Impact Wrestling and NJPW Multiverse United results: Powell’s live review of Kenta vs. Minoru Suzuki for the NJPW Strong Openweight Title, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Mike Bailey, Moose vs. Jeff Cobb, Kushida vs. Lio Rush, Ace Austin and Chris Bey vs. Aussie Open vs. TDMK vs. Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin for the Impact Tag Titles

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Impact Wrestling/New Japan Pro Wrestling Multiverse United
Aired live March 30, 2023 on FITE.TV
Los Angeles, California at the Globe Theatre

The event opened with a video package… Tom Hannifan, Ian Riccaboni, and Matt Rehwoldt were on commentary… Entrances for the X Division Title match took place…

Powell’s POV: I had some technical issues and missed the pre-show match between Yuya Uemura and Gabriel Kidd, which Uemura won. We’re all good now (knock on wood).

1. Trey Miguel vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Rich Swann vs. Kevin Knight vs. Clark Connors vs. Rocky Romero in a scramble match for the X Division Title. Miguel jawed at each of his opponents. Riccaboni noted that it was Impact wrestlers on one side and NJPW on the other, but they came together to gang up on Miguel for a few seconds.

Later, there was a tower of doom spot that Connors was on the top for. Swann was not involved and immediately hit him with a top rope splash. Romero hit his series of running clotheslines on various opponents in different corners of the ring. Connors ended up spearing him and then he speared Miguel on the apron. Kazarian hit a slingshot stunner and he was also speared by Connors, who then hit another on Swann.

Knight avoided a Connors spear attempt in the corner and ended up going for a superplex, but Connors shoved him off and then (guess what) speared him. Miguel returned to the ring and threw Connors to ringside and then covered Knight to steal the pin…

Trey Miguel defeated Frankie Kazarian, Rich Swann, Kevin Knight, Clark Connors, and Rocky Romero in roughly 7:30 in a scramble match to retain the X Division Title.

Powell’s POV: Fun while it lasted. I’m actually happy that the X Division Title didn’t trade hands in a six-way match. For that matter, there’s still plenty for Miguel to do as champion.

The broadcast team ran through the lineup… Entrances for the eight-man tag match took place. Hendry delivered a pre-match promo and got the crowd to chant “we believe” before the other team made their entrances…

2. Fred Rosser, Alex Coughlin, Sami Callihan, and PCO vs. Eddie Edwards, Joe Hendry, Tom Lawlor, and JR Kratos in an eight-man tag match. There were some impressive power displays early involving Coughlin and Hendry. PCO hit a big moonsault onto a pile of wrestlers at ringside.

Callihan grabbed the junk of Hendry and then put him down with a piledriver. Lawlor entered the ring and hit Callilhan with a knee to the face. Rosser gave Lawlor a gut buster. Edwards took out Rosser with a knee strike. Rosser eventually tagged in PCO. The crowd chanted for PCO as he went face to face with Kratos and then traded forearms with him.

Kratos put PCO down with a clothesline. PCO dodged a charging Kratos and then gave him an inverted DDT. PCO went up top and hit the PCO-sault on Kratos and pinned him to win the match for his team…

Fred Rosser, Alex Coughlin, Sami Callihan, and PCO defeated Eddie Edwards, Joe Hendry, Tom Lawlor, and JR Kratos in roughly 13:00 in an eight-man tag match.

Powell’s POV: An odd match just in terms of the pairings, but the action was enjoyable.

A video package set up the Moose vs. Jeff Cobb match, but they experienced technical difficulties with it…

3. Moose vs. Jeff Cobb. Riccaboni said before the match that we’d find out what happens when an NFL star battles an olympian. Riccaboni noted that Cobb wrestled a six-man tag match earlier in the day. They worked a slow pace early. Moose went for a spear that Cobb avoided, causing Moose to crash into the corner. Cobb followed up with an impressive superplex. A weary Cobb was slow to cover and only got a two count.

A short time later, Moose caught Cobb on the ropes and superplexed him. Once both men got to their feet, Moose went for a spear that Cobb avoided. Cobb charged Moose, who caught him with a big boot. Moose ran up the ropes and dove onto Cobb and got a two count. Cobb powered up Moose from the mat. After some back and forth, Cobb hit the Tour of the Islands and scored the clean pin…

Jeff Cobb defeated Moose in roughly 11:00.

