWE.
Miz tossed Heath out of the ring and as the Miztourage walked over to him Rhyno leaped over the steps and warned them not to try anything.
Dean said the name “Miztourage” was just about as bad as “Great Balls Of Fire… I wonder who thought of that.”
Miz hit his Daniel Bryan inspired It Kicks on Heath Slater, but Heath ducked under the final kick and planted him with a slam. They both fought to get on their feet before the other man but got to their feet at about the same time.
Miz shot Heath against the ropes and he returned with a trifecta of strikes that sent Miz to the canvas each time. Heath jumped over Miz as he charged the corner and nearly pulled off a victory roll but Miz kicked out.
Heath Slater hit a neckbreaker for another close two count. Miz hit his corner clothesline and climbed to the top rope. Heath Slater leaped up and grabbed Miz to send him down to the mat.
The Miztourage jumped up on the apron to get involved by Rhyno pulled them down and caused some chaos on the outside. This was enough of a distraction for Miz to hit Heath Slater with a Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
After the match, the Miztourage went to continue a beat down on Slater when Dean Ambrose ran down to the ring. They overpowered Dean and gave him a thorough beat down. Miz rubbed his IC Title in Dean’s face and hit another Skull Crushing Finale to leave The Lunatic Fringe laying in the middle of the ring.
Raw star Apollo Crews was backstage when Titus O’Neil came up and they hyped the Titus Brand Worldwide. Titus said he feels like this is the perfect opportunity to show what they can do.
Titus brought up the idea that Braun Strowman should face Apollo Crews tonight. Titus said nobody knew who Kalisto was until Strowman threw him in a garbage can.
Titus got Apollo to think about the future of the Titus Brand Worldwide. Titus said Apollo Crews can’t lose and then they chanted “Crews can’t lose” over and over again.
Goldust Presents “The Shattered Truth”
Goldust was in the ring and quoted the movie Saw. He welcomed everyone to the premier of The Shattered Truth. He thanks all the little people who made this possible. He said the one person he has to thank the most is R-Truth. Because without Truth being so naive, selfish and all that it wouldn’t be possible.
Goldust told the crowd to shut their mouths and said he made R-Truth a star. But the only thing that shines brighter than a star is gold. Then he showed “The Shattered Truth” on the big screen.
Looks like we finally got to see the angle from Goldust’s personal cameraman and he got some creepy shots. The film was basically the beat down from last week and when they came back to the ring R-Truth was standing there eating popcorn.
R-Truth got some revenge on The Golden One and Goldust rolled out of the ring and walked up the ramp looking a little shellshocked.
Kurt Angle said “hey guys” and Sheamus and Cesaro were suddenly there. Angle booked a thirty-minute Iron Man Tag Team Match for Great Balls Of Fire against The Hardys.
Cesaro said he wanted a match tonight. Kurt said he could face Braun Strowman, but Cesaro said he wanted Finn Balor.
Kurt Angle booked the match with Cesaro and Finn Balor. Kurt’s phone went off and he had to take the call. Kurt said “be careful what you wish for” as he carried on some kind of mysterious personal conversation during work hours. You’d think he could figure out how to take care of these calls during the other 165 hours in the week when Raw isn’t live.
Seth Rollins vs Curt Hawkins
Seth Rollins came down to a huge pop while Michael Cole announced he would be facing Bray Wyatt at Great Balls Of Fire.
Curt Hawkins said this is ridiculous because he should be facing Braun Strowman right now and giving him a run for his money. He talked down to the people of LA and then asked if the dummies in Phoenix can get it right tonight.
Curt then asked who thought he was going to lose the match and everyone cheered. In the middle of asking if they thought he was going to win Seth took the mic from him. Seth asked the crowd who thought Hawkins should shut the hell up and they cheered. Rollins agreed and smacked him with the microphone.
