Best Match: Styles vs Okada
Worst Match: Naito and Honman vs. Fale and Takahashi
This may have been a better show than the Tokyo Dome show. Amazing show even being over 4 hours long
Young Bucks vs. RPG Vice vs. reDRagon:
It was every triple threat/fatal 4 way match with any combination of these teams which means it was great. *** 3/4 stars
Tetsuya Naito and Tomoaki Honma vs. Bullet Club
Pretty much the beginning of a storyline with the Naito turning heel. I guess it was an effective start to the storyline cause I completely forgot Takahashi and Fale were ever in the match. ** stars
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Katsuyori Shibata:
This was a technical wrestling masterpiece. Good idea putting Shibata over since he’s the one going to G1. **** 1/4 stars
Kenny Omega vs. KUSHIDA:
Fantastic match with fantastic psychology and selling. Aside from his corny heel antics Omega is such an underrated talent. **** 1/2 stars
Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii:
This is the feud of the year and i’m disappointed they’re in seperate blocks in the G1. These two beat the hell out of each other. Makabe’s chest and neck halfway through the match were beet red. Sick chops, suplexes and lariats a true slobberknocker if you will. **** stars
Matt Taven and Brian Caraway Jr vs. Gallows and Anderson
A pretty good Americanized match. Taven is another underrated talent while Mike Bennett is Mike Bennett. Anderson and Gallows looked good and like the Shibata/Sakuraba match good idea to put the belts on the Bullet Club since both are in the G1. ** 3/4 stars
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Toru Yano
A typical Yano match in that you’re always ready for the surprise finish and there were a ton of them. Tanahashi got the best match out of Yano and you would think this would end the feud but they’re facing each other in G1. THIS. FEUD. MUST. CONTINUE. ** 3/4 stars
Hirooki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura:
Nakamura, charisma wise, is so far ahead of everybody else it’s scary. Great physcial match with a great ending sequence with Goto blocking all of Nakamura’s signature moves and winning. Judging by the video package before and after the match I’m thinking Goto wants to win G1 and unify both the Intercontinental title and Heavyweight title. Good luck with that. **** 1/4 stars
AJ Styles vs. Kazuchika Okada:
No pun intended but this match was phenomenal. Great back and forth match. Red Shoes needs to win Best Non Wrestler just for him telling AJ and the Bullet Club to suck it and the BC selling his crotch chops. Ending of the match with all the reversals was great and the finish left no doubt that Okada was the better man. **** 3/4 stars
WWE Beast in the East @ Tokyo Sumo Hall
Thumbs Up. Nice show overall. Just a spot show but a good one. The commentary here was better than in any other WWE programming, although that’s not much of a compliment, probably because it was just two people reacting to each other instead of randomly waiting for someone’s turn and also because there was no need to wait for Vince’s input to say something. Still, Cole blew some names and implied that Sumo Hall was bigger than Budokan.
Best Match: Balor vs Owens
Worst Match: None
1. Jericho vs Neville. Excellent opener. Great storytelling and execution. Jericho’s work was great, he started like a total babyface but was able to “turn” just by doing little things in the ring. Sad that Neville has no role on the roster. ****1/4
2. Nikki vs Paige vs Tamina. Just an above average Divas match. **1/2
3. Lesnar vs Kingston. The return of the old fashioned Squash. Nothing wrong with it but Kofi, as a tag titles challenger in the mid card, was the wrong choice for that. (N/R)
4. Balor vs Owens. Great match all the way. So far Owens has been on fire with great matches in every ppv/special. Balor needs to change the name of his finisher; also, nobody should be kicking out of the Bloody Sunday. ****1/2
5. Cena & Ziggler vs Barrett & Kane. Why this was on last? Didn’t make any sense. It was good but it went forever for no good reason. ***
San Sebastian, PR
Thumbs way up
Best match: Shibata/Sakuraba and Okada/AJ (tie)
Worst match: Bucks/reDRagon/RPG Vice
I’ve been harsh when it comes to New Japan this year, but this show was pretty damn good save for one particular match.
The preshow tag match was good, way better than usual. The Jr. Tag Title match was horrendous. I swear I’ve seen every single thing they did a million times and this style of wrestling where everything looks clearly choreographed and doesn’t come off as an actual contest does absolutely nothing for me.
The Naito tag was fine for what it needed to be, nothing really noteworthy there outside of Honma winning. Shibata/Sakuraba was a masterpiece and a perfect example of what strong style wrestling is. KUSHIDA/Omega had a really hot finishing stretch but kind of plodded early. Still a very good match.
