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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Heel Turns: WWE catches ‘Fire’

Posted by Achilles Heel On July 8

Achilles HeelThe Greek God of Wrestling prepared a Heel Turns column that Eric Fisher failed to post before going on his vacation, so I’ve included some older items from that unpublished column toward the bottom portion of this column. Achilles Heel won’t waste any more space on Fisher’s incompetency. Let’s get to Heel turns, starting with WWE’s Great Balls of Fire.

Great Balls of Fire is a terrible name for a pay-per-view. Is it supposed to be a tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis? (For the uncultured masses out there, Lewis is a legendary rock ‘n  roll piano player who had a hit song “Great Balls of Fire. He’s not the brother of Ed “Strangler” Lewis. … Who is Strangler Lewis? Look it up. You can’t rely on the Greek God of Wrestling for all of your knowledge.)

WWE has a loaded card for Great Balls of Fire (WWE Network, Sunday, 8 p.m.). The main event features Brock Lesnar, in his first match since defeating Goldberg at WrestleMania 33, defending the WWE Universal Championship against Samoa Joe in what should be an extremely physical match.

Could WWE put the title on Joe? It’s possible. He was a terrific NXT champion and it would be a well-deserved crowning achievement of his long career. Achilles Heel was fairly certain that Lesnar was going to win, but now I’m leaning toward Joe winning the title.

Although Lesnar-Joe is the marquee match, Great Balls of Fire is far from a one-match show. Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman continue their feud in an ambulance match. The match is won when one man incapacitates the other and loads him into the back of an ambulance, which drives off with the loser. This should be the blowoff to the feud, which should mean a Reigns victory, but the Greek God of Wrestling isn’t so sure.

Achilles Heel is also looking forward to the Raw Tag Team Championship Ironman match between champions Sheamus and Cesaro and challengers Matt and Jeff Hardy. The team with the most wins in 30 minutes will be the champions. My only complaint is that I’d like to see these four perform for 45 minutes instead of 30, but there isn’t any wasted space to cut in the rest of the card.

The Miz defends the Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose. Although this match should be entertaining, it is the title match least likely to end with the crowning of a new champion. Other title matches include Alexa Bliss defending the Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks and, in the preshow kickoff match, Neville defending the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Akira Tozawa.

Two other matches on this loaded card are Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt and the first match between former tag team partners Enzo Amore and Big Cass.

One reason that Great Balls of Fire appears to be a tremendous event is the uncertainty over the outcome of the matches. Title changes are a realistic possibility in practically every championship match. The only surprising outcome in the non-title matches would be Amore defeating Big Cass.

*****

WINNING IN STYLES: A.J. Styles defeated Kevin Owens on Friday night at Madison Square Garden to win the United States Championship. This is a rare WWE title change at a house show.

*****

SLAMMIVERSARY: Since Eric Fisher didn’t post the Heel Turns with the preview of Slammiversary XV, you’ll have to be content with receiving the results. The major news was that  Global Force Wrestling champion Alberto El Patron defeated Impact Wrestling world champion Lashley in a title unification match. The Greek God of Wrestling has always been a fan of Alberto, so he’s glad to see him become champion. He’s not so thrilled, however, to see him apparently join LAX this week on Impact Wrestling.

GFW women’s champion Sienna defeated Impact Wresting Knockouts champion Rosemary in another title unification match. The significance of the outcome of these first two title matches is that, although the Thursday night show will be called Impact, the brand name is being changed from Impact Wrestling to Global Force Wrestling.

In other matches, Sonjay Dutt defeated Low Ki to retain the X Division Championship; Ethan Carter III defeated James Storm decisively in a strap match; Jeremy Borash and Joseph Park, who transformed into Abyss, defeated Josh Matthews and Scott Steiner; Eddie and Alisha Edwards finally got revenge against Davey Richards and Angelina Love by beating them in a Full Metal Mayhem match; Moose and NFL running back DeAngelo Williams beat Chris Adonis and Eli Drake; LAX retained the GFW and Impact tag team championships in a our-way match with the Laredo Kid and Garza Jr., Drago and El Hijo del Fantasma, and Naomichi Marufuji and Tahiri Ishimori. In the preshow match, Brandon Sutter, Mahabali Shera and Allie topped KM, Kongo Kong and Laurel Van Ness.

*****

RHODES OUT OF THIS WORLD: Congratulations to Cody Rhodes, who defeated Christopher Daniels at Ring of Honor’s “Best in the World” pay-per-view in June to become Ring of Honor’s world champion.

The Greek God of Wrestling admired Rhodes’ work in WWE, so he’s not surprised that Rhodes has won Ring of Honor’s world title.

There are a lot of world titles, so the following statement is subjective: Rhodes is the first member of his family to win a significant world title since the late, great Dusty Rhodes defeated Ric Flair for the NWA World Championship in 1986. You know Dusty, who died two years ago, is looking down from heaven with pride.

But Cody didn’t win the Ring of Honor title because he’s Dusty’s son. Cody has carved out his own reputation in professional wrestling. In my humble opinion, Cody has always done the best he could with the situation he was in – even something as ridiculous as his Stardust gimmick in WWE. It’s wonderful to see Rhodes rewarded for his hard work.

Rhodes, who needed stitches in his upper lip due to a cut that opened up early in Friday’s match, also sustained a shoulder injury, but an MRI revealed that the injury will not require surgery or extended time off.

