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    Sup guys, I haven't been following up on WWE for a couple of years now... seems I've missed a lot lol. Anyway is John Cena still there?
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    I am loving the road to Great Balls of Fire. Joe vs Lesnar is an all time dream match and very hard to get wrong, and Roman vs Strowman has been an excellent feud since Mania.

    Some of the booking of the undercard has been a little wonky but still better than WWEs usual stuff with the lower tier guys actually having storylines that they're trying to make mean something and that progress every week without being forgotten. I like that.

    The only thing that wasn't good build on RAW was the Enzo/Cass segment. Great last week, pointless rehashing this week!
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    (Original post by Hassan.b8)
    Sup guys, I haven't been following up on WWE for a couple of years now... seems I've missed a lot lol. Anyway is John Cena still there?
    He's back July 4, bud.

    (Original post by IanDangerously)
    The only thing that wasn't good build on RAW was the Enzo/Cass segment. Great last week, pointless rehashing this week!
    Really? Man, I'm loving this angle. Cass looks like money as a heel. Great look and he's cutting promos better than ever.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    The omniscient Ozzyoscy speaking for everybody again. Don't like it? Don't read it. You don't speak for everybody, though, despite your overt abrasiveness.
    You're so arrogant that you think people read it.

    I'm betting more people have PMed me in the last 24 hours saying they're sick of you spamming threads with the same essay/get-the-last-post shtick than have read them.

    I was the only ****er to give you feedback until now, another has since then, and neither were positive. Perhaps rather than having an egotistical hissy, save yourself the effort.
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    (Original post by IanDangerously)
    Some of the booking of the undercard has been a little wonky but still better than WWEs usual stuff with the lower tier guys actually having storylines that they're trying to make mean something and that progress every week without being forgotten. I like that.
    WWE seems to be going all-in on the mystery angles. Two on RAW - Cass and Kurt Angle's texts, which presumably will result in a Stephanie McMahon return and Angle vs Triple H match somewhere down the line - and on SmackDown, with Breezango's attackers. I had a suspicion the latter would be American Alpha, but perhaps a team from NXT will be called up? Can't see the Authors of Pain or Sanity getting the call-up anytime soon, though.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    WWE seems to be going all-in on the mystery angles. Two on RAW - Cass and Kurt Angle's texts, which presumably will result in a Stephanie McMahon return and Angle vs Triple H match somewhere down the line - and on SmackDown, with Breezango's attackers. I had a suspicion the latter would be American Alpha, but perhaps a team from NXT will be called up? Can't see the Authors of Pain or Sanity getting the call-up anytime soon, though.
    Actually, Meltzer's reported that the current NXT Champs are due to be called up to the main roster's with Asuka and Roode due to be called up in the next month and the Authors of Pain in mid-Sep.
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    (Original post by m.amina_)
    Actually, Meltzer's reported that the current NXT Champs are due to be called up to the main roster's with Asuka and Roode due to be called up in the next month and the Authors of Pain in mid-Sep.
    I can't see Roode being called up soon tbh. He needs a long programme in NXT, arguably with Drew rather than Roderick Strong. I'd like the Authors of Pain on the main roster, though. They're a real fun throwback.
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    The Enzo/Cass feud is second to only Brock Lesnar/Samoa Joe right now. The babyface promo Enzo cut to kick off RAW last night was just excellent. Both of these stars have a legitimate argument - Enzo's mouth did make Cass, but he also runs his mouth and gets into trouble - which makes the feud more interesting. Enzo ambushing Cass backstage and looking dangerous is also smart, because it builds him up as more of a threat than he is. Sure, Enzo can't go toe-to-toe with Cass in the ring, but the fierceness of his promo and passion was second-to-none last night and I wonder if there's legs for Enzo in a crazy sort of gimmick. He's small and size is against him, but if he's booked as if he's slightly unstable and unpredictable, he could have legs as a singles competitor and pick up some wins.

