Exactly one year ago, I became your Impact Wrestling reviewer. Not only you welcomed me in a way I would never have expected, but some of you have become avid followers of the Tales of The French Nygma. Thank you Impact Wrestling and thank YOU, fellow readers. Merci… There couldn’t be a better way for me to celebrate this year with you than reviewing a special event. Under Pressure is opening the road to Slammiversary XVI, which will take place on July 22.
Five matches have been announced. Former best friends Eli Drake and Scott Steiner will square off, like Madison Rayne and Tessa Blanchard. Matt Sydal will know who his next contender will be as Dezmond Xavier and Brian Cage will fight off for the opportunity. Two title matches are set. Allie is putting the Knockouts Championship on the line against The Undead Bride Su Yung in a Last Rites match (well, a casket match). And Austin Aries will finally have the chance to have his revenge on Pentagon Junior and try to regain the Impact World Championship. This “special event” is taking place during IMPACT weekly broadcast time slot. But we’re still ready for some action, your French Enygma Steph way.
We started off the show with Sonjay Dutt addressing the entire roster about the recent backstage attacks. Dutt said everything was okay and there was no need to panic. One of the wrestlers claimed that it’s only the wrestlers getting taken out, not anyone high up. Petey Williams jumped up to defend his long friend Sonjay Dutt and said if it’s someone in this locker room, he must need to stop because he will be found.
Eli Drake vs. Scott Steiner
A load of trash talking after, the two finally locked up. Steiner mastered Drake to begin and the dirty words continued to flow. Drake sent Steiner into the corner, hid behind the ref before a sneak attack (he strangled his eyes…). Steiner cut him off with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Drake stunned him off the ropes and hit a slingshot shoulder block and a powerslam. He missed an elbow drop, allowing Steiner to connect with a clothesline and an elbow drop. Drake powdered at ringside, Steiner followed and slammed him into the barricade. They brawled on the floor.
Drake cut him off and laid in rights. He grabbed a chair, but the referee stopped him. Steiner rolled him back in the ring and uploaded a few suplexes before another belly to belly. Drake rallied and hit the flatliner, but he missed a springboard moonsault. Steiner looked for the Recliner, but Drake grabbed the ropes, put Steiner on his shoulders (!?) and then dropped him down out of the electric chair. Drake got tossed out on the floor, Steiner randomly shoved the referee aside. Drake grabbed a chair on the floor and smacked Steiner in the head in a finish just like they lost the tag titles. Cover, pin and win for Drake.
The Nygma View: Eli Drake made his very best to save a match slowed down by Steiner. That wasn’t great but it ended up the feud…
Tessa Blanchard vs. Madison Rayne
Another match starting with trash talk but Tessa Blanchard was so obnoxious and sure to win she couldn’t make any better. Blanchard pie-faced Rayne and Rayne replied with strikes, a head scissors, and a cradle. Rayne picked up the pace but Blanchard cut her off with a tilt-a-whirl body slam. She followed with short-armed clotheslines and pummeled her with strikes and knee strikes. Blanchard missed a running elbow but kept attacking Rayne with a dropkick.
Blanchard shook Rayne like a rag doll, hit a flatliner and then grounded the action. Rayne slowly fired up and hit an enzuigiri. She battled back with strikes, a corner clothesline and a sliding clothesline. Rayne connected with a northern lights suplex but Blanchard cut her off as she was heading up top. She hit a draping flatliner. The two-count made Blanchard yell at the referee, enough for Rayne to counter the hammerlock DDT into a cradle win.
The Nygma View: It takes time to make a Champion and Tessa wanted to go too fast. Don’t ask an old dog how to make tricks. Madison Rayne is back in the contender line now. The match was not bad, but not that good too.
In LAX Lair, Santana and Ortiz were playing cards when Eddie Kingston showed up with the briefcases and girls. He summoned the duo to get revenge on Caleb Konley and Trevor Lee. The rematch will take place next week.
