By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
Impact Wrestling/New Japan Pro Wrestling Multiverse United 2
Streamed live August 20, 2023 on FITE.TV
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Tom Hannifan, Matt Rehwoldt, and Veda Scott provided commentary. This is the second consecutive night in this venue.
United Multiverse 2 Pre-show
1. Joe Hendry and Yuya Uemura and Heath defeated Rocky Romero and Ryusuke Taguchi and Master Wato at 10:23. Romero and Heath started and there is a significant size difference. Taguchi hit his buttbump on Heath, then one on Hendry at 2:30. Wato hit a double bulldog and a huracanrana. Romero’s team hit stereo planchas. Hendry hit a suplex on Wato for a nearfall at 5:30, and Hendry’s team worked Wato over in their corner. Hendry scooped up two guys and hit a double fallaway slam at 8:30, showing off his impressive strength. Uemura and Taguchi tagged in, and Taguchi hit a buttbump. Uemura hit a top-rope crossbody block to pin Taguchi. Good opener.
2. Kenny King defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru at 7:00. Kanemaru hit a basement dropkick on the leg and grounded King. King stomped on Kanemaru and hit a legdrop to the throat for a nearfall at 3:00. Kanemaru missed a moonsault, but he hit a tornado DDT for a nearfall. Kanemaru then hit a top-rope moonsault for a nearfall. Kanemaru took a swig of alcohol, but King avoided being sprayed by it. King hit a swinging uranage for the pin. Adequate action.
United Multiverse 2 Main Show
1. Chris Sabin defeated Kevin Knight, Yoh, El Desperado, Bushi, Frankie Kazarian, Rich Swann, and Mao in a scramble match at 8:06. Everyone here but Sabin and Kazarian competed a day ago at the New Japan show here. The crowd chanted “All these guys!” before the bell, as Veda said many of them had never been in a scramble before. Swann and Mao opened with quick reversals. Knight hit his leaping splash on Yoh for a nearfall at 2:00. Sabin hit a top-rope missile dropkick on Knight, then he battled Kazarian. Bushi battled Desperado.
Mao punched Desperado in the jaw and we had a multi-man submission spot. Everyone took turns beating up Bushi in the corner. Knight hit a frogsplash on Swann for a nearfall at 6:00. Yoh hit a double dropkick. Knight hit his D’Lo Sky High on Yoh. Kazarian applied a Chickenwing on Knight. Desperado hit a spinebuster on Frankie. Mao avoided Swann’s Lethal Injection attempt. Sabin hit a double DDT at 8:00, then he hit the Cradle Shock slam to pin Yoh. Really good and I wish it had been given even more time.
2. Moose and Eddie Edwards defeated “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Zack Sabre Jr. and Shane Haste at 13:21. Eddie and Zack started with some quick reversals and a standoff. Haste entered at 1:00 and hit a basement dropkick to the back of Eddie’s head, and TMDK tagged in and out frequently. Eddie hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Haste and he tagged in Moose at 3:00. Moose hit an impressive dropkick as Haste was seated on the top turnbuckle. Moose and Edwards worked over Haste. Haste hit a huracanrana and tagged Sabre back in at 6:30. Zack immediately applied an Octopus on Edwards, but Eddie fought free.
Sabre hit a running penalty kick to Moose’s chest that drew a crowd pop. Edwards hit a suplex on Sabre; these two really are clicking in the ring, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Eddie hit some chops; Sabre fired back with some spin kicks to the chest. Edwards hit a Blue Thunder Bomb and they were both down at 9:00. Moose and Haste tagged back in. Haste hit some European Uppercuts, then a rolling cannonball in the corner for a nearfall on Moose. Moose hit a uranage on Haste. Sabre hit a tornado DDT on Moose.
Edwards hit a clothesline on Sabre, and everyone was down. Haste and Moose traded forearm shots. Sabre tried a Triangle Choke on Moose, and he hopped on the back and applied a sleeper. Haste hit a running knee on Moose for a nearfall at 12:00. Edwards hit a Boston Knee Party on Sabre. Moose went for a spear but Haste avoided it and Shane got a rollup for a nearfall. Haste hit a dropkick on Moose. Moose nailed a spear on Haste for the pin. Really strong match.
