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WWE Great Balls of Fire predictions: Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., July 9, 2017) live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas with its Great Balls of Fire event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Brock Lesnar putting the Universal title on the line against Samoa Joe, an Ambulance match, and more!

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let's get to it.


Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe

Geno Mrosko: This has been a delightful feud, a surprising turn for WWE in how they use the Universal champion who is hardly ever around. They were always going to have to get to programs like this against opponents who could be elevated for having been involved with it and it’s delivered in spades. The match should do the same, but the outcome is clear. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Sean Rueter: I’ve tried a bunch of ways to rationalize, justify and fantasy book the outcome I want as a fan, but I can’t get there. Here’s hoping it’s longer than two minutes and they have something interesting planned as a follow-up for The Destroyer. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Kyle Decker: They should be good. Not Alberto El Patron/Lashley good obviously, but pretty good. Pick Brock Lesnar

Cain A. Knight: One of the most disappointing things about Brock's second run with the company is the lack of fresh PPV matches against the newest stars in WWE. Instead, WWE loves to force feed us endless Brock matches against past stars like HHH, Undertaker, Goldberg, Cena, and Big Show. Those guys were largely competitive with Brock, but when newer stars like Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose actually got to fight Brock, they were made to look like total chumps who were out of his league. This trend needs to stop with Samoa Joe. Brock and Joe should beat the hell out of each other in such a way that Joe is established as a force to be reckoned with, even in defeat. This is probably the most excited I've been for a Brock Lesnar match since his outstanding fight with CM Punk back in 2013. I love both Brock and Joe and so my expectations are through the roof for this fight. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Reverend Kain: At every turn, Joe has had Brock shook, even on the go-home where Brock’s unwillingness to engage in another brawl belied his cool exterior. I ain’t betting against the Destroyer. Pick: Samoa Joe

Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks

Geno Mrosko: There’s no reason to think they’ll take the title off Bliss here but the booking in the Raw women’s division has been strange and unpredictable for a long time. Pick: Sasha Banks

Sean Rueter: The Raw Women’s division needs a pick-me-up, because the internet’s love of Little Miss Bliss hasn’t translated into great, or even good, sports entertainment. The only thing which seems to have moved the needle lately is The Boss and Nia Jax’s portion of the June 26 main event. Plus, if the goal is to put Nia over on a bigger stage, do we really want Alexa being the wrestler trying to do that? Pick: Sasha Banks

Kyle Decker: I can’t imagine that they’re going to do a switch after such little build to this feud, but stranger things have happened. Pick: Alexa Bliss

Cain A. Knight: Even if this match disappoints it will almost certainly be better than a singles match between Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. I don't know who in WWE thinks that potential match is a good idea, but they really need to abandon ship if that's the current plan for SummerSlam. Sasha has emerged rather quickly as a contender in the aftermath of WWE's dreadful booking of Bayley, but reverse momentum says that Alexa tapping out to Sasha this past Monday probably bodes well for the champ. Pick: Alexa Bliss

Reverend Kain: This is gonna be a hoot, but I don’t think Sasha’s reclaiming the crown just yet. But allow me to be a little tricksy here just to score some style points and pick Sasha for the win, by countout or disqualification to set up a big stipulation rematch, whether on TV (where Sasha is nigh-unbeatable in title matches) or to buff SummerSlam up a notch. Pick: Sasha Banks

Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The Hardy Men

Geno Mrosko: I can’t believe this is still going on. Pick: Cesaro & Sheamus

Sean Rueter: Is there any reason to think we won’t have a bullrope match or something between these teams at SummerSlam? With the latest rash of tag team betrayals (and because I’m honestly not sure I even want the Broken gimmick any more), I think Matt & Jeff are the only babyfaces left in the division, so in hopes of a new feud after Balls, I’m going to... Pick: The Hardyz

Kyle Decker: Switching the titles back to the Hardyz won’t help anyone. They need to end this feud and find both teams something new as this has run its course. PIck: Cesaro & Sheamus