“Let’s go Rollins” chants broke out and the bell rang as Seth hit Hawkins with a kick to the stomach. He planted a knee to Curt Hawkins’ face and 1-2-3 that was all she wrote.
Seth took the mic again and said: “now that that’s taken care of — Bray Wyatt!” He started to deliver a promo on Wyatt and said he knew Bray was there and hiding in some deep dark corner.
Seth said these people don’t need to be saved by Bray Wyatt. He said he embraces his sins and transgressions because they are the scars that make him the man he is today. Seth said Bray better be wary of his wrath because the cleansing will not be Rollins’ soul but it will be of Bray’s mystique because he will prove Wyatt’s not a god at Great Balls Of Fire.
“Are you a man, or just a coward?” mic drop and Seth left with his music blaring.
Brock and Joe Interview
It just occurred to me when I saw the television in the mirror that RAW is WAR spelled backward. Neat!
Joe asked Paul how it felt to get choked out and Brock said he’s not fighting him at GBOF, he’s fighting Lesnar. Brock was pretty confident and showed some great personality. He was all smiles while Joe spit intensity.
Brock called Samoa Joe a coward. Joe said he never seems to find Brock when he looks for him. Brock said he’s not looking for him. Joe asked him why they’re messing around. Joe said it’s funny that he’s the champ and not sweating him but he’s the one quarantined.
Brock said he knows how Joe feels because he was the same way before he beat the Rock, Triple H, etc. Joe interrupted him and didn’t let him finish his sentence.
Joe told Brock he wasn’t messing around and ripped his mic off. Paul says “I think he’s coming for you.”
“Come find me Joe” Brock replied.
Joe walked backstage screaming fro Brock and looking for the Beast Incarnate. Kurt Angle headed him off and tried to stop him but Joe found the room Brock and Heyman were in and it took a roster of local indie talent posing as security guards to pull Joe away from Lesnar as the Universal Champion just stood confidently as ever looking on with a smile on his face.
Neville vs Mustafa Ali
That last segment on Raw with Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe is still sticking with me. That was great. Brock Lesnar really needs to smile more.
These two cruiserweights came out to a freshly purpled-up ring to show us what the ring crew was doing during that Lesnar/Joe segment on the big screen.
Ali hit a nice cross body on Neville and almost had a three count before the kickout. Neville took a kick and hit the mat. Mustafa climbed to the top rope but Neville knocked him off the turnbuckle and climbed up to grab him.
Neville tried to superplex Ali, but Mustafa flipped over and landed on his feet while Neville landed hard on his neck.
Ali hit a thunderous DDT and Neville kicked out at the last moment.
Ali placed Neville in front of the turnbuckle and climbed back up. Neville jumped up at the last minute and just pushed Ali off the turnbuckle and sent him into the barricade on the outside. Neville looked hurt on the inside as Ali laid on the outside as well.
Either Neville was hurt or just really selling that DDT. Neville went outside and tossed Ali back in to finish this.
The King Of The Cruiserweights placed Ali against the turnbuckle and started stomping on him. The referee pushed Neville back but he came right back with another boot to the face. The ref tried to get Neville to back up a little but it didn’t seem to work.
Neville taunted the fans a little bit and then laid down a knee onto Ali’s head. He stomped Mustafa’s back and waited for him to get up. Neville shot Ali against the ropes and then tossed him in the air to land on his face in very hard fashion.
Neville continued to stalk his opponent until Ali landed a forearm on Nevile’s face. Ali rolled into a stiff clothesline from Neville and then the Cruiserweight Champion locked in the Rings Of Saturn for the win.
Neville’s match against Akira Tozawa will be a part of the Great Balls Of Fire kickoff show so that’s something fun to tune in early for.
Bray Wyatt Segment
The screen went all Wyatty and Bray appeared in the middle of the desert. He was walking in the middle of some cacti just raised his arms up and smiled.
He spoke about how men used to worship the sun by showing it gratitude. He kept cutting a promo about when he decided to take control, give them fire, and independence. Bray said nobody should have to bow down to the light.