Powell’s POV: Not only did Cobb work a six-man tag match on a Wrestle Con show, but he also worked a singles match on the Bloodsport 9 event (Chris Vetter’s report of that event is now available on the main page). Oh, and he wrestled Kenny Omega on Dynamite the night before. Damn. Anyway, that was an enjoyable big man match and it was nice to see a clean finish.

The broadcast team sent it backstage to Gia Miller for an interview, but they had technical issues again…

Injured Knockouts Champion Mickie James made her entrance. She was supposed to compete in the next match, but she is sidelined by a rib injury. James joined the broadcast team on commentary for the match…

4. Masha Slamovich vs. Deonna Purrazzo vs. Gisele Shaw vs. Miyu Yamashita in a four-way for a spot in the Knockouts Championship match at Rebellion. Yamashita won an early battle of kicks over Shaw, who was not accompanied by Jai Vidal or Savannah Evans. Moments later, Shaw performed a spinning dive from the top rope onto her three opponents on the floor. Shaw took Purrazzo back into the ring and worked her over for a moment, but Slamovich returned and cut her off with a kick.

A short time later, all four women were down in the ring. They each stood up and paired off before throwing punches. Purrazzo took Slamovich down and put her in the Fujiwara armbar. Slamovich rolled into a pin to break the hold. Yamashita kicked Purrazzo. Shaw took out Yamashita with a kick of her own. Slamovich leapt from the middle rope and performed a Canadian Destroyer on Shaw. Purrazzo grabbed Slamovich and executed three German suplexes.

Purrazzo set up for the Queen’s Gambit piledriver, but Slamovich avoided it and then powered up Purrazzo and slammed her into the corner. Yamashita took out Slamovich with a kick. Moments later, Purrazzo powerbombed Shaw and then hit the Queen’s Gambit and pinned her…

Deonna Purrazzo beat Gisele Shaw, Miyu Yamashita, and Masha Slamovich in a four-way in 9:35 to earn a spot in the Knockouts Championship match at Rebellion.

Powell’s POV: A solid match. There were some clunky moments, but there was far more good than bad. I’m all for doing more with Purrazzo as a singles wrestler, but I am also disappointed that Slamovich didn’t advance to the Knockouts Title match. I really thought this would be here time to win the belt if James is sidelined and they have to crown a new champion at Rebellion next month.

Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Impact Tag Team Champions Ace Austin and Chris Bey and asked them about the Machine Guns and Aussie Open having wins over them. Bey said they didn’t care about the past. He said they are the top tag team in pro wrestling. Austin said the Guns probably had a lot of early losses that people have forgotten. Austin said that he and Bey also suffered early losses, but they needed them and their tour of Japan to grow…

Powell’s POV: Good mic work with strong logic behind Bey and Austin blowing off their early losses. I’m beyond over the Bullet Club, but I really like these guys as a team (and as singles wrestlers for that matter).

5. “ABC” Ace Austin and Chris Bey vs. “Aussie Open” Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher vs. “TMDK” Bad Dude Tito and Shane Haste vs. “Motor City Machine Guns” Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin in a four-way for the Impact Tag Team Titles. The Guns jumped out to a fast start and set up for their Skull and Bones finisher, but TMDK broke it up.

Late in the match, Austin and Bey got Fletcher on the ropes, but Davis returned to the ring and slammed both opponents from the middle rope to the mat. Aussie Open hit a Pendulum Slam on Bey and Fletcher covered him for a good near fall. Aussie Open set up for their finisher on Bey, but Austin returned to break it up. The Guns also returned and hit one of their great flurries of offense on Fletcher. They went after Davis, who put them down with a clothesline. Davis followed up with another double clothesline on Austin and Bey.

Haste returned and went after Davis, but Fletcher joined his partner. Tito returned and knocked Fletcher off the ropes. Haste performed a big dive onto Davis on the floor. Tito performed a TKO style move on Bey for a two count. Austin and Bey took out Haste with a double superkick. Bey hit a cutter on Tito and then Austin followed up with The Fold on Tito and pinned him…

“ABC” Ace Austin and Chris Bey defeated “Aussie Open” Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher, “TMDK” Bad Dude Tito and Shane Haste, and “Motor City Machine Guns” Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin in 13:30 in a four-way to retain the Impact Tag Team Titles.

Powell’s POV: With all these teams going at it at once, I just opted to sit back and enjoy the action rather than even attempt to keep up with all that insanity. This was fun and the right team went over given that Austin and Bey are new champions. I haven’t seen much of Haste and Tito. They took the loss, but I like them as a team. Aussie Open is terrific, and the Guns are absolute tag team legends.

