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  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: Impact/NJPW Multiverse United 2023

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

It's been a hot minute since I watched Impact. The last show I remember watching was Hard to Kill in 2021. I might have watched Rebellion, but I can't remember much from it. I watched Impact during the pandemic because I had a lot of spare time, then I was hooked on the Kenny Omega storyline but I stopped caring about Impact so much. Well, 2 years later let's see what's been going on. I've done some research since I have near enough zero knowledge of any back story to these matches, so here is some context for those in the same boat as I am.


It seems like the scheduled main event was to be Josh Alexander defending the Impact World Title against Kushida, however Alexander suffered a triceps tear and his vacated the world championship. So, Kushida is in a non-title match with Lio Rush. Unfortunate that we won't get a world title match but shit happens. I wish Josh a speedy recovery. I wonder whether this will still be the main event?


This match should main event, 1 of 3 title matches of the evening. Strong Openweight Champion Kenta defends against Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki got a pin over the champion in an eight-man tag during the New Japan Cup tour, that put him next in line for a shot at the gold. KENTA has been the holder of this NJPW Strong exclusive championship since February 18th, defeating Fred Rosser (FKA Darren Young) at Battle in the Valley.


This show has more injury woes. Mike Bailey vs Will Ospreay is scheduled but the latter has pulled out due to a shoulder injury. Hiroshi Tanahashi will face Bailey instead. Not just Ospreay, Mickie James has also pulled out of the show after suffering a broken rib. Subbing in for her, current GCW World Champion Masha Slamovich to face Deonna Purrazzo, Gisele Shaw & Miyu Yamashita. The winner will face Jordynne Grace at Rebellion for the vacant Knockouts Championship, assuming Mickie isn't cleared to wrestle. If she IS cleared, it's a triple threat. Both injuries suck but the substitutions I think a solid replacements. The numerous multi-person matches should be exciting but I worry they may burn out the crowd with too much of the same fast-paced style offence. Not a single standard tag match on here. I'm most looking forward to KENTA vs Suzuki as well as Jeff Cobb vs Moose, but every match has good potential so let's review.


March 30th 2023- Impact Wrestling/NJPW Multiverse United: Only the STRONG Survive


-Tom Hannifan (FKA Tom Phillips), Ian Riccaboni & Matt Rehwoldt (FKA Aiden English) are on commentary for this evening.


(Pre-show) Yuya Uemura vs Gabriel Kidd

These two are young lions from New Japan's Dojo, I watched fellow Brit Gabriel Kidd a lot of during his WCPW/Defiant Wrestling days. I haven't watched him in a few years so I'm looking forward to seeing how he his grown. These two had fought each other numerous times in the past, this is their first meeting since 2021.


Chain wrestling begins this one, Kidd maintaining a headlock whilst Yuya targets the arm. Yuya has an arm stretch but Kidd pushes him to the corner and out of the ring. Yuys gets back in and gets bodyslammed. They both exchange chops until Kidd gains advantage with open palm strikes. Yuya fires back with a clothesline, a corner splash and then a bulldog for a nearfall. Kidd eats a dropkick but returns with suplexes. Kidd holds Yuya in a front face lock and sits on the turnbuckle, lifting him off the ground too. Yuya falls limp and Gabriel taunts him to boos from the crowd. Yuya turns the tide though, landing an overhead suplex and a diving crossbody to pick up the win.


A nice little match to warm up the crowd. I like Gabriel Kidd working as a heel it suits him. I'll be keeping tabs on these two going forward.


Yuya Uemura wins via pinfall (7:52)

2.5/5


-We get a video package opening the main show.


Trey Miguel (c) vs Clark Connors vs Frankie Kazarian vs Kevin Knight vs Rich Swann vs Rocky Romero 6-way scramble for X-Division Championship

Trey Miguel won the X-Division Title for the second time November last year at Overdrive, turning heel in the process. Clark Connors & Kevin Knight are both graduates from New Japan's Dojo. Frankie Kazarian is a former 5 time X-Division champion and wrestling veteran, recently choosing to leave AEW to sign for Impact permanently. Rich Swann has been at the top of his game since his WWE departure, including winning the World Championship in Impact. Rocky Romero has been a prominent feature for New Japan for over 10 years primarily in the Junior Heavyweight division.


