Wednesday, 7 October 2015
WWE The Beast In The East DVD Review By Nathan Hunt
When the WWE Network was due to launch, the announcements concerning potential content referred to live events (house shows) that would be included in the proposed additional programming. While we have seen some specials from NXT, the inclusion of any other live shows outside of the regular TV and PPV shows have, so far, been limited to this single event held in Japan's Ryōgoku Kokugikan hall back in July, although it was announced at the recent Night Of Champions PPV that a second was in the works for Brock Lesnar's Road To Hell tour; a show eminating from New York's Madison Square Garden. Hopefully there will be much more to come on this front from WWE as, if this disc is anything to go by, the Network specials will add value to the award winning on-demand service.
The audience is audibly and visibly into the action from the outset and provide a great atmospheric backdrop to the show throughout. Opening with a great, varied contest between Chris Jericho and Neville, the match is a wonderful blend of technical grappling and dazzling high-flying, as you may expect from these two. A decent triple threat match between Nikki Bella, Tamina Snuka and Paige is next, with all three putting in a good effort but ending anticlimactically, especially given the solid and decent exchanges which form the main body of the bout. Predictably, the match between Brock Lesnar and Kofi Kingston is completely one-sided and despite his novelty attraction status, it begs the question as to why the event was named for what is essentially a squash match.
The next bout unquestionably steals the show, as Finn Balor clashes with NXT Champion Kevin Owens in an absolute classic. Brutality, excellent psychology and all-round outstanding action make this a pleasure to watch and is one that will go down as one of the best NXT title matches thus far, which is no meagre feat by any means. Balor's Championship win here, in front of a somewhat hometown crowd (having trained and played out the majority of his career so far in Japan) is met with an explosive applause and rabid adulation.
Lastly, the event closes with a markedly mediocre main event, pitting John Cena and Dolph Ziggler against Kane and Wade Barrett in a match which would be more at home on an episode of SmackDown than a big event. While the action here is fine, it is completely clear that the main event spot should have been given to Owens and Balor. Ending the card on this note is a head-scratcher but then again it was a WWE live event and not an NXT show, so you can kind of understand the logic (even if it does beggar belief that any booking committee would put more value on this than on the standout stars of the development league).
The disc also includes bonus matches pitting Cesaro against Diego (of Los Matadores) and the remaining members of New Day (Big E Langston and Xavier Woods) against the Lucha Dragons. While each match is under 10 minutes (bell to bell), the action here is strong for undercard offerings and these are welcome additions to the release.
Overall, this is a strong DVD and is recommended if only for the show opener and NXT title match. In my opinion, the whole show is pretty strong complete package and is a better offering than many recent WWE TV or PPV outings.