He said he is the chaos that fueled the fire. Since he’s come to Raw 100 days ago he has been the cause of all of this chaos. Friends have become enemies, the beast is now beaten, and he is Bray Wyatt because he is everywhere. It sounds like Bray was taking credit for every storyline on Raw.
“Can you hear me, Seth? Can you hear me?!” Bray yelled in the midst of a scorching Arizona desert. He said Seth will look into the eyes of a god at Great Balls Of Fire and he will burn.
Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss was asked if she was worried that Sasha won tonight. Bliss said she’s not worried because she let Sasha win to give her a false sense of security because she’s intelligent. Alexa said she’ll still be holding the Raw Women’s Championship after Sunday.
Finn Balor vs Cesaro
Fonzie Balor came to the ring and received a very warm welcome from the Phoenix crowd. “It’s 110 degrees in Phoenix and Finn shows up in a leather jacket and doesn’t sweat a drop — he’s that cool” Corey Graves said as Balor made his way to the ring.
Finn is a great Raw talent and very popular but for some reason, he still isn’t booked in a real program for Great Balls Of Fire. You could say he’s in a feud with Elias Samson, but do you really wanna say that?
Before this match even started The Hardy Boyz made their entrance wearing street clothes. Matt and Jeff joined the commentary booth and got comfortable as the match began.
Matt said it was absolutely wonderful to be on Monday Night Raw as Finn latched on a headlock. Fill took Cesaro’s knees out with a kick and then started to apply several stiff kicks to The Swiss Cyborg.
Cesaro caught Finn and twisted him around for a backbreaker. He kicked Balor down and laid a couple stiff forearm uppercuts to Finn.
Finn found himself trapped in a submission hold from Cesaro but got back to his feet. He hit Cesaro with a dropkick to the face after rolling through a victory roll pin attempt and pushed Cesaro into the corner for a couple chops.
Finn stomped on Cesaro as Sheamus climbed on the apron. The ref tried to get him and Finn rushed toward him. By the time he turned around Cesaro was waiting to apply some abuse to Balor.
Now with control, Cesaro hit some chops of his own to Finn in the corner. Finn shot Cesaro into the corner for another chop but Cesaro returned with some shots of his own and sent Finn Balor outside of the ring.
Finn rolled Cesaro up for a quick pin but he kicked out. The Swiss Superman soon took over and got a two count of his own. Cesaro wrapped Finn up in a submission hold and slowed the match down a little bit as Matt Hardy said they wanted to prove they were the best tag team in WWE.
Cesaro shot Finn into the turnbuckle but Finn jumped on the apron and tried for a kick but Cesaro caught him and lifted him into a suplex for a two count. Cesaro hit another strong uppercut for a two count. That was stiff.
Cesaro tried for a Neutralizer but Finn countered it and landed a chest stomp. Finn knocked Cesaro back down and looked to amp himself up. Cesaro rolled out of the ring and Finn hit a dropkick through the ropes. Finn hit a kick from the apron on Cesaro and rolled him back in the ring.
Finn hit a Sling Blade on Cesaro and measured Cesaro for his sick dropkick to the chest. But suddenly we heard the strum of a guitar from Elias Samson and Finn turned to catch a super forearm uppercut from Cesaro for a two count.
Elias Samson walked to the ring as Cesaro continued his assault on Finn. Elias Samson grabbed Balor’s feet and pulled him to the mat as The Hardys joined the match and took out Elias Samson and Sheamus. Finn tossed Cesaro to the outside and hit a flipping dive on everyone heel and babyface alike.
“This is awesome” chants broke out as Matt hit Samson with a Twist Of Fate. Jeff jumped on Sheamus as Finn Balor hit a dropkick to Cesaro and followed it up with a Coup De Gras. 1-2-3 and Finn Balor defeated 1/2 of the Raw Tag Team Champions in relatively clean fashion.