An ad aired featuring Mick Foley inviting people to watch DessleMania on Saturday. He said he would be joined by Mickie James, Lisa Marie Varon, and SoCal Val. He said they’d be telling stories and the money would go to a children’s charity…

6. Kushida vs. Lio Rush. Kushida went for an early Hoverboard Lock, but Rush reached the ropes to avoid it. Kushida continued to target the arm of Rush to set up for the move. Rush used his quickness and put Kushida down with a couple of nice kicks. Things got tense between the two and they traded shoves. Kushida followed Rush into the ropes and hit him with a handspring kick.

Kushida sent Rush to ringside. Kushida went to the apron and leapt over Rush, who was ready for him. Rush performed a head-scissors takedown and then executed a springboard move. Riccaboni noted that Rush may have hit his ribs on the barricade. Rush winced, but he seemed fine. Kushida returned to the ring first and then kicked Rush when he followed. Kushida continued to target the left arm.

Kushida wrenched the arm of Rush against the bottom rope. The broadcast team agreed that there was something different about Kushida, who worked a more ruthless style. Kushida maintained offensive control and applied a standing hammerlock. Rush escaped and was able to knock Kushida off the apron with a kick. Rush followed up with a lightning quick suicide dive. Back in the ring, Rush put Kushida down with a clothesline and covered him for a two count.

Rush went up top, but Kushida cut him off and went for his Hoverboard Lock while both men were on the ropes. Rush fought him off and headbutted him back down to the mat. Kushida stood up and ate a Rush kick. Kushida avoided Rush’s top rope move, but Rush rolled through and executed a Pele Kick. Both men threw simultaneous strikes that left both men down for a moment.

Rush went for a standing guillotine, but Kushida countered into a Hoverboard Lock. Rush escaped, but Kushida caught him with an overhead kick. Rush rolled Kushida into an inside cradle for a two count. Both men traded kicks with Rush getting the better of it. Rush set up for a move, but Kushida countered into a slam for a near fall.

Rush ducked a kick and then performed a Poison Rana. Rush followed up with another move and had the pin, but Kushida grabbed the bottom rope. Rush went up top and dove at Kushida, who caught him in the Hoverboard Lock on the way down. Rush tapped out.

Kushida defeated Lio Rush in 12:45.

Rush offered a handshake afterward. Kushida dropped to his knees and bowed. They shook hands and hugged while exchanging a few words. Rush left the ring and then Kushida played to the crowd…

Powell’s POV: My favorite match of the night thus far. Kushida pretty much had to go over given that he’s in the singles match that will crown the new Impact World Champion. That was fun even if the crowd seemed a bit lethargic at times. That said, they’re not very well mic’d and I’m guessing this isn’t the only show that most of these fans attended today.

A video package set up the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship match…

7. Kenta vs. Minoru Suzuki for the NJPW Strong Openweight Title. The crowd did come to life for Suzuki’s entrance. Kenta stalled early by ducking between the ropes. Suzuki finally had enough and went after him and ended up applying an armbar over the ropes. Suzuki brought Kenta to ringside and worked him over with forearms and knees and then shoved him into the barricade.

Kenta eventually took control and the wrestlers returned to the ring. Kenta taunted Suzuki by slapping him. Suzuki fired back. Kenta gouged the eyes of Suzuki and backed him into the corner. The fans booed. Kenta mocked the fans for booing him. Suzuki got pissed. Kenta threw kicks that Suzuki absorbed. Suzuki caught Kenta’s leg and elbowed it. Suzuki worked over Kenta with forearms in the corner.

Suzuki caught Kenta in a kneebar, but Kenta reached the ropes to break it. Kenta rallied with a DDT. Kenta went to the ropes and performed a lariat on the way down. Kenta covered Suzuki for a two count. Kenta applied a figure four and told Suzuki to give up. Suzuki reached the bottom rope to break the hold. Kenta and Suzuki traded elbow strikes. Suzuki started no-selling Kenta’s elbow strikes and then dropped him with one of his own.

Both men traded running kicks. Kenta got the better of it and put Suzuki down. Kenta put Suzuki down in the corner and then dropkicked him. Kenta went up top and performed a double stomp for a near fall. Kenta hoisted up Suzuki for a GTS, but Suzuki slipped away and caught Kenta in a sleeper. Kenta elbowed his way free, but Suzuki reapplied the hold. Kenta grabbed the referee and tossed him to the mat and then hit Suzuki with a low blow. Kenta put his feet on the ropes while pinning Suzuki…

Kenta defeated Minoru Suzuki in 15:30 to retain the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship.