    Enzo vs Cass was booked for Great Balls of Fire, as was the Miz vs Dean Ambrose in a continuation of the feud which has ran forever. Last night, the Miz - flanked by his Miztourage, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel - cut a promo before Ambrose interrupted, alongside Rhyno and Heath Slater, with the latter challenging the Miz to a bout. Slater would lose, thanks to the help of the Miz's cronies, before they elevated themselves by delivering a post-match beatdown ahead of the weekend. The bout was fine, and it was refreshing to see the Miz lock up against somebody other than Ambrose. Sunday should be the culmination of their feud.

    Neville warmed up for his bout by continuing his cruiserweight domination, beating Mustafa Ali in singles competition. He goes into Sunday's bout with Akira Tozawa full of momentum, but my issue is, despite Tozawa's W-L record and solid booking, I don't want Neville's reign to end. Tozawa doesn't feel like he should be the babyface costing Neville the championship. The reign shouldn't end - yet. In other cruiserweight action, Cedric Alexander beat Noam Dar as their grating feud - which has already outstayed its welcome - continued. Alexander is a money babyface. He's athletic, great in the ring and him feuding with Neville is a must.

    I felt there were a few missteps last night. The Goldust/R-Truth segment was poor, and this feud has underwhelmed since the initial turn from Goldust, who can still cut the promo of his life. This feels like it will be wrapped up on the pre-show. But where they go after this? Who knows? The opening match of the night - Sasha Banks and Bayley vs Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax - was also a joke. Bayley was beaten bad and had to be taken backstage (WWE's handling of her is a joke), meaning Banks then beat the two heels (yes, beat them) 2-on-1. That's like Roman Reigns defeating both Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe ffs. Why book your heels so weak, WWE? Bayley needs a complete character reset at this point. She needs time away from the screen.

    In the main event, Strowman beat Apollo Crews in a fresh match-up, before carting him into an ambulance and finding Reigns was the driver. The two brawled until neither man could get up. It was a solid way to end the feud going into Sunday, and leaves the result of the weekend difficult to predict. WWE did well to build up Crews, too, and showcased him well. The Titus Worldwide gimmick has money written all over it. If he steps away from the ring and is purely used as a talent mouthpiece, O'Neil could enjoy a renaissance. Elsewhere, we saw Finn Balor beat Cesaro before the Hardy Boyz and Elias Samson made their presence felt, with a chaotic brawl. The two tag teams will face each other on Sunday in a 30 minute Iron Match. Their feud has grown stale at this point. It elevated both teams initially, but like the Miz and Ambrose, we've seen the same thing week in, week out. As for Samson, he feels a level below Balor, but he's drawing genuine heat and I think they'll have a decent PPV bout on Sunday.
    The other segments of note were a scattered video package of Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar interviews, culminating with a riled-up Joe being encouraged to try and find Lesnar, only for security to cut him off. Joe looks an absolute monster and WWE have done a wonderful job building him up before Sunday. I'm very excited to see what these two men produce. The feud is much hotter than Seth Rollins vs Bray Wyatt. Rollins beat Curt Hawkins in a squash on Monday night, before Wyatt cut yet another unwelcome, elongated and nonsensical promo.
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    John Cena is back.... and facing Rusev in a Flag Match. FFS. The American vs foreign heel shtick is already being done in the main event, and there are infinite better users of both superstars than this. It's an already-trodden feud. Rusev's return is welcome, given SmackDown is clearly lacking heels, but I would have wanted both stars to face a fresh opponent. There's all manner of people Cena could elevate - while Rusev could give a leg-up to Tye Dillinger, Luke Harper et al. The Flag Match suits July 4 but I'm not sure it has the legs past that. I'm disappointed to see that it has been booked for Battleground.

    As for the main event, AJ Styles won a battle royal to become No 1 Contender for the US Championship. I have to admit, I absolutely loved this match - and Kevin Owens' reactions were priceless. Owens is such a good wrestling character, capable of showcasing emotion with little things, and Styles is the right choice to go over. He pulled double duty in the night, beating Chad Gable to qualify in a fun bout which saw both superstars embrace at the end. Gable has been showcased really well recently. I thought American Alpha would be Breezango's attackers, but that hasn't come to pass - yet. The battle royal was full of subplots, but arguably the most interesting was the dissension between the Hype Bros. We're clearly geared towards a Zack Ryder heel turn and feud between the pair.

