Beast in the East

July 4, 2015
Sumo Hall – Ryogoku Kokugikan
Tokyo, Japan
Watch: VoicesofWrestling.com/WWENetwork

For the first time in WWE history there is a live broadcast of a WWE event taking place in Japan. This tour has always been reserved for house shows that were watched exclusively by the crowd in attendance. A visit to an unhealthy Masa Saito by Brock Lesnar inspired Vince McMahon to turn this house show into a WWE Network Special. Every time Brock Lesnar steps foot in a pro wrestling ring WWE has a chance to make money, and they have capitalized on this opportunity.

For the special occasion you will see a win-loss record by each wrestler’s name. These are the win-loss record of each wrestler for every match they have ever wrestled in Japan during their career. Along with this I have added the last WWE and non-WWE match each competitor wrestled in Japan.

Chris Jericho (72-81) vs. Neville (289 – 190)

  • Chris Jericho’s last match in Japan: Finn Balor def. Chris Jericho 7/3/2015
  • Chris Jericho’s last non-WWE match in Japan: NJPW – Shinjiro Otani and Tatsuhito Takaiwa def. Black Tiger and Chris Jericho 9/23/1998
  • Neville’s last match in Japan: Neville def. Kofi Kingston 7/3/2015
  • Neville’s last non-WWE match in Japan: Dragon Gate – World 1 International (Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, and PAC) def. Mad Blankey (BxB Hulk, Cyber Kong, and Naoki Tanisaki) and Team Veteran Returns (Don Fuji, Gamma, and Masaaki Mochizuki) 7/22/2012

This match could be dropped right into the 1995 Super J Cup and no one would know any different. Jericho has a respect and adoration for wrestling in Japan and you could tell by watching this match as Jericho adapted by wrestling a match closer to the signature Strong Style of Japanese wrestling.

The fans were immediately hot for this event as the first thing that happened was Jericho’s music hitting the speakers. The crowd was hot like only a signature Japanese crowd could be. There were lots of “Y2J! Y2J!” chants.

The story of the match was that Neville is the sparky young stud of a wrestler, but just couldn’t out match the wits of the cocky veteran in Jericho. Neville attempted to hit Jericho with the Red Arrow three times, failing each time. On the third attempt Jericho put his knees up and immediately put Neville in the Lion Tamer for the win. Yes, Michael Cole called Jericho’s finisher the “Lion Tamer”. Winner: Chris Jericho – 16:20 ***3/4

Triple Threat WWE Divas Championship Match
Nikki Bella (3-0) © vs. Tamina (0-1) vs. Paige (3-0)

  • Nikki Bella and Tamina’s last match in Japan: Nikki Bella def. Tamina 7/3/2015
  • Paige’s last match in Japan: Paige def. Alicia Fox 7/12/2014
  • Nikki Bella, Paige, and Tamina’s last non-WWE match in Japan: N/A

These Divas put a heckuva effort into this match. Everything that Nikki or Paige did was a step above what they pull off in a normal match. Tamina was….Tamina. This means, pretty terrible. When Tamina was away from the action and it was down to Paige and Nikki it was refreshing to see these two Divas work a more intense/snug style. Nikki wins with a stiff forearm to Tamina. Winner and still champion: Nikki Bella – 7:03 **3/4

Brock Lesnar (10-1) vs. Kofi Kingston (2-4)

  • Brock Lesnar’s last match in Japan: IGF – Kurt Angle def. Brock Lesnar 6/29/2007
  • Brock Lesnar’s last WWE match in Japan: Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, and Chris Benoit def. Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, and The Big Show 7/19/2003
  • Kofi Kingston’s last match in Japan: Neville def. Kofi Kingston 7/3/2015
  • Kofi Kingston’s last non-WWE match in Japan: N/A

In what will be the most hyped squash match of all time (has there ever been another PPV named after a participant of a squash match?) Brock Lesnar continues to prove that he a world class and all-time great performer. Kofi managed to get some lucky offense in and Lesnar sold it like a champ. Lesnar then gathered his thoughts and decimated Kingston.

After the match Big E and Xavier Woods came to Kingston’s aid, but to no avail, as Lesnar delivered an F5 to each of them. Big E doesn’t look so “big” when the Vanilla Gorilla is tossing him around. Winner: Brock Lesnar – 2:36 ***1/2

NXT Championship Match
Kevin Owens (18-10) © vs. Finn Balor (412 – 255)

  • Kevin Owens’ last match in Japan: John Cena def. Kevin Owens 7/3/2015
  • Kevin Owens’ last non-WWE match in Japan: Dragon Gate – Renaissance (Don Fuji, Masaaki Mochizuki, and Yasushi Kanada) def. Muscle Outlawz (Gamma, Masato Yoshino, and Kevin Steen)
  • Finn Balor’s last match in Japan: Finn Balor def. Chris Jericho 7/3/2015
  • Finn Balor’s last non-WWE match in Japan: Ryusuke Taguchi def. Prince Devitt 4/6/2014

Finn Balor started off this match with guns blazing as he turned the speed of the match immediately to ten. Owens eventually caught Balor and slowed down the match with his signature brawling sprinkled with brash trash talking. You could see the energy pouring out of Balor as he was giving Owens everything he had.

Owens’ cockiness didn’t lose him the match, as he was able to hit Balor with John Cena’s signature Five Moves of Doom. This proves that Owens doesn’t need to change his style. Not yet at least.

In the end, after Owens threw everything he had at Finn Balor and it wasn’t good enough to put the Demon down Owens screamed at Balor “You can’t beat me!” Balor took this challenge and met it with some signature dropkicks and the Coup de Grace for the win.

After the match, Tatsumi Fujinami came out to congratulate Finn Balor. Finn Balor then offered a handshake to Kevin Owens and Owens refused as he stormed away to the back. Winner and NEW CHAMPION: Finn Balor – 19:26 ****1/4

John Cena (15-2) and Dolph Ziggler (5-3) vs. Corporate Kane (8-8) and King Barrett (3-4)

  • John Cena’s last match in Japan: John Cena def. Kevin Owens 7/3/2015
  • Dolph Ziggler and Kane’s last match in Japan: Dolph Ziggler def. Corporate Kane 7/3/2015
  • King Barrett’s last match in Japan: Cesaro def. King Barrett 7/3/2015

If you packaged any given Monday Night Raw main event and shipped it to Tokyo it would look a lot like this match. The match wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t unique. The crowd stayed hot for it as this is one of the few times they will be able to see Cena and company compete before their very eyes.

Anyone can understand why this match was the main event, but no one can make a good case for why this match was given the most time of any match during the night. Ziggler was being beat down in an overly drawn out heat spot before Cena got the hot tag and finished Barrett off with the Attitude Adjustment. Winners: John Cena and Dolph Ziggler – 23:49 **

Final Thoughts: The look and feel of the event was different than anything you will see WWE produce this year. The atmosphere of the venue was something special in itself. Michael Cole and Byron Saxton were better on commentary than any WWE commentating team in years. Michael Cole seemingly wasn’t produced and was able to be himself. If you’re in a bind then just check out the Jericho/Neville and Balor/Owens matches. Otherwise, take a couple of hours out of your day and check out a really fun show that WWE so desperately needed in a time where their weekly TV ratings are dropping.