After the match, Suzuki pulled a chair out from underneath the ring and tried to go after Kenta, but he was held back by a referee and security…

Powell’s POV: A solid match. They never really convinced me that Suzuki was on the verge of winning, but it was still enjoyable.

A video promoted the Impact Wrestling Rebellion pay-per-view event for April 16 in Toronto. The show is headlined by Steve Maclin vs. Kushida for the vacant Impact World Championship… A video package set up the main event…

8. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Mike Bailey. Bailey offered a handshake, which Tanahashi hesitantly accepted. Bailey backed Tanahashi into the corner early an gave him a clean break. Tanahashi spun him around and teased doing the same before taking a shot at him. Bailey delivered a series of quick kicks and capped it off with an enzuigiri. Tanahashi went to ringside. Bailey set up for a dive, but Tanahashi moved out of the way.

Bailey went to the floor anyway and took a shot at Tanahashi. Riccaboni commended Bailey for not backing down and taking the shot. Back in the ring, Bailey leapt from the top rope over Tanahashi, who avoided him. Tanahashi kicked Bailey’s legs out from under him. Bailey sold left knee pain. Tanahashi went to work on the knee and then used it to play air guitar. Rehwoldt told viewers that if this is their first Tanahashi match, they’re dumb, but he added that he was playing air guitar because he’s a rock star.

A short time later, Tanahashi performed a dragon screw leg whip over the middle rope. Bailey returned to the ring, but Tanahashi grabbed his leg and performed the move again. Bailey avoided Tanahashi going for a sliding kick. Bailey performed a springboard moonsault using the top rope onto Tanahashi on the floor. Bailey tried to get back to his feet and then sold the knee and fell back to the ground. Both men rolled inside the ring to beat the NJPW 20-count used during the match.

Tanahashi and Bailey traded rolling elbows while on their knees and continued as they got back to their feet. Bailey threw a couple of kicks. Tanahashi caught his leg and performed a dragon screw. Bailey came right back and performed a standing moonsault that he capped off by driving his knees into the abdomen of Tanahashi. Bailey blasted Tanahashi with a kick to the head and covered him for a good near fall.

Bailey set up for a move, but Tanahashi cut it off with a sling blade clothesline. Tanahashi went up top, but Bailey got to his feet before he could go for a High Fly Flow. Bailey joined Tanahashi on the ropes. Tanahashi knocked him off the ropes with forearm strikes. Tanahashi kicked at the bad knee while Bailey attempted to pull himself up and eventually did get back to the top rope. Bailey performed a top rope huracanrana.

Bailey waited for Tanahashi to stand up and then he hit him with a pair of kicks to the head. Tanahashi stumped back into the corner. Bailey threw a tornado kick once Tanahashi stood up. Bailey went for his Ultima Weapon finisher, but Tanahashi rolled out of the way. Bailey came down on his knees and sold knee pain. Tanahashi charged Bailey, who caught him in a backslide for a near fall. Tanahashi performed three Twist and Shout neckbreakers. Tanahashi followed up with a sling blade clothesline and then went up top and hit a High Fly Flow frogsplash and scored the clean pin.

Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Mike Bailey in 16:10.

After the match, Tanahashi approached Bailey, who was apprehensive. Tanahashi held out his hand and then helped Bailey to his feet and raised his arm. Bailey pointed at Tanahashi and then both men played to the crowd and shook hands. Bailey bowed as he was shaking Tanahashi’s hand and then the show went off the air…

Powell’s POV: A very good main event and right there with Kushida vs. Lio Rush for my favorite match of the night. They told a good story with Tanahashi targeting the knee of Bailey, and the bad knee taking the punishment when Bailey missed his Ultima Weapon finisher. Tanahashi is a legend and Bailey is among the most impressive wrestlers going today.

Overall, this was a good show despite the injuries that took away Will Ospreay, Josh Alexander, and Mickie James from their scheduled matches. As much fun as the main event was, I can’t imagine how great a Bailey vs. Ospreay match would have been.

I must say that the look of the show brought things down a notch. The lighting was subpar and it made a show that struck me as major league on paper look and feel like something less than that. Don’t get me wrong, it was still enjoyable and is worthy of replay consideration. I just hope they can step it up from a production and cosmetic standpoint the next time these companies work together. I will have more to say in my audio review coming up on Friday for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).


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