WWE Network – Beast In The East 2015 Reaction

Courtesy of WWE.

Courtesy of WWE.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez


July 4, 2015 is a day that will go down in the history books in terms of the uniqueness of WWE Network live specials.

How unique was it?

American wrestling fans braved a 5 a.m. alarm to stay up for a live broadcast from Japan at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Sumida in Tokyo, Japan – a well-renowned arena for Sumo matches and sporting events – to see it.

It was essentially a glorified house show, but one match particularly made this worthwhile, besides for the namesake instance of seeing Brock Lesnar’s in-ring return after WrestleMania 31.

Finn Balor – a guy who arguably made his name and honed his craft in Japan as Prince Devitt, was the man to do the unthinkable.

We’ll get more into that below.





(Aired 7/4/15)

The Breakdown 

– The opening video was a good “wrap-up” of the history about to be made as the NXT Championship would be defended as Kevin Owens took on Balor and then it also focused on Lesnar’s return.

– The Chris Jericho-Neville match was a dream of sorts when it was first announced on the card as a drawing point. The reality of it? It was pretty much the back-and-forth technical bout with dashes of aerial tendencies we all expected. Michael Cole even name-dropped the Dragon Gate promotion to get Neville over in his time in Japan. Excellent reversals and spots throughout – the Mid-Air Codebreaker was something different. Neville teased the Red Arrow three times, not getting to hit the move, as Jericho turned it into the old-school Lion Tamer, forcing Neville to submit. Very good match you should go out of your way to see if you do choose to watch the show. Only complaint is that Neville is continuously being booked as the guy “who comes close” and with no real storyline direction, it makes you wonder when he’ll get his true “breakout” moment, but he’s getting good reactions from the crowd.

– The triple threat match for the Divas Championship between Paige, Tamina and Nikki Bella was a decent way to showcase the division without its flaws necessarily. Cole mentioning Bella’s #RoadTo300 with her reign in the 220’s makes us think that she’ll be champion for a while longer, at least until Paige brings new blood to fight the Bellas. The match was good for what it was by Divas standards. Tamina brought the element of power while Bella and Paige worked together hesitantly at times to combat it. Paige didn’t factor into the finish to keep her protected, as Bella won with a Forearm shot to Tamina, which seemed to catch people by surprise. Awkward finish, but Bella remains over.

– The Brock Lesnar-Kofi Kingston match was different in that both guys came out alone. Kingston started the match trying to fly around with quick strikes, but Lesnar wasn’t affected, as he gave Kingston three or four suplexes and hit the F5. Wasn’t the utter annihilation it was billed to be, more like a quick and painless squash, but we knew Kofi stood zero chance. Things were more effective after the match when Lesnar hit another suplex on Kingston and F5, then giving other New Day members F5’s as well.

– The Finn Balor-Kevin Owens match for the NXT Championship gave us a full-length Balor entrance which was almost spine-tingling on the Japanese horizon. Loved the touch of streamers and flowers added to things, which only gave Owens more heat by spitting in the face of Japanese culture. The shot of Hideo Itami in the crowd was also a good reminder of things. Have to feel for the guy as this show was probably revolved around the idea of him being the one to uncrown Owens if he didn’t get injured, since he was primed to become the number one contender. The match itself was fantastic, as both men shined really well. Balor put in a career-making performance and Owens met him every step of the way. The near-falls towards the end were very well-done. It took two Coup de Graces to beat Owens, but it’s interesting to note that Owens never hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb. Would’ve made a great near-fall if even a guy like John Cena could kick out of it. Balor winning in this environment was a special moment that was also a logical way to get the belt off Owens, because if it was going to happen, it was going to take something of this magnitude. Owens refusing the handshake after a tease of sportsmanship was also a good way to retain the heat.

– If you’ve been to a house show before, long-winded tag team matches for main events are the norm. Did we really need to see a 23 minute tag between Cena/Dolph Ziggler and King Barrett/Kane? Probably not, but we can’t say the wrestling in the match was bad, it was just the slow, morbid pacing that did everybody in. Sort of a snoozer, being that the match only meant something for the time that it went on. Owens was pissed after the previous match, so it was sort of odd to not see him interact with Cena in some way, though he did passive-aggreeisvely use his signature moves in the match with Balor. Faces win, everyone goes home happy. So on and so forth.





Quick Results

– Chris Jericho def. Neville via pinfall

– Divas Championship – Nikki Bella (Champion) def. Tamina and Paige via pinfall to retain 

– Brock Lesnar def. Kofi Kingston via pinfall

– NXT Championship – Finn Balor def. Kevin Owens (Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion

– John Cena/Dolph Ziggler def. Kane/King Barrett via pinfall

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on July 4, 2015, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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