Ishii/Makabe was the usual slugfest which while I enjoy it, I’ve seen them do this three times this year. I’ve had enough. Wasn’t into the Kingdom/BC match but it wasn’t offensive at all. Tanahashi/Yano was fun if not actively good.
Goto/Nakamura had an incredible finishing run, even better than Omega/KUSHIDA earlier in the show. It was slow early but got really great the deeper into the match they got. Very much a fitting IC Title match given the venue and the importance of the show.
AJ/Okada was excellent, the perfect main event for the show. The Bullet Club interference is beyond played out but once they got past that phase in the match, this got pretty damn great. Not sure I’d rank this above the G1 match from last year but it ain’t too far off. As I said, the perfect ending to a damn good show.
Thumbs In The Middle
Best Match: Sakuraba v. Shibata
Worst Match: The Kingdom v. The Bullet Club
Opener was flat and sort of set the tone for much of the show. Without Sak and Shibata showing up and having a hell of a match, the last few minutes of the I-C title match, and AJ being AJ (i.e. the best wrestler on Earth) in the main event, this show would have been bad. It’s seriously hard to understate how much of an unmitigated disaster the middle portion of the show was, including Makabe throwing some of the worst strikes in wrestling history in a match that was a total waste of Ishii, a terrible tag title match that accomplished nothing, and the tiresome Yano v. Tanahashi blow off. I was happy to see Kushida win the junior title match in an excellently paced match, but building the match around legwork when Kushida apparently only knows how to execute kick based offense was a poor choice. I did enjoy the Naito quasi-heel act even if that match was just sort of there.
The big takeaways I have coming out of the show is that I don’t care about the Never title at all as long as Makabe is holding it, having a jr. tag title is pointless when the real tag division is a joke and it would be just as easy to plug the good junior teams into that spot, and there is no point in watching the first two thirds of any Goto match.
As a UK fan it was great to get a PPV or event or whatever we are calling them these days at time when we are actually awake!
Beast in the East Special
Best Match – Owens vs. Balor
Worst Match – Divas 3 way
Great show. Lots of subtle differences from normal WWE television. Commentary was much better than normal but that isn’t saying much. Jericho/Neville was a great opener and really fun to watch but I thought that Neville should have won. I’m sure Jericho would have no issues putting him over. The Diva match was awful. Paige needs to be taken to one side and told to shut up. Her spot calling is becoming ridiculous. Tamina was just a mess.Anything with Bella’s is just change the channel heat. The sooner this division is rebuilt the better. Lesnar was better than I expected. He is a star in a sea of mediocrity. Everything he does just looks brilliant and he needs to be protected. NXT title match was fantastic. Owens was such a great heel from his little ad libs to chucking the flowers. Finn Bálor IS A STAR. He needs to be brought up soon. This show made him look like a million dollars. As someone said on r/squaredcircle the image of Finn being showered in streamers will close out his DVD in a few years time. Clean finish as well. They have done everything right here. Then we went into full house show mode. Bit of nonsense really. Crowd were into Cena and on a normal house show of course this would be the main event but maybe they should have made allowances for it being broadcast and put NXT as the main event.
Thumbs up for the WWE Beast from the East. It was an entertaining show, and the fact of the matter is that guys step it up more when it is a PPV or super-show. That is the problem with people like TNA right now giving away their best matches on TV. With the post-production, commercials, etc, it just doesn’t allow room for memorable matches to be as memorable. They just never have the same feel.
Balor vs Owens was great as was Lesnar taking us all on a trip to Suplex City. Also great to see Jericho back, with even more midlife crisis tattoos than before. Seriously, who starts covering themselves with tattoos in their forties? Now all he needs is an earring and new Corvette and he’ll be a walking cliche.
I kind of skipped over the main event since it was meaningless,
and instead watched the Prince Devitt special which was quite good. I am glad to see them talking about Dragon Gate and New Japan.
Best Match: Balor vs. Owens
Worst Match: Divas
Thumbs way up!
This was a great show. Not only the wrestling was good, but I also liked the venue and the backgrounds (and such) that they did in a vintage Japan style. Those shots with the castle were beautiful. Ow, I almost forgot the crowd: no quiet wrestling fans here in Osaka!
