Beast in the East: The Land of the Wrong Main Event

Beast in the East
Date: July 4, 2015
Location: Ryugoku Sumo Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton

This is one of those times where the WWE Network shows how amazing it really is. Instead of a pay per view or TV show, they’ve basically sent cameras to film a major house show and we get to watch it because we’re lucky that we have the Network in our lives. The main draw is of course Brock Lesnar in a rare match as he faces Kofi Kingston in what could be a lot of fun. Let’s get to it.

The opening video talks about the only two things that matter: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens and Brock Lesnar. Does anything else matter?

It’s a really basic set with a short aisle and a square Titantron. I like that.

Neville vs. Chris Jericho

That’s quite the opener. The fans are mainly behind Jericho but the LET’S GO NEVILLE chants sneak in there. Feeling out process to start with Jericho working on a wristlock but getting sent out to the floor for his efforts. Back in and we hit a bow and arrow hold on Neville, only to have him flip over into a cover for two.

They’re working a nice technical style to start here. Cole talks about their histories and my mind is blown as we hear about Dragon Gate and FMW on WWE programming. Back up and Neville tries some flips, only to be sent out to the floor. The springboard dropkick puts him down again and the fans are eating up some Canadian hero.

We hit the chinlock back inside as Jericho is working a very simple heel style while still being a face for the crowd. An enziguri gets two on Neville. Cole: “And now Neville may be the one heading back to the locker room.” So is Jericho just going to stand out there if he wins? It’s not the worst idea in the world but as usual, Cole doesn’t think before he speaks. Neville fights back up and goes to the top but Jericho is right there waiting to knock him down. Very nicely done there as you can see the story they’re telling here.

Jericho’s superplex is countered but he has to roll through a Red Arrow attempt. A try at a hurricanrana goes even worse as Jericho counters into the Walls for a very solid reaction from the crowd. The ropes are quickly grabbed though and Neville hits a quick dropkick and standing shooting star for two. Jericho forearms him down and hits the Lionsault for the same. The Codebreaker connects but Jericho takes his time covering so we keep going. Neville pops back up with the delayed German and a superkick but the Red Arrow hits knees, setting up the Liontamer (yes Liontamer) for the submission at 16:13.

Rating: B. Huh? They spent the entire match setting up Neville’s big comeback to beat Jericho and then they have him win? I’m not sure on that one but at least Neville looked great in there. I was really digging the story they were going with here Jericho being one step ahead of Neville and cutting him off at every turn while treating him as someone beneath him with all of his cockiness. Good match with a questionable result but the fans dug the heck out of the Liontamer so points for giving them something to cheer for. Jericho was the heel here, but it was very basic at best.

Brock is here.

Divas Title: Nikki Bella vs. Tamina vs. Paige

Nikki is defending and it could be interesting to hear how the fans treat this one. Cole, ever the genius, calls the former Women’s Champion Bull Nakana (it’s Nakano, as Byron Saxton corrects him. Yes, Byron Saxton is the smart one on this team). Paige takes over to start but actually works with Nikki to suplex Tamina. You know, because Tamina is so big that you can’t suplex her.

Nikki takes over as you can hear some very loud spots being called. The champ loads up a superplex but the referee is nice enough to tell Tamina to get back in so she can do the Tower of Doom. Tamina gets sent outside again though because she really has no reason to be here other than likely taking the fall later. The Rampaige gets two on Nikki because she killed that move during one of their title matches. It’s Tamina in again though with a superkick to Paige but Nikki rolls away from the Superfly Splash, setting up the forearm to retain at 7:13.

Rating: C-. This was fine and basically a Raw Divas match. Nikki is pretty clearly getting the Divas Title record because it’s going to make us forget about AJ Lee or something like that, because only WWE really cares about these things. You can see the other Divas having to take it back a notch to let her keep up, but Nikki is a lot better than she used to be.

Brock Lesnar video, which might as well be Kofi’s last rites.

