Chris Jericho vs. Neville
The match starts off with some pretty good chain wrestling. Michael Cole and Byron Saxton doing the play by play, doing a good job of bringing up Jericho’s history in Japan. Jericho began wrestling in Japan in 1994, originally for the promotion WAR. In 1995 Jericho competed in the Super J Cup where he was beaten by Wild Pegasus.
Neville is no stranger to Japan either competing for DragonGate from 2007-2012 where he is a former Open the Triangle Gate Champion.
There is some great may work from Jericho showing off his veteran expertise. The action moves to the outside where surprisingly Jericho has the upper hand. Back in the ring Jericho has Neville grounded, smart game plan keeping the aerial based Neville off his feet. This is really turning into a clinic from Jericho on controlling the pace of a match. Jericho attempted the Walls of Jericho but Neville was able to use his leg strength to fight out. A quick burst of offense from Neville gets halted on the top rope by Jericho. Neville gets his separation knocking Jericho off the top. He attempts a Shooting Star Press but rolls through when Jericho moves out of the way. He goes for a standing hurricanrana but Jericho puts on the brakes and locks in the Walls of Jericho. Neville uses tremendous upper body strength to get to the ropes to break the hold. Neville is able to force Jericho to the outside. He takes flight and hits Jericho with a beautiful over the top rope moonsault plancha. Neville rolls Jericho back into the ring and looks for Red Arrow. Jericho rolls out so Neville improvises with a springboard missile dropkick. Out of nowhere Neville hits a great standing Shooting Star Press but it only warrants a two count. Both men begin trading stiff shots in the middle of the ring. Neville gets separation and looks to attempt a springboard back in when Jericho catches him with the Codebreaker! Neville kicks out! Neville hits Jericho with a deadlift German suplex. Coming up on the rebound Neville catches Jericho with a well placed superkick. Neville hits a second superkick putting Jericho in prime position for the Red Arrow. He goes to land it when Jericho gets the knees up! He pounces and locks in a classic version of the Liontamer and Neville taps out! Amazing match. Two thumbs way up.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige vs. Tamina for the Divas Championship
Tamina comes in and just bodies both women. Nikki hits a jumping side kick off the top. Paige comes in and immediately goes after Tamina with head butts. Paige and Nikki realize they should probably work together to neutralize the bigger Tamina so they hit her with a double suplex and a double dropkick sending her to the outside. Nikki and Paige go right back to battling each other in the center of the ring. Back and forth shots work nicely however you can hear both women call shots in the ring. Paige catches Nikki with a knee strike and goes for the cover only getting a two count. Tamina tries to get back in the match but gets disposed once again. Nikki and Paige battle at the top but Tamina comes in and hits a powerbomb as Nikki hits the super-plex! The referee is out of position so he misses the count which aggravates Tamina. She goes back to work on Nikki sending her to the corner. Tamina does the same stacking two women in the corner looking to capitalize. She attempts a splash but both women move out of the way. Nikki hits a knee smash and Paige catches Tamina with a nick kick to the face on the rebound. Tamina once again exits and Nikki hits Paige with an Alabama Slam. Only gets a two count. Paige attempts a roll up but gets the same result. Paige catches Nikki with a kick to the gut and then hits her with the Rampaige DDT. Nikki kicks out! Paige showboats a little but is still able to lock in the PTO. Tamina comes in and superkicks Paige unlocking the hold. Paige exits and Tamina looks to gain the upper hand with a Samoan Drop. She heads to the top looking for the Superfly Splash but Nikki moves before impact. Nikki gets up and hits Tamina with a forearm smash. This surprisingly gets the win and Nikki retains. Solid match with the women getting time to tell a good story, however you could hear Nikki and Paige calling a lot of their moves. Still a solid match, great in terms of a Divas match, so I’ll give this one thumb up.
Winner and Still Divas Champion: Nikki Bella
Kofi Kingston vs. Brock Lesnar
Brock comes out to an absolute thunderous reception from the crowd and he looks to destroy his opponent. Commentary makes a mention of Lesnar’s IWGP Heavyweight Champion which I thought was neat. Kofi tries to run like scared prey but The Beast catches him and goes to town. He looks to bang out his first suplex but the agile Kofi lands on his feet. He attempts to use his quickness but his rapid shots are no even phasing Brock, at all. He catches Kofi and drops him with a high snap German suplex. And another. BORK BOUNCE. Another suplex. F-5 and goodnight Kofi. Absolute massacre. Two thumbs up because who doesn’t love a Brock Lesnar squash match?
