The Spotlight On WWE Beast In The East

 Good Morning and Happy 4th of July to all of my fellow Americans.  I just got finished watching a live WWE Network Special “Beast In The East” which aired live from Tokyo, Japan and I have to say, this show was a lot of fun.  It was really fun to wake up before the sun came out here in New York at 5AM, run out to get bagels and coffee and enjoy a WWE show to start my Independence Day.  I might add that before the show began, I watched the Finn Balor “The Demon Revealed” special that aired on the live feed right before The Beast In The East and it was fantastic.  If you haven’t seen that documentary go out of your way to watch it as it is a perfect prelude to the Beast In The East Special.  However, that’s another discussion for another time, let’s get into some of the highlights of WWE: The Beast In The East.

Highlights:

 The Demon Rises: I’ll be honest, when I heard that NXT Takeover would be in Brooklyn, I wasn’t 100% sure that they would do the title change here but, looking back, it was absolutely the time to do it.  One of the coolest things for me was to see the entrances of both Balor and Owens with the ladies presenting them with the flowers, to flooding the ring with streamers (which is the first time I’ve ever seen this at a WWE show) it just felt like such a big match feel for the NXT championship.  Kevin Owens was immediately established as big time heel by throwing the flowers into the aisle way and doing all he could to win the match by countout.  The crowd was solidly behind Balor from the beginning until they finally got the moment of Balor winning the title which was a feel good crowning moment for Balor.  This was the best match on the card (though Jericho and Neville was close) as there was such a good build throughout the match and so many good false finishes, including Owens kicking out of the coup de gras and Balor kicking out of the top rope senton.  With Balor now the NXT champion, Owens can make the full transition to the main roster and Balor can lead NXT into the future. The title change also added to the importance of the show, especially because the NXT title is changed so infrequently.   It was also a nice tough to see Hideo Itami in the crowd, showing support and having Tatsumi Fujinami coming out to crown the triumphant Balor.

 Brock Lesnar: Brock Lesnar came off like a really big deal on this show as he returned to Japan for the first time, as a WWE Superstar, in 12 years.  The show was build around Lesnar from the name of the show to Brock entering the building being shown as if he was the biggest star in the company to the great video package showcasing Lesnar.  I was actually surprised to see the fans get behind Kofi as much as they did, it really shows me how much traction the New Day is getting. The match itself was complete domination, which I expected that it would be, however, I would have preferred to see Xavier Woods face Lesnar as I feel they’ve done a good job protecting Kofi since the New Day formed.  That said, John Cena and the Undertaker both got destroyed by Brock Lesnar so there is no shame in that whatsoever.

 The Main Event: I was surprised to see that the tag match closed the show here as the show was built around both the NXT title match and Brock’s return but, say what you will about John Cena, he was absolutely adored by the Japanese crowd who reacted as if Cena was the huge star that he is.  I felt that this was a unique tag match in which all four men worked really hard.  It’s cool that WWE continues to have Cena and Ziggler loosely related as they’ve had each others’ backs for a while.  It reminds me somewhat of Tugboat and Hulk Hogan from back in the day.  I also thought it was nice to see Bad News Barrett get a main event spot and look good doing it.  A fun match that sent everyone home happy and ended a strong show the right way.

 44 Years Young: Holy cow did Chris Jericho and Neville tear down the house to kick off this show.  The two went back and forth for over twenty minutes in a great match.  Chris Jericho, in particular at 44 years old, did a great job in keeping up with the younger Neville and there’s still so much that he can contribute to the business, even in a limited capacity.  From doing small things like demanding that the referee “Ask Him!” while performing every wristlock or chinlock to coming up with innovative reversals, Jericho was on fire tonight.  I feel that Chris has taken some criticism lately and I’m not sure why because he does a great job in making the younger stars look great every time that he returns.  I know some will complain that Jericho won but the loss didn’t hurt Neville at all.  If anything, it felt like a star making performance for Neville that he was able to hang with a legend like Jericho in the way that he did.  Making stars doesn’t mean that you have to lose every match you’re in because by doing so it gets to a point where victories don’t mean as much against that guy taking the loss.  Kudos to both of these men and I would love to see the two work a program if and when Jericho makes a return to WWE.