Kofi Kingston vs. Brock Lesnar

Just Kofi here and surprisingly no Heyman. For some reason I don’t see him as being a big deal in Japan. Kofi is smart enough to bail to the floor to start and we’re told that New Day’s tag match took place before the show went on the air. I was wondering how they were going to be able to fit the whole seven match card in two hours, but did anyone really need to see New Day vs. Lucha Dragons? Cole mentions Brock being the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, which is always interesting to hear in WWE.

The chase is on for a few seconds but the inevitable beating quickly begins. Kofi’s cross body works as well as you would expect it to work and a dropkick to the back just annoys Brock even more. Kofi flips out of a German and goes after the knee for as much effect as it’s going to have. There’s the first German though and the Japanese fans chant SUPLEX CITY. German #2 makes Kofi’s hair bounce in a good bit. The fans try to cheer for Kingston so Brock just destroys him with the F5 for the pin at 2:58. This was exactly what it should have been.

Brock throws in a few more Germans because he can, followed by some F5’s to an invading New Day. Again, this is exactly what it should have been.

In case you’re wondering about the other two advertised matches, Cesaro beat Diego by submission and the Lucha Dragons pinned the New Day in dark matches.

Quick recap of the NXT Title match, which should be main eventing but instead we’re getting a lame tag match because that’s how WWE works. Anyway, Finn Balor made his name in Japan and is coming back home as the Demon to take the title from NXT Champion Kevin Owens. Kevin simply said it’s not going to happen.

NXT Title: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens

We get the Demon entrance and oh yes it’s still glorious. For a bonus, the camera changes to an arena shot at the crescendos of the music. To make it feel even more special, we get the full on flower presentation from geisha girls (Owens throws his into the crowd of course) and streamers for both guys. Get this through your head ROH: doing the same thing for every match doesn’t make it feel more special. Hideo Itami is shown in the front row and we’re ready to start. Balor has more paint than ever with his face, torso and left leg covered.

Balor charges at the bell and loads up the Coup de Grace in the first ten seconds. Owens rolls outside so Balor nails a big dive as the NXT chants start up. He tries to bail again and eats a baseball slide as Balor is all over him. Back in and Owens hammers away to take over for the first time. Owens: “AND THAT’S WHY I’M THE CHAMP!” We hear more of Balor’s accomplishments in New Japan as Owens takes some bows.

It’s off to Chinlock City before a forearm breaks up Balor’s springboard. The slow pace is working for Kevin here and it fits him very well. Finn beats the count back in but takes the backsplash for two. Back in and Owens snapmares him down and runs the ropes….before stopping for a chinlock. Owens: “Are you not impressed? I don’t care. I hate this country and all its stupid people!” Balor fights back again with a middle rope forearm for two so Owens does Cena’s finishing sequence, complete with an attempted AA.

Balor is afraid of a lawsuit over gimmick infringement (only Kurt Angle can steal that many finishers) and slips out twice in a row. Bloody Sunday is teased (and the fans gasp) but it’s a Pele Kick to put Owens down instead. Owens takes a big flip dive and a top rope double stomp to the back, followed by a reverse Bloody Sunday (not called that of course) for a VERY close two. The Coup de Grace misses though and Owens’ Cannonball gets two. The package piledriver slam gets the same but Balor hits a quick Sling Blade.

Another Coup de Grace is countered so Balor kicks him in the head and FINALLY connects with the stomp….for two. Dang I thought that was it. Owens can’t hit the swinging fisherman’s superplex so he settles for a middle rope Regal Roll for two. That looked great. Kevin’s Swanton hits knees and the real Bloody Sunday gets an even closer two. They’re trading bombs here and it’s getting awesome. Owens makes the eternal mistake of slapping a hero in the face and saying the hero can’t beat him. Balor dropkicks him into the corner, hits a running corner dropkick and a second Coup de Grace for the title at 19:30.

Rating: B+. Was there ever any doubt that this was going to be awesome? Owens is one of the best heels that I’ve seen in years and he does everything he can do to make you hate him. The fact that he can go as well as he does in the ring makes him even better, which is saying quite a bit as he’s that good as a character.

