Welcome to WNW’s Great Balls of Fire 2017 Predictions! Great Balls of Fire will be emanating from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. This time around, we have Zack Krasney, Morgan Hench, Kendra Bunyon, Joshua Tucker, and myself providing predictions. Let’s get to it!
Cruiserweight Championship Match (Kickoff)
Neville (c) vs. Akira Tozawa
Honestly, I’m not sure what else Neville can do in the Cruiserweight Division. He has knocked down all real competition. I know Tozawa has some buzz behind him, and now he’s hooked up with the Titus Brand, but Neville losing to him would feel like a major step backwards. Neville has cleanly beat every guy in his way since becoming champion. It is so rare to have a guy be such a dominant champion. I’m happy Neville is getting such strong booking, he certainly deserves it, but now he’s starting to feel like a big fish in a small pond. Here’s how I’d book it. Have Tozawa win the championship off an assist from Titus O’Neil. Then move Neville over to the Intercontinental Championship picture where he can battle for that at SummerSlam. Or an alternate route they could go is to move Enzo over to the CWD after his match with Cass on Sunday. Since WWE doesn’t look like it’s ready to give up on the CWD, that’s the route I hope they’ll go.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Neville
I like Akira Tozawa, but it feels like Neville just can't be beat by anyone currently on the Cruiserweight roster. Tozawa's biggest chance of winning this comes down to Titus and Apollo helping him cheat to win. But Tozawa is still a babyface. Maybe. The storyline is just confusing enough and just bland enough to not make sense or be worth figuring out. But I'm down with the match itself, assuming it gets a decent amount of time for the two to truly showcase their talents against each other. I just wish there was more reason to care.
Morgan's Predicted Winner: Neville
CJ's Predicted Winner: Neville
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Akira Tozawa
Josh's Predicted Winner: Akira Tozawa
Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
We all knew one day it would come to this. However, I thought that Enzo and Cass would get at least one championship run as Tag Team Champs before they split. We will chalk that up to bad booking. However, who would’ve guessed that Enzo would come out looking so strong. I mean, yes, physically he can’t hold a candle to Cass. However, Enzo knows his strengths are in his words so that’s how he came out swinging. WWE looks at three main things in their superstars; Look/Persona, Wrestling Ability, and Promo Ability. If you can be GREAT in just one of those three categories, you’ll have a long career in WWE. Cass has the look Vince loves, and he isn’t too shabby on the mic either. Enzo, though, is a master on the microphone, so he’s going to be fine. Will Enzo ever be World Champion? I’d say probably not, but never say never in WWE. That doesn’t mean he won’t have a helluva career. Roddy Piper was never a World Champion in WWE and I don’t think anyone thinks he had a bad career. The booking of this match will be crucial. It’d be easy to book Cass as a monster here, but there is plenty of time to book Cass as a beast AFTER this feud is blown off and he moves on. It’s important to make Enzo look like a scrappy, never-say-die underdog here. I think Cass is going to win, but I think Enzo will impress us.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Big Cass
So is it safe to say Enzo's stock is about to plummet? He's great on the mic, but he's less credible and intimidating than Heath Slater. His career can basically either be as a tag guy or a manager, he just can't be a single's star. I also think it's a bit early to push Big Cass as a single's star himself. I'm not against this program, I just feel like it's a bit premature. Par for course with WWE, I guess, but this just doesn't scream "Right time for this" to me. But it is what it is, and it is a lose for Enzo. Hopefully we don't get fourteen rematches between these two after this.
Morgan's Predicted Winner: Big Cass
CJ's Predicted Winner: Big Cass
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Big Cass
Josh's Predicted Winner: Enzo Amore
Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
Remember like two months ago when I said “I can’t believe we’re still doing Miz vs. Ambrose, it’s time to move on from this feud.” Well imagine how I feel now! This is what, Miz vs. Ambrose part 14? 15? Jesus, I’m so over this rivalry. Both of these guys deserve better! The only good thing to come from this rivalry is now Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel have rolls on TV. Other than that, this match makes me want to slam my head into a wall. It also blows my mind that we’re not getting any stipulation (unless I’m wrong) for this match! How have these guys had 97 matches in a row but this isn’t a Last Man Standing match or a ladder match or SOMETHING. Something to add spice to the boringness that is this rivalry. I don’t even think Miz and Ambrose have great chemistry! It’s not like Balor and Joe or Owens and Zayn where they can wrestle forever and I’d kind of be ok with it. Alright I’ve ranted enough about this. I’m going Miz to retain and Ambrose to move on to something bigger after this. I also want to go on record and say that Miz deserves another World Title run in the next year or two.
