This Sunday is the Great Ball of Fire Pay-Per-View and the wrestling world still can’t believe they really went with that name. It just doesn’t make much sense. There are so many questions. What do great balls of fire have to do with wrestling? Is it innuendo? When is WWE Crocodile Rock?
Despite the silly name that clearly was a Vince McMahon idea, it’s actually a really good card for a minor PPV. On paper, there really isn’t one bad match, and everything has a pretty good story behind it. Even the kickoff show featuring Cruiserweight Champion, Neville, facing Akira Tozawa is going to be a great bout. These are two of the most polished members on the 205 Live roster, so expect them to tear the house down before the show even starts.
Other matches on the card have had some great buildup. The Enzo and Cass breakup was one of the better tag team splits in WWE history. Between the mystery attacks and Enzo’s limitless charisma, there’s a lot of meat on this bone. The only thing I wish is that they gave the two even more mic time to promote their match together. Now, I don’t expect this to be a great technical clinic. In fact, this might be closer to a squash match, with the seven-footer taking out his years of frustration on the Certified G. But this will be far from the end of their feud. I expect this one to go through Summerslam before they truly go their separate ways.
Then there are some solid and interesting stipulation matches, like the Tag Team Championship match between Sheamus/Cesaro and challengers, The Hardy Boyz. This is going to be a 30-minute iron man tag match, which is a rare find. Considering they’re giving this feud so much time, the match has a lot to live up to. They wouldn’t dare waste 30 minutes on a borefest, so these experienced workers will be pressed to deliver a worthy match. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman will face the challenge of having an impressive showing in their ambulance match. While their matches have been fun to watch (yes, I do think Roman generally has good matches) with a certain level of silly brutality at the hands of Braun; ambulance matches are difficult to pull off. It’s just sort of an anticlimactic finish. Closing the doors of an ambulance isn’t really the impact we want at the end of a hard-hitting slugfest, but they could pull through with a creative take on an otherwise clunky ending.
Alexa Bliss will also defend her Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks in what should be a nice clash of sass. Banks and Bliss have similar builds and styles; with that small, but fierce, persona. So it will be intriguing to see if they work well with each other and how they’ll complement each other’s styles. Both are fantastic storytellers and athletic workers, so expect a lot of competing attitude in this title match.
The only weak links in this PPV might be Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship and Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins. But for different reasons. Ambrose and Miz have a lot of history and a good story to back them up, but it’s just been done to death. I’m loving The Miz right now and his mic work is unparalleled, but this feud has just sort of overstayed its welcome. Wyatt and Rollins have the opposite problem. With little story backing this one up, I’m just not invested in the feud. Usually Wyatt does a great job of building a match, but this one has been a bit disjointed. It seems like it was a hastily thrown together and they just didn’t have enough time. But the saving grace is that these two will put on a good match, regardless.
And finally for the big fight main event. The Destroyer, Samoa Joe challenges The Beast, Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship. This is an irregular and very cool story. Straying from the typical formula of Good vs. Evil, this match is just between two badass monster heels. It’s the wrestling equivalent of Lex Luthor vs. The Joker. Just a gift to the WWE Universe. In this dream match, we’re going to see some stiffness and big fight realism. We should see some strikes that look far too snug. Everything about this main event has been perfectly build. This is one of those matches that fans would have thought would be impossible a few years ago, and was merely a wrestling geek’s pipe dream. But now we get to see it.
Great Balls of Fire will be surprisingly good, probably to make up for the fact that you can’t say that name without laughing.
Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke