Bit of a weird one this week as this post will go up either a few hours before or a few hours after the latest WWE Network special, Beast in the East, airs live from Japan. Being that it is airing live that means that for those of us on the East coast, well, let's just say that 5:30 AM is way too damn early to wake up for a wrestling show (2:30 AM West coast... eww). And while this is nothing more than a glorified house show it does mark the return to in ring action by one Brock Lesnar (and Chris Jericho!). We've also got an NXT Title match and some fun undercard stuff. Who will win and who will lose? Read on humanoids and find out.
Cesaro vs Diego
Cesaro was originally supposed to take on the New Day with his partner Tyson Kidd but, Kidd injured his neck during a dark match, non-televised, against Samoa Joe. Kidd is on the shelf for at least a year and that is super shitty. Cesaro though, is more than capable of having a great singles run in the interim. This match against Diego is going to be nothing more than a showcase for Cesaro. He will win this handily. Prediction - Cesaro in a walk.
The Lucha Dragons vs The New Day
Considering the last minute replacement status of the Lucha Dragons in this match, You should be able to predict who will go over. That said, this match should be a ton of fun. Kalisto, one half of the Lucha Dragons, is one of the most gifted in ring performers I have ever seen. His partner, Sin Cara, is fun to watch as well, IF he decides to care that night. The New Day have been consistently entertaining since their heel turn and this match will feature Xavier Woods, one of the most underrated guys on the roster. I'm sure each of these guys will bring their "A" game in Japan and put on a great match. Prediction - The New Day.
Nikki Bella (c) vs Naomi vs Paige - Divas Championship match
Continuing the lather, rinse, repeat cycle of Divas matches, we get the same three ladies as last month. And just like last month, nothing will change. Their last three -way was extremely sloppy. Hopefully they can put together a better performance this time around. The outcome for this storyline is pretty clear, Nikki is going to continue to win until Charlotte shows up from NXT. Hopefully, that's sooner rather than later. Prediction - Nikki Bella.
John Cena and Dolph Ziggler vs Kane and King Barrett
Ah house shows. Randomly putting together superstars since the dawn of time. There is no reason for these four to be together other than they are big names and the Japanese crowd will pop for them. Whatever storylines they are currently involved in will not be played out here. What you will see instead is a decent back and forth match with the faces going over. Ziggler and Cena work well together and Barrett should be able to get the most out of teaming with Kane. He's got some left in the tank but cannot carry a match on his own. Prediction - Cena and Ziggler.
Chris Jericho vs Neville
It must be nice for Jericho right now. He gets to be "retired" from high pressure TV and just work house shows when he wants to. They guy has earned it certainly and while he isn't what he was ten years ago, he can still go better than most. Matching him up against Neville is really smart on the part of WWE as Neville makes everyone look like a million bucks. Jericho's role the last two years or so has been to make younger talent look good. I see no reason this match will be any different. There is no end game to Jericho winning at this point. He can put on a competitive match, hit his spots, and go out with a loss while making Neville look strong. The fans should pop hard for this. Prediction - Neville.
Kevin Owens (c) vs Finn Balor - NXT Championship
This match may be the toughest on the card to predict. On the one hand, Kevin Owens is on a monster role both in NXT and on the main roster. He is coming off two stellar matches against John Cena and their rubber match, for the US Heavyweight Title, is in a few weeks at Battleground. However, Finn Balor is big in Japan. And by big I mean super, mega, ultra, huge. As Prince Devitt he was one of New Japan's top draws. There are big, big plans for him in WWE if rumors are to be believed and honestly, the guy just makes money. They even made a dope promo video for him; check it out below. (seriously, it's one of their best) It makes sense for him to be NXT champ before getting to the main roster BUT, Samoa Joe is signed now and is also feuding with Kevin Owens over the belt. It's a pickle to be sure but a good pickle, you know like a fancy, artisanal one that hipsters like. Add to all of that the fact that Cesaro had a hell of a match with Cena on RAW, one that ended in a DQ win for Cena after Owens attacked Cesaro to keep him from winning the US Title therefore setting up a potential feud, AND the fact that WWE needs to get the NXT belt off of Owens and I think you end up with Owens dropping the belt to Balor after some interference from Cesaro. That also sets up the WWE Network as even more of a must have because anything can happen. Prediction - Balor.
Brock Lesnar vs Kofi Kingston
First of all, what? Brock I get but Kofi? The optimist in me thinks that finally WWE has seen the light with this guy and are ready to push him to the main event scene. The pessimist thinks WWE didn't think any farther than, "We are already flying the rest of the New Day out, why not feed Kofi to Brock?" The answer is probably somewhere in between but make no mistake, Lesnar is going to demolish Kofi. There will be some fun spots sure but Kofi is there to make Brock look like an absolute monster. The poor guy is going to get tossed from pillar to post as it were. He will hit his one or two high flying spots that stun the beast but in the end, he will go down, hard. I'm really excited for this match as Kofi can bump with the best of them and should make Brock's suplexes and power moves look absolutely insane. Prediction - (easiest of the show) Brock Lesnar.
So there you have it. A really fun card with some really fun matchups. A note on Japanese crowds though, they are usually very quiet during matches. Their silence is a show of respect. Don't be surprised if you've never seen a Japanese show at just how different it feels to watch. Follow me on twitter, @geekadedan, and let me know what you think. Just don't expect a reply at 5:30 in the morning, that's Willie's time!