IMPACT Under Pressure Hits and Misses 5/31: new champions, Brian Cage vs. Dezmond Xavier, Scott Steiner vs. Eli Drake, Blanchard’s loss

By Andrew Soucek

Eli Drake (art credit Joel Tesch © PWTorch)



Su Yung vs. Allie: The Knockouts Title match itself was solid, and may have been the best one of each wrestler’s tenure so far on Impact. The bigger hit here, though, was Su Yung winning cleanly and capturing the belt. Allie just wasn’t clicking as the face of the division, meaning it was time to go in a different direction. Yung is a great choice to go with. She’s one of the most interesting characters on the show, her following of brides makes for a memorable visual, and she’s been involved in some good matches as of late. I’m curious to see what more they have planned for her in the coming weeks. 

Pentagon Jr.’s Promo: This was far more effective than the weird backstage promo Pentagon Jr. cut a couple weeks ago on Impact, the one where you could hear random people talking while he was trying to be intimidating. Even though there were subtitles on the screen, Pentagon’s acting ability alone makes you believe in his character. If he sticks around, they should air these on a consistent basis. However, they went a little too overboard with the crazy amount of graphical effects that were tossed on the screen. Maybe dial it back a little next time.

Cage vs. Xavier: A minor hit. The two put on an entertaining match but were only given about 5:30 to wrestle. Because of that, the show of respect at the end felt a bit hollow. Those moments should be saved for more impressive, longer outings. Still, the two worked well together and I wouldn’t mind a longer rematch in the future. Now that this mini-feud is over, creative shouldn’t overlook Dezmond Xavier once again, as the guy clearly has something.

Aries vs. Pentagon: While the main event felt a bit overbooked, the way Aries took advantage of the time limit stoppages firmly solidified him as the top heel in the company. The two work well together and the crowd finally seemed invested in the outcome of a match. Unfortunately, Pentagon’s title run never really took off in a meaningful ways as he never felt like a focal point of the show. Again, hopefully he sticks around, as they are in desperate need of main event talent.

The X Mystery: While I thought the attacker may be revealed at Under Pressure, it looks like they’re going to extend this out longer. Fine by me. The angle hasn’t worn out it’s welcome yet and they can give it even more legs by alluding to several suspects in the coming weeks.

Overall Show: Impact has continued its streak of delivering entertaining big shows. Every match on the show except one was above average, there was no bad comedy to be had, and Don Callis did a great job of hyping everything between bouts (though they really need to ditch that green screen stuff). The talent is certainly there, now it’s up to creative to make their regular shows entertaining on a consistent basis. 7/10


Steiner vs. Drake: What was the thinking behind kicking off their special with this match? Slow. Clunky. Pointless. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner had only teamed together three or four times on TV, so why should fans care about their sudden split? If you felt the need to book this match, you could at least make the argument that Drake would win cleanly and get a little rub by beating the former WCW Heavyweight Champion. But Drake using a chair to pick up the win defeats that purpose. No need for a rematch, let’s move on.

Blanchard Loses: Impact brought in Tessa Blanchard, hyped her as a big free agent signing, and then had her lose her first big match? I’m not sure I understand the logic behind that one. While Madison Rayne has won the Knockouts Title on multiple occasions, she was positioned as easily beatable the last few times we saw her on TV. It’s not like Blanchard lost to a legend within the division like Gail Kim. Rayne has also never been an effective babyface, making this move even more puzzling. For some reason, the creative team only protects one heel woman at a time. Sienna was easily defeated the last time we saw her (is she ever coming back?), Taya Valkyrie went from dominating her matches to losing in a matter of minutes, and now with Su Yung getting a big push, Blanchard has been defined down a bit. It’s okay to have more than one woman look strong at a time. 

The Crowd: I don’t want to harp on this too much again, but the noise level in the Impact Zone continues to be downright brutal. The arena also doesn’t make for a good visual as a decent percentage of the viewable audience is dressed in the same style of t-shirt, meaning they’re definitely coming in together as a giant group, one that doesn’t seem to know much about the product. Considering this was one of Impact’s biggest shows of the year, it was disappointing to see so many big matches receive such an apathetic response.

GWN Flashback: Sting vs. Abyss in a Last Rites match? WrestleCrap has devoted an entire entry to that! The crowd literally chanted “Fire Russo!” during it. Whoever is choosing what the GWN match/moment of the week is should probably be given another job within the company. And please, cut down on the ridiculous length of these segments! Show 30 seconds of highlights and move on, don’t air five (or more) uninterrupted minutes of something from a decade ago. If I wanted to see punish myself and watch that dumb match again I could go on YouTube and do it.

1 Comment on IMPACT Under Pressure Hits and Misses 5/31: new champions, Brian Cage vs. Dezmond Xavier, Scott Steiner vs. Eli Drake, Blanchard’s loss

  1. Once again a clueless, horrible “article.”

    The Steiner match was fine. I guess you prefer Roode vs. Elias for the 20th time? or a dance off?

    Tessa’s loss actually was interesting. Perhaps you don’t like surprises or anything can happen with your wrestling, ahem, sports entertainment? It is obvious they are setting up Madison as the newest challenger for the Title. Madison was in ROH for a bit and did well. SHe is an international star. I see no issue with her challenging for the title or even beating Blanchard. I think Madison is a five or six time champion. They have to have the title defended as they build up the return of Allie and/or Rosemary. It is booking 101.

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