Cain A. Knight: I really like both teams but it's going to be tough to pull off a 30-minute mid-card match that maintains the audience's interest throughout. Cesaro is an elite level worker though, so maybe he can get the job done. This match primarily exists because there are no other credible teams on the Raw brand, so I'm not sure that WWE even knows who is winning this match yet. And considering Sheamus and Cesaro's history of ties, maybe this one will end in a deadlock as well. Let's hope not. Pick: Cesaro & Sheamus

Reverend Kain: Bit of a coin flip, but an Iron Man Match is a (relatively) young man’s game, so... Pick: Cesaro & Sheamus

The Miz vs. Dean Ambrose

Geno Mrosko: It doesn’t feel like they’ve ever been heading for Ambrose to take the title back and now Miz has a straight up entourage to assist him. There’s a better story brewing, and it’s time to move on from this one. Pick: Miz

Sean Rueter: Never pick against DAT NUMBERS GAME, even when the numbers don’t add up to much. Pick: Miz

Kyle Decker: Miz has the intercontinental title, his beautiful wife Maryse, and an entourage of two studs. What an A-Lister. Dean doesn’t have a chance. Pick: The Miz

Cain A. Knight: WWE actually booked these guys to wrestle for 20 minutes the last Raw PPV. Please don't ever do that again WWE; there's no reason for any Miz singles match to ever go that long. Miz is currently surrounded by a bunch of losers in his entourage, so I don't anticipate that's going to end well for him. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Reverend Kain: I feel like this circle is just about closed, don’t you? Pick: The Miz

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Geno Mrosko: I legitimately have no idea which way they’ll go with this, considering how strongly both are presented. This is a genuine heavyweight fight made kind of silly by the stipulation. Ambulance matches are generally lame, even if they’re fun, because it just feels like a way to avoid pinning someone. That’s dumb. It’s worse! Whatever. I’ll guess Reigns here because he’s headed for a title match at SummerSlam. Pick: Roman Reigns

Sean Rueter: I keep reading where people are saying the stipulation is here to protect Roman, but doesn’t that apply to Braun, too? Frankly, I don’t see how “got beaten so badly he was placed unconscious in a vehicle” isn’t worse than “got pinned”, but that’s pro wrestling logic for ya, I suppose. Anyway, seeing as either man can write this off/be quickly rebuilt for a title shot next month... Pick: Roman Reigns

Kyle Decker: Trying to forget all the rumors surrounding the SummerSlam title match for a second, Braun would be better served getting the win here. Taking a series from Roman would be a great boon for a man who has such a bright future. Pick: Braun Strowman

Cain A. Knight: As I was watched Braun Strowman struggle through a promo on the go-home episode of Raw and then have an awful exchange of blows with Apollo Crews to start their match, I was thankful that this upcoming match with Reigns has the ambulance gimmick. That gimmick plays to Braun's greatest skill as a wrestler, which is cartoonishly running himself into objects in order to cover for his awful selling; those 2011 Ezekiel Jackson tapes that he studied have really paid off. Picking the winner is a little tricky given Roman's claim that he is getting a shot at the Universal champ in August. If that's true, then Roman must win this match. But it feels like Braun's story fits in much better for an upcoming PPV match with Brock. When in doubt, make Roman look strong. Pick: Roman Reigns

Reverend Kain: Usually these kind of stipulation matches bring a little dread because you figure the way WWE does things these guys will just be trying to shove each other into the ambulance prematurely over and over until one of them succeeds, but I got a good feeling about this one. The part I don’t have a good feeling about is Roman already calling his shot at being #1 contender at SummerSlam, which makes me think the Big Dog is taking one more ambulance ride. Pick: Roman Reigns

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

Geno Mrosko: Maybe this is where the bad guy steals one? I don’t know, it feels like a strange one considering it doesn’t seem big enough for what is supposed to be a big SummerSlam next month. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Sean Rueter: Bray wins more often than we think, but I don’t think he beats the coverboy here. Pick: Seth Rollins

