Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, July 09, 2017

WWE Great Balls of Fire Live Blog

1. Neville vs. Akira Tozawa

ER: This ended up getting way more time than I was expecting, and ended up being much better than I expected. Tozawa wins me over early with a nice timber sell off a Neville kick from the apron, and later bumps a low kick on his neck. Things ramp up big once Tozawa hits a big tope, then hits another. Corey Graves puts over how Tozawa is using his big head to his advantage. I never thought about Tozawa's head size before. It seems like a pretty normal head. Spot of the match was Neville catching Tozawa on his shoulders, but Tozawa slowly turning a bad situation into a great octopus hold. Awesome pro wrestling spot.  We get a couple nice nearfalls and at a certain point I actually thought Tozawa was going to get the belt. Neville smartly rolls out of the ring after the senton, and I loved Tozawa's face as he scrambled to catch Neville before he rolled away. Titus continues offering nothing to the people he manages, but I'll give him full credit on his great 1994 Golden State Warriors suit/tie/pocket square combo. Another nice pre-show match to start the PPV. These things almost always deliver.

2. Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins

ER: Seth Rollins entrance gear must be modeled after one of the pre-cogs in Minority Report. This is probably the match I'm least excited for, so it's nice of them to get it out of the way first. But a couple minutes in and it's pretty good. I liked the bump Bray took off the apron into the ring steps, and Bray hits the mother of all shoulderblocks to send Rollins into the barricade. Rollins is always vaguely shitty about setting up moves. He always does things to get ready for a spot that are always a little annoying if you notice them, like getting put up on the top buckle and then getting his legs ready for being superplexed without Wyatt touching him. I hate little things like that. Or how Rollins is first to his feet moments after taking a DDT on the apron. Rollins hits his feather soft tope and they're losing me. But Bray's jawbreaker off the top is really great, and catching Rollins with a sly eyepoke over the ref was a great spot, and that Sister Abigail landed hard and fast. Overall an uninteresting but inconsequential match, with a nice finish.

3. Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

ER: Not a big fan of their tag team, but not really sure what the benefit of them already splitting up. Enzo at maximum was a nice guy to sell for a hot tag. I think both were better together than working singles matches. Cass's big man offense doesn't do a whole lot for me, but I liked his running avalanche and the press slam to the floor looked great. Pretty surprised they didn't even give Enzo any kind of comeback. I don't think he even got a bit of offense. Not that Enzo has good offense, but something? Instead we got 7 minutes of Cass doing some slow Test tribute offense.

4. 30 Minute Iron Man: Hardy Boys vs. Cesaro/Sheamus

ER: A 30 Minute Iron Man seems a bit much. I'm sure by the end of this we'll all agree that 20 would have been fine. But it shouldn't be bad. I do like the heels getting a quick pin and then working a slow pace. It's a smart strategy, and I hope it actually goes somewhere worthwhile. And I loved Sheamus' cover when they went up 2-0, hooking the leg with one arm and counting the 3 with his free hand, big grin the whole time. Sheamus is one of the better guys in the fed at hitting the corner post, his post bumps always look fast and painful. Hot tags are kind of weird when you know how much time is left in a match. Matt's punches still look great in HD, and he takes a nice post bump as well. Iron Man matches always tend to get a really quiet crowd for most of the match, as the crowd doesn't think anything really matters until at least the final third. And sure enough they wake up a bit with 9 minutes left on the clock. Things have been pretty mechanical up until that point, so I can't blame them too much. Great spot with Cesaro going for an uppercut, getting caught by Matt in a backslide, with Jeff tagging in and dropping double legs to get a quick pin. Cesaro save seemed a hair late after the Matt moonsault (has Matt always kept his hands in front of him on moonsaults? Most guys through them back above their head) and as I'm typing that the fans start chanting how the ref sucks. Does WWE still want their refs calling matches "as if they were shoots"? I remember hearing that years ago and it leading to a couple accidental finishes. Fans coming alive at the 2 minute warning, and Jeff flings himself nicely off the top into C&S. Hardys do a clunky dual top rope splash/elbow, and Matt somehow gets busted open from it. I could not tell at all how it happened. He dropped a Bret elbow from the tope (which seems like a good way to jam your wrist or injure your elbow) and came up touching his face, then a second later his face was covered in blood. Did he accidentally headbutt Sheamus? Either way, I kind of liked and kind of hated the Cesaro flash pin on Hardy. In theory it makes sense to surprise Jeff with a pin right after he does the swanton, but Jeff was kicking so much that it looked like his shoulders kept coming up off the mat. Though Cesaro running away afterwards was pretty great. Still, I think this was overall a let down. I seem to be in the minority on that opinion but I'm not sure what I missed that everyone else saw. I thought the Hardys looked kind of sluggish throughout and thought the pacing was off. I liked the match, but was surprised after I looked around and saw a lot of people calling it a classic. It never felt classic to me.

5. Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss

ER: HOW DID I FORGET ABOUT ALEXA'S WEIRD DOUBLE JOINTED ELBOW!? She got whipped nastily into the mat on an arm wringer, and that wonky elbow is such a great trick. After she elbow smashes Sasha she checks her lip for blood while grinning, like some action movie villain. Then these two start targeting each others' kidneys in gross ways: Sasha hits the backcracker into the Banks Statement, Alexa scrambles out to the floor and legsweeps Sasha who falls kidneys first on the apron, then back in Alexa nails her double kneedrop and moonsault kneedrop to the same spot, then whiplashes Sasha backwards into her knee. These two are having a killer little match. I like Sasha waiting until 5 to break the Banks Statement and the cameras really zoom in and that tight grip across Alexa's mouth and nose. Count out finish took the wind out of the sails admittedly. I love Alexa as champ, so I don't hate the end result, but it's a little uninspired. Post match was good though with Sasha hitting her crazy double knees off the ring ramp announce table to the floor, and Alexa catches it great. Both are nuts. We knew this was going to continue, so a finish like this was expected.

6. The Miz vs. Dean Ambrose

ER: I am not very excited for this match, but I'm interested in how Axel and Dallas are dressed. What a strangely dressed stable. Miz and Maryse dress like they're in a Vegas show, Axel dresses like he's an extra in The Untouchables, and Dallas looks like Pigpen from the Grateful Dead. I like Dean's low crossbody, and Miz is fine working over the knee. I'm so conditioned to seeing guys go after the face when hanging an opponent in the tree of woe, that I actively cheered Miz dropkicking Dean in the knee a couple times. Maryse throwing up her arms during the Yes! kicks is great. Dean comes up with a bloody mouth at some point and I again completely missed when it happened. Dean doesn't really care too much about his hurt knee, at least not letting it slow him down when he twice hops over top rope and leaps off it (always selling it once he lands). Interference x3 plays into the finish, and this was what it was, probably a bit better than I expected. Which was not much.

7. Ambulance Match: Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns

ER: Ambulance match is probably better than Stretcher match as far as stips go, but it doesn't usually equate "good match". These two have had plenty of good matches against each other, and all are likely to be better than this. BUT, the stip does at least make sense. All of Braun's early power stuff looks good, but I really get into this once Roman hits the drive-by on Braun's arm, slams the arm into the ringpost a bunch, then bashes it with a chair. Yeah!! Bust up that arm. That's his "throw guys into ambulances arm!!" Strowman starts no selling chairshots like Zeus and all the stuff with them fighting around the stage and ambulance is good. Braun bashes Reigns with a freaking board, Roman gets tossed around on the stage, Braun plows through the LED display and we get all these great LED glitches while Braun lay in the wreckage. Finish makes sense as Roman stupidly runs at Braun and whiffs on the spear, then acts like a sore loser by locking Braun in the ambulance and crashing it. We don't see what happens after as we desperately need to get back to the ring for the important match between......

8. Curt Hawkins vs. Heath Slater

ER: Oh. This match. Wasn't Goldust/Truth supposed to be on this show? This match would feel out of place if it was the main event on Main Event. It must have been a weird conversation with Hawkins when they told him "look, you'll get a PPV payday, and you'll go out there and hold a chinlock for 2 minutes and lose off camera." Oh. Kurt Angle rocking jeans and a blazer like a guy who has done very well for himself and is now just trying to enjoy this wine mixer. We are getting some REAL TIME jaws of life! I was expecting Braun to be gone like Michael Myers, but instead we get valiant babyface Braun refusing the stretcher and walking away with dignity, smearing blood on somebody's slick tour bus. Michael Cole's serious voice, it should be noted, is fucking terrible.

9. Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar

ER: The build for this has been tremendous. Lesnar is an all time great at those sit down promos, and him getting choked purple was an all time wrestling moment, flat out. And this starts great with Joe jumping Brock during Heyman's intro and smashing him through an announce table. Brock always flies through tables with gusto. Guy is a total bump freak, still, somehow. "Brock with vulnerabilities" is one of my favorite wrestling personalities ever. And hot damn this is great, Joe rushes with a back elbow and kick, both men exchange sick knees, Joe throws tons of great mixed jabs in the corner (working the ribs and face), Brock starts throwing mean knees and Joe goes right for the clutch. First german about 90 seconds in, and Joe takes another right on his shoulder. I love when Lesnar uses the suplexes to create space, not to make up the meat of a match. Joe is fighting to win and mulekicks Lesnar's Great Balls while blocking the ref's view, and the fight over the clutch is majestic. Brock's face swells up and changes colors spectacularly in chokes, like Takayama's face after taking a few punches. His face is an incredible pro wrestling tool. Lesnar throws more germans and I urge Joe to stop rolling over, back-to-Lesnar, after each one. Joe grabs the clutch on an F5 attempt, and I love Lesnar trying to shake him off by backing into the corner, but that let's Joe get the hooks on the choke. Lesnar is a freak, and with his air vanishing he manages to pop up, nail the F5, and then lay on the mat catching his breath like a man who almost drowned. I wanted more, but damn was this a great 8 minute fight. They need to run this back.

