WWE Great Balls of Fire 2017 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJuly 9, 2017

WWE Great Balls of Fire 2017 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Don't let the name fool you. WWE Great Balls of Fire 2017 was a night of brutality.

    The silliness of the event's moniker had fans crafting punchline after punchline beforehand. The savagery showcased in Dallas' American Airlines Center, though, changed the tone of the conversation in a big way.

    The best match from Sunday's Raw-exclusive pay-per-view saw Matt Hardy stand in the corner with blood smeared all over his face.

    Braun Strowman emerged from the wreckage of his Ambulance match with Roman Reigns a hobbled, bloody mess. And Samoa Joe broke a table with Brock Lesnar's body before their Universal Championship bout even began.

    The SummerSlam precursor had its narrative missteps, but there was plenty of smashmouth action to take in.

    Which of the red brand's Superstars made the biggest impact on this inaugural edition of the PPV? Which stories resonated? Read on for a full breakdown of Great Balls of Fire, complete with letter grades and highlights.

Neville vs. Akira Tozawa (Cruiserweight Championship, Pre-Show)

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    Titus O'Neil stood in Akira Tozawa's corner as the challenger had Neville reeling early.

    The King of the Cruiserweights halted Tozawa's momentum, slowed the pace and issued a merciless, methodical attack. O'Neil urged his client on. That helped inspire Tozawa to mount a comeback.

    The Japanese pit bull twice nearly had the match won, but Neville held on in underhanded fashion.

         

    Result

    Neville wins via pinfall to retain the Cruiserweight Championship.

        

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "This may very well steal the show tonight."—Corey Graves.
    • Neville flips Tozawa over as he hurls him into the security barricade.
    • Tozawa hits two consecutive suicide dives.
    • Tozawa nearly gets a submission win with an octopus hold.
    • Neville kicks the ring rope into Tozawa's groin.

             

    Grade

    B-

           

    Analysis

    A fast-paced bout featuring strong chemistry, Neville vs. Tozawa was not as good as Neville's recent bouts with Austin Aries but solid fun nonetheless.

    The finish wasn't exactly satisfying. It was clearly designed as a means to continue this story, though. Tozawa is bound to charge at the champ again with more fury in his heart now.

    This feud has the potential to get white-hot just in time for SummerSlam.

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

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    Bray Wyatt looked to spook Seth Rollins to no avail. The two rivals traded control until The Eater of Worlds used the ring steps as a weapon and took over.

    High-flying offense allowed Rollins to battle back.

    A thumb to the eye ended that. Wyatt took advantage of the illegal move and hit Sister Abigail for the win.

         

    Result

    Wyatt wins via pinfall.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "The fireflies are out in Dallas."—Michael Cole.
    • Wyatt sends Rollins face-first into the ring steps.
    • Wyatt DDTs Rollins onto the ring apron.

         

    Grade

    C-

         

    Analysis

    The build has been underwhelming and missed the mark. That's partly why this clash lacked electricity for the most part. The big moves were there, but not the emotion one would expect for a battle like this.

    Dominant, overpowering Wyatt was fun to watch in the bout's early chapters.

    It makes sense that he would cheat to win, but a poke to the eye doesn't match Wyatt's claims of being a god. Something supernatural would have been the better move here.

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

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    Enzo Amore hyped up the crowd before taking on Big Cass. He quoted Frank Sinatra as he recalled how his former friend betrayed him.

    After a long staredown, Big Cass went to work bowling over Amore. He flung the underdog around, toying with him.

    A big boot finally did Amore in.

         

    Result

    Big Cass wins via pinfall.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "All is fair in love and war. But the same can't be said about life."—Amore.
    • "The man you should fear is the man who sleeps with his eyes open."—Amore.
    • "You will always be in my shadow because I'm about to become larger than life."—Amore.
    • Big Cass smacks Amore around in the corner as he shouts at him.
    • Big Cass press slams Amore out of the ring.

         

    Grade

    B

         

    Analysis

    A stellar video package highlighted what has been a rousing story.

    Amore showed off ample emotion in his promo, although it meandered a bit. In the ring, Big Cass looked like a star, a grizzly mauling some poor animal.

