With the Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view being the prelude to the second biggest event of the year, the hope is that WWE is gearing fans up for some exciting television. So far, the match between Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe for the WWE Universal Championship has generated a significant level of buzz, partly due to WWE succeeding in keeping the fans interested in the match.
Remaining title matches are hit and miss at this point. For the Raw Tag Team Championship, Matt and Jeff Hardy will have another opportunity to win the belts from champions Sheamus and Cesaro, despite losing their rematch. This time, it will be a 30-minute Ironman match.
The Intercontinental Championship picture has been criticized as well, seeing how The Miz and Dean Ambrose have been feuding for months, on top of their long feud while they were on SmackDown Live.
Other matches seem to be fillers, such as Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson, in an attempt to add depth to the Raw-exclusive pay-per-view.
Based on the list of matches scheduled, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter revealed the current favorites for the marquee matches.
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe
Favorite: Brock Lesnar (33-1)
There are very few people who feel that Brock Lesnar will be losing to Samoa Joe come Sunday evening, and it has been reported numerous times that this is only scheduled to be a one-off match between the two. Lesnar headlining SummerSlam with the Universal Championship has more of a star power feel, as WWE generally seeks the casual audience more for the “big four” pay-per-views.
There is always a long show, though, that Joe could win the title and set up a match against Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, with Lesnar and Strowman being the other featured bout.
Ambulance Match: Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Favorite: Braun Strowman (18-1)
This comes as a bit of a surprise since the WON previously reported that Reigns is the favorite to win due to speculation that WWE is moving the scheduled title match against Lesnar from WrestleMania 34 to this year’s SummerSlam.
If Strowman wins this rubber match, it would most likely set up the heavily rumored Lesnar vs. Strowman match. It could still set up Reigns vs. Joe, but not for the title.
Ironman Match: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The Hardy Boyz
Favorite: Sheamus & Cesaro (25-1)
Even though Sheamus and Cesaro are the favorites, the direction of this match can go many ways. Sheamus and Cesaro will most likely be champions come SummerSlam, which could allow another babyface team to chase the titles.
However, Raw has a very weak babyface side of the tag team division, with their current teams, Anderson & Gallows, Dallas & Axel, The Revival, and Slater & Rhyno. This may lead to a draw finish, and another stipulation come SummerSlam, potentially a TLC match.
Seth Rollins vs Bray Wyatt
Favorite: Seth Rollins (7-1)
This match is not very helpful for either opponent. Neither has built enough steam to help the other person if they win, especially Wyatt.
From the looks of it, Rollins winning may be a result of WWE wanting to add more value to his character as a result of being chosen to be on the cover of WWE 2K18.
[Featured Image by WWE]