Number Contender for X-Division Championship Match: Dezmond Xavier vs. Brian Cage
The Impact version of David vs. Goliath… Xavier used his speed to avoid Cage’s strikes and was able to get Cage out of the ring. He hit a dropkick off the steps, went for a kick, but Cage slammed Xavier down on the apron. Cage travelled Xavier across the ring and hit a back body drop. Cage went for another toss, but Xavier landed on his feet. Xavier went for a tornado DDT and was caught in midair. Cage connected with a butterfly suplex. Xavier rallied and kicked and punched Cage.
Xavier started working leg kicks, hit a spinning enzuigiri and then dropkicked Cage to the floor. The Sasuke special followed, wiping out Cage. But Cage slammed him again to the apron and tossed Xavier back in the ring. Xavier stunned him with a superkick and a running kick. He kept laying in kicks, Cage had enough but Xavier now hit double knees. He headed up top and hit the Final Flash, Cage kicked out at ONE!! Cage hit the Drill Claw and Xavier was done. After having his arm raised, Cage raised up his opponent, put him on his feet and shook his hand.
The Nygma View: Wow… let’s be honest, Brian Cage is huge, so is Dezmond Xavier. And the two offered a hell of a good match. This sign of respect coming from Brian Cage proves Xavier is really the future, not only of the company but of this business. I don’t know how Matt Sydal will escape The Monster, third eye or not…
Last Rites Match for the Impact Knockouts Championship: Allie (c) vs. Sun Yung
This storyline went so far in its gloomy beauty… Su Yung’s Legion of Undead Brides brought the coffin down before Yung headed down to the ring and checked out the coffin herself. Allie headed down with a mix of her and Rosemary themes. It was Allie but with Rosemary’s walk, face paint, hoodie, glance. Allie was haunted (beautiful…). She attacked right at the bell and ran wild on Yung. She looked to put Yung in the coffin, but Yung fought back and cut her off. Allie fought off and got out of the coffin, and Yung looked to choke her out.
Yung then beat her down, laying in the boots and trying to roll her into the coffin again. Yung now grounded her, locking her in submission holds but Allie kept fighting. She escaped a sliding elbow, Yung avoided the second and looked to roll Allie into the coffin for the third time. They fought to the apron, Allie sent Yung to the floor and hit a clothesline off of the apron. Back from break, Allie was working over Yung but she quickly cut her off. Yung laid in rights and hit a knee strike. Allie fell back and got up like Rosemary does!
An unafraid Yung laid her out with an uppercut and grabbed a chair. Allie fought her off with some forearms and a side Russian leg sweep, before trying to roll Yung into the coffin. Yung replied with a strike to the throat. Yung got her glove but Allie grabbed the chair to hit a chair-assisted code breaker. Allie rolled Yung into the coffin again but Yung fought her off from closing it and hit a palm strike. Yung tried to mist her, but Allie superkicked her into the coffin. Yung fought from being closed in the coffin and got the mandible claw. She choked out Allie who faded. Yung rolled her into the coffin, closed it, and we had a new Champion. The Legion came to celebrate with their Queen who stood on the coffin.
The Nygma View: It was magic. From A to Z, everything in the build-up of this match was perfect. The funerals of Rosemary, Allie getting haunted, Su Yung’s character, I loved every second and every image of it. This match was a ravishing and stunning exclamation point to it. What do you want me to say other than this was AWESOME… Rematch requested… but is Allie still alive?
As Josh Mathews and Don Callis were previewing the main event, the X Sign appeared on-screen. Sonjay Dutt was the victim and Williams was asking for help.
The Nygma View: I have no clue on who this mysterious man is. But if you look at the clip, you’ll see the black part of the circle turning into Japanese or Chinese letters… This mysterious man has better be someone huge, cool or interesting coming in off of these promos.
Backstage Eddie Edwards was telling Alisha that he finally got the match he wanted, no ropes, no ring, and no referee, in the woods are on! Alisha was not happy with this, Edwards said he was going to the wood to “murder” Sami Callihan and then things would be back to normal. “Murder in the wood” Unsanctioned Match will air next week.
Impact World Championship Match: Pentagon Junior (c) vs. Austin Aries
This rematch was wildly expected as for the first time in the Impact Zone, Aries and Pentagon are wrestling one-on-one. Luckily, if you remember the huge blow Aries’ ass suffered, be reassured, A-Double’s ass was fine.