Kyle Decker: Oh, yeah, this match is on the card. Let’s say Seth since he’s on the video game cover. Pick: Seth Rollins

Cain A. Knight: This feels like the blandest upper card match possible. Seth Rollins isn't connecting as a babyface and Bray Wyatt has played the same ineffective heel character for years, so it's really hard to care about this feud. I actually laughed when Seth said he was going to prove once and for all that Bray wasn't a god. Hey Seth, that has been proven over and over and over again for more than 3 years. Defeating Bray Wyatt helps nobody, and it won't help Seth either. Being stuck in a feud with Bray Wyatt actually hurts all parties involved. Bray is a very talented performer, but this gimmick has been dead for a long time and it just needs to go away already because the promos are completely ineffective. The worst outcome is if Bray wins, because that means this feud is going to span multiple PPVs until Seth ultimately prevails. Pick: Seth Rollins

Reverend Kain: And lo, the fire of the sun burns hot, but not because it's angry, no man, it's because the Eater of Worlds has gotta prevaricate and gesticulate and masticate the scene dressing. Only you can save yourself, but god help us, Rollins has gotta try. Pick: Seth Rollins

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

Geno Mrosko: I’m going to pick with my heart here because the little guy has to know something he can use against the big guy from all the time spent with him. Pick: Enzo Amore

Sean Rueter: Somebody’s about to get a lesson on things that can not be taught. Pick: Big Cass

Kyle Decker: Man, this break-up has been great. It’s been a bit rushed but all the beats have hit, from Enzo’s “one gangster tear” as Cass ran him down, to Zo trying to win his good friend and brother back leading to more backstabbing by Cass, to Amore losing it and telling Cass he’s a seven foot catchphrase that he wrote. It’s just been on the money. While this match will be Cass getting the win and Enzo likely ragdolling a bit, they can still play up the emotional aspect to make for a great showing. Pick: Big Cass

Cain A. Knight: Splitting up Enzo and Cass has made for some very entertaining television, but I can't see it working out long-term because neither guy can deliver at an acceptable level in the ring. Big Cass is a terrible singles wrestler and he is going to be exposed very quickly in this role. Enzo Amore is also a sub par singles wrestler and is best utilized as an excellent mouthpiece for someone else. Enzo is really good at getting tossed around, and that's exactly what will happen here. Big Cass is going to steamroll his former buddy and then move on to the Big Show at SummerSlam. This match should be kept short, otherwise it could fall into Jim Ross' bowling shoe ugly territory. Pick: Big Cass

Reverend Kain: Enzo’s got a lot of heart, but he doesn’t have nearly as much heart as Cass has boot. Pick: Big Cass

Neville vs. Akira Tozawa

Geno Mrosko: Titus O’Neil will take you places, man. Pick: Akira Tozawa

Sean Rueter: Look, I love what the King’s been doing as much as anyone, but it’s clearly not making a lick of difference for how the cruiserweights and 205 Live are perceived. Time to hand this baby over to Titus WorldWY-ED! Pick: Akira Tozawa

Kyle Decker: They’re not taking the title off Neville after his long dominant run on the pre-show. Pick: Neville

Cain A. Knight: Neville has held the championship for nearly all of 2017, and I'd be shocked if they suddenly changed course on a B-show pre-show. This one should still be a lot of fun though, and I have particularly enjoyed the contributions that Titus O'Neil has added to Tozawa's story. Pick: Neville

Reverend Kain: There’s a lot of talk about the so-called Neville Level, and let me tell you, Akira Tozawa is a class all his own. Literally! Chris Hero has a six-point match rating scale that goes from bad to okay to bad with some good parts to good to great to, you guessed it, Tozawa. And he would know! Pick: Akira Tozawa

That’s how we see the card going down.

How about you?

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