    In terms of the women's division, Carmella cut yet another inspired promo alongside her cronie, James Ellsworth, who was fined $10,000 by Daniel Bryan and banned from the arena and suspended him for 30 days. This gives Carmella a chance to shine without him, getting some wins via her own dirty methods over the next few weeks. We saw Naomi interrupt her promo before she ran over Lana, in a rematch of last week and the last PPV, before Tamina Snuka came out and ordered a sheepish Lana backstage, suggesting an alignment between the two. Intriguing.

    There were a few missteps. I could have done without the rap battle personally. The Usos and the New Day are really enjoying this feud, you can tell, but the rap battle was needless. Wale was a decent cameo star for WWE, especially after the Ball family controversy last week. This was generally harmless, but I popped big for the "you carry bags for Roman" line from the New Day. The "rated R" jibe to Xavier Woods and the New Day hinting the Usos are only famous through family/marriage to Naomi was good, too. The other match of the night saw Randy Orton beat Aiden English, after he interrupted his singing last week. It's good WWE built that into a match tonight and developed it, but the match itself was superfluous and the winner was never in doubt. Jinder Mahal appeared after to slam America and hype the Punjabi Prison match.

    On 205 Live, Titus Worldwide was showcased in an opening segment featuring Neville, but Akira Tozawa was noticeably absent, which was odd given the forthcoming match between the pair at Great Balls of Fire this weekend. Neville would beat Lince Dorado, continuing his fierce streak, before Jack Gallagher beat Tony Nese and was berated by The Brian Kendrick on the TitanTron after the duo clashed in singles competition last week. Kendrick is a terrific heel and any babyface on the roster would benefit working with him, so I'm really open to this feud. The main event was one of the best matches I've seen on the show since its debut. We saw TJP lose to Rich Swann in a thriller, and the crowd really bought into it. The two embraced after the match to close the show. Both these men are former cruiserweight champions and deserve to be showcased on RAW. But that's a problem the whole division faces, not just these two.
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    Fitting SmackDown fell on Independence Day given their current feuds:

    Evil foreigner Jinder Mahal vs Randy Orton
    Evil foreigners the Usos vs The New Day
    Evil foreigner Rusev vs John Cena
    Evil foreigner Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Evil foreigners the Usos
    Top content as always Mackay...
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    GBOF predictions: Neville, Alexa Bliss, The Hardy Boyz, The Miz, Seth Rollins, Big Cass, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar.
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    AJ wins the US Championship at MSG live show, beating Kevin Owens. Should the title change have happened on TV/PPV? The crowd pop was great. They didn't see it coming - and neither did I!
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    It makes absolutely no sense to blow off the Joe vs Lesnar program tonight on a smaller PPV given how hot it's been and the fact that Summerslam is on the horizon. Brock vs Joe II in a no holds barred match is a license to print money ....

    Therefore your winner tonight by disqualification, Samoa Joe. However still Universal Champion ... BRRRROCK LESNARRRRR!!

    It's the only reasonable logical way to go.
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    Only staying up for Strowman/Reigns tonight. To be fair, I've fallen out of the loop the past couple of months.
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    Austin Aries being released is a shame. Thought he had great potential as a heel commentator.
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    Make no mistake: that's the absolute PPV of the year right there. Exceptional booking and it's hard to see how WWE will top that. Every match went the way it should have - bar, perhaps, the main event.

    If there were any criticisms, it would be the sheer length of the product. An hour pre-show where largely nothing happens, a half hour RawTalk and a 3 hour+ main show. A large part of me wants them to just do away with the pre-show, if I'm honest. Sure, the Neville vs Akira Tozawa bout was good, but such little else happens apart from the kick-off match. Nobody last night seriously thought Neville would drop the belt on the kickoff show - given the run he's had - so the ending was telegraphed, too. These two deserved more than the pre-show, and the bout was really good, so I'm looking forward to seeing the feud progress. I personally am really enjoying the Titus Worldwide shtick, but Tozawa losing like this - i.e. in a clean manner - makes me question whether he is really the man to de-throne Neville. I'd like to see the feud go on for a while yet, but Neville needs to lose the belt on a bigger stage to the right competitor. It wasn't Austin Aries, it may not be Tozawa, it isn't TJP or Rich Swann. Maybe Cedric Alexander?

