REQUESTING FLYBY: The Beast In The East Review
Jul 4, 2015 - 7:35:11 AM
The Beast In The East Review
Well dear readers, what a turn up for the books! A wrestling show on live at a reasonable time for us Brits! Usually when I write these reviews, it’s gone 4am, the sun is coming up and I have work in a couple of hours, but this time...it was a glorious Saturday morning, the show started at 10:30 am, it’s now 12:30 pm and I have the whole day ahead of me to chill out and enjoy the sun. Life is good. So, let’s review this wrestling show shall we?
Chris Jericho defeated Neville in 16:20
Jericho got a very nice pop from the Japanese crowd, who he of course worked in front of at the beginning of his career back in the early nineties. It was fun to see him on television again; although his feud with Wyatt fell flat to a degree, Jericho is the perfect kind of vet to be facing a talent like Neville at this stage in his development. Some early chain wrestling set a tone of respect to the storytelling, until the Englishman decided to up the pace and paid for it as Y2J countered and sent him flying to the outside. The tactics then evolved into keeping The Man Who Gravity Forgot grounded, using his years of experience to grind Neville into the mat. It was exactly the kind of story the match called for. The tide seemed to turn when the NXT graduate countered the Walls of Jericho and got the space to make it to the top, but the veteran avoided the Red Arrow and then turned a huaracanrana into the Walls, which Neville sold adroitly, making us think he would really tap before his upper body strength prevailed and he made it to the ropes. After a stiff exchange of shots in the middle of the ring, Y2J managed to hit the Lionsault, but the young man kicked out and leapt from the top straight into a perfectly timed Codebreaker, which he also restricted to a two count only. The resilience of Neville was very much played up as he fought back with a pair of superkicks, but the Red Arrow was countered by knees to the stomach, and the new sensation was forced to tap out to the Liontamer. A really good match, Jericho’s best in a long time, I would venture to say, and one which put over the younger man in defeat whilst giving the Japanese fans the chance to celebrate a win for one of their favourites.
FLYBY RATING: ***½
Nikki Bella defeated Tamina and Paige to retain the Divas Championship in 7:03
The storytelling was decent early on, as arch enemies Paige and Nikki worked together to eliminate Tamina so they could get on with tearing each other to pieces, with the Englishwoman’s malice contrasting well with the Arizonan’s power. Unfortunately, Tamina re-arriving on the scene led to a loathsome tower of doom spot which really turned me off the match, but it did pick up again after a brief interval, with Paige’s ascendency with Rampaige and PTO effectively broken up by Tamina just when it looked like the English diva would finally dethrone Nikki, at least in kayfabe. Nikki managed to sneak in and get the pinfall victory with the good old nostalgic Luger forearm, as she has done for 290 days, and that was that. An acceptable divas triple threat, but I’d rather have just seen Paige and Nikki tear it down without the distraction of the truly awful Tamina.
FLYBY RATING: *¾
Brock Lesnar defeated Kofi Kingston in 2:41
Kingston tried to use his speed to get away from Brock and hit some high flying hit and run offense early, but the freakish athleticism of Lesnar meant that no damage was done and he soon caught the New Day member, proceeding to take Kofi to suplex city, much to the delight of the live crowd, although Kofi was rather over too. An F5 later, and the squash was complete. I was kind of hoping that the match would go longer than that, and that Xavier and Big E would try and even the odds, but I understand the purpose of the squash; it was designed to build Brock’s aura and terrify Seth Rollins in kayfabe. After the match, the Beast gave Kingston some extra suplexes and another F5, then destroyed Kofi’s stable mates for good measure, which was jolly good fun. As squashes go, this was damned entertaining, and any time you get to see Lesnar, it’s a treat.