Zack's Predicted Winner: The Miz
For the love of all that is good and holy, this feud needs to be shelved. It isn't even that it's bad, but no one's exactly chanting fight forever at these two. It's a pretty good feud that should've just stopped when these two left Smackdown. I hope this is the final match, but we already know it isn't. A match without a stipulation on a B-PPV? There's just no chance. So I guess I'll go with The Miz retaining, and I'll see you guys over at Summerslam to predict this match yet again.
Morgan's Predicted Winner: The Miz
CJ's Predicted Winner: The Miz
Kendra's Predicted Winner: The Miz
Josh's Predicted Winner: The Miz
30-minute Iron Man Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz
These guys have been battling for a while now, but honestly, I’m not bored with it yet. I’m getting there, but not quite yet. Cesaro and Sheamus are honestly a much better team than I thought they were going to be and I like how they’ve evolved as heels. The Hardyz need to switch over to the Broken gimmick soon because their nostalgia is wearing off. The Hardyz are bigger than the tag team division so we need to “break” the Hardyz so they can eventually split and we can get two great solo wrestlers out of it. There are also rumors Sheamus will be leaving WWE soon to film a movie so hopefully we’ll get Cesaro pushed as a solo wrestler when that happens. What does that mean for this match? I’m not sure honestly. It could be that the Hardy Boyz win back the championships so that Sheamus can go off and do his thing. It could also be that Cesaro and Sheamus retain so that the Hardyz can become Broken. It really could go either way. However, I’m very excited about these 4 guys in an Iron Man match because I think they can all work it very well. I think we’ll get a really amazing match on Sunday. I gotta go with my gut and say that Cesaro and Sheamus retain leading to Broken Hardyz.
Zack's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
I really feel like the Hardy Boyz have almost done nothing but fight Sheamus and Cesaro. Whether that's because they're staling long enough for Broken Matt Hardy, or because the tag team division is depressingly shallow. Who knows, but if they did another rematch at Summerslam then I'd be pretty certain literally every PPV since Wrestlemania has had these two teams fight. It isn't Hardy nostalgia slowing down, it's just time for new match ups. But who am I kidding, they'll probably meet at Summerslam in some other gimmick match.
Morgan's Predicted Winners: The Hardy Boyz
CJ's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
Kendra's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
Josh's Predicted Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
Holy match thrown together for no reason Batman! I have been saying for weeks in the Live Thread that I’m just over Bray Wyatt right now. He is a guy that WWE has absolutely destroyed through poor booking. Bray hasn’t grown much as a character since showing up as the leader of the Wyatt Family and WWE has done him zero favors by always putting him under in the long term. Even when he won the WWE Championship, he ended up dropping it almost immediately after. So now when Bray spews a promo using the same 10-15 key words (Ex. Man, soul, reaper, death, fire, purge, world, destruction, shatter, burn) it means absolutely nothing at all. If you talk about shattering your opponent’s soul. Breaking their spirit. Then lose 3 out of 4 matches against the opponent, why the hell should I care when you say it to the next guy, and the next, and the next. WWE needs to do SOMETHING to revamp Bray because right now he’s a broken record and it pisses me off. WWE is too stubborn to make Bray a midcarder (to build him up) but too afraid to push him to the top also. So here’s a shock, I’m going with Seth Rollins, because WWE won’t give Bray a win, even when it’s pointless.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Seth Rollins
Let's be honest here. This is a preshow match that's on the main card because these two are top guys. It's a generic story that's only here to kill time and not leave both of these guys off the card entirely. There aren't even any stakes. This isn't a blood feud or Number One Contender's match, it's literally just a match for the sake of padding. I'm going with Bray Wyatt here, but only because I want him to regain his momentum and win a match again. But as mentioned, it really doesn't matter who wins.