Rocky Romero looks like Goro Majima from the Yakuza franchise. If you got that reference, you're good in my books. Trey gets in everyone's face, so they all put the boots to him and throw him out. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. We get a 5-person headlock before they all take turns with shoulder tackles, Knight hip tosses Kazarian. They all now take turns landing arm drags followed by simultaneous dropkicks. Trey pulls Kazarian out the ring and targets Rocky, Trey hits arm drags on everyone before eating a dropkick from everyone. Connors eats elbows from Swann and Knight, who take turns splashing him. Swann and Knight reverse and flip out of each others offence. Kaz nails a DDT to Clark Connors, following up with springboard leg drops to Romero & Swann. He goes for a third to Knight but he dropkicks him instead. They all take turns trying to pin Frankie but someone is always there to break it up. There's a nice Tower of Doom spot as Trey wipes out almost everyone, Swann lands a diving splash on Connors. Romero runs to each corner landing clotheslines on a wrestler each time, before eating a GORE of a spear from Clark Connors. Clark spears Trey on the apron. Kazarian hits a cutter on Knight, before turning into a Clark Connors spear. Swann kicks Connors but takes a spear for his troubles. Knight jumps from top into another hellacious spear. Trey throws Connor to the outside and steals the pin to retain.


This was fun fast-paced action from bell to bell. Everyone got some time to shine but Clark Connors especially I thought looked impressive. Those spears looked devastating.


Trey Miguel retains via pinfall (7:11)

2.75/5


Alex Coughlin, Callihan, Fred Rosser, PCO vs Eddie Edwards, Joe Hendry, & Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor & JR Kratos)

PCO is a 55 years old veteran, reinventing himself in his 2016 wrestling return as a frankenstein monster kinda thing. He and Eddie Edwards are feuding since PCO left their stable Honor No More. Edwards also has a on-and-off long-lasting feud against former friend Callihan. Fred Rosser has been having a resurgence recently as a part of New Japan, being a former STRONG Openweight Champion. Coughlin is a New Japan Dojo graduate who wrestled Jon Moxley at Bloodsport only a couple hours previous to this match. Joe Hendry is the current Impact Digital Media Champion. He is another wrestler I used to watch at WCPW. Is Joe Hendry the prettiest wrestler? Yes, yes he is. Kratos also wrestled at Bloodsport before this show, losing to Harry Smith. Tom Lawlor feuded with Rosser over the Openweight Championship most recently.


Eddie Edwards and Callihan start throwing strikes at each other. Lawlor & Rosser both tag in and start throwing strikes at each other. Rosser hits these hilarious looking clubs to Lawlors chest and back which looks like the weirdest massage ever. Hendry comes in with a clothesline to Rosser. Hendry wrestles with Coughlin before tagging Kratos in for some offence. Kratos goes for a splash but Coughlin hits an overhead suplex. PCO tags in to cheers but he's caught by Kratos' punches. PCO chops Kratos and flips him off the top rope, Eddie comes in and attacks. Chaos ensues as they all fight in and out the ring. Callihan and Lawlor are legal and trade blows. Lawlor penalty kicks Callihan, before being backdropped on the apron by Rosser. There's a nice spot of dueling suplex attempts between Hendry & Coughlin, neither come out on top. A dive to the outside by Coughlin to Hendry & Lawlor. PCO dumps Eddie out to the outside but Kratos attacks. PCO throws Kratos out to the wrestlers in the outside, PCO hits a moonsault to outside on everyone. Kratos suplexes PCO from the top rope. Rosser hits a northern lights suplex to Eddie Edwards. Rosser looks for the chicken wing but Lawlor breaks it. Coughlin shows his impressive strength with a double backdrop, Hendry one ups him with a double fallaway slam. Callihan grabs Hendry by the meat and two veg before hitting him with a piledriver. Rosser hits a gut buster to Lawlor, Eddie hits Rosser with a blue thunder bomb. Kratos suplexes Rosser but PCO gets a tag in. They slug it out but ultimately PCO scores the victory following a moonsault.


A decent contest, everyone worked hard. The match had some good moments but a there was some weak moments like Rosser's weird clubberin'. Also everyone was just outside of the ring missing for a few minutes during the finishing sequence. Why didn't anyone get involved? Not bad for what it was, felt like it was missing something though.


PCO, Callihan, Fred Rosser & Alex Coughlin win via pinfall (12:24)

2.25/5


-They try to show a video package for Moose vs Jeff Cobb but technical difficulties make it unwatchable.


Jeff Cobb vs Moose

Moose is the self-proclaimed God of wrestling who has been a dominant force in Impact for years. Jeff Cobb is a former olympian who had a dominant run in Lucha Underground before joining New Japan to dominate there too. This is Cobb's third match of the night, fucking hell, wrestling for his stable United Empire against Time Machine for the WrestleCon Supershow, then against Calder McColl in Bloodsport.


