To give a little background, this show is WWE finally, and truly, capitalizing on the potential on the WWE Network. WWE runs a tour of Japan every year, usually around the 4th of July. With the news that Brock Lesnar was going to be wrestling on one of these shows, WWE decided to take this opportunity to put on a Network Exclusive LIVE from Japan, specifically the world-famous Sumo Hall (the site of many big New Japan shows). Not only are we getting to see Brock Lesnar complete, but we’re also getting a NXT Title Match, as Kevin Owens defends against Finn Balor!!
WWE The Beast In The East
Tokyo, Japan 7/4/15
1.) Chris Jericho vs. Neville: ***3/4
The first match of the special (but not the first match of the night, as the first two matches were not part of the special) sees Chris Jericho taking on Neville. This is a bit of a dream match, though it would be even more of a dream match if Jericho was a few years younger. Still, this was a very good opening match. It wasn’t quite a great match, but it was still a match that’s definitely worth watching. There some really good back & forth action between these two, especially in the closing stages. Neville almost got the win, but in the end, Jericho would pull out the victory.
2.) WWE Diva’s Title - Triple Threat Match - Nikki Bella vs. Paige vs. Tamina: **3/4
So we had a variant of this match on at Elimination Chamber 2015, but here we’re getting Tamina instead of Naomi. I actually thought this was pretty solid. It was definitely better than the aforementioned Triple Threat Match with Naomi (mainly because that match had a ton of botches). While Tamina wasn’t exactly the best here, Nikki Bella & Paige more than made up for this, and that resulted in a match that was a little better than I was expecting. Eventually, Nikki Bella would get the win to retain her WWE Diva’s Title.
3.) Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston: N/R
I don’t think anyone would have guessed that Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston would be a match that actually happened, yet here we are. I doesn’t feel right to rate this match, in my opinion. This was basically just a three-minute squash match designed as a showcase to Lesnar. Give Kingston a ton of credit, though. He played his role here very well. While Kofi would get a shot or two in, Lesnar basically MAULED him, and easily got the win.
After the match, Lesnar continued to beat up Kingston. Big E & Xavier Woods came out to help their partner, but they to were destroyed by “The Beast Incarnate”. There were F5’s and German Suplexes aplenty. This was a ton of fun.
4.) NXT Title - Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor: ****1/4
Balor had a title shot against Kevin Owens a few months prior in Full Sail, but failed to capture the title. This is his 2nd opportunity, but this time, it’s on very familiar turf. Balor, of course, comes out in his “Demon” Body Paint for the occasion, and gets a ton of steamers from the Japanese crowd!! Owens heeled it up immediately, by throwing a bouquet of ceremonial flowers. As far as the match is concerned, this was awesome, and easily the best match of the night!!! Balor looked great here as the conquering hero and a huge star in the building where he’s wrestled countless times. Owens also played his role as a heel very well (as he always does). The action in this one was fantastic, and the Japanese crowd was certainly into it. After a great closing stretch, Finn Balor would score the victory over Kevin Owens to win the NXT Title!! An amazing moment, and an awesome match!
5.) John Cena & Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane & King Barrett: **¼
After that awesome NXT Title Match, it’s pretty disappointing that we’re getting this as the Main Event. It was….ok, but it easily the worst match on this special. The work was decent, but this match was just WAAAAY too long, and it didn’t deserve this Main Event spot. As you would expect, the babyface team of Cena & Ziggler would get the win to close the show.
For the most part, this was a really enjoyable show. That mainly had to do with the fact that it just felt so different from a typical WWE show. The atmosphere was really cool, it wasn’t too long of a show with only five matches, and commentary (Michael Cole & Byron Saxton) was actually very good for the majority of this show. As far as the match goes, the NXT Title Match was fantastic, and Balor winning the NXT Title in Sumo Hall was just an awesome moment. Jericho vs. Neville was really good, and the Brock Lesnar squash was super entertaining. Even with the disappointing Main Event, this was still a very enjoyable show to watch from start to finish.