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WWE ‘The Beast in the East’ preview and predictions

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For wrestling fans around the world, the real fireworks will be be popping off at right around 5:30 a.m. ET in the States (6:30 p.m. local time) when “The Beast” returns to Ryōgoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) for the first time since he dropped the IGF version of the IWGP heavyweight title (in a match not recognized by NJPW) to Kurt Angle all the way back in 2005. And it doesn’t stop there.

On the following night (morning if you’re in the States) current IWGP heavyweight title holder A.J. Styles will defend his title against 2-time champion Kazuchika Okada in the main event of Dominion 7.5. This event will be the first in over two decades to take place inside of Osaka-jō Hall for NJPW. You can find that full match card here.

Below, you’ll find some flavorful quick picks for this event as we head feet first into one of the more exciting pro wrestling weekends of the year.

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Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston

There’s not enough POP (Power of Positivity) in the world to save Kofi Kingston from being destroyed by Paul Heyman’s “Beast” in Tokyo! Unfortunately, Heyman wasn’t able to make the trip for this one. Fortunately, we are in for a good old-fashioned squash match that should see Lesnar tossing around Kingston and his New Day mates Big E and Xavier Woods like rag dolls. What’s great about Kofi is he will make this fun. There should be some cute little spots here to go along with the unadulterated violence that we’re used to from Brock Lesnar. Prediction: Lesnar via F5’s, German suplexes and pure Ultraviolence.

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NXT Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Finn Balor

I have no idea what the main event of this card will be but last I heard it was the tag match pitting the team of Cena/Ziggler against Kane/Barrett. Regardless, we all know this is the true main event.

WWE have made no secret that they’re giving the NXT title to Balor in Tokyo. Balor had major success under the Prince Devitt moniker during his days with NJPW. The Bullet Club leader was a 6-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion and 3-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion during his tenure with the promotion. Him coming back to Japan to claim NXT gold is going to be an emotional moment – it’s next on the list.

Kevin Owens has already been a full timer on the main roster for a minute now. Owens doesn’t need this win, he’s already so over now – he’s ready to win his first WWE title at Battleground later this month. Plus, there’s no way Balor can be beat when operating under his demon persona. Expect the two men to tear the house down in what could be a potential match of the year candidate. Prediction: Finn Balor via Coup de Grâce.

• Chris Jericho vs. Neville

Jericho is only doing live shows with WWE right so this may be the only time we get to see him on television – expect him to make it count. Jericho should do the right thing and put Neville over here like he did for Balor last night in Tokyo as well. The outcome really doesn’t even matter here though. It’s what happens in between the bells that we’ll be talking about. Prediction: Neville via Red Arrow.

• Tag Team Match: John Cena and Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane and King Barrett

First off, before you start bad mouthing this match, just remember – WWE doesn’t visit Tokyo all that often. This is a treat for the fans. I liken it to if  Okada, Nakamura, Goto, Tanahaski and company visited Detroit – I’d flip out. It’s a special event and each match is special when you consider the setting. Even watching it live from home on the Network here in the States will give fans a different vibe. Maybe we’ll even see a little bit of “Strong Style” rub off on these gents. As for the outcome, well, it’s John Cena overseas. He’ll probably let Ziggler get the finish and then raise his hand and talk him up so he looks like the selfless hero after a fun match. Prediction: Cena and Ziggler get a huge ovation after picking up the victory.

• Divas Championship Triple Threat: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige vs. Tamina Snuka

The Divas division hasn’t felt important for a while now. And it’s sad. There’s so much talent down in NXT and with Triple H at the helm I really do feel hope. Scrap that butterfly belt and change it from the Divas division to the Women’s division. With Charlotte, Sasha, Bayley and Becky you just cannot deny the evolution. It’ll hit soon. Until then, it’s likely that Nikki Bella continues to successfully defend her title. I like to live on the wild side a little bit from time to time though. How about we give Paige the title and make some headlines. Prediction: Paige via Ram-Paige.

• Tag Team Match: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. The Lucha Dragons

Big E and Xavier seem to be getting the proverbial s**t end of the stick lately after their little title run but at least they look like they’re having fun doing it. Expect them to fall to The Lucha Dragons before they take their beating from “The Beast” later on in the night. Prediction: Lucha Dragons via Kalisto’s Salida del Sol.

• Cesaro vs. Diego

Cesaro should open and close every single Network event until he retires. Maybe I’m just a bit biased though. I think a lot of you agree with me – this man is the most underutilized talent in the world of pro wrestling today. Cesaro beating Diego is easy money. Expect him to go over even harder with a Tokyo crowd that already loves him. Prediction: Cesaro via greatness.

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