It’s a fairly big night as all five RAW championships are on the line, including of course the rarely defended Universal Championship as champion Brock Lesnar returns for his first match since WrestleMania 33 to take on Samoa Joe for the first time ever.
Other championship matches include Alexa Bliss defending the RAW Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks, Dean Ambrose challengining The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship, and Cesaro & Sheamus putting the RAW Tag Team Championship up against The Hardy Boyz in a 30-minute Ironman match. The Cruiserweight Championship will also be defended on the Kickoff Show as Neville defends against Akira Towaza.
With that out of the way, onto the predictions…
Cruiserweight Championship Match (Kickoff Show):
Neville (c) vs. Akira Tozawa
Neville has been one of the WWE’s brightest talents thus far in 2017, and yet here we are back on the Kickoff Show. There was enthusiasm around the Cruiserweight Classic and then when it was announced the Cruiserweight Division was returning, but since then it’s floundered hard despite the best efforts of extremely talented individuals like Neville.
Tozawa is also very talented, but WWE has done nothing with him. Aside from now joining up with Titus Worldwide, Tozawa has been just like 99% of the Cruiserweight Division… completely forgettable. That’s a real shame, because the talent is there to make the division a standout.
This match will likely be good, but Tozawa hasn’t been built anywhere near the point of being seen as a threat to Neville. This division needs a lot of work.
Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
I’m still not sure what the point of splitting these two up is. Enzo by himself isn’t a strong enough act to be anything other than a comedic jobber. Big Cass isn’t the greatest promo guy in the company, and could have benefited from having Enzo as a mouth piece if they wanted him to be a singles competitor. I especially don’t see the point so soon after splitting Golden Truth, another face tag team… who still haven’t gotten a real match despite having a lot more build.
I don’t think the outcome of this is in any sort of doubt. Big Cass is going over, and likely in dominant fashion. Will that accomplish anything? No. Will anyone care? Probably not.
Winner: Big Cass
Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Miz (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
It’s about time this feud ends, and I don’t think it makes any sense to take the title off of Miz (nor does Ambrose need it). It just feels like this feud has been never-ending.
Miz is in a good spot right now with his Miztourage group and the IC championship. Ambrose is lost in the shuffle doing mostly comedic things. He needs a shakeup in a big way. In an ideal world, Finn Balor would turn heel and join up with Gallows and Anderson and form the Balor Club, which would open up a need for three guys to oppose them… The Shield.
If Reigns isn’t likely to win the WWE Championship until WrestleMania, all three of the former Shield members are going to need to do something. Getting the band back together for a while would be just about the freshest thing the trio could do at this stage.
Winner: The Miz
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
This match is sort of just there. One thing though, Bray Wyatt absolutely needs a win. He’s lost so much that his character is almost becoming a parody at this point that it’s hard to take seriously. Considering WWE has done absolutely nothing with Erick Rowan or criminally underused Luke Harper, I’d say the decision to split up the Wyatt Family was one of WWE’s worst decisions this year.
Seth Rollins is in a similar boat where he’s not really doing anything and isn’t likely to anytime soon (see the above match for what I’d like to see from him going forward).
The match will likely be entertaining, and may even have some shenanigans, but I’d don’t expect anything to come out of it.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
RAW Tag Team Championship 30 Minute Ironman Match:
Cesaro & Sheamus (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz
I like the stipulation here, and I like both teams. This could end up being the best match of the night. I just hope they don’t ruin it by having too many falls. I HATE Ironman matches where there are a lot of falls. With 30 minutes, I’d prefer to see two falls to one, but it absolutely can’t go higher than three to two (which for me is still pushing it).
I don’t want to see the titles change hands frequently, but if Sheamus is really taking time off to film a movie, I don’t see him and Cesaro retaining the titles and that’s a shame because I’m enjoying their tandem and feel like they are really clicking right now.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz
RAW Women’s Championship Match:
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks
The RAW team has made some questionable booking decisions when it comes to the women, namely their misuse of Bayley and Sasha Banks, but Alexa Bliss has been absolute perfection and a godsend for RAW. As she was on Smackdown; the real MVP of each women’s roster that she’s been on.
I don’t think the time is right for Little Miss Bliss to drop the title, nor do I think the time is right for Sasha Banks to regain the RAW Women’s Championship. Bliss as champion is gold right now and should remain that way, for now anyway.
Sasha is quickly growing stale as a face though, and it’s getting about time for “The Boss” to show herself. And she doesn’t need the championship to do that.
I have high hopes for this match, I just hope that WWE doesn’t give it a cheap finish like a DQ. I expect Nia Jax to get involved, bringing out Bayley who will inadvertently cost Sasha the match.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
It’s easy to forget that Braun Strowman defeated Roman Reigns at Payback, given his injury and the positioning of Roman Reigns as the “one who took out the monster.” Braun is back and I can only hope that WWE realizes what they have with him. This is the rubber match between the two (Reigns won at Fastlane), and I’d say that Braun Strowman absolutely needs to win this match.
If Strowman loses this ambulance match then WWE will have repeated the same mistake that they’ve made so many times prior, and that’s failing to pull a trigger. Roman doesn’t need to win this feud; I’d say it’d be better for him in the long run if he loses this one.
This is not the match or time to “make Roman look strong.” It needs to be a brutual affair, and I don’t think Strowman needs to completely dominate it, but if Strowman doesn’t come out of this match with a win then I’m going to be very disappointed.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Universal Championship Match:
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Samoa Joe
This match, even more than Roman/Strowman, is the one that concerns me the most. It’s a dream match, and I hope WWE recognizes that and does right by it. They’ve done a great job of building up Joe in the lead up to this event, and I’d hate to see them undo that by having Brock Lesnar be dominant.
I don’t think there is any chance of Joe winning the title. Unfortunately, I think Lesnar will be champion for a long time. But it absolutely needs to be a competitive match that Joe can come out of, even in loss, looking like a strong badass. Take the beast to his limit and make fans clamor for a rematch somewhere down the road.
If it ends up being Joe getting taken to Suplex City and dominated, then that’d just be another prime example of terrible WWE booking and doing something for zero positive gain for the future.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
WWE Great Balls of Fire airs tonight LIVE on WWE Network at 7pm CT with the kickoff show starting at 6pm.
Agree or disagree with the predictions? Let me know in the comments what you think will go down tonight at Great Balls of Fire!