Mike Tedesco’s “Beast in the East” Review
July 4, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
The last few months has seen WWE adding a vast amount of exclusive content to the WWE Network. After kind of just running on “Hey, you get all the PPVs for $9.99 and our old stuff, but not much else other than a crumby RAW preshow every week” for nearly the first year of it’s existence, WWE has really upped their game. They’ve added a lot of new shows for the network (some of which are quite good) and are experimenting with doing some network exclusive live events. They started with the revival of the Elimination Chamber gimmick, which I enjoyed, but I think they realized they couldn’t keep doing that every month. Looking at their calendar, they’ve got some live events coming from some pretty unique places. This morning, they broadcast live from Tokyo for the first time. There is talk that they’ll be broadcasting select live events every so often. If this was the beginning of that experiment, I believe they did a fine job. Granted you can’t do a big title change on every house show the WWE Network presents, but one or two select matches to build around should do the trick.
Finn Balor and Kevin Owens tear the house down
Other than Brock Lesnar facing an unknown opponent, this was the only other match announced before the start of the show. This was built up strong through the weeks on NXT and both men delivered a great match that lived up to the hype. There were some rough spots early on in the match, but this developed into a great one. Kevin Owens is absolutely on fire right now. Nothing the guy does is bad. Aside from his strong in-ring work, Owens has excelled at being one of the very few heels on the main roster that actually knows how to be a heel. Owens killed me when he threw the customary flowers out of the ring and was trash talking the fans and Balor. The sarcastic bowing, the faking a big move only to apply a simple chin lock, and bailing out of the ring every time the going got tough was fantastic. Ripping off John Cena’s moves was also a nice touch.
Finn Balor was no slouch in this match, either. The man brought it with the lights shining on him in a big way. The body paint looked phenomenal. Balor pulled out all stops in this one, including dusting off the actual and reverse versions of Bloody Sunday. This was just a great match. They worked a style that the Japanese crowd could get behind, created great drama, and the conclusion was extremely satisfying. I never thought I’d see streamers and flowers being given in a WWE ring, so I’ll always remember this match for that if nothing else. In all honesty, it’s one of the better matches I’ve recapped this year. It was worth it to rise early just to see it. NXT really seemed like a big deal the way they built this up and executed it.
Also, with Kevin Owens losing the belt, other than maybe one rematch for the NXT Championship, Owens should be a full time main roster guy with no obligations toward NXT. This could signal that a run with the WWE United States Championship is in order. I’d hate to see him lose to Cena a second time and become just another guy because if he showed anything in his short run and proved it again this morning, he’s more than just another guy. This guy could be a huge player.
Chris Jericho hasn’t lost a beat
We haven’t seen Chris Jericho compete on television in almost a year. Jericho last wrestled a real match against Randy Orton at WWE Night of Champions before disappearing. He’s been wrestling since then, but has strictly kept to only doing house shows. Jericho fought Neville today in a way above average match. Jericho came ready to compete and had a tremendous match against Neville. Jericho was playing the heel in this one, including doing the foot on the chest and flexing pin that he used to do while shouting, “Come on, baby!” The crowd didn’t know how to react to it at first, so they cheered, but they soon caught on that he was the heel. Jericho did a great job of putting Neville over. Even though he lost, which I’m sure will piss some people off, Neville looked tremendous in this one. Neville was resilient and took everything Jericho had to give him. I thought they were building to him eventually hitting the Red Arrow because the commentators made a big deal about him going for it the third time, but they pulled a fast one on us and had Jericho make his submit with the Liontamer. It was great to see Jericho back in the ring. He’s still got a lot left to give. Both men worked at a different pace than most are used to here in the states, but they got over with the Japanese crowd.
It’s enjoyable to watch Brock Lesnar kill people
I said it in this week’s edition of my RAW thoughts – things are just better when Brock Lesnar is around. He’s the only guy on the entire roster – literally the ENTIRE roster other than John Cena – that is a legitimately huge star and brings a special feel to every appearance that he makes. As soon as his music hits, you know it’s on big time. WWE promoted the whole show around this appearance on television (on the NXT broadcasts, they went heavy with the title match), and they delivered a very fun squash match. Squash matches are not bad things. In fact, we could use a lot more of them on RAW to, you know, get guys win so they can do that thing – oh, what’s it called again? – oh yeah, start to get over! What a novel concept – guys get easy, dominating wins and in the process start to get over as larger than life stars. You’ll need to hire enhancement talent to do that, but every town has a local fed or school that can serve up guys to be fed to main talent. Kingston did a great job for Lesnar with all the bumping, though he didn’t have much choice in the matter. Lesnar looks absolutely ripped and maybe even looked like he was enjoying himself. It was a quick, but satisfying match. We need to see more of that. The destruction of the rest of The New Day after the match was fun as well. What a birthday present for the good ol’ US of A!
I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I was actually blown away by how good Michael Cole was on commentary. Cole was talking about the histories of some of the wrestlers with Japanese credentials, even going so far as to mentioning that Jericho competed in FMW and Balor wrestled as Prince Devitt. This is the same guy who barely pays attention to the wrestling matches that take place on television each week. There’s a wrestling announcer somewhere deep inside his soul if he could just stop being bombarded with orders to shill Twitter and whatever of the other one million things he has to shill on RAW.
The Divas Championship match was just ok I thought. I was expecting to see Naomi and was pretty disappointed to see Tamina, especially because she’s been on a streak where she’s looked terrible in the ring. Most of the stuff was rushed, some of it was sloppy, and the finish came out of nowhere. Then it was over and forgotten about… rightfully so, I might add.
The main event tag match with John Cena and Dolph Ziggler defeating King Barrett and Kane was your basic run of the mill house show main event tag. If you’ve ever been to a house show where a tag match was the main event, this is exactly what you saw. The heels dominated forever, you get a quick flurry from the hot tag, then the heels dominate that guy, then you get the second hot tag, and it’s over. It doesn’t play well on TV, but live it’s not that bad. It was nice to see Kane pull out some different moves. Kane dusted off his old flying lariat, executed a delayed vertical suplex, and counted a famouser with a powerbomb. It’d be nice to see him do that stuff on television if for nothing else than to add variety to the match. I’m tired of seeing Kane do the same things week in and week out.
WWE hit a home run with this two-hour presentation from Tokyo. It was a lot of fun. We saw two great matches and the always fun Brock Lesnar squash. Being that it was two hours, you didn’t feel burned out by the end of it. With only five matches, most of them got time to build to something. I think the experiment was a success in execution, and I’m looking forward to seeing and recapping more of these kinds of shows. It was a nice way to kick off my Fourth of July. Somewhere, Zeb Colter is pleased… but only to a degree because this should have taken place on American soil without all the foreigners SNEAKING ACROSS OUR BORDERS! Where is Zeb Colter??
Bump of the Night: Balor’s summersault senton to the outside!
Match of the Night: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens *** 1/2
Final Rating: ***
Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.
Check out my recap of WWE: The Beast in the East by clicking here.
Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.