    This won't win any Match of the Year awards, but it told the right story. Cass is on his way to stardom. He devoured Amore here regardless of how gutsy he was.

Cesaro and Sheamus vs. The Hardy Boyz (Iron Man Match for Raw Tag Team Titles)

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    Backstage, Matt and Jeff Hardy talked about making history and reclaiming the Raw Tag Team Championship.

    Once the bell rang, Sheamus won the first fall in mere seconds. The Hardy Boyz soon beat on Sheamus in response, taking turns wearing on the Irishman.

    A brawl broke out at ringside that allowed the heels to take over.

    White Noise from Sheamus over Jeff allowed the champions to take a 2-0 lead. The Hardy brothers fought back to get their first fall and cut their deficit in half.

    A shot to the ring post left Matt out cold, allowing Sheamus to score a count-out fall.

    The champs then began to take their time as they looked to hold on to their lead.

    Matt absorbed a ton of punishment from both Cesaro and Sheamus. Jeff charged in, though, to pin Cesaro and move to 2-3. Matt floored Sheamus to even things up.

    After a wild sequence, Cesaro pinned Jeff to jump ahead and then ran around the ring to let the clock run out.

         

    Result

    Cesaro and Sheamus win 4-3 to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "If it means losing more teeth to get those Raw Tag Team Championships, then so be it."—Jeff.
    • Cesaro distracts Matt to set him up for a Brogue Kick for Sheamus.
    • The Hardys hit Cesaro with Poetry in Motion, Side Effect and Twist of Fate in succession.
    • Jeff leaps off Matt's back to fly into Cesaro and Sheamus out of the ring.
    • Cesaro hits Matt with a running European uppercut against the security guardrail.
    • "All the time in the world!"—Cesaro.
    • Matt hits a Twist of Fate off the top rope.
    • Jeff dives off the top rope onto Cesaro and Sheamus out onto the floor.
    • The Hardys hit simultaneous splashes onto Cesaro from the top rope.
    • Matt leaves the match busted open, covered in blood.

         

    Grade

    A

         

    Analysis

    An energetic opening, some great near-falls and smart usage of the Iron Man stipulation made for a show-stealer. The babyfaces making the comeback, racing against the clock, made for great drama.

    Cesaro and Sheamus looked tremendous here. They showed off champion-caliber chemistry. They outlasted and outsmarted The Hardy Boyz.

    The loss, the shot into the ring post and the cut that left him covered in crimson all add up to good excuses to have Matt resort to his "broken" character.

Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks (Raw Women's Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Sasha Banks had Alexa Bliss on the ropes from the onset.

    The champ tried to retreat, but Banks dragged her back to the ring. Bliss, though, pounced on Banks, smashed her into the ring apron and left her hurting.

    Relentless offense allowed Bliss to remain in control until The Boss went on a gutsy comeback.

    The Bank Statement nearly won Banks the match. Bliss played possum outside to take a count-out loss. That led to a brawl on the entrance ramp.

         

    Result

    Banks wins via count-out. Bliss retains as a result.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "Alexa Bliss is the type of women who will stab you in the back and you'll ask her to autograph the handle."—Graves.
    • "I don't need this. I'm the champ."—Bliss.
    • Bliss rips Banks off the ring apron.
    • Bliss whips Banks' head into her knee.
    • "Why won't you give up?"—Bliss to Banks.
    • Bliss fakes a dislocated elbow to distract Banks.
    • Banks leaps off the announce table to hit Bliss with double knees.

         

    Grade

    B

         

    Analysis

    The count-out finish had to disappoint a good number of fans. It cut short what looked to be an excellent match in the making and it wasn't climactic, even if Banks added a fun moment in the postscript.

    The physicality here thrilled. Bliss continues to improve, shining in big spots.

    These two had great chemistry, and it would be smart to let them go at it several times in the near future.

The Miz vs. Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Dean Ambrose knocked around Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel before going after The Miz. The numbers disadvantage eventually caught up with him, however. The Miz beat on the challenger with a methodical attack.

    Ambrose charged back. The Miz stopped him by focusing on his left knee.

    A limping Lunatic Fringe fought valiantly, having to fight off distractions from Maryse and interference from The Miztourage. He fell short, though.