Closing Thoughts:

 In the end, I really enjoyed this show as top to bottom every match was good to great.  There were only five matches on the broadcast, which meant that everything got to get time to develop.  From the divas to the main events, it was clear that everyone worked hard for the respectful Japanese crowd.  It was also nice to see the unique setup from to the different pieces of raw footage from the city of Tokyo showcasing the fans dressed as the Superstars to the different look and feel to the show, it was cool to see.  I have to add that I really enjoyed the commentary on this show, which I assume was recorded live in WWE Headquarters as I didn’t see the announcers at ringside, as both Byron Saxton and Michael Cole worked hard and did a great job. Lastly, the Japanese crowd was also very respectful, they did what you’re supposed to do in a classic sense, being behind the good guys and booing the bad guys, which was actually refreshing to see.  I hope that WWE continues to showcase different live events from unique settings like this in the future.

All Photos courtesy of the WWE Network

The Spotlight On The Week Ahead In WWE

Hello everyone, in an effort to consistently improve the content of this site we’re always looking for different features that we can add to this site.  Thus, we figured we would start a new feature beginning today (the first week of July) looking at the week ahead for WWE.  This feature will focus on all things WWE for the week ahead so that if you’re a fan you now have your one stop source for all things to look forward to in WWE.  Without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the highlights in the week ahead in WWE.

Highlights: 

  

1- A Jam Packed Week- This is the first week I can remember where there will be a new WWE live event style show on five different days of the week.  On Monday Night, WWE Monday Night Raw will emanate live from the Verizon Center in Washington DC and air live on the USA Network.  Immediately following Raw there’s an additional hour of programming on the WWE Network featuring a new episode of swerved followed by a first look at the new WWE Monday Night War DVD.  Tomorrow night, the second episode of Tough Enough will air live on the USA Network (Obviously from the content on here you can probably tell that I’m quite a big fan of the series) which is followed by Tough Talk, hosted by the Miz, on the WWE Network. Wednesday night on the WWE Network, there will be a brand new episode of WWE NXT which is the final show before the epic match between Finn Balor and Kevin Owens for the NXT World Title from Japan.  Thursday night Smackdown will air on the SYFY network and then at 10:30PM on the WWE Network there will be a 30 minute documentary on Finn Balor entitled “The Demon Revealed” which should be a fun preview for the Japan show as well.  This all leads to way early Saturday morning where WWE will emanate live from Japan and air on the WWE Network at 5:30 in the morning.  Tons of content should make for an exciting week.  

2- How does the Beast respond?- Last week Monday Night Raw ended with Brock Lesnar being laid out by Seth Rollins, Kane and Joey Mercury.  This is actually the first time that I can remember Lesnar being laid out like that since his return to WWE in 2012 so I’m interested to see what type of response we get tonight.  If Lesnar is not there tonight, I expect that Paul Heyman will be in the house to address the authority.  Unfortunately Jamie Noble got injured pretty bad last week on Raw but in doing so, has set up a storyline where Brock can take out each member of the authority until he gets Seth one on one at Battleground.

3- Nothing says Americana like WWE-  When I think about WWE and the 4th of July I’m immediately brought back to 1993 when Yokozuna was aboard the USS Intrepid for the stars and stripes challenge.  This was the day where different members of the then WWF and athletes from the sports world took turns trying to bodyslam the mighty Yokozuna.  Everyone tried and everyone failed until a helicopter showed up with new american hero, Lex Luger, who saved the day, bodyslammed Yokozuna and went on a summer tour aboard the Lex Express leading into Summerslam. There was also a famous episode of Raw from July 4th, 2005 in which Shawn Michaels turned on Hulk Hogan following a tag match victory setting up their program for Summerslam of that year.  Fast forward ten years later and WWE returns on the 4th of July, this time emanating live from Tokyo, Japan.  The special will air throughout the day on the WWE Network, however if you’re like me you’re getting up super early, brewing a fresh pot of coffee and kicking off your fourth of july at 5:30AM with WWE action.

All in all it promises to be a fun and exciting week for WWE.  What event are looking most forward to this week?  Is there something I forgot or didn’t include that you’re looking forward to this week? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to continue to come back here to thedailyspotlight.com where we’ll have continued coverage throughout the week. 