YOHEI KOMATSU & TIGER MASK & JUSHIN LIGER & SATOSHI KOJIMA & HIROYOSHI TENZAN VS. YUJI NAGATA & MANABU NAKANISHI & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & MASCARA DORADA & SHO TANAKA
I liked the Komatsu/Dorada sequence, rest of the match was just a decent watch for this kind of matches.
YOUNG BUCKS DEFEND IWGP JR. TAG TITLES AGAINST ROCKY ROMERO & BARETTA AND BOBBY FISH & KYLE O’REILLY
Enjoyable, Baretta and Romero surprised me. Didn’t know that they were this good.
BAD LUCK FALE & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI VS. TETSUYA NAITO & TOMOAKI HONMA
Naito and Honma were acting great, they (and the crowd) really made this match work.
KAZUSHI SAKURABA VS. KATSUYORI SHIBATA
Expected nothing, but they delivered big time. Great mix of strikes, holds and grappling. Didn’t know that Sakuraba could dive like that…
KENNY OMEGA VS. KUSHIDA
Another good match. Omega was a great heel, but this was KUSHIDA’s party. His selling was sublime, you really had to be a die hard Omega fan if you still rooted for the heel.
TOGI MAKABE VS. TOMOHIRO ISHII
Quality match, didn’t expect Ishii to lose. Don’t know if Ishii was legit hurt or that his selling is that good.
MICHAEL BENNETT & MATT TAVEN VS. KARL ANDERSON & DOC GALLOWS
Took my time to eat breakfast so i missed a bit of this match. I think my timing wasn’t bad, because from what i saw, this clearly was the least enjoyable match of the day.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI VS. TORU YANO
Not good, but i was fun for what it was. Yano was on fire with all his shenanigans and Tanahashi reacted aptly.
HIROOKI GOTO VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
I was getting a bit tired (lack of sleep), but when they shifted gears I was wide awake again. Good result to get Nakamura in the heavyweight title again. Nakamura and Goto are in the same G1 block so Shinsuke could get his revenge without Goto losing his belt.
A.J. STYLES VS. KAZUCHIKA OKADA
This picked up after Red Shoes cleared the house. It was a great back and forward match after that with some smart reversals. The ending was a perfect way to finish this fantastic event.
BEST: I want to give this one to Sakurabe/Shibata, although I think there were better matches tonight. So why do I choose this match? They exceeded my expectations and made me love this kind of match that I usually don’t appreciate as much as I should.
WORST: Kingdom/BC Tag, it wasn’t as bad as the last time they faced each other, but it was the least enjoyable match for me.
Greetings from The Netherlands,
WWE Beast In The East
Best Match – Balor vs Owens
Worst Match – Divas 3 Way
A good show highlighted by a great Owens/Balor match with the right ending. Brock squash was fun and Neville/Jericho was good but at this stage Neville should have gone over but Jericho does have a more pronounced history in Japan but still. And while the main event was fine but really it either should have just been for the live crowd or have been put on before the Lesnar match and the Balor match as felt completely pointless.
Best Match – Okada vs AJ
Worst Match – Kingdom vs Bullet Club
Fantastic show as just about every big New Japan show is and as an Australian having 2 good shows in 2 nights back to back in prime time is a refreshing change for us down here. So many choices for best match as Shibata/Saku , Kushida/Omega , Makabe/Ishii , Goto/Nakamura and AJ/Okada were all great matches and all in different ways which you never see in WWE.
As much as I love watching Makabe and Ishii beat the shit out of each other can they please move on to different feuds as 7 months feuding has felt like 7 years (well maybe not that long) but please no more for awhile. Ditto the Kingdom/Bullet Club stuff as the crowd isn’t into it and the matches just haven’t clicked either with the Americanized style and also thankfully this should be the end (past a G-1 match) of Tanahashi and Yano. Time for Tanahashi to move back with the main eventers and Yano to do his comedy schtick in the midcard.
And G-1 looks like it’ll be Tanahashi or AJ taking on Shinsuke in the final which I’m predicting leads to Okada vs Nakamura for the IWGP title at the Tokyo Dome next January.
beast in the east – thumbs in the middle. good show but main event sucked and bit of a filler.
best match – balor – owens was fantastic.
worst match – cena tag
dominion – WHAT A SHOW – thumbs up, at least three +4* matches on the show. thumbs right up.
best match – styles vs okada
worst match – karl anderson + doc gallows vs bennet + taven
gotta say the shibata match was so good. so different than anything i’ve ever seen, yet captivating. if okada/styles hadn’t blown up the show with the main event that was getting hte top match.