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RISING STAR OF GREAT BALLS OF FIRE: Braun Strowman
I’m a real big Braun fan now – I mean, how couldn’t you be? Maybe it’s totally counterproductive, but that bearded seven foot beauty sure came out on top despite an extremely hokey segment. He was unstoppable, he won clean, he was ambushed then potentially killed only to walk away on his own two feet. That’s someone to cheer for, right? In what sane universe wouldn’t that be the case? Oh, that’s right. The one we see five hours a week on cable. Unless this was an intentional double turn, I’m surprised Vince McMahon can still make me scratch my head.
Enzo Amore: I looked at that ass whooping Enzo took as a cathartic release of all the lows that one of my favorite characters has been through since his debut in April. All of my love for Frank Sinatra aside, Enzo may have brighter horizons ahead after that courageously fought squash loss (that sounds weird) to his former Empire State-sized partner. That dated (yet awesome) promo was as demographically relevant as the PPV name (fun fact: “Great Balls Of Fire” by cousin loving Jerry Lee Lewis was released 60 years ago this November) and it completely set the table for Enzo to hit the reset button on a singles career. Cole was unsubtle in asking “What’s next for this young man?” as Amore lay mid-ring bug-eyed delirious, but Austin Aries sure left a door wide open for a top babyface for the Cruiserweight Division. Let’s just hope the Chairman’s a little more optimistic for Enzo’s July than he was singing about his own.
Hardy Boyz: I had to have done this one before; any Hardy loss can indicate an opportunity for a delightful chance at the brothers from Cameron to become rebroken instead of reborn. I hoping, with much anticipation, that Matt’s hair will become a bit more frazzled and his inflection a bit more poetic the next time we see him and (maybe) Brother Nero.
FADING STAR OF WEEK: Roman Reigns
The Big Dog is a big dirty attempted murderer. For weeks, even after hearing about MSG booing the vest off him over the weekend, the Roman character has been growing on me simply for the fact that Vince’s reigns have been a little looser on him, but this whole ambulance part deux segment absolutely did not help his cause. He was just full of pure evil sour grapes that wanted blood on his hands. Now Braun has to stumble back home with a crimson mask and a potential concussion, but hey, at least he still got the huge babyface rub like every monster heel should.
Kurt Angle: Seriously, from a storyline outlook, how oblivious to his show’s ongoings is the current Raw GM? First, he goes with weeks on end of not solving the mysterious attacks on Enzo and Cass, now he’s got attempted murder on his watch? He also allows an entourage of people to accompany a known cheater to the ring during his Intercontinental Title matches. Anything’s better than the Authority, but our Olympic Hero needs a little more character cogency.
Heath Slater: Not only does your match not get any promotion before the show, but your win doesn’t even make it to air AND it doesn’t get the courtesy of a replay. The man’s got kids and he’s treated as a backdrop for a backstage segment? Even if it’s Mae Young’s child hand fighting Hornswoggle, WWE should maintain some semblance of sports like feel. That’s like the NFL focusing on Bill Belicheck when the kicker takes the field for an extra point, then doesn’t air him missing.
NOW CHECK OUT THIS PREVIOUS COLUMN: 7/9: McNEILL’s Live Blog of WWE Great Balls Of Fire