G5: Brock Lesnar, Great Balls of Fire, Okada vs. Omega, more

Brock Lesnar isn’t expected back in action until July. Who should be first in line to face The Beast Incarnate for his Universal Championship?

The name of an upcoming WWE Raw pay-per-view, Great Balls of Fire has caused quite a stir. The NZPWI G5 Panel reflects on its favourite — and least favourite — names for wrestling shows.

NJPW has announced Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega at Dominion, but has an anticipated rematch ever lived up to the first encounter?

***

1. Universal Champion Brock Lesnar isn’t expected back in action until July. Who should challenge Lesnar for the title upon his return?

David:
There’s a bit of a logjam at the top on WWE Raw – you could argue Finn Balor, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins are all worthy contenders to the title. I’m 100 per cent on board with Braun Strowman as Lesnar’s first challenger though, especially after the damage he’s done throughout April.

Grady:
Braun Strowman. End of answer.

Richard:
Finn Balor is owed a rematch, in my mind, but I really want to see Strowman vs. Lesnar!

Mister J:
To be honest, I’m not sure who WWE has left that matches up anywhere near the star-power and overall savage intensity that is “The Beast Incarnate”. I think I’m going to follow with a great deal of the internet wrestling community, and suggest the only man I really see up to the task. That man, of course, is Gillberg.

 

2. The name of an upcoming WWE Raw pay-per-view, Great Balls of Fire, has caused quite a stir. Which are your favourite — and least favourite — names for wrestling shows?

David:
I don’t mind a tongue-in-cheek name when it comes to indie wrestling — something the likes of PWG and Progress are exceptionally good at — but I’d prefer WWE be a little more straight-laced. That said, I’m not a huge fan of names with zero creativity (Elimination Chamber, Hell in a Cell). Meet me somewhere in the middle.

Grady:
I don’t really care about the name Great Balls of Fire, nor the names of pay-per-views in general so it is hard to pick good or bad ones. That being said, I didn’t like One Night Stand. Not the first one — because the name perfectly fit the concept of the pay-per-view — but the subsequent pay-per-views where the name just didn’t work. Oh, and Capitol Punishment.

Richard:
A name doesn’t mean a lot, at least in the beginning, until the show has a reputation. Great Balls of Fire does sound a bit comical though, and may make it hard for a casual fan to take seriously.

Mister J:
Great Balls of Fire is up there with my least favourite. I’m not sure how it even came into being… does Vince think Jerry Lee Lewis is what the kids are listening to? Or is it merely for giggles at the undoubted “ball” related puns that I’m sure going to be plentiful all night long? ECW had a lot of well named pay-per-views and big shows… Hostile City Showdown, Hardcore Heaven, Gangsta’s Paradise, The Night the Line Was Crossed (though maybe you had to be there). When Worlds Collide was good too, and back when it was actually a tour, I liked The Great American Bash as a name as well.

 

3. The line-up for WWE Live in Christchurch has been altered following last month’s Superstar Shake-up. Are you happy with the way the way the roster is looking?

David:
In terms of Superstars who can go bell-to-bell, we’re spoiled for choice. This is exactly the sort of line-up you want for a live event!

Grady:
A very similar line-up to the last tour, with some great additions. Hopefully we see a huge addition like The Hardy Boyz that can bring another name to the tour, but who can complain about all three members of The Shield?

Richard:
This was something I had been thinking about for a while now. Now they’re back on Raw, it would be awesome to see the Hardys coming to New Zealand.

Mister J:
The roster is a very good one when it comes to being virtually guaranteed some great matches. One could argue that there isn’t much in the way of actual star power, but one could make that argument for the company in general. Certainly you will see a great show, and I think that’s the way WWE has positioned itself for a number of years now. You are not specifically there to see any particular wrestler or “superstar”, you are there to see WWE.

 

4. Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega will headline NJPW Dominion in a rematch from their instant classic at Wrestle Kingdom. Has an anticipated rematch ever lived up to the first encounter?

David:
If wrestlers are going to be working together over the course of a few months, there’s a tendency for the matches to get better. As stand-alone examples though, the first encounter is usually the best. Does anyone prefer Angle vs. Michaels from Vengeance 2005 to their first match at WrestleMania 21? Expectations are always sky-high following an incredible first-time match, and it’s near impossible to live up to them.

Grady:
Any match that is hyped never lives up to the anticipation, rematch or not, because people compare it to an imaginary image they have of what it could be. A rematch adds an extra element where fans will also compare it to the first one.

Richard:
Not very often does anything live up to the hype. Rematches can be better than the original though, especially with the stories told by the NJPW guys. I’m looking forward to it either way.

Mister J:
Being old and bitter, I find there is little that lives up to the hype surrounding it anymore. I remember being so disappointed with the Taz vs. Sabu match at ECW’s first pay-per-view, Barely Legal. After all the build-up, it was like. ‘Wait… what?’ Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, back in 1988, I always enjoyed their rematch(es). Every time they gave something new, something different. Not always better, but something unexpected. I think New Japan may very well follow suit.

 

5. Vince McMahon will be the subject of WWE Studios’ latest biopic. Paige and the Knight family are also set to be immortalised on the silver screen. Which Hollywood stars would you like to see cast in either project?

David:
I saw it suggested by one Twitter user that Andy Samberg take on the role of a younger Vince McMahon, which isn’t as crazy an idea as it may first seem. I’d like to see Mickey Rourke involved with either film too. After what he did with the character of Randy “The Ram” Robinson, I’m sure he could turn in an equally powerful performance.

Grady:
I wouldn’t want to be the person who has to play Vince McMahon! The only person who can do it is a young Vince that we go back and get with a time machine. Also throw Vin Diesel in as Vince McMahon after The Battle of the Billionaires…

Richard:
Honestly, I have no idea who should play who in the movie – especially based on what I’ve heard about the script.

Mister J:
Can you even imagine what it would be like to play Vince McMahon in a film? We’ve all heard stories of how the commentators get instructions, dressing downs, and general abuse through their headsets whilst calling live shows, I can’t even think what an actor might have to look forward to. I’m not sure I would wish it on anyone. I don’t mind the casting of Nick Frost as Ricky Knight though… I actually think that is pretty on the money.