Date: May 31, 2018
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Don Callis, Josh Matthews
It’s a big night tonight with the Under Pressure special, headlined by Austin Aries challenging Pentagon Jr. for the Impact Wrestling World Title. Pentagon won the title last month at Redemption in a three way but Aries is getting his rematch in a singles match. Other than that, Allie is defending the Knockouts Title against Su Yung in a casket match. Let’s get to it.
Earlier today, Sonjay Dutt held a talent meeting (because Sonjay is a boss around here) about the X attacks. The locker room says they have to stick together.
We get a rapid fire series of hype videos about the entire card.
Eli Drake vs. Scott Steiner
They were Tag Team Champions and fell apart due to colliding egos. Drake talks trash to start and gets shouldered down, followed by the overhead belly to belly. A slingshot shoulder drops Steiner but the Push Up Elbow gives Steiner two. They head outside with Steiner driving him into the barricade but getting posted to cut him off again. Back in and Drake misses a Lionsault, only to put Steiner up in an electric chair for a throat first drop drop across the top rope. Steiner shoves the referee away so Drake sneaks in a chair shot for the pin at 6:13.
Rating: D. That needs to be it for Steiner as he’s not exactly doing anything in the ring or on the microphone, the latter of which being the only thing he’s good for anymore. Drake didn’t get much of a rub off the win but it was short and he got a quick Tag Team Title run out of it so now he can move on.
Callis and Matthews talk about the rest of the show.
We recap Tessa Blanchard vs. Madison Rayne. Tessa debuted a few weeks ago and talked about how she was that much better than everyone else. Madison didn’t like it and the match was set up as a result.
Madison Rayne vs. Tessa Blanchard
Feeling out process to start with Tessa scoring off a quick tilt-a-whirl slam. A kick to the face gets two on Madison and Tessa dropkicks her in the back, allowing more cockiness and trash talk. Tessa grabs a swinging neckbreaker for two and we hit the chinlock. Madison fights back up with a northern lights suplex but a hanging Downward Spiral cuts her right back off and gives Tessa two. Some swearing at the referee looks to set up the hammerlock DDT but Madison reversed into a rollup for the surprise pin at 6:09.
Rating: D+. I’m sorry what? I would really hope that this is leading somewhere else as Madison hasn’t done anything in forever and Tessa is as complete of a package as they’ve had in a long time. They did seem to be suggesting that Madison won on a fluke because Tessa was too cocky, but I’m really not sure about having Tessa lose in any way so soon after she debuts.
LAX is in the clubhouse and Kingston has some rather fetching women for the guys, plus a match with the Cult of Lee next week.
Video on Brian Cage wrecking people around the world.
Dezmond Xavier vs. Brian Cage
Dezmond gets shoved around by raw power to start but manages a dropkick to send Cage outside. A running splash and some kicks have very little effect so Cage throws him back in. Xavier’s DDT is thrown away with a butterfly suplex and we hit that Terminator clap. Dezmond is smart enough to hit and move, including another kick to send Cage to the floor for a Space Flying Tiger Drop (I love wacky Japanese names for moves). Back in and the Final Flash gets one and that’s about it for Dezmond’s already limited chances here. The Drill Claw gives Cage the pin at 5:40.
Rating: D. Dezmond got in a lot here but the ending was never in doubt. I can appreciate a good monster, especially one with such a great look, and it’s nice to have the designated victim getting in some offense. Cage is just more important than the lower card of the X-Division and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Cage as a World Title contender by the end of the year.
Austin Aries says he’s the man who makes the belts matter because that’s how it works around here. Back in the day he breathed some life into this place and that’s what he’s going to do tonight. This time it’s one on one and we get to find out what Pentagon Jr. has. He may have no fear, but after tonight he’ll have no title. Good promo.
We recap Allie vs. Su Yung. Allie is terrified of Yung, who made it even worse when she got rid of Allie’s freaky friend Rosemary. Now Allie seems ready to tap into the dark side to defeat Yung once and for all.
The undead bridesmaids bring out the casket.
