I recently noticed in a wrestling group on Facebook I am apart of, that the WWE had a show in Japan, which aired live around 5:30 am our time, this past 4th of July. This event was dubbed "The Beast In the East" which didn't really sit right with me, as former wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow was known as "The Beast from the East" and I personally feel they could have come up with a more creative title. I have not watched one full episode of their televised programming for over a decade now, and the last pay per view I ever witnessed was the second ECW "One Night Stand" back in 2006. I googled the match card and decided I'd give the show a watch, mainly because I was curious to see how the wise Japanese fans would react to the product.
The show took place at Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Sumida, Tokyo, Japan, and right from the get go I liked the feel of the show. It definitely had more of an independent vibe, with the absence of the fancy bells and whistles we are used to seeing within the realm of the WWE. I decided I'd write my own review and rate the show, so here we go...
There were two dark matches that took place which did not air, so I cannot really express an opinion on them, but the results are as followed:
1. Cesaro defeated Diego by submission. Singles match. Time limit:N/A
2. The Lucha Dragons defeated The New Day. Tag team match. Time limit:N/A
3. Chris Jericho defeated Neville by submission. Singles match. Time limit:16:20
I personally felt this was the best match on the card. I was surprised to see Jericho back in the ring, and I have to admit he looked quite good. Chris seemed to be in good shape and his performance was top notch considering his age. This match was the epitome of wrestling in Japan. The bout indubitably had that puroresu element to it. A great story with a great build up and there weren't really any dull moments. I did kind of expect Jericho to put Neville over, but the finish was done well and these two performers put on a great spectacle.
4. Nikki Bella defeated Tamina and Paige. Triple threat match for the Divas Championship. Time Limit: 7:03
By far the worst match of the night. An absolute shit show by the Divas as usual, but I didn't expect anything less. A lot of sloppy wrestling, bad timing, and unbelievable scenarios, especially with Tamina, who was the biggest of the women physically. She barely spent anytime in the ring and kept getting knocked off the apron with simple moves such as a forearm smash, which would result in her powdering on the floor for extended periods of time. I personally felt this match shouldn't of even been on the card and I feel it was an insult to the Japanese fans who are used to watching women who can actually wrestle.
5. Brock Lesnar defeated Kofi Kingston. Singles match. Time Limit: 2:41
With this show title referencing Lesnar, they could of gave him a more formidable opponent. This was nothing short of a simple squash match. I'm guessing Lesnar is still over big in Japan, so why not treat the fans to an actual great wrestling match? Considering the show was fueled by the hype of Brock returning to the ring, a bout less than three minutes seems somewhat of bad idea. I would have loved to see Brock have an epic battle with someone of his caliber, but instead we were given all steak and no sizzle, and Kofi got a one way express ticket to Suplex City.
6. Finn Bálor defeated Kevin Owens. Singles match for the NXT Championship.
Time limit: 19:25
I was probably the most excited for this match above all the rest, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Owens throwing his flowers into the audience during the opening ceremony was very disrespectful, yet a great way to get heat as a heel, which showed throughout the match. The fans booed the majority of his offensive moves, and when he encouraged them to join the ref in counting Finn out it seemed none of them were willing to oblige. The match was very solid, somewhat of modern day WWE meets puroresu, but in the beginning they were a bit sloppy. Kevin Owens also seemed to run out of steam fairly quick and he wasn't moving around with much urgency to say the least. Some really great spots though, lots of solid and stiff hits, and a picture perfect ending. It was a great pleasure to see Japanese legend "The Dragon" Tatsumi Fujinami come out and show his respects to Balor for becoming the new NXT champion.
7. John Cena & Dolph Ziggler defeated Kane & King Barrett. Tag team match.
Time limit: 23:50
This match was a complete sleeper for me, considering the fact I was watching it at 3:00pm and could barely keep my eyes open. I'm not up to date with the current WWE story lines, but as far as I know there is really no connection amongst the four men with perhaps the exception of Ziggler & Barrett. To me it felt as if the WWE just teamed up two top baby faces and two top heels. The match was quite boring, the time limit ran way too long, and I saw quite possibly the worst selling I've ever seen from Kane. The whole thing just seemed like a bad idea to me for a main event match in Japan, and I think the crowd there would agree with me, as they didn't seem very enthusiastic with it whatsoever.
All in all it was a fairly decent show and I did find it interesting to watch the product being presented to the people of Japan. I feel if the card was booked a little more creatively it would of been a five star show all around.
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