Braun Does Something Because He’s Braun Strowman And He Can… Are You Going To Stop Him?
An ambulance backed into the back of the arena with its sirens blaring. Wonder if Roman Reigns is inside?
Braun Strowman’s music hit and he walked out prepared to roar and beat someone down. Good lord, he looks like a WWE Superstar.
As the camera panned the crowd with a sign in the middle reading “Roman Still Sucks” in the style of “Hulk Still Rules” Roman grabbed a mic and prepared to speak.
He said there are few things he likes more in this world than hurting Roman Reigns and the people cheered that. Braun said Roman keeps getting back up so he keeps knocking him back down.
Braun said if Kurt Angle is right and Roman shows up at Great Balls Of Fire then he’s going ot leave in the back of an ambulance. Braun was a little off his game in the promo dept and the crowd seemed to dwindle for him as he carried on.
Braun said he wants to face whoever Kurt Angle picked for him to face and he wants them right now. Titus O’Neil’s music hit and The Titus Brand came out to tell Braun everybody starts off with a plan until they get punched in the mouth. He got Braun angry by telling him he would normally gladly slap the taste out of his mouth.
Then Titus introduced Apollo Crews and Braun Strowman looked hungry to take the Titus Brand Worldwide representative out. Michael Cole said it would be a big payday if Apollo beat Braun implying wrestlers get paid more if they win.
Apollo jumped right on Strowman and tried his best but Braun kicked him in the chest and that sent Crews down. Braun tossed Apollo out of the ring and the ref stated his 10-count. Braun just stood there and watched his opponent get up and roll back in the ring.
Braun wrenched on Apollo’s neck with a submission hold and sent some clubbing blows to Apollo Crews’ chest. While Titus tried to rally the crowd at ringside, it didn’t work because Strowman just sent Crews back down to the mat with another thunderous fist.
Then Braun Strowman kicked Apollo Crews out of the ring right in front of Titus for some motivation. Braun met Apollo at the apron and Crews tried to hang Braun up with the top rope. He hit Braun with a kick and a few more strikes until Braun was all the way down.
Then Apollo Crews went for his running senton and Braun Strowman kicked up with both feet to send Crews flying through the air. That was incredible and worth the set up to get to the spot. Apollo landed hard on the side of his neck and Braun got back up with ease.
Now Strowman looked agitated as Corey Graves laughed at what he just saw and said he hoped Titus Worldwide provides medical insurance.
Strowman hit a powerslam and pinned Apollo but pulled him up after the ref’s two count. He did it two more times before finally letting the ref count to three.
Braun Strowman went to continue his assault on Crews when Titus jumped on the apron. He got in the ring and stood up to Braun. “I’m not scared of you” Titus said to Strowman. Titus started hitting some right hands until Strowman bulldozed over him with a clothesline. Then Braun hit Titus with a running powerslam and left the ring.
As he left the ring Braun Strowman grabbed Apollo Crews and tossed him over the barricade. He drug Crews through the crowd and up to the ambulance. Braun tossed Apollo in the back of the ambulance, closed the doors, and tapped twice on the back but it didn’t drive away. Braun started to look puzzled so he hit the back of the ambulance again. The sirens went off but the ambulance didn’t move.
Braun hit the ambulance again and the sirens went off. Then Braun walked up to the ambulance door and Roman Reigns jumped out of the drivers’ seat and started taking it to Braun Strowman.
The two fought around the entrance ramp and Reigns tossed Strowman nearly through the entrance set. Strowman looked dazed and Roman readied himself. Then Roman Reigns hit a spear on Strowman off of the entrance ramp and through a table.
Strowman got back up but the back of his arm looked like it was bleeding pretty badly. Roman rolled onto the entrance ramp and looked shaken up too. As these two men were dazed from their brief encounter on Raw they contemplate the intensity that is sure to ensue at Great Balls Of Fire on Sunday.