Review for Great Balls of Fire 2017 + Battleground 2017 Double Feature
This double pack from WWE is one of the most uneven that they have released and probably shows more about how a PPV every few weeks is simply not working. It would be better if they went back to the old way of alternating the PPVs and allowing a feud or storyline time to breathe. Instead it feels time and time again like everything is rushed. Both PPVs have some great matches on there, but also some awful stuff too. In a way it is good that they are here together, as I don't think either alone are worth purchasing.
Great Balls of Fire (I will ignore the utterly ridiculous name and no doubt wait for the Can't Buy Me Love or Love Me Tender PPV next?!?) on paper should be an a amazing PPV. Eight matches all look like this should be a classic PPV. However, it is almost like for every great match, there is one that is almost unwatchable.
Bray Wyatt against Seth Rollins is a great match. It is such a shame that the feud (or lack of) meant that this match really didn't mean anything. However, bell to bell, there was some great action. This can't be said for Big Cass and Enzo which was simply embarrassing. I understand that WWE like Big Cass's look and that Enzo is a cruiserweight at best, but the feud going into this was amazing... the payoff? Pitiful. I would not be surprised if Enzo is shown his 'Endeavour' slip by the end of the year.
Match of the night is undoubtedly the Iron Man tag match between Cesaro/Sheamus and The Hardy Boyz. This was just fantastic. Well built throughout and I swear how they were able to time that ending is beyond me. Sheer perfection.
Sasha Banks against Alexa Bliss could have been great. In fact ever since Sasha Banks has been put up against people her size the matches have looked and felet better. That is not to say this match was great and the ending was awful.
The Miz against Dean Ambrose was fine in general. Both work well and the whole 'Miztourage' thing would have worked if I knew why they were there. Is The Miz still WWE's got to actor for their films? The match was fine, just nothing special.
My head hurts. I understand that WWE, wrestling in general, is fake. I get that and I wish that WWE would decide what they want because the Ambulance match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman could have been great. In fact, the actual match was pretty entertaining. My problem is with the ten minutes of the announcers covering the fallout with Roman Reigns snapping and crashing the ambulance Braun Strowman was in. Again, no real issue with this, but the announcers oversold this so much that you would think it was real. That was just embarrassing.
Thankfully, they decided to have a pointless Heath Slater match against Curt Hawkins. Why? Who knows and really while the match was going on they were focusing so much on the Reigns/Strowman story that it was utterly pointless.
Then we come to the main event... all six minute, twenty five seconds of it!!!??? This is not a joke. The main event of a PPV is generally why we are watching. It is why we bought the PPV and so for it to last this long is a sham. The match seemed like it could have been great and the build was fantastic. Why would they throw away that for such a terrible payoff? Even if the result was the same this just wrong. I expect this kind of length from a Goldberg match or a Women's match but not from the Main Event??!!
Battleground was doomed before it started. Why? Three words.
This match is almost TNA-levels of dumbness. I have tried many times to understand how this match works and simply put: It doesn't. The PPV can't recover from that.
The New Day against The Usos was a fine tag match. Great showing from both. I expected more from the ending, but I can't fault the match itself.
Shinsuke Nakamura against Baron Corbin was the kind of match I was just baffled by. I love Nakamura and his entrance just sends chills up me, but this match, or these two just didn't work. I could understand if this lead to more... but it doesn't.
The Women's Elimination match was actually pretty good to some extent. All five got some spots in and showed why they should win. My issue is simply eliminating three in the space of a minute was not as exciting as I'm sure they thought. The end was surprising.
After all this, we finally got a match that I would happily watch again and again. AJ Styles against Kevin Owens was a fantastic match. Both work so well together and this felt almost like a classic Japanese-style match with just near fall after near fall and I was amazed by just how much effort and excitement was put on in the match and this is certainly one of the best I have seen all year.
Then we got in our time machine to 2015 when Rusev was against the US and for some reason John Cena had to represent us all. This was a painful match as these type always are.
Sami Zayn against Mike Kanellis was pointless and could have easily been a TV match and despite how nice it is to see Maria again, that is not good enough to recommend watching this again.
Finally, we come to the Punjabi Prison Match between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton.
I don't know what to say about it. The match makes no sense. However, I understand that as a 'feud ender' this match at least made me want to never see these two against each other ever again. I just don't get what WWE are seeing in Jinder Mahal. What is he bringing to the table? By all accounts, viewership in India has not increased and so that can't be the reason and really the slightly racist angle is about thirty years too late to make that much of an impact. The whole match was just a mess. As for the ending?
You may notice I have not mentioned the Kickoff matches from either of the PPVs. That is because for some reason they are not included? Now, I have always excused not including extra features due to space or time, but not including the Kickoff matches to these two PPVs is unacceptable. The Aiden English/Tye Dillinger match from Battlground was no great loss, but the match between Neville and Akira Towaza for the Cruiserweight belt was actually better than most of the PPV??
This set has some moments. They are few and far between, but they are on here. It is such a shame that great matches like the Iron Man Tag match or the AJ Styles/Kevin Owens match are between some awful almost unwatchable stuff. If you have to own everything WWE related then you will find there are some great moments, but this may be a set that you spend most of your time fastforwarding through.