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Impact Wrestling & NJPW Multiverse United 2 HOT TAKE

August 15, 2023


Time is repeating itself, on an infinite loop, breaking down the walls of different dimensions. Black Holes suck all light, matter and energy from one realm to another. White Holes spew time into a new realm, stolen from another. Indeed, the Multiverse exists and once again FITE is your window through all of the Twilight Zone and beyond as the endless butterfly effect of bullet points that change the very fabric of existence hit their apex within the confines of Philadelphia's 2300 Arena on Sunday August 20th.

Indeed, the house that sits on Swanson and Ritner Streets has seen an endless barrage of amazing combat sports moments from MMA, boxing and professional wrestling alike. It is the corner that unleashed ECW onto the world. It has housed CZW Cage of Deaths, MLW events, live MMA on ESPN and beyond but it has never held anything like Multiverse United, when the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling and Impact Wrestling once again collide inside the squared circle with championships, bragging rights and the very fate of two promotions at stake.


When it comes to two distinct athletes at different points of their careers who are each obsessed with extending their reign of greatness, there may never be a better example than the main event of Multiverse United 2: For Whom the Bell Tolls, when the reigning and defending Impact Wrestling World Champion Alex Shelley puts it all on the line against one of NJPW's most celebrated stars of all time, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Both superbly talented in ring competitors with masters degrees in ring psychology and the art of finesse inside the squared circle, this battle sees two veterans at different points in their career facing off, neither willing to budge an inch. They each have too much at stake.

For Tanahashi, this victory would be as meaningful as a main event at Wrestle Kingdom, as it would be proof positive that as he ages ever older and as the mileage he has put on his body cranks ever harder, he still remains the classic but ever-dangerous competitor in the ring. In Philadelphia, The Impact World Championship doesn't just represent another title belt to add to his accolades, but a transport portal back to the top of the industry, a time machine that resets the meter and showcases that no matter what, Tanahashi remains forever the Ace.

However, for Alex Shelley, this bout is just as important, perhaps even more so than Tanahashi. Shelley has traveled the world over his entire career, proving himself to be one of the greatest in-ring wizards in the world. It has been anything but an easy climb but now that he has ascended to Impact's greatest prize, Shelley finds himself battling all challengers from all directions. Each victory has been well earned and hard fought, but a victory over Tanahashi raises Shelley into the pantheon of the all-time greats, not just in Impact, but in NJPW, where he fought valiantly as one half of The Time Splitters alongside KUSHIDA. At Multiverse United, Shelley has the ultimate opportunity to level up into infinite greatness, live on FITE.


While that main event carries massive ramifications, the inter-promotional tag team attraction that will precede it may not only shatter the walls of the multiverse but the very barriers of sound, light and sanity when X-Division Champion Lio Rush teams with Trey Miguel to battle Speedball Mike Bailey and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi.

Not only will this dream tag team encounter see two of the most celebrated champions in the world battle against each other but Speedball Mike Bailey will certainly see emotions flare when he steps back into the ring with longtime rival Trey Miguel. In the middle of all this is Lio Rush, a brilliant athlete with an engorged chip on his shoulder, seeking to prove to everyone in the world that he is the show stopper that every single wrestler and fan across the globe should be genuflecting towards.

Takahashi has stunned observers across the world with his incredible aerial performances inside New Japan rings but with all eyes on Philadelphia, he will have the ability to take his star power to the next level, all while trying to defeat Rush and Miguel. Add in the insane work ethic and martial arts-infused insanity of Speedball, one of the most prolific wrestlers in the world and FITE has all the makings of one of the most impressive and explosive tag team encounters of all time.


Not to be outdone, the embittered tandem of former Impact World Champions Eddie Edwards and Moose will take to the ring to battle IWGP World Television Champion Zack Sabre Jr. and Shane Haste, proud members of TMDK - The Mighty Don't Kneel.

While TMDK are a well oiled, arrogant alliance, the same cannot be said for Moose and Edwards, who viciously battled each other across arenas all over the world in the past. The real story here will be whether Edwards and Moose can keep their past issues and deep emotional scars from exploding like nuclear bombs and maintain the peace in pursuit of a common goal - proving their supremacy over Haste and Sabre Jr.

Indeed, Sabre Jr. and Haste may have hold the emotional victory before the bell ever rings in Philadelphia if they can maintain a wedge between Moose and Edwards, allowing Sabre's exquisite and vicious technical skills to rip apart Edwards and Moose physically, setting the stage for Haste to come in and clean up the bodies to score the victory. While there are few more physically imposing than Moose and none who fight harder than Edwards, FITE fans will learn firsthand whether their individual strengths might be neutralized by their past issues. If so, TMDK may have their hands raised in honor of New Japan Pro Wrestling!


In a battle of true heavy hitters, it will be New Japan Pro Wrestling's DOUKI, representing the infamous Just5Guys faction battling former Impact Wrestling World Champion Sami Callihan, a bout that will certainly see the level of violence ratcheted to the extreme. Having evolved his fighting spirit and intensity over the last year, DOUKI has made major waves internationally, but a win over Callihan could springboard him to international headlines across the globe and showcase the grit he has brought to rings worldwide.

Callihan, the king of grime as a brawler, has never retreated from a fight. Having emerged battered but not beaten from his war with The Design, Callihan is seeking to plant his flag and remind the world that he's one of the most lethal fighters in the world. Could he deliver the Cactus Driver and wipe out DOUKI at Multiverse United? Or, will DOUKI whip out Daybreak to shatter the Death Machine? FITE fans will see the welts form as the battle commences live on their devices.


Although she'll be challenging Knockouts Champion Trinity at Emergence in Toronto on August 27th, Deonna Purrazzo has never been one to stand idly by when history is there to be made. Purrazzo is strutting into Philadelphia, having issued a massive open challenge to anyone from the STARDOM roster, looking to once again prove her dominance as the superior professional wrestler on the planet.

With rumors that everyone from GIULIA to Mayu Iwatani to AZM to Tam Nakano could accept the challenge, The Virtuosa will have to once again prove herself against the best international competition in the world, even if she doesn't know yet who's landing in South Philly.


Impact Wrestling's X-Division and New Japan Pro Wrestling's Junior Heavyweight Division are each celebrated across the globe for pushing the envelope, shattering the norm and evolving professional wrestling to the next level, so what will happen when some of the most gifted athletes in the world are thrown into the same ring at the same time before one of the most blue-collar cities in the world and go to battle?

Well, FITE fans will find out live as it happens with the most insane combustible collection of superstars ever - it's Frankie Kazarian vs. Kevin Knight vs. BUSHI vs. Rich Swann vs. Chris Sabin vs. Mao vs. El Desperado, with no limits and everyone pushing the pedal to the medal, seeking victory in this all out battle that will thread the precipice of athletics and insanity alike!

Sunday August 20th, fans across the world will converge once more as the walls of the multiverse come down and the stars of New Japan and Impact assemble like avengers, seeking to once again make history and prove their dominance. Once more, these valiant combat sports warriors will step into a battlefield where infinite possibilities exist and all that matters is ultimate victory! The Multiverse will stand UNITED via FITE as the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling and Impact Wrestling explode like colliding supernovas in the sky.

Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.