Impact X NJPW Multiverse United 2: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s completely subjective review of Impact x NJPW Multiverse United 2: For Whom The Bell Tolls! Not only was it the second NJPW show at the 2300 Arena in Philly this weekend, but it was the second event in what appears to be a regular collaborative series from Impact Wrestling and New Japan.

10 matches graced the 4.5-hour-long show (counting the pre-show) and only three championships were defended. The main draws were clearly Alex Shelley defending his first Impact World title reign against Hiroshi Tanahashi, while Guilia made her U.S. debut to defend her NJPW STRONG Women's Championship in a four-way. The majority of the card was made up of tag team matches... lots and lots of tag team matches. So which ones were good? Which ones were unnecessary? What should you go back and watch if you missed the show? Here are three things we hated and three things we loved about Multiverse United 2.

Hated: An 8-Man Scramble In 8 Minutes

We might as well get it out of the way right now: We thought there were too many wrestlers on this card. Would you believe us if we said there were nearly 50 wrestlers on this show? That's a lot for a non-Royal Rumble event or something of the like. Opening the main card (logically) was an eight-man scramble featuring four X-Division and four Junior Heavyweight-style wrestlers all clashing in one big spot fest that did little to prove anything other than these guys can work a fast-paced match in a relatively short amount of time.

So, yeah, that's probably the point of a scramble. But we like it when matches have at least some story to it, and the only real story here seemed to happen after the bell. After Chris Sabin put away YOH with the Cradle Shock, BUSHI decided to spray Sabin with mist for whatever reason. Now, if they follow up on this, then we think that's great. But if there's no Sabin vs. BUSHI match coming, then what was the point? On the bright side, Sabin picked up a much-needed win after being screwed out of the X-Division title, while Kevin Knight stood out from Impact's roster, and both YOH and MAO impressed us from the New Japan side.

Loved: TMDK Rules (Even Though They Lost)

Yes, we thought there were too many tag matches, however, there were still some good ones. Two of the stand-out tag bouts (unironically?) featured members of TMDK. In one match, NJPW World Television Champion Zack Sabre Jr. teamed with former "WWE NXT" talent Shane Haste to take on the unlikely team of Eddie Edwards and Moose. While we were a little surprised that Edwards and Moose worked together so cohesively despite having a ton of bad blood over the years, we ignored that for the simple fact that Sabre Jr. is a star, and we're so glad he had a showcase on this card. Likewise, Haste is a star in his own right, and we still believe WWE squandered his potential.

We also have to give credit to Kosei Fujita and Robbie Eagles for keeping us from being annoyed halfway through the show. Their fast-paced battle with Catch 2/2's TJP and Francesco Akira was a thriller. Specifically, we walked away from this one even bigger fans of Akira and Fujita because they took the most punishment and still dealt the most devastating maneuvers all within the same match. We would've loved it even more if at least one TMDK team scored a win, but we can't be upset about good tag team wrestling.

Hated: Bullet Club vs. The World-ish

It may sound epic on paper, but we didn't think the delivery was quite what it could have been. Granted, 24 men trying to get their s*** in within 14 minutes is going to lead to some of them simply not having much of a spotlight. While that can be okay, we took issue with too many things for us to "love" this one.

First off, "The World" was represented by three former Bullet Club members in El Phantasmo, Tama Tonga, and Tanga Loa. The latter two have been out of the faction for over a year — fine — and Phantasmo's involvement at least added to the overall story of the match considering he was booted earlier this year — which, also fine. But then the rest of their team consisted of rising star The DKC, the un-killable PCO, and a returning Josh Alexander. It was Josh freaking Alexander's first match back and we simply thought this was a poor way to highlight that even though this was probably a safer route.

Additionally, Ace Austin and Chris Bey are currently babyfaces in Impact's universe but apparently are still heels when they're with their Bullet Club buddies. Should we give it a pass since this is the "multiverse?" Perhaps. But on a show where Impact and NJPW tried to make storyline sense out of some things, some consistency would've been better.

Lastly, there were a few men who didn't get much of a spotlight here, and we take issue with KENTA being one of them. After all, he was a major standout from the first Multiverse United show in March, and he was involved with Alexander right before "The Walking Weapon" tore his triceps. KENTA and Alexander briefly crossed paths here, otherwise his involvement was largely blink and you'll miss it.

Loved: Strong Women

As regular supporters of women's wrestling and equality in general, we were big fans of the four-way STRONG Women's title match that was easily among the best matches of the night. While they could have added a second women's match to the card or even placed this later in the night (instead of it being on third because it did have a big fight/main event feel), we'll bypass complaining about those things too much because this match simply ruled.

We thought this match proved multiple things to be true: Giulia's U.S. in-ring debut was well worth the hype. Deonna Purrazzo should be walking through the forbidden door every chance she gets because she continues to thrive in these types of matches. Gisele Shaw also belongs in the title picture despite always coming up short. And Momo Khogo is someone fans should have their eyes on.

Shaw's character work may have been a little bit stronger here than her ring work seeing as though a couple of her big spots weren't executed to perfection. (Hey, stuff happens.) Meanwhile, Giulia didn't miss a mark and especially wowed us with her Butterfly Superplex on "The Quintessential Diva." All in all, we thought this four-way clash certainly earned the "women's wrestling" and "this is awesome" chants that were heard throughout.

Hated: The Ace of Passable Dream Matches

Look, we feel bad about saying anything negative regarding Hiroshi Tanahashi. The man's a legend in every sense of the word and is still going strong at 46 years old. But (and there's always a but), we just haven't been very impressed with him in high-profile matches this year. We won't focus much on his ROH Supercard of Honor match against Daniel Garcia or his Forbidden Door opener against MJF, but we bring those up because certain U.S. promotions have booked Tanahashi in these big matches this year that just didn't quite live up to what we had hoped for.

In the case of this "dream match" main event against Alex Shelley for the Impact World Championship, it was passable. They each focused on a body part and told a simple story that way while hitting their greatest hits. Honestly, it reminded us of the first Multiverse United where Tanahashi beat Mike Bailey in the main event. It's great to slap the "dream match" label on it and put it in the main event, but we'd like to see something a little more than "passable" from these types of collaborative shows. On top of that, it was the longest match of the night at nearly 19 minutes and there just wasn't much for us to write home about.

Loved: Unexpected Story Development

We knew it would be hard to find storyline development on a pay-per-view like this. Simply put, that's just not what these shows are for. But when we do see it — and it's intriguing and makes sense — we love it.

Such was the case with the very first match that was announced for this show: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi and Mike Bailey vs. X-Division Champion Lio Rush and Trey Miguel. Now at first, we started to think it would've been better to have seen Bailey team with Sabin to take on champions Takahashi and Rush. After all, there's been very little follow-up on Sabin/Rush since Slammiversary. However, Impact and NJPW treated us to Bailey teaming with Takahashi just 24 hours after Bailey earned the right to a future Jr. Heavyweight title match.

Rather than focusing too much on the "can they coexist" part from the beloved babyfaces, we saw Rush pin Takahashi and then declare that he wants to add the Jr. Heavyweight title to his collection. All the while, Bailey sat behind Takahashi looking bewildered at the thought of Rush stealing his thunder. Oh, we like that. A story that can cross over into both Impact and New Japan programming is win-win for fans if done right. And so far, we think this is off to a fun start.

On top of that, we thought the action here was fun bell to bell despite our disdain for half the card being tag team matches. The storytelling was enough to set this apart and left a better taste in our mouths than the predictable main event.