Rumor had it that this show was originally set to revive the “No Mercy” name, making Attitude Era fans and N64 fans very happy, and on a show where no less that three performers got color the hard way, the “No Mercy” name definitely would’ve been apt. Rumor also has it that Vince McMahon ultimately named the show “Great Balls of Fire” just because he thought it was funny. I think he wanted to name it after a song by a paedophile but didn’t want to shell out the licensing fees for Michael Jackson or R. Kelly. Don’t @ me.
Aside from the rampant bloodshed though, GBOF was mostly a show about decent matches with shitty finishes. Let’s run it down.
The show opened with a nothing match between Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins that didn’t do much for either wrestler or character. Bray picking up the win is interesting, but only if creative does something interesting with it, which is, as always, unlikely. The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus and Cesaro was absolutely brutal, a 30 minute iron man Tag Title match that saw all four men pull everything out of their respective arsenals, including Matt Hardy receiving a nasty gash over his left eye from a Cesaro uppercut that apparently required 9 stitches. Some shenanigans towards the end (Jeff hit the swanton on Sheamus but Cesaro was the legal man?) tarnished an otherwise instant classic, leaving “Team Extreme” once again on the losing end of “The Bar”. Will this be the setback that “breaks” The Hardys in WWE?
Similar to the Rollins/Wyatt encounter, the match between the recently divorced Enzo and Big Cass was a pointless endeavor that wasted all the build up and great, serious mic work that Enzo was putting in recently for a squash ass squash (seriously the squashest squash that ever squashed) that doesn’t leave Enzo with much else to do on Raw. He seriously got in zero offense to match his “zero dimes” (whatever the hell that means), and Cass is still green as fuck, looking to have seriously hurt the Certified G on a super sloppy power slam out of the ring spot. On the other hand, Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Title was, once again, another decent match with another shitty finish. A cool spot where Alexa faked a dislocated shoulder and several brutal transitions into the Banks Statement from Sasha do not a great match make given the bullshit intentional count out finish from Bliss, solid heel work or no. Are we building to a cage match? Would that make too much sense?
There was also a match involving The Miz on the card but www.riot-nerd.com is a Miz-free safe zone. Please enjoy this picture of NJPW’s Takahashi and Daryl at Disneyland instead.
GBOF closed with another duo of good matches with bad endings. The Ambulance Match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman was about what you would expect, aside from Braun picking up the W fairly early on by dodging a spear from Reigns which sent Roman flying right into the back of the ambulance. Of course rather than letting Strowman stand tall at the end of the encounter they had to “Make Roman Look Strong” (It’s like “Make America Great Again”, only more depressing), with Reigns then commandeering the ambulance after locking Braun inside and backing in into a tractor trailer backstage. I’m not going to lie about this type of pure Attitude Era junk being fun, but the ruthlessness on display here really doesn’t fit Roman’s character. You are not Stone Cold Steve Austin, Roman Reigns. No you are not.
And the main event was a nice reminder that Brock Lesnar is a decent performer who actually can wrestle a match rather than just coming out and throwing guys around like sacks of potatoes, Samoa Joe taking the fight to the beast so stiffly and snugly that it was kind of hard to watch at times. Of course Lesnar wiggles out of a coquina clutch and hits an F5 and it’s LOLBrockWins, but the match itself was good enough that even that kind of finish couldn’t completely ruin it, though it definitely would’ve been nice to see the Universal Title on a dedicated worker like Joe as opposed to a part timer like Brock.
I’ll close by echoing the chants that occurred during that weird impromptu Heath Slater match designed to mask the fact that the backstage ambulance segment was going to last a year by saying “we want Balor”. Seriously, where the hell was that guy?