    The Bray Wyatt vs Seth Rollins match was a dud - largely because of its poor build and lack of crowd investment. Neither of these men are riding high with momentum, and even with the former picking up a W last night, you know it won't lead to anything. It's a waste of time, just like the Miz vs Dean Ambrose feud. The Miz retained last night - and rightly so - and the bout was decent enough, but these two men need to be doing something new now. The Miztourage has legs - Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas helped him win last night - but the latter needs a change of attire at least. It's good to see those two doing something, and I'd like to see Heath Slater/Curt Hawkins recruited too. Those two squared off in a farcical match later in the night, which had absolutely no place anywhere near a PPV card. It was ridiculous.

    The Cass squash of Enzo Amore was much better. This was exactly how the match needed to go. Enzo cut a stellar promo on Monday night but last night's meandered a bit. In the ring, though, the winner was a given - and the execution was perfect. Cass has ditched the 'deer in the headlights' look when delivering a promo, and given his stature and size, seems destined for huge things. Enzo should surely draft in somebody like Big Show to face Cass at Summerslam, and then transition into either 205 Live (he could add credibility and interest to a stale weekly show) or become a mouthpiece for somebody else. I thought Cesaro and Sheamus retaining over the Hardy Boyz, winning 4-3 in the 30 minute Iron Man match, was excellent too. It was a show-stealer. The execution of the ending was terrific, the sight of Matt Hardy leaving covered in blood was ghastly, and it was a top notch PPV match. Sheamus is being written off TV soon to film his new movie, directed by Josh Duhamel apparently, so I half-expected them to drop the titles. Maybe that'll come in the coming weeks on RAW, though. Cesaro running away from Jeff at the end off the match to protect their win was terrific. Those 30 minutes flew by.

    I thought the countout finish to Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks was perfect, too. The ending was terrific, giving Bliss heat and keeping Banks' momentum. The two put on a very good match before that, and I think there are legs in this feud. The only question is... where does that leave the likes of Nia Jax? Mickie James, Emma and Dana Brooke have nothing to do, either. Bayley needs to stay off TV for a few weeks and needs a complete rejuvenation, to be honest.

    Then came the top two matches of the night: Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar went over Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe respectively. The former match was an absolutely slugfest, full of aggressive action, heavy hitting and violent spots. The way Reigns acted post-match was fully-fledged heel, make no mistake. He tried to kill a man - hardly babyface behaviour. Strowman looked gutsy and against-the-ropes, but utterly badass when he crawled out of the ambulance. Medical officials tried to attend to him, but he hobbled off on his own. The main event - at just six minutes - was far, far too short for me. But Joe looked strong, Lesnar kept the belt and will move forward, but I'd argue Joe probably deserves a rematch and this feud between the pair has legs.

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    If last night has done anything, it's fully transitioned Reigns as a heel.

    Great PPV otherwise.
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    (Original post by AR_95)
    If last night has done anything, it's fully transitioned Reigns as a heel.

    Great PPV otherwise.
    Completely agree. This will be the best b-level PPV of the year nailed on. It has also surpassed WM and the Rumble for me. Over to you, Summerslam/Survivor Series.
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    In terms of build throughout the card, hype for the main events, match quality, direction and storytelling ... Great Balls of Fire is probably the best non Big 4 pay per view event the WWE has EVER produced.

    Nothing on this show was bad, and that's rare these days. Banks vs Alexa was great and can't wait to see their next match, the tag match was brilliant drama, everything about Roman vs Strowman was perfect and the main event ... wow.

    I know Joe vs Brock was a dream match for the smarks who have been conditioned to think a great match has to last at least 20 minutes and have a million finisher kickouts and guys laying on the floor for half the match ... but Joe vs Brock had a fantastic match without all the folderol and sameness that accompanies most big main events. It was dramatic, short and so so sweet.
 
 
 
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