3. Giulia defeated Momo Kohgo, Deonna Purrazzo, and Gisele Shaw in a four-way to retain the New Japan Strong Women’s Title at 12:22. If you haven’t seen Giulia, she is of Italian-Japanese heritage and has a unique look and she just exudes star power; she came out last and got a nice reception. Veda is invaluable here, giving a rundown of Stardom and some of Giulia’s career highlights. Giulia hit a shoulder tackle that dropped Deonna. Gisele posed; Giulia sent Shaw flying out of the ring. Deonna hit a double clothesline at 2:00. Momo hit a top-rope crossbody block on Giulia, then a 619 for a nearfall. Gisele hit a doublestomp move on both Japanese women in the corner at 4:00. Nice. Deonna applied a Fujiwara Armbar on Gisele. Momo hit a top-rope crossbody block to the floor on two women. Shaw hit (an ugly) dive to the floor; there were a few “you f’d up” chants, but everyone appears okay.
In the ring, Gisele argued with the crowd before picking up Giulia, and Shaw hit a suplex for a nearfall at 6:30. Giulia hit a top-rope butterfly suplex on Shaw. Deonna hit a Mafia Kick on Momo, and suddenly everyone was down again at 8:00, and we got a “This is awesome!” chant. All four brawled mid-ring. Shaw speared Giulia. Deonna hit a Lungblower on Momo. Shaw hit a top-rope Spanish Fly on Deonna for a nearfall, earning a “holy shit!” chant.
Momo performed a tornado DDT on Shaw. Giulia hit a Saito Suplex on Mom at 10:30. Deonna hit the Queen’s Gambit piledriver on Giulia for a nearfall, and she immediately applied a Fujiwara Armbar on Giulia! Shaw and Deonna traded open-hand slaps to the face. Shaw hit a twisting faceplant on Deonna. Shaw hit a spinebuster on Momo. Giulia hit a dropkick and a Northern Lights Bomb to pin Shaw. Tremendous action. Momo attacked Giulia after the bell, so Giulia hit a Michinoku Driver on Kohgo.
4. Sami Callihan defeated Douki at 12:53. Hannifan said this is Sami’s first match in 2300 Arena in five years. He took the mic and said he’s had some of the most violent matches in pro wrestling history in this building. He asked Douki to make this one a South Philly Street Fight. Douki responded with an enzuigiri, sending Callihan to the floor. Douki hit a dive to the floor on Sami, and he got a chair and jabbed it into Sami’s ribs. Sami hit a Death Valley Driver onto the thin mat on the floor at 1:00, and he tossed several chairs into the ring. In the ring, Sami gave Douki a papercut between the fingers. Callihan hit a suplex onto an open chair for a nearfall at 4:00. Sami lunged toward the corner but Douki ducked, and Sami crashed head-first onto a chair in the corner.
Douki went under the ring and got a kendo stick, and he hit Sami across the back, then to the stomach. Sami stole the kendo stick, but Douki blocked it with a chair. Douki piled chairs onto Sami’s chest, then he hit a top-rope doublestomp on the stomach for a nearfall at 7:30. Sami placed Douki’s feet on the top rope and he hit a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall. Sami got a ladder from under the ring. However, Douki flipped Callihan into the ladder.
Douki immediately hit his Daybreak slingshot DDT for a believable nearfall at 10:00. Douki buried Sami under a ladder; he jumped off the top rope but Sami moved and Douki crashed onto the ladder. Sami hit a clothesline but Douki kicked out at one! Sami hit a piledriver but Douki kicked out again! Callihan set up several open chairs, and he hit a piledriver onto the open chairs for the pin. Good brawl; it didn’t get gross and nobody bled.