Knockouts Title: Allie vs. Su Yung
Allie is defending and comes out with the Rosemary face paint, which actually works very well for her. The champ wastes no time with some clotheslines and a suplex into the corner as Yung seems freaked out by the paint. Yung takes her down into a bodyscissors and calls for the casket to be opened, forcing Allie to look at it. Back up and Allie misses a charge into the corner but fights out of the casket. A running clothesline off the casket drops Yung and we take a break.
Back with Allie missing another charge and getting kicked in the face, knocking her backwards with her legs underneath. Yung’s chair is kicked away with Allie using it for a Codebreaker instead in a smart counter. A superkick knocks Yung into the casket but she gets her leg out for the save. That means the Mandible Claw to knock Allie out, giving Yung the title at 11:48.
Rating: C-. Nothing much here but Allie losing makes sense. Rosemary is going to be gone for a long time and there’s a story to be told with Allie maturing and eventually fighting back against the evil Yung could work. The division is very stacked with heels right now though and I’m not sure who else could take the title from Yung.
From Destination X, the Last Rites match between Sting and Abyss. This would be the one where the fans chanted FIRE RUSSO.
Pentagon has no fear and knows that Aries is great, but he’s not great enough.
Diamante thinks there’s something up with LAX and Kingston.
Petey Williams, who was the most vocal in the talent meeting, is found standing over Sonjay with the X symbol over him.
We recap Sami Callihan vs. Eddie Edwards.
Eddie is ready to go murder Sami in the woods (his words) and tells Alisha to stay here.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr.
Aries is challenging and his Grand Championship isn’t on the line. Pentagon takes his time on the floor and Aries takes him down with a suicide dive to start fast. The champ puts him up against the post and chops away, hitting the post on the second attempt. They get inside for the opening bell and Aries has the Last Chancery in short order. With the hold broken in short order, Aries ties the string from the mask to the ropes.
You do NOT do that to a luchador and Pentagon gets fired up, only to eat a missile dropkick. Aries sends him face first into the middle buckle and the middle rope elbow to the back gets two. They slug it out with Pentagon kicking him outside and we take a break. Back with Pentagon chopping even more and hitting the back to back Sling Blades.
The Fear Factor is broken up with a shinbreaker and Aries goes up, where he has to break up a super Fear Factor. Instead it’s another Last Chancery which breaks down in short order again. Pentagon’s Backstabber gets two and the Pentagon Driver gets the same with a boot on the ropes. Aries bails to the floor and counters a hurricanrana into a third Last Chancery…for a double countout at 17:04.
Hang on though as Aries gets back in and swears a lot, saying this needs to restart. Pentagon is game and gets forearmed into a Death Valley Driver onto the apron. Since it’s a World Title match, Pentagon pops up and hits the Fear Factor on the apron. That means another double countout at 18:40 but, of course, we start it again at Pentagon’s insistence. Aries tells the referee to ring the bell, kicks Pentagon low, and hits the brainbuster to regain the title at 20:21.
Rating: B. This felt very much like an Impact main event: long (in a good way) and doing its job, but nothing that is going to be remembered in a few hours. These matches just don’t have the best staying power and that’s part of why Impact has issues getting anywhere: Aries turning heel is smart, but am I supposed to be upset that Pentagon got screwed? I don’t know much about Pentagon other than a catchphrase. In other words, build up the characters and this will be better.
Overall Rating: C+. These special episodes work rather well for Impact as they take their time and get through everything that they’re supposed to. The matches might not have been good and at least one booking decision was questionable, but the storytelling was fine for the most part and that’s what they need to get down. The X attacker continues to interest me, but egads they could blow that horribly. Overall not a great show, but the good storytelling made it work well enough for a big night.
Eli Drake b. Scott Steiner – Chair to the head
Madison Rayne b. Tessa Blanchard – Rollup
Brian Cage b. Dezmond Xavier – Drill Claw
Su Yung b. Allie – Yung put Allie in the casket
Austin Aries b. Pentagon Jr. – Brainbuster
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