It starts slow as they lock up. Moose goes to the outside to recollect himself before locking up again. The trade chops until Cobb gains advantage with a dropkick. Cobb performs a nice standing moonsault. Moose takes control and hits a corner dropkick. Man, Moose moves quick and smoothly for someone of his size. There's a funny spot as Cobb is squatted on top of a prone Moose and uses his taunt. Moose hits a sit-out chokebomb from the tope rope for a nearfall. Moose runs at Cobb but he dodges. They trade more heavy blows and Cobb hits a huge punch but Moose rolls him up for a nearfall. They continue to exchange moves before simultaneously going for clotheslines and we get a double down. They both kip-up and hit simultaneous clotheslines again, this time they both tumble out of the ring. They regroup in the ring to exchange beefy strikes once again. Moose gets Cobb up for a huge superplex. Cobb dodges a spear, he charges but runs into a huge big boot. Moose hits a dive for a nearfall as Cobb powers up. They continue to jockey for position but Cobb gets Moose where he wants him, slamming him down with a Tour of the Islands to win.


A good hoss fight between two big titans. It was slow at times but I think it sold how much offence was being thrown by each guy. Cobb's feats of strength are impressive and Moose's agility is too. I felt they both had another gear to take it to but I still enjoyed this.


Jeff Cobb wins via pinfall (11:51)

3/5


-We go to a backstage segment but the technical issues prevent it from being seen or heard so we go back to the ring. Impact Knockouts Champion Mickie James comes out to do commentary.


Deonna Purrazzo vs Gisele Shaw vs Masha Slamovich vs Miyu Yamashita, winner is added to Knockouts Championship match at Rebellion.

Masha Slamovich is the first ever female GCW Champion at 24 years old, she has mega star potential. Gisele is relatively new to Impact, joining last year after making a name for her self at RevPro Wrestling. Yamashita is signed to Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, a sister company to DDT-Pro Wrestling. She's had barn burners with the likes of Maki Ito, Yuka Sakazaki Miu Watanabe. Deonna Purrazzo calls herself the virtuosa, who was poorly handled by WWE and has left just to prove how damn good she is. She since has won the Knockouts Championship twice, the ROH Women's Championship, the AAA Reina de Reinas title and the Knockouts Tag Championships.


Gisele Shaw rolls out of harms way and less the other 3 fight it out. Masha fights both of them but eats a double elbow and also rolls out. Deonna & Miyu shake hands and lock up. Deonna reverses a wristlock into a headlock, then blocks some shoulder tackles before hitting one of her own. Shaw pulls Deonna out the ring and gets in to face Miyu. They exchange spin kick attempts, Miyu lands the first blow and boots her so hard she rolls out the ring. Miyu follows up with a penalty kick to Shaw, before Deonna comes with a baseball slide. Masha hits a diving crossbody to the outside onto all but Shaw, Shaw jumps on them all with an impressive corkscrew plancha. Mickie James screamed for that spot as if someone died, hilarious. Gisele unloads uppercuts to Deonna, Masha kicks Gisele off. Masha and Deonna exchange strikes, Deonna hits a hurricanrana followed by a pumpkick and a standing moonsault. Miyu back in, throws stiff kicks on Masha before nailing Shaw with a running knee. All four women exchange kicks and strikes for a quadruple knock down. Shaw and Deonna go at it as do Masha & Miyu. Deonna and Masha remain, Deonna goes for a Fujiwara armbar but Slamovich rolls it into a pin attempt. Miyu kicks Deonna but is kicked by Gisele in return. Gisele spears Masha, Masha responds with a Canadian destroyer. Masha goes for Deonna but she reverses it into German suplexes. Deonna goes for Queen Gambit but Masha air raid crashes Deonna into the corner. Yamashita kicks Masha down, Shaw kicks Miyu down. Deonna powerbombs Shaw and hits the Queen Gambit to win.


A bit disjointed at times but great effort by all 4 women. Miyu's striking looked lethal, Masha looked powerful, Gisele was a talented opportunist and Purrazzo continues to show why she's one of the best women's wrestlers in the world today. James was a good addition for commentary however having 4 people do commentary makes the production crowded, it risks hurting the match.


Deonna Purrazzo wins via pinfall (9:20)

2.75/5


-They manage to play the backstage segment this time. Gia Miller interviews the tag champions Chris Bey & Ace Austin about their upcoming match. They exude confidence, blowing off their previous losses as growth.


Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) (c) vs Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) vs Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) vs TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & Shane Haste) for Impact World Tag Team Championships

Earlier in the month Bey & Austin knocked off the MCMG's for the tag straps. These two are incredible singles talents but they've proven their ability as tag wrestlers. Aussie Open have been together since 2017 and are a part of Will Ospreay's United Empire stable, putting on tag team spectaculars across the globe including in AEW. Motor City Machine Guns have been together on and off since 2006 and are the current GCW Tag Champions. The Mighty Don't Kneel were a tag team between Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls since 2011, known as TM-61 in WWE. Bad Dude Tito joined in 2022 and more followed in 2023. 3 established teams and 2 potentially future stars from Bullet Club. This should be good.


There's a lot going on in a short amount of time so I'll try to keep up. TMDK jump MCMG. MCMG's go for stereo dives but Aussie Open cuts them off. The guns finally get their dives in on everyone. They double team Haste who fires back at Sabin but Shelley levels him. Tito holds Shelley in place for a cannonball from Haste. Shelley is targeted by TMDK for a little while, knocking Sabin off preventing a possible tag. Shelley reluctantly tags in Bey who goes on a spree. Bey hits a slick code red. Fletcher tags himself in on Haste, Aussie Open double team Bey. They knock off all opponents to control the ring. Fletcher and Davis hit Bey with a stalling suplex. Austin gets a tag and goes on the offensive. Ace dishes out kicks to anyone in his vicinity. MCMG get back into control and send everyone to the outside, Shelley holds the ropes open for a Sabin dive. Bey follows up with a flip on to everyone. Aussie Open square off with Bullet Club, hitting a pendulum slam on Bey for a 1-2-Kick out! That was close. Aussie look for the finish by Austin saves his partner. Sabin cutters Ace, the Guns double team Fletcher but Davis takes them out with a clothesline. Haste is back in to clothesline Davis. Aussie Open double team Haste until Tito saves him from the abuse. Haste hits a dive to the Aussie's whilst Tito hits a TKO-esque move to Bey. Ace & Bey double team Tito with a cutter and The Fold to retain the titles.


A very good match. Good tag psychology that paced itself well. The match started chaotic, slowed down and then ended strong. Aussie Open looked particularly great in this one. Would have liked to see more from TMDK in this one but what they did was serviceable. Austin & Bey are future mega stars if they keep in this path.


Bullet Club's Chris Bey & Ace Austin retain via pinfall (13:22)

3.5/5


KUSHIDA vs Lio Rush

Kushida made his return to NJPW after his 2 year spell in NXT, also making appearances for Impact. Lio Rush has also made New Japan appearances since his 2020 release from WWE, as well as appearances for AEW and others.


Kushida wants to grapple but Rush uses his speed to his advantage. Kushida grabs and targets the arm but Rush kicks Kushida down. They exchange chops, Kushida gains advantage with a heel kick. Rush hits a crossbody on Kushida to the outside. In the ring, Kushida continues to work the arm of Lio Rush. Rush tries to get away from him but to no avail. Kushida has an arm lock but Rush rolls out of it. After trading strikes, Rush tries a springboard move but Kushida kicks the arm. Rush heel kicks Kushida followed by a suicide dive. Rush goes for a move but Kushida turns it into a hoverboard lock attempt. Rush headbutts him away and goes for a splash but no contact. Rush hits a Pele kick, then they clothesline each other for a double down. Kushida gets the hoverboard lock in but Rush escapes and hits a Pele kick. They trade kicks, Kushida hits a package piledriver for a nearfall. Rush gains control with a reverse hurricanrana and a cutter from the top rope. Rush goes for a splash but Kushida catches him in the hoverboard lock and gets a submission victory.


Another good match here, a shame about Josh Alexander's injury but Lio Rush was a solid replacement. Rush's fast, creative offence complimented Kushida's submission style well. Kushida has an edge to his offence that I enjoyed.


KUSHIDA wins via submission (12:42)

3.25/5


KENTA (c) vs Minoru Suzuki for Strong Openweight Championship

Two men with globally renowned striking ability. Since his WWE departure in 2019, KENTA has been tearing up the competition in New Japan. Suzuki is legendary. Co-founder of Pancrase, one of the first MMA organisations in the world. He's competed and won championships in 3 of the largest promotions in Japan as well as in RevPro & ROH. This is their third singles clash, Suzuki won their first encounter for NOAH in 2005. KENTA won their second match in 2021.