Tatsumi Fujinami comes in to congratulate the new champion. Owens of course refuses a handshake because he’s a true heel.

Kane/King Barrett vs. John Cena/Dolph Ziggler

Here’s a match that no one wants to see because it’s lame even by house show standards band WWE didn’t think this stuff through. And Lana isn’t even here, though to be fair she wouldn’t make sense out there with Cena. Ziggler shoulders Barrett down to start so it’s off to the power guys, meaning Kane gets to bore main event crowds in a new country. Cole: “Cena has restored credibility to what many would admit was a rather stagnant United States Title.” Oh yeah Vince isn’t listening.

Cena slugs away at Kane for no effect, just as he’s done about 194 times over the years. Maybe if we’re lucky Kane will break a hole in the ring and be a demon/monster again. Barrett chinlocks Cena before it’s back to Kane, who bores the announcers so much that they start name dropping Japanese wrestlers and co-promoted shows. Cole: “It’s amazing to know that COO HHH is watching this show live.” No Cole, it isn’t.

Barrett comes back in for some big right hands as the announcers keep trying to find ANYTHING to talk about here. Another Barrett chinlock slows things down even more but Cena comes back with an AA to a very limited reaction. Kane breaks up the tag but can’t hit a chokeslam, so Cena, ever the genius, tries an AA. Since it’s against Kane though, the powers of history and Cena’s strength don’t work because Cena can usually do that on Henry and Big Show but can’t handle the 100lb lighter man.

ANOTHER chinlock makes the match drag on even further but Barrett misses an elbow to finally allow Ziggler to get the hot tag. Dolph cleans house….and gets taken down again so this match can keep going for reasons I do not understand. Just let Cena AA Barrett for the pin already. We hit the double arm stretch on Dolph before Winds of Changes is countered into a crucifix for two. The FIFTH chinlock of this match is followed by Barrett’s apron knees and yet another chinlock.

Winds of Change stops Ziggler again and Kane does the old Arn Anderson drop down onto the back until he crotches himself. Now usually that would mean a hot tag, but why do that when you can have Kane hit a big boot and a double back elbow from the heels to keep this going? The chokeslam is countered and Ziggler finally hits the jumping DDT for the hot tag. Cena AA’s Kane with ease (because this match has erased the last ten minutes from history) and hits another on Barrett for the pin at a mind numbing 23:52.

Rating: D. The match wasn’t even horrible but you could have cut out at least ten minutes of this and done the exact same match. Rusev would have made a lot more sense than Barrett but for some reason they didn’t change this match to ANYTHING else. The time was the real problem here as it went on forever and the chinlocks killed any interest there might have been here.

A big celebration ends the show. Cole: “You and I actually trended on Twitter tonight!” Is there really any other way to end this? Thankfully the last shot of the show is Balor holding up the title.

Overall Rating: B. Here’s the thing: this show had two goals to take care of: Brock Lesnar being all destructive and a good NXT Title match with Balor getting the belt. They nailed those two things to near perfection, so anything else was a bonus. Luckily there was a good opener and a fine Divas match, but that main event killed a lot of the energy the show had. They really should have aired one of the other matches in its place, because that was the completely wrong choice to end the show. This should have ended with Balor pinning Owens, not a lame tag match. Still though, really fun stuff for a glorified house show.

Results

Chris Jericho b. Neville – Red Arrow

Nikki Bella b. Paige and Tamina – Forearm to Tamina

Brock Lesnar b. Kofi Kingston – F5

Finn Balor b. Kevin Owens – Coup de Grace

John Cena/Dolph Ziggler b. Kane/King Barrett – AA to Barrett

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of Complete Monday Nitro Reviews Volume III at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

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15 comments

  1. RufusRJonesGrandsonsFriend says:

    Being that I know Rufus R Jones grandsons (which makes me a wrestling expert by default) I will give my important thoughts on this show.

    First off, where was Mr Fuji? I know he wasn’t really a Jap but come on!! A show from Japan without the Devious One?? Unacceptable!!!

