Random Network Reviews: WWE Beast in the East
WWE Beast in the East
July 4th, 2015 | Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 8,646
Thanks to the wonderful WWE Network, the company was able to stream a live show from Japan. That meant that it aired at 5:30 AM EST. I remember waking up at 5:15 to watch it and drinking a whole lot of coffee. They only hyped up two advertised things on this show. A Brock Lesnar match and the NXT Championship match. Brock was visiting a friend in Japan and agreed to do a match there for the WWE so he could basically get paid for the trip. Vince saw an opportunity to turn this into a show, which was wise. As of right now, it is the only Beast in the East even tin WWE history.
After the opening video package, the camera pans over the crowd. Michael Cole and Byron Saxton handle commentary. Right off the bat, the show just feels different. It isn’t shot like a typical WWE event since the production was handled by a company in Japan.
Chris Jericho def. Neville in 16:20
The Japanese crowd loves Chris Jericho. Commentary is already on point, talking about Jericho’s past in Japan and the Lionheart nickname. In their early exchanges, Neville uses his quickness to cause Jericho to take a powder. We get a glimpse of old school Jericho with the COME ON BABY pin attempt. Neville starts with a comeback of kicks but Jericho comes off the top with a double axe handle. Sparkle Crotch tries for the Walls but Neville blocks. Neville front suplexes Jericho off the top. HE’S ON THE LIST! Jericho avoids a shooting star press and catches a rana into the Walls of Jericho. Neville survives and hits an awesome twisting plancha to the outside. Back inside, Jericho hits a Lionsault for two. Neville comes off the top only to get caught in a massive Codebreaker. Both men were down so there was no cover. Neville tries Red Arrow but Jericho gets his knees up to block. He then makes Neville tap to the old school Liontamer. A really fun start. Jericho brought the classic offense and showed the fire that we didn’t see again until his 2016 run. Neville brought his best effort too and this was one of the best openers in WWE all year. ***¾
Brock Lesnar is shown arriving earlier today in his mom jeans.
WWE Divas Championship: Nikki Bella (c) def. Paige and Tamina in 7:03
Nobody in the crowd cares about Tamina. Actually, nobody anywhere does. She does use her power for an early upper hand but then Paige rocks with a bunch of knee strikes. Paige and Nikki work together to take Tamina out. With Tamina gone, the match got better as Paige and Nikki always had pretty good chemistry. Paige hits Nikki hard and keeps Tamina outside. Tamina finally shows up again to do the tower of doom powerbomb spot. Paige hits the RamPaige on Nikki but only gets a near fall. Nikki learned how to kick out at two from John Cena. Tamina is involved again and misses the Superfly splash. Nikki lays her out with the Misawa forearm to retain. Better than I remembered. When Tamina wasn’t in, Paige and Nikki went at it. Hell, even Tamina wasn’t that bad. **¼
A Brock Lesnar video package airs. No mom jeans included.
Brock Lesnar def. Kofi Kingston in 2:36
Brock Lesnar is on the road to a WWE Title match with Seth Rollins, while Kofi Kingston is a tag team guy at this point. Wisely, Kofi runs and uses his speed. Brock catches him and delivers knee strikes. Kofi is able to get in some dropkicks but they barely affect Brock, who nearly kills Kofi with a German suplex. A few more of those and the F5 end this. It was kind of a squash but it was really enjoyable to the point where I’ll give it a good score. Not only was it fun but it accomplished exactly what it needed to. The formula has gotten tired over time though. ***
Brock continues with another suplex after the match. Big E and Xavier Woods run in to try and help but also gets suplexed and hit with the F5 for their troubles. Big E is no small man but Brock made him look tiny.
NXT Championship: Finn Balor def. Kevin Owens (c) in 19:26
Balor returns to Japan, where he made his name as Prince Devitt, for his second shot at the NXT Title. Finn lost to Owens in his first shot at the title, so brings out the “Demon” on this night. The paint is among the best he’s ever had, with references to both the demon and prince gimmicks. The presentation is big time, with streamers from the fans and flowers given to the competitors. Owens tosses his outside because he’s disrespectful and it’s great. Balor comes out of the gate hot and goes for his finish but Owens avoids it. Owens takes over and nails every heel mannerism possible. He talks trash, purposely applies rest holds and steals John Cena’s offense since they were feuding at this time. We get a BIG BOY SENTON from Owens. Balor starts his comeback but Owens cuts him off with a German suplex and the corner cannonball. Balor hits slingblade and Coup de Grace only for Owens to kick out. Balor also gets two on Bloody Sunday in a nice callback to his NJPW run. After more back and forth and smack talk from Owens, a second Coup de Grace earns Finn the title. Great match. They didn’t overdo the false finishes, protected the Popup Powerbomb and gave the fans a great, feel good moment with the right result. This match ranked #32 on my “Top Matches of 2015” list. ****¼
Tatsumi Fujinami shows up to congratulate Finn Balor. They then take us to highlights from the previous night in Japan.
Dolph Ziggler and WWE United States Champion John Cena def. Kane and King Barrett in 23:49
Why is this going on last? Why are Barrett and Kane teaming up? Why does none of this make sense? It never gets explained. Cena was feuding with Owens, Barrett had issues with R-Truth, Ziggler was in a feud with Rusev and Kane was just there. They work a really, really long match. The heels are in control for the most part. Dolph takes a beating for a bit and then Cena does some of the selling. Ziggler gets a relatively hot tag but Barrett quickly cuts him off. Time for Dolph to take the heat for the rest of the match until they build to the big Cena hot tag. Once that happened, Cena did his thing and the Eskimo Brothers won. This felt like a house show match where they put in minimal effort and did basic things to fill time. *½