Aries attacked right away with a suicide dive and they brawled on the floor. Pentagon fired back with a superkick and laid in chops on Aries. Aries moved and Pentagon chopped the post, allowing Aries to take over and hit a senton atomico for 2. The Last Chancery followed but Pentagon grabbed the ropes. Aries tied Pentagon to the ropes by the tale of his mask and beat on him. Pentagon fought out and hit a superkick. He teased the arm breaker, but Aries powdered to the floor. Pentagon followed but Aries cut him off and hit a missile dropkick. Aries laid in strikes, but Pentagon fired back with chops. He now laid in leg kicks and grounded the action. Aries escaped, stunned him off of the ropes and hit the elbow off the ropes.
After the break, Aries was still in control but Pentagon fired up with chops and laid into Aries who fell on the floor. Pentagon suplexed him back in the ring, Aries fired back, but Pentagon hit some sling blades. Aries fought off the Penta driver and Pentagon looked for the Package Piledriver. Aries escaped and hit a Saito suplex and a corner dropkick. Aries headed up top, but Pentagon cut him off and followed him up. Pentagon went for a super Package piledriver, but Aries fought back and stopped him. Aries now hit a sunset bomb and turned it into the Last Chancery. Pentagon grabbed the ropes again, Aries got nervous.
Aries looked for the Brainbuster but Pentagon countered and hit some clotheslines and a backstabber. Aries fired back with a forearm strike, Pentagon countered another Brainbuster attempt and hit the Penta driver, but Aries put his leg on the ropes. Now both on the apron, Pentagon looked for the Package Piledriver, but Aries fought him off and then hit a neck breaker in the ropes. The plancha turned into a hurricanrana was stopped but Aries countered out and locked Penta into the Last Chancery on the floor. Double count out.
BUT Aries wanted more time and said they needed a decisive winner. Pentagon agreed. The match restarted with Pentagon getting a cradle right away. Aries rallied with forearms and hit a nasty apron Death Valley Driver. Both men fell onto the floor. Back to the apron, Pentagon hit the Package piledriver and both men were down on the floor again. Double count out again. BUT, this time, Pentagon wanted to continue and prove he was the only Champion. Hasta la muerte, maybe. Cero Miedo, sure. But one low blow from Aries when the match restarted, right where it hurts, a Brainbuster and we had a new Champion.
The Nygma View: Heel Aries is delightful… It was only the second time in their careers Pentagon and Aries had been squaring off. That’s pure magic. The chemistry between the two is undeniable. The match was intense and unveiled a new and necessary side of Aries. Penta wanted to show how great he is, Aries used the nut-cracker effect to remind him every man has his double weakness (vicious Nygma…). Anyway, outside of the double count outs, that was great wrestling to watch.
After the rave reviews the Redemption PPV has received, it was not easy for Impact Wrestling to produce a show of the same calibre. And honestly, I wasn’t expecting it. The company has been very good at producing interesting live events. And once again they’re hitting the bull’s eye with Under Pressure. Dezmond Xavier did an impeccable job in front of a Monster like Brian Cage and it’s just wonderful to watch. Even if she lost the title, this haunted Allie made the perfect match against the devilish Su Yung. And for their first one-on-one match in the Impact Zone, Pentagon and Austin Aries pushed themselves to the limit and it was just awesome. This is wrestling, and this is great. And if you agree with me, of course, I see you next week for a murder party in the woods… And never forget to stay #eNYGMAtic…
Under Pressure Full Results:
* Eli Drake defeated Scott Steiner
* Madison Rayne defeated Tessa Blanchard
* #1 Contender for Impact X-Division Championship Match: Brian Cage defeated Dezmond Xavier
* Last Rites Match for IMPACT Knockouts Championship Match: Su Yung defeated Allie (c) defeated Laurel Van Ness (c)
* IMPACT World Championship Match: Austin Aries defeated Pentagon Junior (c)
All pics, videos, and screenshots courtesy of Impact Wrestling. Photomontage by @frenchnygma exclusively for @steelchairmag.