    Second, you are completely wrong. That nXt match shouldn’t have went on last. As a matter of fact, it should have been a dark match!!! New Day vs The Lucha Dragons should have been on this show!!! And what happened to Cesaro vs Diego?!?! I can’t believe this Owen and Bailor made it on the live broadcast and Diego didn’t. What a miscarriage of justice!!!

    I am going to make one more important point because I am very tired. John Cena is the man. This is why he beats everyone. That is what is supposed to happen when you are the best. You win win win. Just like my friends grandfather, Rufus R Jones.

    I am now going to sleep. I will be back later with more expert analysis because I am a wrestling expert.

  2. RufusRJonesGrandsonsFriend says:

    I would like to do a guest column on here being that I am Rufus R Jones grandsons friend, therefore making me a wrestling expert.

    Where do I send it?

  3. Killjoy says:

    The NXT title was very obviously supposed to go to Hideo Itami here given Tatsumi Fujinami’s presence and how things were going before his injury. But if that match and entrance doesn’t show Finn Valor is money, nothing will. Amazing performance.

  4. RufusRJonesGrandsonsFriend says:

    Wrestling enthusiast RufusRJonesGrandsonsFriend says: it’s Balor, not Valor.

    Jerk.

    Killjoy Reply:

    Spellchecker. And fuck off.

  5. Gunther_224 says:

    What do you make of the tryouts WWE held? Do you think there is a chance WWE snags the greatest wrestler in the World (Shinsuke Nakamura) and if they do how do you think he’ll fare?

    Killjoy Reply:

    They didn’t get try outs, it was a disproven rumor. Though the idea of Nakamura and Okada being in WWE is borderline horrifying. I have extremely serious doubts that they would be able to keep the characters that have made them so popular or use the moves that have got them over. I mean, at the most basic, Okada’s Tombstone and Rainmaker will be gone. No doubt. So would Shinsuke’s Boma Ye. It would just not work.

    Let them stay where they strive.

    Wirehead Reply:

    I think it’s fair to say WWE would treat Okada like a big deal if they ever signed him. Dude is over 6 feet tall, have a fantastic look, and his wrestling style should transition smoothly to WWE minus the tombstone of course.

    Okada will eventually do all he can in New Japan and might want to try something new.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I’m with Killjoy. I don’t need to s…..let me pause this comment for a second.

    If there’s a single woo-hoo anywhere near this, I’ll find you and hurt you.

    Back to the comment.

    ee them in WWE to know they’re great. If Itami has proven anything, it’s that a top level Japanese wrestler doesn’t exactly translate perfectly. The talent would be enough to get them over and make them be successful, but let them rock New Japan instead of coming here.

  6. Gunther_224 says:

    Ok I saw that now. Hypothetically though, the boma ye (think running knee) could still be used. As could the rainmaker (Dean Ambrose used a version of it not too long ago)

  7. Awesome_Miz says:

    I am still baffled by the fact that they didn’t have John Cena either A) give a promo towards the US since he’s US Champion and it’s fourth of July or B) have him defend the title on 4th of FREAKING July. It all would have made sense to do that on this, but nevertheless we got a borderline typical painful WWE tag team match that makes no sense whatsoever.

  8. Wirehead says:

    It would have been just a wee bit awkward for Cena to cut that type of promo in Japan.

    Awesome_Miz Reply:

    I get what you are saying, but if you saw the show then you would have seen some US posters targeting towards Cena which males me believe the Japanese would have had no problem with a USA promo. And if WWE saw it the same as you then they could have had a pre-recorded promo would have worked as well. It would have just made the title mean almost something.

  9. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I thought it was pretty surreal to hear New Japan,FMW,and Dragon Gate mentioned on a WWE Show but it was cool. Micheal Cole and Byron Saxton I thought did a great job calling things. Cole doesn’t bother me as much as he does most people but when he doesn’t have Vince or Kevin Dunn in his ear he is so much better.

    Fun Show and I enjoyed the NXT Title Match. If Hideo is back by August I could see him challenging Finn Balor at Takeover Brooklyn.

  10. james gracie says:

    How’s the Neville “rocket push” going? LOL