-For the first time ever, the WWE broadcasts from Tokyo, Japan – LIVE! Which means you’d have to have been up in the middle of the night to see this in the United States.
-However, this has to be one of the best upsides to the WWE Network. The company can now do big shows like this no matter where they go. It probably costs them very little, and if they promote them it could be more like a NXT Special. It could also do a lot to add to their annual international tours and open up more opportunities in WWE’s quest to expand globally.
-Seeing different crowds other than a typical U.S. crowd is vastly interesting and bring a different vibe to the shows. The last time I remember WWE doing a show from Japan was an edition of Monday Night Raw in early 2005. The difference in the culture and crowd behavior alone brings a very interesting dynamic to the shows.
1. Chris Jericho vs. Neville
-Very smart of the WWE to bring back Jericho for this broadcast considering that he is from a generation of WWE stars who spent time wrestling in Japan before finding success in the states.
-Despite being all over the WWE Network on various programs, and wrestling many non-televised WWE events this year, this is Jericho’s first televised WWE match in about a year.
-Neville wrestled a slower pace than we have seen regularly, but it clearly has more to do with Jericho being the one in control of the pace. Neville is usually explosively fast, but Jericho drove this match with a much more measured pace.
-The match focused around Neville looking for an opening in Y2J’s offense, but not really finding much success.
-Chris Jericho applied a sick looking Wall’s of Jericho to “The Man That Gravity Forgot,” but the former NXT Champion was able to reach the ropes.
-The veteran was able to thwart just about every one of the NXT alumni’s attempts to get a lead and after a Code Breaker it wasn’t long before Jericho locked in the Wall’s of Jericho again, for the win.
-A bit sloppy in some sequences, but seeing Chris Jericho wrestle is always a treat, and this was a pretty good use of the former star. The crowd was very much in Jericho’s corner, I only wish Neville had gotten in a little more offense so his defeat didn’t seem so academic.
2. Nikki Bella vs. Paige vs. Tamina Snuka for the WWE Diva’s Championship
-Paige and Nikki exchange for a majority of the match with Tamina mostly just selling on the outsider.
-Tamina comes back in for the finish. Misses the Superfly Splash and gets clothes-lined by the Diva’s Champion for the three count.
-A very underwhelming contest.
-You could literally hear them talking back and forth the entire match due to the more reserved nature of the Japanese crowd. All three seemed uncertain how to deal with the still air and it kind of hurt the match.
-The fans were very respectful regardless.
3. Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston
-We get a nice little reintroduction promo for Lesnar to remind you that Kingston is, indeed, going to be a rag-doll in this match.
-No Paul Heyman! For the first time since he returned to the WWE in 2012, Lesnar is without his infamous mouthpiece. Very strange. Surely, Heyman just wasn’t available to make the tour seeing as there were no actually TV tapings, other than this one-off special, in which he’d be needed.
-Michael Cole actually acknowledges Lesnar’s reign as the IWGP World Champion in New Japan Pro Wrestling as the match begins.
-Poor Kofi barely gets out of the blocks with a few kicks to Lesnar’s legs that seem to only tickle the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
-Suplexes and an F-5 to seal the deal in barely any time at all.
-The est of The New Day trio come out for Lesnar to knock around. The crowd loves it. Innocent enough segment intended to build towards Lesnar’s rematch with Seth Rollins at the next big event.
-This definitely succeeded in making Lesnar looked like a badass heading into WWE Battleground, but I sort of was hoping for more than a two minutes squash for this WWE Network special.
4. Kevin Owens vs. Finn Bálor for the NXT Championship
-Ouch! This really should be going on last. How is this not going on last?
– Bálor’s entrance is even more chilling with the absence of the always noisy Full Sail University crowd. It is awesome. Period.
-Both competitors are handed flowers and fans throw in ribbons as a sign of respect. Owens is having none of it and huffs his flowers over the top rope. Awesome.
-The challenger gets the first blows before Owens derails his offense and firmly takes control of the contest. The NXT Champion, Kevin Owens, plays up his dirty bastard ass-kicker gimmick here so well.
-Owens spends a lot of the match thwarting Bálor’s attempts to build momentum. He slaps his opponent yelling “You can’t beat me.”
-This backfires and Owen’s finds himself staring up at Bálor’s Coup de Gráce.
-A really decent NXT Championship match, but I felt like Bálor and Owen’s were not the best fit for one another. Still, Bálor is an amazingly interesting performer and character and now he is the crown jewel of NXT whilst Owen’s will permanently graduate to the main roster.
5. John Cena & Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane & King Barrett
-Holy fucking house show.
-Obviously, everyone is going to be livid about this Monday Night Raw-esque Tag Team match closing over Bálor/Owens, but we will move past that. This is basically a WWE live event with a few bonuses.
-I won’t waste too much time going on about this nothing match. We all know how house show Tag Team matches go.
-No stories really going on here. Ziggler sells for much of the match until tagging in Cena who gets all his big moves.
-AA to Barrett in a drawn out main event with nothing on the line.
-This was a pretty underwhelming event despite feeling like it could have been really special.
-Neville and Jericho had a pretty solid opener and Bálor and Owens treated the Japanese crowd to a very entertaining NXT Championship match.
-The rest of the card was pretty lame. Brock Lesnar and John Cena appearing in this setting, while interesting, was not done in the most compelling fashion. Again, this is just a glorified WWE live event. So, it is hard to fault them.
-In the end, seeing WWE superstars in a different continent and interacting with fans from a completely different culture is reason enough to give this event a viewing. I hope they do this again once or twice a year.