Morgan's Predicted Winner: Bray Wyatt
CJ's Predicted Winner: Seth Rollins
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Seth Rollins
Josh's Predicted Winner: Seth Rollins
Raw Women's Championship Match
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks
While I don’t think Sasha vs. Alexa is a bad match by any stretch, it feels very thrown together at the last minute. It’s almost like WWE forgot to book a Women’s match and went “oh crap! Uh! Sasha!” Sasha is a great challenger and Alexa is a great champion so I’m not complaining. It just felt off. I think the match will be solid, and probably not the last we’ll see. I’m guessing we’ll see Alexa get a dirty win here. Then at SummerSlam I think we’ll get a triple threat with these two and Nia Jax.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss
I'm kind of okay with this match, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was treated as little more than a throwaway. I'd guess this match gets eight, maybe ten minutes allocated. Hopefully I'm wrong, but would it really surprise anyone if that actually was the case? On the bright side, we haven't seen these two complete 56 times already, so at least it's unique. I'd count on Alexa Bliss retaining, so they can do something to up the stakes for Summerslam. But aside from that, this match just lacks that feeling that makes you excited to see it. It just kind of exists.
Morgan's Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss
CJ's Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss retains
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss (dirty/retains)
Josh's Predicted Winner: Sasha Banks by DQ/count-out
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
I'm so glad Braun Strowman is back. I know he was only gone for around 6 weeks, but man is it great to have him back. Those 6 weeks without him sucked! He's constantly a highlight of the night on Raw. I can't wish enough greatness on Braun. Confession: when Braun started in the Wyatt Family I was not a fan. I thought he was another big, slow, talentless "big man." How wrong I was. The only reason I don't want to see Braun beat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania is because I don't want to wait that long to see Braun dominate him! As for this particular match, I think Braun not only should win, he needs to win. Roman Reigns has been proven as a top guy. He beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania for God's sake. However, no matter how much we love him, Strowman needs a win over a top guy to prove that he is a main eventer. It seems ridiculous to say it because of how dominant Strowman is booked against most wrestlers, but he needs a main event win. The good thing about an ambulance match is that Roman can lose this match without looking as bad as he would if he were pinned. I gotta go with my gut and my hopes in WWE.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
Behold the Vince McMahon conundrum. If Braun Strowman wins, there's a bona fide main event monster who's both credible and over with the crowd. But then Roman Reigns would lose. Considering the probable Reigns VS Lesnar and Reigns VS Cena matches in the coming months, that just can't happen. But I'll try to abstain from being cynical and stay optimistic about Strowman's chances of winning. I'm calling for him to win, but I'd still be a bit surprised if he actually won without some type of stupid outside interference or something of that nature. Gotta make sure Roman Reigns looks strong, after all.
Morgan's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
CJ's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
Josh's Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns
Universal Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Samoa Joe
This feud has been built brilliantly. Joe has been made to look like a total badass fighter; one that's on par with Lesnar. I knew they'd built things perfectly on Monday when I was furious they didn't let them brawl backstage. When I get angry because I want to see them fight and they're not, it means WWE has done their job. The question that's floating around in the back of my mind right now is, which Brock Lesnar is going to show up Sunday. Will it be the lazy, give the bare minimum Lesnar or will it be the star athlete who puts on a helluva show. I'm really hoping the latter because this match has 5 star potential. There won't be any fancy flips (or dives) in this match. Just two guys beating the hell out of each other and I. AM. PUMPED. I think one of the marks of a great main event, or match in general, is not being able to definitively guess the winner. I could legitimately see both men walking out as champion Sunday. It also makes these predictions much harder! However, my gut tells me that Lesnar is going to retain, but Joe is going to win the match. Leading to another match at SummerSlam where Joe WILL walk out as champion.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Joe wins; Lesnar retains
The thing I hate the most about this match is that it's a phenomenal and sincere dream bout...and it's on Great Balls of Fire. One of the coolest matches in recent memory is going to be on this stupid ass named PPV. That annoyance aside, this is almost certainly going to be amazing. I cannot wait to watch this Wrestlemania worthy match. Samoa Joe isn't the type of guy that gets suplexed fifteen times and then pinned. The chances of this being a squash are low enough that it's easy to get excited for a Lesnar match again. Now granted, I don't think Joe's going to win, but his stock should hopefully rise just due to the quality of the match and genuinely looking like he could go toe-to-toe with Brock Lesnar. It'll be a hell of a fight, even if the outcome's pretty clear.
Morgan's Predicted Winner: Brock Lesnar
CJ's Predicted Winner: Brock Lesnar retains
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe by DQ
Josh's Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe
Thanks everyone for reading our predictions this round! Feel free to post yours in the comments below, and don’t forget to join us tonight at 7 PM EST for our live coverage and Open Thread Party for Great Balls of Fire!