A very good PPV with a great, unique 8 minute main, really good women and cruiser matches, and nothing outright bad. I live blogged two shows this weekend, and this was the one that didn't feel like anything close to a waste of time. It didn't quite live up to my (admittedly lofty) expectations, and I was excited for a Goldust PPV match (maybe I wrongly assumed it would be on this show?), and I seem to be the odd low vote on the Hardys tag...but this was well worth the time spent.

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Blogger Yerfuneral said...

1) I like Neville but was totally in Tozawa corner. I was hoping for the win more for the Titus angle because it is becoming so silly. Talking all this winning but creating loveable losers if you can call them that.

2) I really don't get the direction some of these top guys are going. They lay out a seeming logical path and all the sudden it has been thrown out as they deal with the aftermath of the fatal 5 way. I do hope they keep this an inconsequential and we don't have another 2 matches between these two. Since best of 3 is pretty much the norm unless you are Ambrose and Miz, it seems.

3) I get the break up since they need another big guy to throw in to the picture or they get in to the rematch after rematch lull on the weekly shows. The tag division was already weak across the board and now each brand having recently including a story of these tag teams falling apart at the same time (DIY, Golden Truth, Enzo/Cass, and possibly Hype Bros).

I was hoping the match would just be a severe beat down with The Revival returning to save Enzo. Since they are kind of a forgotten part of this whole storyline at this point and need to come up with something to reintroduce Revival yet again after the injury sidelined the initial bring up of The Revival.

Maybe they will move Revival to Smackdown instead as the mystery team messing with Breezango. I like the Fashion Police thing but think the more old school approach of Revival would fit the storyline.

4) I too really was underwhelmed by this match. They been devoting to much time to a program of simply these two teams. Other then some psychology choices I felt seen it all before but with all the pinfalls got a whole month of their matches in one show. For being the first Iron Man match it didn't feel special like first TLC etc they hyped in the preshow.

5) I really didn't like Alexa Bliss over on Smackdown. I felt putting the belt on her was more of an attempt to simply grab an outside audience with the cosplay aspect. She has become a great heel with her interaction with Kurt Angle, yelling constantly at refs, kissing up to the other girls, etc etc. Though the This is Your Life Bayley was god awful but she did her best with what they gave her I thought.

They are starting to build a trend with count outs and leaving matches that is bad. I just hope maybe it is a build up for Women's Hell in the Cell 2.

2:33 AM  
Blogger Yerfuneral said...

6) I tried watching it because there last match surprised me but back to not caring. This feud started on Smackdown and is still going on after the switch. I've liked the build up to Miztourage with the paranoia built around where Ambrose maybe be hiding.

I know belts mean nothing but IC belt should be something with an open competition of many contenders especially when you have the Universal belt stuck in limited use because it is around the waist of a part timer.

7) Ambulance match was what it was. I was so hoping Strowman wouldn't be in the back. My understanding Strowman was part of the Wyatt family and Wyatt cult thing doesn't work for me as well as it did on Smackdown with no one constantly backing him up. A play on the teleportation powers and Wyatt saving Strowman I think would give more immediate options then say building up Cass for Strowman. Right now Strowman and Roman are starting to feel stuck in a program like Ambrose and Miz.

8) No comment on the actual match with so much happening off camera. The ambulance thing and the way they play it still bugs me having been watching the Blue Blazer incident ppv live. All those supposed people in the parking garage and such will not make sense unless they suddenly has a Roman arrested for attempted murder angle. Angles like this always leave a bad taste in my mouth.

9) Was pleasantly surprised they didn't screw the pooch after an excellent build up. They been doing that so much but maybe that is the bonus of being forced to have an exact plan because you have a part timer that you are stuck to a time frame and don't have the time to right the ship if it is bad. Never been much of a fan of Lesnar but the Goldberg and Joe builds have worked for me. Kind of surprising since not really big into any of the three.

I thought I would tune out for most of this ppv after the hours of New Japan stuff (I disliked most of it but mostly because I felt lost with minimally knowing the talent and having them all jumbled in multi-tag matches didn't help) and caught up on a bunch of NXT which included the last Take Over event. Only really tuned out for the period between the womens title and main event. Good job WWE.

2:34 AM  
Blogger EricR said...

Martin!!! I keep meaning to say this, but I've been loving your comments after the PPVs! Always insightful and interesting, I missed your takes on wrestling.

11:51 AM  

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