The WWE started off July 4 with a big bang courtesy of its Beast in the East special. The live broadcast from Japan packed in two hours of some of the best action the WWE Network has seen in months, featuring another show-stealing performance from Kevin Owens.
Finn Balor defeated Kevin Owens to win the WWE NXT championship in the semi- main event of the show. Finn Balor and Kevin Owens tore it up in Tokyo on July 4 with a Match of the Year candidate. The match was action-packed and right up there with the Owens vs. Cena series, maybe better than the Owens vs. Cena match from Extreme Rules. The finish came at 19:25 when Balor pinned Owens after hitting the Coup de Grace. The match ends Owens reign as champion as well as likely ends Owens tenure in NXT.
[adinserter block=”1″]Michael Cole was fantastic here on commentary (and throughout the night), telling the story of Balor’s journey from cleaning bathrooms in Japan to realizing his dream of becoming WWE champion. Cole was great throughout the show, offering a more “smarter” version of WWE commentary than I have ever heard him produce. Owens was super over here as a heel, Balor as a face, and the place was just electric for the entire match. I’d highly recommend going out of your way to see this one and the entire show for that matter.
The finish opens up all kinds of possibilities for Owens on the main roster. Coming off of two losses, it becomes even more important for Owens to defeat Cena at Battleground for the WWE U.S. title. A loss at Battleground puts Owens 0-3 in his last three big matches, seriously jeopardizing the momentum he has sustained on the main roster. Balor on the other hand is so ready for the main roster it isn’t even funny. I would be shocked not to see Balor on the main roster by the fall. We can all look forward to some killer matches between Balor and Hideo Itami for the NXT title as well.
In what I would call the attraction of the show, Brock Lesnar destroyed Kofi Kingston. Lesnar wrestled his first non-PPV match since 2002. The story behind this is that Lesnar wanted to go to Japan to visit an ailing Masa Saito, who is in bad health. A deal was struck allowing Lesnar to travel to Japan on “business” in exchange for giving WWE a date.
Lesnar beat Kofi in just under three minutes. Kofi barely got any offense with Lesnar literally no-selling a series of kicks. Kofi was the bumping machine you’d expect here and the match was a lot of fun to watch. Lesnar hit several suplexes and finished him off with the F5. Lesnar started to leave the ring after the match and returned to hit Kofi with another suplex and F5. The rest of New Day ran into the ring with each getting an F5 for their troubles.
This was a great win to set up Brock challenging for the belt at Battleground. I did think that Lesnar and Big E. could have done a little more teasing than Brock immediately treating him like he was Xavier Woods’ size. I think Big E and Lesnar could have gotten a little more heat with a standoff, at the same time it isn’t as if they are coming back with a Lesnar vs. Big E match anytime soon. Regardless, it was a nice squash win for Brock and a bonus match in 2015 for Brock so everyone wins.
Overall it was a real fun show. The show moved fast over two hours, yet the big matches all had time. Chris Jericho defeated Neville in a hell of an opener on the show. The main-event was a fairly typical match and probably not worth reviewing if you are going to watch the show on demand. The commentary was also noticeably different and improved, enhancing what was an already excellent show from top to bottom.
[adinserter block=”2″]Full WWE Beast in the East matches and winners…
Finn Balor defeated Kevin Owens for the WWE NXT title
John Cena and Dolph Ziggler defeated King Barrett and Kane
Brock Lesnar defeated Kofi Kingston
Chris Jericho defeated Neviile
Nikki Bella defeated. Paige and Tamina in a Triple Threat Match