Suzuki has the best entrance music ever i think. KAZE NI NARE!!! There is a nice part of the entrance where Suzuki grabs at KENTA's title, so he uses his t-shirt to wipe off where Suzuki touched it. Small things have big impact. KENTA winds up Suzuki by staying in the ropes when they go to lock up. This happens a few times and goes on for a little while. Suzuki has had enough and takes him to the outside to brawl, exchanging strikes. Suzuki tries to throw KENTA into the guardrail but someone either didn't secure them properly or a fan decided to unclip them so they both awkwardly stumbled around, that looked weird. KENTA send Suzuki into the post. He rakes the eyes, something he continues to do a lot of throughout the match. KENTA stomps and slaps Suzuki, the crowd chant "You fucked up". They trade slaps, eye rake to Suzuki. Suzuki goes for more slaps, more eye raking into the corner. KENTA stays in control, delivering kicks to Suzuki who eventually powers up and elbows a knee. Suzuki throws strikes in the corner, before targeting the leg. KENTA manages to escape and hit a lariat. He locks in a figure four leglock to Suzuki, he gets to the ropes. More chops exchanged, they exchange big boots too and KENTA comes out on top. A running corner kick into a double stomp gets a nearfall. Suzuki locks in a few sleeper attempts but they bump into the referee. KENTA low blows him and pins him with rope leverage.


A solid match-up, although I'm disappointed. Sometimes the strong-style doesn't translate well in front of an American audience. Saying that, I just don't think these two have great chemistry, also they're both not in their peak anymore. Double also, they just didn't seem interested in having a barn burner, which may be down to the poor as piss crowd. This felt like a standard match of going through the motions, it was decent.


KENTA retains via pinfall (15:27)

2.75/5


Mike Bailey vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

Apparently Mike Bailey's two big dream matches are against Hiroshi Tanahashi & John Cena. Bailey has been wrestling for over 10 years, slowly but surely gaining popularity for his performances in PWG, CZW, WxW & RevPro. He signed for Impact in late 2021 and is a former X-division champion. He also won this years PWG Battle for Los Angeles in January. Hiroshi Tanahashi is the Ace of New Japan, their resident John Cena except a significantly more impressive in-ring performer. Sorry John, you're great but Tanahashi is like a superhero. For context, he is the 7th highest rated wrestler on cagematch.net. He is very good.


They shake hands before locking up. Tanahashi is taken down with an arm bar and is backed into the corner. Tanahashi breaks away with a gut punch, Bailey fires back with a flurry of kicks and an enzuigiri. Bailey teases a dive but Tanahashi moves, so Bailey follows him outside to chop his tits off and hit a single leg dropkick. Back inside, Tanahashi works the knee but Bailey stays in the fight with forearm strikes. Bailey hits a dropkick followed by more kicks, then a running shooting star press for a nearfall. Tanahashi regains control, hitting a big top rope senton. Bailey throws kicks, Hiroshi fires back with dragon screw leg whips. Tana goes to the outside, Bailey hits a moonsault from the top down into him. They get back in before a 20 count and begin to exchange blows. More kicks from Bailey, followed by a gnarly moonsault knees followed by a roundhouse kick to Tana's skull. Very good sequence. Bailey charges for a tornado kick but runs into a sling blade. Tana goes for High Fly Flow but Bailey blocks it. Tana targets the knee but Bailey powers up for a hurricanrana. Bailey hits two big head kicks before nailing the tornado kick! He goes for his finisher but he drills his knees into the mat as Tana dodges. Hiroshi takes charge with a trio of neckbreakers, a sling blade clothesline before going up to hit High Fly Flow for the win. The show goes off the air as both men shake hands and celebrate together. Isn't that lovely.


A good main event. Tanahashi still puts on great performances wrestling the same style has done for 20+ years. I'm impressed by Mike Bailey and I see why he has gained popularity recently. They told a good story with Tana targeting the legs which overtime wore out Bailey.


Hiroshi Tanahashi wins via pinfall (15:16)

3.5/5


Overall- 58.3%

This was a fine show with nothing awful but also nothing spectacular. Considering this show was plagued by injuries they did well to provide a solid show nonetheless. The crowd wasn't great, only really reacting to big spots and not really engaging much throughout. They didn't seem interested at all, probably why KENTA & Suzuki didn't seem to care either. I didn't like the constant switching of the rules, depending on whether a match was sanctioned by Impact or New Japan. Just have a 10 count for every match or a 20 count for every match. I'm sure the wrestlers can cope. Final negative, the production was poor. Technical difficulties, poor lighting and poor audio often throughout. Technical difficulties happen, but the presentation honestly felt really low budget and not what I'd expect from one of the biggest US promotions and Japan's largest promotion. This had house show vibes rather than a Supercard.


MOTN: Bullet Club vs Aussie Open vs Motor City Machine Guns vs TMDK


Did you watch the show? What did you think? Let me know what your thoughts were and let me know of any shows I need to watch over Wrestlemania weekend. 'Til next time, see ya!

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