|Round 2 happens in Japan on The Network|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WWE is going on tour in Japan during the Independence Day weekend, which is funny in its own right, but still. The first big news that broke about the tour was that Brock Lesnar would be working a show on it, and that his opponent would be Kofi Kingston. While Kingston has been a longtime veteran of the company and has found new resurgence as a member of the New Day, his opposition of Lesnar seems curious. However, the bomb detail was dropped about the show last night during NXT, when William Regal announced that the July 4 show would be broadcast live on WWE Network, and that Finn Bálor would receive his shot at the NXT World Championship (It's a World Title with this defense in Japan) against Kevin Owens on the special.
The show will air live from Tokyo, which is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time currently. While the show will air at the reasonable hour of 7:30 PM there, it will start bright and early at 6:30 AM on the East Coast, which isn't that bad. However, for people in other time zones, especially Pacific, the choice on whether to wake up at 3:30 AM or go to bed after the show's over is going to be a lot rougher. Of course, it will be on demand for those who'd rather adhere to their normal sleep schedules.
In addition to Bálor/Owens and Lesnar/Kingston, the show will include Chris Jericho taking on Neville, a rematch of the Divas Championship match from Elimination Chamber featuring Nikki Bella defending against Naomi and Paige, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd getting another crack at New Day's Tag Team Championships, the Lucha Dragons battling Los Matadores, and John Cena teaming with Dolph Ziggler to take on Wade Barrett and Kane. The lineup is not on WWE.com, and is courtesy of WrestleChat. On first glance, that card looks hella weird, but at the same time, it's totally not something that WWE would push onto regular PPV, which makes it that much more special and desirable to see.
Jericho was originally scheduled to wrestle Bálor at this show, which leads me to believe that the change was made when Hideo Itami's injury happened. Sure, Bálor made his bones as Prince Devitt in New Japan Pro Wrestling, but he's not a Japanese native like Itami is. But man cannot wrestle with his shoulder dangling from his socket, so here the WWE has arrived. Speaking of injury news, the Tag Championship match MAY be changed as well depending on the severity of Kidd's injury. He apparently got hurt during that dark match he had against Samoa Joe on Monday before RAW, but very few details have emerged as to how much time he'll miss.
Personally, the NXT Title match and the oddity of Lesnar taking on such an opponent beneath him on the card is enough to get me up and on my feet to watch this show when it airs. It'll be interesting to see if Owens survives it as Champion. He's been rumored to be bound for the main roster full-time, and if he's ready to be a RAW personality, full-stop, then losing the title now to a potentially overpowered Demon-Forme Bálor might be better than having him wait to drop it to either Bálor, Joe, or even Solomon Crowe (don't laugh, jerks) at NXT Takeover: Cuz Back At School We Are the Leaders of All in September. It's going to be an interesting month between now and then, to say the least.