FLYBY RATING: **¼
Finn Balor defeated Kevin Owens to win the NXT Championship in 19:25
What a fantastic video package the production department put together to tell the story of Balor’s homecoming and Owens’ usual aggressive no selling of his opponent’s capabilities. Owens really is the consummate heel, a fact further demonstrated by his disrespect of the Japanese traditions during the ring announcements. I also liked the way that the camera continually panned to Hideo Itami, perhaps foreshadowing future matches or some interference on Balor’s side. An emotional Balor exploded out of the gate, taking the champion out with a thrilling dive to the outside and a baseball slide through the middle rope. of course, the one thing you can’t allow Owens is the chance to wrestle a match at his pace, and thus it made great sense for the Demon to wrestle with a high tempo and take KO out of his comfort zone. However, the resilience Owens has displayed in his battles with Cena and Zayn allowed him to weather the early storm and impose that methodical pace on the bout, using heavy, measured strikes and pausing to draw heat from the crowd, before contemptuously knocking Balor down again. Any time Balor looked like breaking out, Owens would catch him and stop the Demon from building momentum; just as with the Zayn matches, the psychology was perfect, as witnessed by Owens actively going for a count out victory.
However, Balor inevitably found a second wind, almost powered by the good will of the crowd, but even then, Owens responded with a five moves of doom troll for Cena’s benefit, but the arrogance of going for the Attitude Adjustment allowed the Irishman the opportunity to once again work his way back into the match. A Coup De Grace to the back and a reverse suplex set up the opportunity to go for the final Coup De Grace, but Owens rolled out of the way, nailed a German all the way across the ring, and followed up with the Cannonball. The frustration began to show on KO’s face as the Demon refused to give in, and a Slingblade from Balor further underscored Balor’s dangerous arsenal of moves. A fantastic exchange on the apron set up a Coup De Grace that Balor actually hit this time, but as with previous Owens’ matches, his resilience him to get the shoulder up at two. A fired up Balor unloaded in the corner, and the two battled away with fantastic intensity, with Owens’ ultimately getting the better of things with a rolling senton off the middle rope for another excellent near fall, prompting the Canadian to go for the Swanton, an act of hubris which resulted only in knees to the back and a brainbuster. By now, the two were working at an absolutely dizzying pace, with superkicks, clotheslines, signature move counters and drop kicks in the corner, until Balor again raced to the top rope, and this time, this time, the Coup De Grace really lived up to its name, winning the Irishman the NXT Title upon his return to the Land of the Rising Sun. What a moment. The disgust and humiliation shown by Owens in the aftermath was fantastic character work that sets up his further interaction with Cena a treat. All in all, a fantastic title match in the “epic” style of multiple finisher kick outs, though I do fear that as a stylistic choice, that style of bout is being a little overused right now.
FLYBY RATING: ****
John Cena and Dolph Ziggler defeated Kane and King Barrett in 23:50
Boy oh boy, did this main event ever stink of house show! There wasn’t a trace of a reason for it to happen; I mean, I think Barrett would be a great fit in The Authority, but he isn’t a part of that group at the time of writing, so it all seems a bit random. Still, he and Ziggler have good chemistry, always have had, so their opening chain wrestling was a nice, psychologically sound start to the match. Re-signing with the company seems to have put a spring in Ziggler’s step, and the Japanese audience certainly responded positively to his work. When Cena entered the fray against Kane, there was an audible pop- I hadn’t realised he was so over in Japan- and although his work with the Director of Operations was nothing more than standard TV match fare, it worked well enough for what it was. Cena played face in peril as Kane and Barrett worked him over, with the King looking particularly good in his domination of the Franchise Player; they really need to use him better. Cena finally got the hot tag to Ziggler when Barrett missed an elbow and the Show Off came in like a house on fire, only to get too excited and end up in the face in peril position, just as his partner for the evening had done. The way they structured the match led to it being rather a dull watch, to be honest, particularly after the thrills and spills of the semi-main; I’m not sure why they gave a standard pattern tag match this spot on the card, or this amount of time. Cena finally came in at the end, hit his signatures on Barrett, Ziggler helped out with a superkick and Cena got the AA for the win. Meh.
FLYBY RATING: **½
Well folks, WWE’s foray into Network exclusives has gathered pace in recent weeks with Elimination Chamber and now Beast In The East, and it was certainly a show well worth watching, both for the curtain jerker and that fantastic NXT Title match. Let me know what you thought of the show below in the comments, or tweet me here:
Until then, this is Maverick, requesting flyby!