In a curious case of strange booking, the WWE put their most important championship, the Universal Title from Raw, around the waist of Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 33. Having Lesnar be a champion isn’t the problem — he’s a very worthy (and marketable) superstar. The weird thing here is that Lesnar only works on a part-time contract, good for a limited number of appearances and matches every year.
WrestleMania was over two months ago, and Lesnar has barely shown up on Raw a single time since then. It’s a violation of the unwritten “champions must defend their title within 30 days or be stripped of the belt” rule (which doesn’t really exist), but no one at the WWE seems concerned. Thankfully, the wait for Lesnar’s return is almost over.
At Sunday night’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view, it was announced that the winner of the main event would get the first crack at Lesnar’s championship at the next Raw PPV (which is horribly titled “Great Balls of Fire.” No, we’re not kidding). That main event, a Fatal Five-Way match between Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor, Bray Wyatt, and Roman Reigns, ended with Samoa Joe having his hand raised.
Similar to Finn Balor’s rapid rise to the top of the main roster, Samoa Joe is a former NXT champion who only made his main roster debut earlier this year. The fact that he will be thrust into a PPV main event against Lesnar is a huge vote of confidence from Vince McMahon. Then again, Joe is no rookie. The 38-year-old was a longtime veteran of Ring of Honor and TNA Wrestling before finally signing with the WWE in 2015.
Great Balls of Fire (try not to laugh) is scheduled to take place July 9, live from Dallas, Texas.