The Spotlight On WWE Live from Japan on July 4th

  On last night’s episode of NXT on the WWE Network, a major announcement was made by William Regal that on July 4th the NXT title will be defended at Sumo Hall live from Tokyo, Japan.  More interesting, this live event will stream live on the WWE Network.  It was made clear today that not only will the NXT world title match be on the network but rather the entire show will air live on the Network.  Furthermore, the rest of the card was revealed today and on top of Owens vs. Balor, the rest of the card is as follows: John Cena & Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane & Wade Barrett, Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston, Neville vs. Chris Jericho, The New Day vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro, Nikki Bella vs. Paige vs. Naomi, and the Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores.  I think airing this live event on the network is a great idea, let’s get into some highlights about why I’m so excited about it.

Highlights  More Original Live Content On The Network- I said it from the day the Network launched, it is such a great idea to put the live events on the Network.  For those who don’t know, WWE doesn’t only tape Raw on Mondays and Smackdown on Tuesdays, but they usually have non-televised live events each week from Friday- Sunday, sometimes on Thursdays.  Now while I don’t think it’s necessary to put every single live event on the network, airing some of the live events on the Network provide the paying customer with even more wrestling.  It also makes those paying for the network, feel like they’re getting to see live programming that they normally wouldn’t be able to if they weren’t subscribed to the network.  I hope to see more of these non televised live events live on the network particularly some of the bigger shows like the Superbowl afternoon show, Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night and the annual fan appreciation night. I don’t think WWE even has to make changes to the live event structure, save for adding commentators.  I don’t think they need to restructure television to promote these shows either.  I think a few mentions of the show either on commentary or through commercials should be fine.  It can literally be something like Michael Cole saying  “And the WWE will be returning to the TD Bank Garden live in Boston, Massachusetts on the final stop on the road to Wrestlemania and you’ll get to see Roman Reigns and John Cena team up to take on Seth Rollins and Triple H and you’ll be able to watch the show live on the WWE Network!” I mean at least I’m Sold! 

 Live Events Just Became That Much More Important- Airing live events on the network also make the actual live events seem like a bigger deal, at least in my opinion.  One of the reasons I’ve always preferred to go to TV Tapings over a live event is because of the idea that anything could happen.  With the exception of very few instances, titles don’t change hands for example but with these shows now being on the network, it feels like anything can happen once again.  It’s also good to have one or two matches on the show that mean something, like Owens vs. Balor for the title, for example, or maybe do a number one contender match with the winner getting a shot on Raw the following week.  This would make me as a fan, feel like I need to go down to this live event. 

 This show is stacked- Let’s not kid ourselves, this Sumo Hall show is also going to be a show worth going out of your way to watch.  First you have Kevin Owens defending the NXT Title against the number one contender, Finn Balor. With Owens now being a member of the main roster, I wouldn’t be too surprised at all if we see a title change here.  On top of this you’re getting the first non-pay per view match featuring Brock Lesnar since his return, in a unique setting no less taking on Kofi Kingston.  Then you also have a rare appearance by Chris Jericho who hasn’t been seen on WWE TV in about 9 months.  Jericho is also taking on Neville in something of a dream match that the Japanese fans are going to love. 

 Something Completely Different- One thing I’m really looking forward to about this show is that it’s going to be taking place live from Japan.  WWE puts on shows all over the world and up until this point I’m not sure they’ve ever aired a live showing of a Japanese live event in the US.  I hope this is only the start of seeing some of the live events from other countries.  I’m really interested to see the differences in the setup, the differences in the crowd and the differences in the performances of the talent.  I also love that this show is going to air live at 630AM on the network.  I will definitely be up, coffee cup in my hand ready to kick off my 4th of July with a WWE live event and that is pretty cool.

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, this is more live content on the WWE Network which is always a good thing.  I think we’re getting to a point where we can expect a Steve Austin Podcast, WWE Traditional Pay Per View, WWE Live Special (Elimination Chamber, King of the ring, etc), WWE 24 Documentary, and a variety of other specials on the Network each month and that is a great thing. It’s nice to see that WWE continues to make the Network the top priority and that’s one of the reasons I continue to be a subscriber, from day one.  That’s going to do it here but let me know your thoughts on the special and what other types of specials you’d like to see on the WWE Network in the future.