Winner: Brock Lesnar
He’s not even phased. He didn’t even break a sweat. He gets back into the ring and low snaps Kofi with a German suplex. He picks up Kofi’s limp carcass and F-5’s him into oblivion. Kofi’s New Day counterparts come in the ring and just get decimated. Lesnar F-5’d Big E like he was a small child! Utter domination and pure devastation after.
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Finn Balor for the NXT Championship
Finn Balor in full demon regalia makes his way down to the ring. Easily the best entrance in all of wrestling. Part of all of this is being able to simply make people go, “Wow”. That’s exactly what Balor does, he adds a whole separate dimension to his character, a spectacle of dark imagery meant to play mind games with his opponent. The Undertaker would be proud.
Owens comes out with his usual cocky demeanor. During the introduction both competitors are presented with a bouquet of flowers as it is customary before a championship match in Japan. Owens sends his bouquet flying to the entrance ramp clearly not caring for Japanese customs.
One of my favorite aspects of Japanese wrestling is the show of respect by showering the wrestlers in colorful streamers. Most die hard wrestling fans may hate them but to me it adds to the ambiance of the sport of professional wrestling. Japan takes its wrestling very seriously and this is no doubt a serious contest for the man once known as Prince Devitt.
A match of this caliber cannot be broken down and written about move by move. Okay sure it can but just by simply typing out the maneuvers word by word doesn’t do the art of this match justice.
The layout of this match was absolutely amazing. Balor starts things off quick. It looks as though he has taken things to another level for this night, not missing the beat with a fury of offense. Once Owens took control of the match that’s where things really got rolling. Owens is an absolute master heel. He made you believe throughout the match he HATED Japan. During the match! His trash talking game is A+. Another thing I loved about this match is the steady climatic build to the end. Owens has control during the meat of the match but there were times where Balor got enough offense in to make you believe the match was almost over. Owens would kick out and we’d get more back and forth action. I thought the match was over after the first Coup de Grace. Owens kicked out at two and a half and my jaw hit the ground. The setup for the death blow from Balor was brilliant. Owens had literally one more shot in him to end things but on this night Balor just had a little bit more. Owens gave it all he had but it was not enough as Balor is able to hit one more Coup de Grace for the win. The Prince is now the Demon King of NXT.
Winner and NEW NXT Champion Finn Balor
This match easily is on my 2015 Matches of the Year list. An absolute magical display of the wrestling art form.
A short vignette is played showing the ceremony for Tatsumi Fujinami.
King Barrett & Kane vs. John Cena & Dolph Ziggler
The Japanese really love them some John Cena. Pretty standard match. Barrett and Kane hold down much of the offense. They do a great job isolating Cena from Ziggler. Cena was able to fight off Barrett and hit him with an AA. Kane gets the tag in and Cena attempts to AA him but couldn’t handle the weight of Kane. Cena taking a lot of punishment at this point. Barrett comes in and after showboating a little too much, misses a second elbow coming off the top. Ziggler gets the hot tag and picks up the pace. Kane and Barrett working really well together as a team. Kane hits a beautiful stalling suplex and Barrett is back in. Back and forth go the two with Barrett getting the upper hand. Kane really doing solid work in this match. Tons of rest holds and frequent tags between Kane and Barrett. Ziggler has been in there for a very long time taking a ton of punishment. He finally gets the tag to Cena who comes in and cleans house. He hits an AA Kane then one to Barrett and gets the win for his team.
Winners: John Cena and Dolph Ziggler
Standard match again but really good work. Kane and Barrett could make a great big man team, they work well together. The winning team of John Cena and Dolph Ziggler celebrate with the fans and the show closes.
Over all this was a great show from top to bottom. As a fan of Japanese wrestling and the culture I could not be happier. Finn Balor’s story coming full circle from NJPW to WWE is something I’d never thought I’d see be made such a big deal but alas it was. This show is another example of how 2015 continues to be a banner year for WWE and wrestling as a whole.
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