5. “United Empire” TJP and Francesco Akira defeated “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Robbie Eagles and Kosei Fujita at 11:30. Hannifan talked about TJP and Akira losing their junior tag titles to the Bullet Club. Akira and Fujita opened. Robbie entered and twisted Akira’s leg. Akira hit a top-rope dive onto everyone at 4:30. In the ring, Akira hit a Doomsday senton, and TJP made the cover on Fujita for a nearfall. Eagles hit a running double knees in the corner on Akira for a nearfall, then a basement dropkick, and Eagles applied the Ron Miller Special (Trailer Hitch) leglock at 7:30, and he dragged Akira to the center of the ring.
Akira fired back with a Poison Rana on Eagles. TJP made the hot tag to battle Kosei. Akira hit a doublestomp on Fujita’s chest. TJP hit the Mamba Splash frogsplash for a believable nearfall at 10:00; I thought that was it. Eagles hit superkicks on TJP. Fujita hit a belly-to-belly suplex on TJP for a nearfall. Eagles accidentally kicked Fujita! UE hit their Team X-Factor faceplant on Fujita, then the running front-and-back kneestrikes to the head, with TJP pinning Fujita. Good match.
6. “The Bullet Club” Chris Bey, Ace Austin, Kenta, Alex Coughlin, David Finlay, and Clark Connors defeated The DKC, PCO, Josh Alexander, El Phantasmo, and “Guerillas of Destiny” Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa at 14:08. Coughlin wrestled earlier in the day in Atlantic City, N.J., roughly a 70-minute drive away. Veda talked about the difficulties Finlay has of holding his revamped Bullet Club together. Finlay and Tama started and they jawed nose-to-nose before starting to trade punches. Tama hit a plancha to the floor but the Bullet Club swarmed him, and suddenly everyone was brawling on the floor. PCO and Coughlin tagged in at 2:00 and they traded chops. Coughlin hit a clothesline to the back of the head, then an impressive gut-wrench suplex, but PCO popped to his feet and clotheslined both of them to the floor, and the GoD team attacked Coughlin! We once again had everyone brawling on the floor.
Connors and DKC entered at 4:00, with DKC hitting a rolling kick, then his knife-edge chops to the throat. Connors nailed his powerslam, and the BC began working over DKC in their corner. Josh made the hot tag at 6:30 and he hit a German Suplex on Coughlin, then on Bey, then on Austin, then on Kenta! He hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Finlay, with the crowd chanting, “Walking weapon!” He applied an ankle lock on Ace, but Bey made the save.
Ace did his papercut bettween Josh’s fingers at 8:30; Ace and Bey hit some team offense on Josh. Kenta entered and hit a stiff kick to the spine for a nearfall. Ace hit a fallaway slam for a nearfall as the BC continued to work over Josh. Josh hit a double clothesline on Ace and Bey. ELP made the hot tag at 11:00, who immediately hit a clothesline on Finlay, then a springboard crossbody block, a springboard moonsault, and a Lionsault for a nearfall.
Tanga Loa entered for the first time, and the GoD team began beating up Finlay, with PCO hitting a chokeslam at 12:30. The BC entered the ring and everyone was brawling again. Kenta went for Go To Sleep on Josh, but Josh turned it into an anklelock. Ace hit a Fosbury Flop to the floor at 13:00 and landed on his feet! PCO hit a flip dive through the ropes, barreling into everyone, drawing a massive “PCO!” chant. PCO hit a top-rope moonsault to the floor on everyone. In the ring, Finlay nailed a standing powerbomb on The DKC for the pin. Good match. Everyone continued fighting after the bell.
7. Trey Miguel and Lio Rush defeated Mike Bailey and Hiromu Takahashi at 14:28. I noted this a day ago, but Lio has missed three weeks with a shoulder injury and it is taped up. Bailey is wearing some weird orange trunks and I’m not a fan. Hiromu and Trey started, with Takahashi hitting a basement dropkick. Lio entered at 1:00, so Takahashi tagged in Bailey. (Bailey vs. Lio was slated for the GCW show in Los Angeles two weeks ago but was canceled because of Lio’s injury.) They traded quick reversals as Hannifan noted that Rush is not at 100%. Bailey hit some dropkicks. Lio hit an ax kick on the back of Takahashi’s neck and some repeated punches on Hiromu, as the heels worked him over. Hiromu hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip on Trey at 5:00 and Bailey made the hot tag.
