Tuesday, July 11, 2017

WWE Great Balls Of Fire 2017

I will be completely honest with you. I almost forgot about this PPV... because the better part of Sunday was spent at the Montreal Comicon that weekend... my first Con of any kind, actually. A rather surreal experience, but something I wouldn't mind doing next year when the time came and I got a bunch of good swag that I'll save for a later time.

But back to WWE's most recent PPV outing, Great Balls Of Fire.

In the grand tradition of ridiculous PPV names such as Fatal Four-Way, Beware of Dog, and Taboo Tuesday, we have Great Balls Of Fire. Yes, the same as that Jerry Lee Lewis song that everybody knows about. Unfortunately, WWE and Jerry Lee's lawyer has a bit of a legal spat over copyright infringement, but fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and WWE not only got to keep the name, but they even got the song. Sometimes, I wonder how WWE would've coped if they were forced to change the name... maybe give the PPV a better name, but alas, I tell a lie; nothing about this makes me wonder about any of this stuff.

Anyway, despite getting the rights to the song and even going so far as to have a 1950s motif with the graphics and all that, the set itself is the typical lazy WWE arena set-up that we've seen a bazillion times before. Seriously, guys, if you're going to give your PPV a stupid name, you might as well dress the set up to fit the theme or come up with a better name, you lazy hacks.

But let's get to the PPV.

Bray Wyatt defeated Seth Rollins in the opening match that is used to open up the PPV proper because some of us don't give a rat's behind about the pre-show. Wyatt defeating Seth Rollins is surprising - not because I was expecting Rollins to win, but because they actually gave Wyatt a win of some kind. The thing with Bray Wyatt is that he had the potential to be this cool villain with that aura and mystique behind him, but given how many matches he has lost over the course of his run, that particular ship has sailed.

Watching a Bray Wyatt match means my mind is shut off and I'm just watching two guys having a so-so wrestling match with no emotional investment or anticipation because there's no point. Even if Bray wins, eventually there comes a point where he takes several major hits that nullifies his win. Do you even remember that Bray Wyatt was WWE Champion this year? I had forgotten about it and I was pretty stoked about it. Foolish sentiments, indeed.

Big Cass squashes Enzo Amore. One-sided, with Enzo getting almost NO offense. If this is supposed to sell me on Cass being a big badass, it didn't work for me because he's beating up Enzo. And beating up Enzo is the WWE equivalent of kicking a rubber ducky. Give the guy better meat to work with and then we'll see what he's made of. That having been said, I'm not really feeling Cass. He reminds me of a modern-day Andrew "Test" Martin... only without Test's charisma. But I guess he needs time to find himself or something... because creative sure as hell isn't going to help matters.

Tag-Team champions Sheamus and Cesaro defeated Broken Matt and Brother Nero in a 30-minute Iron Man match (4-3) to retain the titles... These guys just had a cage match last month, so why should I care about a match where they have to get the most falls in 30 minutes?

People online seem to like this match, but I really couldn't get into this one. One of the problems with Iron Man matches is that in between the few falls, there's a lot of dead space. You're just waiting for the eventual fall

This match had to grow on me after repeated viewings. First time in, outside of the last five minutes of the match, this was largely a bore, possibly due to the fact that these guys had a solid cage match last month and this is just filling time with a few falls sprinkled here and there. There was never a point where . Not even Bloody Matt Hardy was enough to save it... poor Matt, this might leave him BROKEN or something.

Sasha Banks defeated Women's champ Alexa Bliss via countout when Bliss slapped Banks and just walked out to a countout... or she faked an injury... or something. Who cares? Bliss retains the title... boring, wasn't into it, so-so match, and not much else. I'm over the whole Boss thing and this Goddess thing is not making things any better. Maybe instead of giving these women silly titles like Queen and other shit, you give them personalities and a reason for the audience to care about them? It's all I ask and I'd ask for the same in regards to the male superstars as well.

Speaking of not caring... Intercontinental champion Miz defeats Dean Ambrose with assistance from a Bo Dallas kick to the back of the head to retain the title. Miz vs. Ambrose is becoming the new Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks of this year. It's gotten to the point where I've seen these guys fight each other so many times that I'm practically numb by the whole thing. At this point, I just want both guys to move on with their lives and find something else to do. Have one of them give the other a restraining order or something and then maybe Voldermort can claim credit for it on his podcast or something.

(For those who don't get the reference... sorry, that's as far as I go. The less attention I give this sad man, the better off we'll all be.)

Braun Strowman "defeats" Roman Reigns in an ambulance match where the finish involve Roman spearing himself into said ambulance after several minutes of brawling. You know, I was almost getting into the whole "two guys beating the shit out of each other" thing that the match had going for it. I even liked that Roman speared Strowman through the LCD screen because you knew shit was going down, almost as if these two had a serious grudge and were having a real brawl... and shit did indeed go down in the form of THAT shit finish. You could argue that it made Strowman look "smart" but it's more along the lines of making Roman look like an idiot and why am I supposed to cheer for him if he does stupid shit like spear himself into the ambulance that you're not supposed to be locked in if you want to actually win the fucking match.

"B-But wins and losses don't matter!" says Road Dogg, "It's all about characters!"

Surely, B.G. You keep telling yourself that to justify the lazy storytelling.

And then Roman pops out while Strowman is celebrating, knocks Strowman down, tosses him into the ambulance, and then rams the back end of the ambulance into another truck. So Roman loses the ambulance match due to his own stupidity, beats on Strowman like a sore loser, and then attempts to murder Strowman by ramming the backend of the ambulance into a truck. And then WWE is wondering why nobody is cheering for this guy.

While people were trying to free Braun Strowman from the broken ambulance, there was a match between Heath Slater and Curtis Axel that only one person in the world cared about. Seriously, I wanted to see Slater win his match against Slater, not seeing a bunch of officials waste time using bolt cutters and crowbars before finally managing to open the door.

And then once the door is open, out comes the Strawman. Wounded, bloodied, but not out... and eventually walking out on his own legs. You know what would've been a far better sight? All means of opening the doors has failed and then the doors burst open and out comes the Strawman, huffing, puffing, and really, really angry. Listen, after watching all that, as far as I'm concerned, Strowman's the hero of this story and Roman is just an asshole... again, why am I supposed to be cheering for Roman again?

Universal champion Brock Lesnar defeated Samoa Joe to retain the title. Joe got some early offense and Brock showed a little more flavor than the usual lazy suplexes (though don't you worry, kids, he got about five or six of 'em in there.) At the very least, the match ended with just one F5 because the finisher is supposed to be that; the match ender to score the winning decision. Once you resort to people kicking out of finishers every match, it defeats the purpose of a finisher and I'm glad it only took one F5 to end it. For the most part, this was a nice little brawl that didn't make Joe look like a chump and made Brock break a bit of a sweat for once. Poor guy's head was redder than red after that match.

Great Balls Of Fire is a show where if you just want some decent wrestling and not much else in regards to competent storytelling, then this more than delivers. The first viewing didn't do much for me, but repeated viewings did let me enjoy some of the stuff in its own little bubble. Nothing that will stick to mind after a while and while the Joe/Lesnar and Roman/Braun matches were fine, the rest of it is simply a matter of take it or leave it. So I don't know; it wasn't a bad show, it wasn't a good show, it was just... a show.

A show that felt like a big ol' pair of blue balls than any balls of fire... let along "great."

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