By John O’Connor, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@thereal_JOC)
NXT: Level Up (Episode 6)
Taped March 22, 2022 in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Streamed March 25, 2022 on Peacock/WWE Network
Joe Gacy and Harland made their way to the ring as the commentary team of Sudu Shah and Nigel McGuinness welcomed us to the show…
1. Joe Gacy (w/Harland) vs. Quincy Elliot. Quincy Elliot was already in the ring as Gacy grabbed a headlock to start. Elliot would counter with a hip-toss before Gacy regained control with a boot to the face which sent Elliot down to the mat. Elliot responded with punches and a big splash followed by a drop kick before being distracted by Harland. This distraction was enough for Gacy to hit the Springboard clothesline for the victory.
Joe Gacy defeated Quincy Elliot via pinfall in 4:15.
The commentary team hyped Ivy Nile vs. Kiana James for after the break…[c]
John’s Ramblings: You knew where this one was headed when Quincy Elliot didn’t even receive an entrance (the first time this has happened so far on ‘Level Up’). A squash win for Gacy, but nothing Elliot did in this match left much of an impression on me. His ring attire and overall presentation looked minor league.
2. Ivy Nile (w/Malcolm Bivens) vs. Kiana James. A Picture in Picture interview ran while James made her entrance in which James gave viewers the story of her background. “Three months ago she was working in an office only dreaming of becoming a WWE superstar, her diligence has paid off and tonight is the first chapter in the career of Kiana James.”
John’s Ramblings: Basic interview. A package like this could have really helped Quincy Elliot prior to his match.
The wrestlers tied up to start. Nile transitioned into a wrist lock followed up by a shoulder block. James was thrown into the ring ropes where Nile worked on the lower back and hit a suplex. James crawled over to the corner but was hit with a running drop kick for a near fall. Nile worked on the neck of James before throwing her to the canvas. James would counter with a clothesline and a scoop slam followed up with a side slam for a two count on Nile. James would attempt a suplex of her own but Nile would counter with the dragon sleeper for the submission win.
Ivy Nile defeated Kiana James via submission in 4:20.
The commentary team hyped the main event…[c]
John’s Ramblings: Ivy picked up the win, but James looked good in defeat and was given enough in the match that allowed you to invest in the underdog story that the match laid out. Ivy usually stoic showed more personality with her facial expressions this week.
3. “Jacket Time” Ikemen Jiro and Kushida vs. Malik Blade and Edris Enofe. Prior to the match, the commentary team said that the momentum of “Jacket Time” has stalled as of late (boy, in the case of Kushida’s WWE career isn’t that the truth). Jiro started the match against Blade. Jiro took the early advantage before Blade took over with a standing dropkick and tagged in Enofe. Jiro with the tag to Kushida who worked on the arm of Enofe as Nigel McGuinness put over Kushida’s accomplishments in Japan on commentary.
Kushida tagged in Jiro as Blade took the tag from Enofe. Blade worked on the arm of Jiro as Enofe tagged in to work on the leg with a single leg Boston crab. Blade would enter the ring for a pin attempt on Jiro but Kushida made the save. Blade continued to work on the arm of Jiro and arm dragged him to the corner. Jiro avoided a double axe handle and made the hot tag to Kushida who hit Blade with kicks and a running crossbody. Forearm punch on Blade by Kushida as Enofe attempted a save but both were sent to ringside by Kushida who hit both men with the cartwheel dropkick.
There was a double baseball slide from Jiro and Kushida to both men on the outside as Blade was sent back into the ring by Kushida, who tagged in Jiro who hit a top rope Swanton for a two count as Enofe made the save. Kushida tagged back in as Blade sent Jiro over the top rope and tagged in Enofe. Attempted springboard by Kushida caught by Blade and Enofe hit an assisted powerbomb for the three count.
Malik Blade and Edris Enofe defeated “Jacket Time” Ikemen Jiro and Kushida via pinfall in 7:29.
John’s Ramblings: The decline of Kushida continues as he took the pinfall loss in this one. An enjoyable tag team match but the continued misuse of the former NXT Cruiserweight Champion is disappointing. Another episode of ‘Level Up’ is in the books and passed the time nicely, but nothing on the show was must-see this week.