Bailey hit his Speedball kicks to Trey’s ribs, a series of kicks, and a running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall. Trey hit a German Suplex. Lio entered and hit a clothesline. Lio hit a fisherman’s powerbomb for a nearfall at 7:00, and they traded stiff forearm shots. Bailey nailed the Triangle Moonsault to the floor on Trey. Rush dove through the ropes onto Bailey. In the ring, Rush and Bailey traded kicks and they were both down. Trey and Hiromu entered and they traded chops at 9:30. Trey hit a kick to the jaw. Hiromu hit a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. Lio hit a spin kick to Hiromu’s head.
Hiromu hit a pop-up powerbomb on Trey. Hromu and Bailey hit stereo superkicks. Bailey hit his Tornado Kick, then the Ultima Weapon flipping kneedrop on Miguel, as Miguel was across Hiromu’s shoulders, earning a “this is awesome!” chant. HIromu set up for the TIme Bomb, but Trey raked his eyes to escape at 12:30. Rush nailed the Rush Hour stunner out of the ropes on Hiromu for a believable nearfall. They fought to the floor, where Miguel hit a Meteora on Bailey, and Lio hit a moonsault on Hiromu. In the ring, Lio Rush went for the Final Hour frogsplash but Hiromu got his knees up. Hiromu hit a Death Valley Driver on Lio into the corner. Lio grabbed or punched Hiromu in the groin, got a rollup, and scored the cheap pin! A very good match. Hiromu sold the pain of the low blow.
* Lio Rush got on the mic and requested a title shot against Hiromu Takahashi. Mike Bailey looked concerned, as he had asked for a title shot the previous day. (NOTE: Both men scored pins on Takahashi during the Best of Super Juniors tournament earlier this year, as all three were in the A Block.)
8. Alex Shelley defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi at 18:50 to retain the Impact World Championship. Tanahashi wasn’t wearing his two front teeth today. The crowd chanted “Both these guys!” as they had an intense lockup to open. Hannifan said these two were teammates 15 years ago in Impact Wrestling. This is good reversals but not very descriptive, as Shelley worked the left arm. Tanahashi wrapped Shelley’s left leg around the ringpost at 5:00, and they brawled to the floor, with Shelley immediately hobbled by Hiroshi’s attack on his leg. It appeared Shelley was going for a plancha, but instead he stomped on Hiroshi’s left arm as it was on the ring apron. Ouch! Shelley wrapped the arm in a guardrail and kicked at it at 7:30. They got back onto the ring apron, but Shelley stomped on the elbow.
Shelley hit a kick to the head, and he hit a Sliced Bread at 10:30 and applied the Border City Stretch, but Tanahashi reached the ropes. He snapped Hiroshi’s left arm over the tope rope. However, Tanahashi hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip in the ropes. Tanahashi applied a Texas Cloverleaf at 12:30. They traded forearm shots while on their knees, then while standing. Hiroshi hit three Twist and Shout swinging neckbreakers at 15:00 and a Sling Blade clothesline for a nearfall, but he missed the High Fly Flow frogsplash; Shelley immediately hit a kneestrike to the back of the head, and a clothesline for a nearfall at 16:30.
Shelley set up for Shellshock but Tanahashi escaped, and Hiroshi hit a German Suplex for a nearfall, then another Sling Blade. Shelley applied an armbar as they fought on the top rope, and Shelley nailed a second-rope Air Raid Crash for a believable enarfall at 18:30, and the crowd rallied for Tanahashi. Shelley nailed the Shellshock swinging faceplant for the clean pin! A very good match.
Final Thoughts: Both New Japan shows were entertaining. I know it isn’t said enough, but the improvements made over the years has turned the 2300 Arena into a really good venue for wrestling. I’ll go with the main event for best match, Trey Miguel and Lio Rush vs. Mike Bailey and Hiromu Takahashi for second best, and Moose and Eddie Edwards vs. TMDK for third.