Wrestling Review: WWE The Beast in the East (2015)


For one night only, a usually non-televised live event gets aired on the WWE Network. Finn Balor returns to the country he spent over eight years in to try and dethrone Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship, and for the first time since Wrestlemania Brock Lesnar is in action. This event was filmed live in front of a sold out crowd at Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Sumida, Tokyo, Japan.

+ the Japanese crowd arena made for such a unique atmosphere. A crowd usually renowned for it’s revered silence was raucous throughout, including numerous dueling chants
+ Kevin Owens vs Finn Balor: Holy crap, this match was fantastic. The atmosphere before the bell had even rung was immense, and had the same feeling as a proper NJPW title match. The camera work throughout this match was special, solely because it wasn’t so static;  it actually followed the action, sometimes literally. Owens is such a great asshole, and Balor’s homecoming was explosive
+ Chris Jericho vs. Adrian Neville: I think it’s fair to say that Jericho is passed his prime, but he still managed to pull out all his old tricks. And gosh darn, Neville is just so good that the match balanced out to a well above average affair. Neville’s speed will never cease to amaze, particularly considering how amazingly ripped he is
+ Brock Lesnar vs Kofi Kingston: It’s not a spoiler to say that this was a squash, in every sense of the word. Lesnar is an absolute freak, and although Kofi can shine in the right circumstances, this match only ever had one outcome
+ the commentary, provided by Michael Cole and Byron Saxton was recorded elsewhere, but for once it was so clear and actually told the story of the match. It just worked really well in the smaller, more intimate setting

– John Cena/Dolph Ziggler vs Bad News Barrett/Kane: I’m not sure where this match came from. I understand Cena, and even Ziggler would be large draws to the Japanese fans, but surely there must be a better team of bad guys for those two to face. Kane is and will always be my favourite, but he really has no place in the main event match anymore, and as great as Barrett is, he has done nothing but look like an absolute goof as of late. The match was, therefore, very out of place, and with absolutely no stakes, it all fell a bit flat
– Nikki Bella vs Tamina vs Paige: I know for a fact that all three of these divas are capable of better, which made this sloppy match difficult to watch. Perhaps it was just that these three had not faced each other in a triple threat before, but the match was not enjoyable to watch

> some very poor (in my opinion, obviously) choices for winners. This was technically a house show, though, so only the main matches will have any bearing going forward
> that damn tease Kevin Owens does for his Package Piledriver gets me (and the crowd) every single time

Should you watch this event: Yes. Aside from being a rare insight into the way usually non-televised live events go, every match, even the two listed as negatives above, had something to offer, which made the event something unique, if not entirely perfect. Go out of your way to see the three matches listed as positives, as they were all fantastic, and certainly set things up nicely looking ahead.

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