Achilles Heel is confident that Rhodes will represent the Ring of Honor title with – what else? – honor.

*****

CZW PRESENTS EVILUTION: Davey Richards defends the Combat Zone Wrestling World Championship tonight (Sat., July 8) at during Evilution (7:30 p.m.) at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. Richards’ opponents will be Lio Rush, from whom he took the title, former champion Joe Gacy and Shane Strickland.

Other matches include Matt Tremont and The Awakening against Masada and Storm of Entrails in a doors match; Maxwell Jacob Feinstein defending the CZW Wired Championship against Trevor Lee, and A.R. Fox vs. Ace Romero.

*****

CENA, RUSEV RETURN: John Cena made his return to WWE last Tuesday on Smackdown. Rusev, upset that his return was not promoted with the same fanfare, interrupted Cena. The result is a flag match between Cena and Rusev at Battleground on July 23 at Wells Fargo Center.

A flag match is the type of match that Rusev could win without Cena losing face. The Greek God of Wrestling hopes this is the beginning of a hard-earned push for Rusev.

*****

POOR BOOKING: Achilles Heel hopes that Battleground, which includes a Punjabi Prison match for the WWE Championship between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton, the Uso defending the Smackdown Tag Team Championship against The New Day and the flag match between John Cena and Rusev, is better than Money in the Bank, which was the last Smackdown pay-per-view.

The Greek God of Wrestling isn’t one of those Internet hacks who constantly complains about poor booking. You know the type. They complain because the “wrong” guy won or the ending wasn’t executed the way they wanted. I’m not one of those guys. (And if you think I am, I’ll deliver a slap to the side of your head that won’t ever forget – once you regain consciousness.). However, I had a problem with the booking for Money in the Bank.

My complaint isn’t with Baron Corbin winning an excellent Money in the Bank ladder match. That’s the type of complaining I don’t do. I would have preferred that A.J. Styles win the match, but completely understand the choice of Corbin to win. He needs the briefcase to elevate his status. Styles and Kevin Owens do not need it.

My problem is with the ending of the first women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Having James Ellsworth climb the ladder and then deliver the briefcase to Carmella wasn’t the way this historic match should have ended. It made even less sense after Smackdown general manager Daniel Bryan ordered a Money in the Bank ladder match rematch next Tuesday. Why have a historic match on a pay-per-view to set up a match two weeks later on broadcast television?

Another poor ending was having the Usos walk away during their Smackdown Tag Team Championship match against The New Day. A countout loss is almost acceptable. A countout loss because Jimmy and Jey Uso bailed on the match, which was outstanding up to that point, is terrible booking.

The Greek God of Wrestling also wasn’t happy with the added match. With only five matches scheduled, I told you there would likely be another match, but Fandango and Tyler Breeze against the Ascension isn’t what I had in mind. This match and Naomi’s defense of the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Lana, who was better than expected, are two matches that didn’t belong on a pay-per-view event.

While I’m complaining about Money in the Bank, I didn’t agree with having Randy Orton lose clean, albeit it with plenty of distraction from the Singh brothers, to Jinder Mahal in the WWE Championship match. Apparently, though, this feud isn’t over, which makes the ending more palatable.

Because of poor booking, Money in the Bank was not as good as it should have been.

*****

MIZ HAS BALLS: WWE scored quite a catch by having Lonzo Ball, father LaVar Ball and younger brother LaMelo Ball on Miz TV during Raw on June 26. This was Lonzo Ball’s first appearance at Staples Center since being drafted second overall by the Lakers.

The segment, feature tension between LaVar and Miz was a bit of a trainwreck – the Lakers must hope that Lonzo is more coachable than his father and younger brother, who uttered a racial slur – but the Balls’ appearance generated a lot of free publicity for WWE and made Raw and Miz TV seem important beyond the wrestling universe.

*****

FOREVER YOUNG: The Mae Young Classic, a single-elimination women’s tournament named after the WWE Hall of Famer, will be taped Thursday and Friday at Full Sail University in Orlando. The tournament is scheduled to begin airing on WWE Network on Aug. 28.

WWE has been releasing names of the international field, which seems modeled after the successful Cruiserweight Classic from last summer. Jim Ross and Lita will handle the broadcasting duties.

*****

RANALLO IS BACK: The Greek God of Wrestling is pleased that Mauro Ranallo, whose departure was controversial, has signed a two-year deal to return to WWE, where he joins the NXT broadcast. Ranallo did a tremendous job broadcasting the Cruiserweight Classic and did a fine job as Smackdown’s lead broadcaster.

*****

STRONG PERFORMANCE: Bobby Roode’s NXT Championship defense against Roderick Strong this week was a tremendous match. Roode continues to be impressive as NXT champion, just as he was when he was the TNA world champion. Despite losing, Strong also was elevated in NXT by this match.

*****

NO KIDDING AROUND: Congratulations to Rory Gulak, the younger brother of Drew Gulak, for winning the Johnny Kidd Invitational in June. Gulak defeated CHIKARA grand champion Juan Francisco de Coronado in the final of the talent-laden tournament, which included Mike Quackenbush, Zach Sabre Jr. and Matt Riddle.

CHIKARA will present matches this Friday at First Energy Stadium in conjunction with the Reading Phillies game.

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