    The Miz hit the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win.

         

    Result

    The Miz wins via pinfall to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Ambrose hits a butterfly suplex from the top rope.
    • "He's got some crimson in his teeth."—Graves on Ambrose's bloody mouth.
    • Ambrose dives onto The Miz, Axel and Dallas from the top rope out to the floor.
    • Maryse puts The Miz's foot on the bottom rope to stave off defeat for her husband.

         

    Grade

    C-

         

    Analysis

    Lots of moving parts and a logical layout couldn't make up for the lackluster action for the most part.

    The wrestlers had an uphill climb here because of how little juice this feud has. It has gone on way past its peak.

    Ambrose generated decent pathos with his bad leg and the battle he gave in spite of it.

    Both he and The Miz, however, need to move on from each other. There's no spark between them at this point.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman (Ambulance Match)

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    A slugfest kicked off the match, one that left Strowman towering over a fallen Reigns.

    The Monster Among Men pounded on Reigns' ribs, flinging him around the ring area. He used the ring post and the ring steps to clobber his foe.

    Reigns went after Strowman's surgically repaired elbow with a steel chair.

    That wasn't enough to stop the monster. Favoring his elbow, Strowman throttled The Big Dog. The two men then brawled in and around the ambulance's open doors.

    An errant spear sent Reigns inside the ambulance, allowing Strowman to win.

    Reigns popped out to continue the fight afterward. He stuffed Strowman in the vehicle and drove into a truck in the parking lot.

         

    Result

    Strowman wins via putting Reigns in the ambulance.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "If doom had a face, it would look like Braun Strowman."—Graves.
    • Strowman throws Reigns into the ring post.
    • Strowman shrugs off a series of chair shots.
    • Strowman flings Reigns into the side of the ambulance.
    • Strowman cracks a spine board across Reigns' back.
    • Reigns drives Strowman through the LED wall.
    • Reigns crashes the ambulance.

         

    Grade

    A-

         

    Analysis

    A proverbial big-fight feel powered a hard-hitting, memorable war. Violent spot followed violent spot.

    The monstrous Strowman flourished here.

    WWE hurt the impact of his win, though, by making this more about Reigns. The Big Dog got to be the center of attention even in defeat. And trying to kill a guy isn't exactly babyface behavior.

Heath Slater vs. Curt Hawkins

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    Credit: WWE.com

    As Heath Slater and Curt Hawkins battled in an unannounced match, the announcers talked of Reigns and Strowman. The cameras cut to the fire department working to free Strowman from the ambulance.

    The match ended off-camera.

    A bloody Strowman crawled out of the ambulance. Medical officials tried to attend to him, but he hobbled off on his own.

         

    Result

    Slater wins.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Fans chant "We want Balor!"

         

    Grade

    F

         

    Analysis

    To force a match in here was a mistake. Why not just continue the Strowman drama and focus on that? There was barely a move seen on the screen.

    And neither man got anything out of it.

Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe (Universal Championship)

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    Joe went right after Lesnar, popping him with right hands on the outside. He left the champion reeling.

    The hosses brawled in the corner, trading haymakers.

    When Lesnar had him pinned against the ropes, Joe landed a low blow. The Destroyer tried to squeeze the air from the champion with the Coquina Clutch.

    Lesnar, though, hit an F-5 to take down Joe for the win.

         

    Result

    Lesnar wins via pinfall to retain the Universal Championship.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Joe slams Lesnar through the announce table.
    • "A tornado just ripped through Brock Lesnar."—Cole.
    • Fans chant "Joe is going to kill you!"
    • "The champion is purple!"—Graves.

         

    Grade

    B+

         

    Analysis

    Even in defeat, Joe looked immensely dangerous here. He more than held his own against The Beast Incarnate. He had the champion in desperation mode.

    Even so, the match was not the masterpiece it could have been.

    This wasn't Goldberg vs. Lesnar short, but it was several beats away from creating maximum drama. It felt unfinished, like a really great first act of a play that never moves into the second and third.

    Joe can move on with added momentum regardless. Lesnar can now welcome a new challenger at SummerSlam.