Team Red loads up the trailers and heads down I-45 to Houston.
The Universal title picture was murky heading into Great Balls of Fire last night (July 9). Despite Brock Lesnar surviving an onslaught of offense from Samoa Joe to hit a F5 and leave Dallas with the belt, the path from here to SummerSlam remains unclear.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But the way the wrestling universe took to Joe as a main eventer and the fascinating outcome and aftermath of Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman’s latest battle creates a lot of possibilities.
There’s little grounds for a straight-up rematch for the Destroyer. He gave it his best shot and came up short against the Beast Incarnate. But he certainly has a showing worth bragging about, and a possible way to needle Lesnar and his advocate, Paul Heyman, to try and get another shot in the future. If Brock keeps the strap...
Reigns had already called his shot for August 20 in Brooklyn, but that was before he lost an ambulance match to Strowman. Perhaps more importantly, it was before he scared much of the WWE Universe and pissed off General Manager Kurt Angle by trying to crush Braun in said ambulance by crashing it after his loss.
We can and will debate whether the Big Dog is more of a villain after his actions, or if he was just getting pro wrestling-mandated payback. Similarly, whether the Monster Among Men is now a misunderstood hero after brushing off medical attention and limping off into the night.
But both men have been rumored, and could make a decent kayfabe case for, a match with Lesnar next month. And we might start to find out as soon as tonight which one (or possibly both?) gets the next crack at the Beast.
The title scene
The Women’s championship feud had some post-match action of its own, as Alexa Bliss followed up her title-retaining countout loss by trying to put Sasha Banks through the announce table before taking a flying knee strike from The Boss. Then Banks went all-in with a verbal assault on Bliss, her drive and abilities on Raw Talk after the pay-per-view (PPV). Alexa fired back on Twitter and, well, this isn’t over - and it isn’t going to get less petty.
Lots of folks had doubts about the Hardyz in an Iron Man match in 2017, but along with tag champs Cesaro & Sheamus, they delivered a really good match. But does Shea-saro grabbing a pin off Jeff’s finisher in the closing seconds to win 4 falls-to-3 mean this rivalry is over, or just that we need a new stip for SummerSlam? And is it just Matt’s eye that’s Broken, or something more...
One scene that really should move on to something new is the Intercontinental championship one. Sure, The Miz used ample assistance from his wife Maryse and new “Miztourage” of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas to defeat Dean Ambrose. But these guys have been beefing since they were on a different show last year!
Seeing as how Cruiserweight titleholder Neville racked Akira Tozawa and then delivered a kick which appeared to be below the belt in order to defeate him on the Kickoff yesterday, there’s a good chance Titus O’Neil will be able to get Tozawa the rematch he wants.
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- His former “brother” showed a lot of fighting spirit, but in the end, Enzo Amore was no match for a seven-footer. Then on the post-show, Big Cass took a few breaks from intimidating Renee Young and Peter Rosenberg to throw his name in the mix for a Universal title shot.
- In other tag team break-up news, Goldust and R-Truth will probably make some movie references. And I believe it’s Goldy’s turn to attack Truth.
- We might have a pairing reuniting in the women’s ranks, as Emma pulled Dana Brooke off the Balls pre-show panel to discuss something with her last night.
- Bray Wyatt used a thumb to the eye to defeat Seth Rollins and further his delusions of grandeur, something the WWE 2K18 coverboy probably won’t take lying down. Especially not with the pre-order commercial that could further his in-game (and possibly in kayfabe) issues with Kurt Angle set to debut.
- Surely we’ll see Finn Bálor doing something tonight, right? Even just that Elias Samson feud which still feels like it sould be beneath the first ever Universal champ?
It’s the Great Balls of Fire fallout show!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?