The Beast in the East
The Beast in the East was a professional wrestling event produced by WWE, an American-based promotion, that aired live on the WWE Network. It took place on July 4, 2015, at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Sumida, Tokyo, Japan. It aired live internationally on the WWE Network and live on J Sports in Japan. The replays of the event aired on J Sports 4 in Japan. Additionally, it would be available on demand on both the WWE Network and J Sports. It was also the first WWE event to be broadcast live from Japan. The Beast in the East was available to subscribers of the WWE Network, in over 140 countries.
|The Beast in the East|
Promotional poster featuring Brock Lesnar
|Date||July 4, 2015|
|City||Sumida, Tokyo, Japan|
|WWE Network event chronology|
Seven matches were contested at the event, with two of the matches shown exclusively on J Sports. The main event saw John Cena and Dolph Ziggler defeat Kane and King Barrett. In other matches, Chris Jericho wrestled his first televised match since Night of Champions, defeating Neville, Finn Bálor defeated Kevin Owens to win the NXT Championship, and Brock Lesnar defeated Kofi Kingston.
The card consisted of five matches, that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches, with results predetermined by WWE's writers. Storylines played out on WWE's primary television programs, Raw, SmackDown and NXT.
On May 28, 2015, it was revealed that Brock Lesnar was scheduled to appear at the July 4 live event in Japan. This would mark Lesnar's first non-PPV match for WWE since 2004. Lesnar reportedly requested a spot on the show so he and Brad Rheingans could go to Tokyo to visit Masa Saito, who was in bad health. WWE then released a promotional video announcing that the show would no longer be a house show, and would be broadcast live on the WWE Network. One day later, WWE revealed the entire match card for the show. One of the matches scheduled for the event, The New Day vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, could no longer take place due to Tyson Kidd suffering an injury, which was expected to take him out for over a year. Kidd & Cesaro were replaced by The Lucha Dragons.
Kevin Owens defended his NXT Championship against Finn Bálor at the event. At NXT TakeOver: Rival in February 2015, Owens had captured the NXT Championship while Bálor won a tournament to become number one contender. On the March 25 episode of NXT, Owens prevailed over Bálor, who had dispensed with his 'Demon' facepaint, saying that he didn't need the 'Demon' to beat the champion; in the match Owens took advantage of a (kayfabe) leg injury. However, Bálor earned another title shot at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable in May when he beat Tyler Breeze. Bálor vowed that at Beast in the East Owens would 'meet the Demon'.
|Ring announcer||Eden Stiles|
The first match was Chris Jericho facing Neville. Neville kicked out of a mid-air Codebreaker. However, after Jericho countered a Red Arrow attempt, Jericho forced Neville to submit to the Liontamer for the victory.
Next, Nikki Bella defended the Divas Championship against Tamina and Paige. In the middle of the match, Paige executed the Rampaige on Nikki, only to get a near-fall. Tamina superkicked Paige, which was the last of Paige for the match. Nikki pinned Tamina after a forearm smash for the victory to retain the title.
After that, Brock Lesnar faced Kofi Kingston. Lesnar dominated though being dropkicked to the turnbuckles twice, but it didn't stop him from executing three German suplexes. In the end, Lesnar pinned Kingston after a F-5 for the victory. After the match, Lesnar would deliver more German suplexes and another F-5 on Kingston. Big E and Xavier Woods appeared, but Lesnar ultimately executed F5s on both Big E and Woods.
In the fourth match, Kevin Owens defended the NXT Championship against Finn Bálor. Owens mocked John Cena, with whom he had a running feud, with Cena's trademark shoulder tackles, spin-out powerbomb, and Five Knuckle Shuffle. However, Owens became one of the very few people to kick out of the Coup de Grâce. Balor pinned Owens after a second Coup de Grâce for the victory to win the title.
The main event was WWE United States Champion John Cena and Dolph Ziggler facing Kane and King Barrett. Barrett and Kane pretty much dominated throughout the match. In the end, Ziggler performed a superkick on Barrett and Cena performed an Attitude Adjustment on Kane for the pin.
The Beast in the East received generally positive reviews from critics. The Owens-Bálor match was highly praised. PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson called it "a great main event level" match. PWTorch.com's James Caldwell gave the match a four-and-a-half-star rating, the highest rating of the night. 411Mania.com's Larry Csonka praised the look of the show, saying it was far away from "the usual and sanitized WWE TV event".
|1D||Cesaro defeated Diego by submission||Singles match[Note 1]||8:13|
|2D||The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) defeated The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods)||Tag team match[Note 1]||6:31|
|3||Chris Jericho defeated Neville by submission||Singles match[unreliable source]||16:20|
|4||Nikki Bella (c) defeated Tamina and Paige||Triple threat match for the WWE Divas Championship||7:03|
|5||Brock Lesnar defeated Kofi Kingston||Singles match||2:36|
|6||Finn Bálor defeated Kevin Owens (c)||Singles match for the NXT Championship||19:25|
|7||Dolph Ziggler and John Cena defeated Kane and King Barrett||Tag team match||23:50|
At the 2015's San Diego Comic-Con International on July 9, a Bálor-Owens rematch for the NXT Championship was scheduled for the next NXT TakeOver show in August 2015. Owens later requested for the stipulation of a ladder match, saying that he did not want to suffer NXT General Manager William Regal costing him the title in a situation alike the Montreal Screwjob. Though Bálor never had competed in a ladder match before, he accepted the stipulation and defeated Owens.
- This match was only broadcast in Japan as part of the J Sports broadcast.
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