By John O’Connor, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@thereal_JOC)
NXT: Level Up (Episode 8)
Taped April 5, 2022 in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Streamed April 8, 2022 on Peacock/WWE Network
Javier Bernal made his way to the ring as the usual commentary team of Sudu Shah and Nigel McGuinness welcomed us to the show…
1. Javier Bernal vs. Guru Raaj. The bell rang and the two tied up to start. Bernal took Raaj down to the mat with a side headlock. Raaj regained the momentum with a standing dropkick and a suplex for a near fall before transitioning into a standing surfboard stretch that Bernal escaped from with a kick from a seated position. Bernal performed a side Russian leg sweep and running lariat followed by a Codebreaker for the three count.
Javier Bernal defeated Guru Raaj via pinfall in 5:10.
The commentary team hyped Ivy Nile vs. Thea Hail for after the break…[c]
John’s Ramblings: Nice submission-based work from both Bernal and Raaj in the opener this week that looked competent before Bernal picked up the win.
2. Ivy Nile (w/Malcolm Bivens) vs. Thea Hail. Hail was wearing a superhero cape during her entrance. This isn’t going to go well for the debutant. The usual ‘Ivy’s going to kill you’ chants from the crowd early. Nile with an early takedown and armlock on Hail. Hail responded with a kick to the gut but Nile shrugged it off and dropped Hail onto the top rope.
Hail attempted to counter with elbow strikes but Nile hit a fallaway slam and a kick in the corner for a near fall. Hail sent Nile into the corner but Nile hit the Diamond Dust followed by a suplex. Hail hit a forearm and a dropkick but was unable to take advantage as Nile hooked on the dragon sleeper for the immediate tap out.
Ivy Nile defeated Thea Hail via submission in 4:10.
The commentary team hyped the main event…[c]
John’s Ramblings: Despite a few rough looking spots, Hail showed potential in her debut match before the inevitable submission win by Ivy. I continue to enjoy Nile’s work on the brand.
3. Andre Chase and Bodhi Hayward vs. Channing Lauren and Troy Donovan. Chase started the match against Lauren. Chase gained the advantage with a side Russian leg sweep and foot stomps as Hayward tagged in and Lauren tagged in Donovan. Hayward would work on Donovan before tagging Chase back in. Chase was distracted by Lauren as Donovan took control before tagging Lauren back in. Lauren worked on Chase before Donovan came in to scoop slam Chase for a two-count followed by a back suplex.
Chase avoided a slingshot splash by Lauren and tagged Hayward who fired up on Lauren with takedowns and a slam on Donovan followed by a splash on both men. Hayward would follow this with an impressive powerslam on Lauren before calling in Chase to hit a double team maneuver that Nigel McGuinness on commentary dubbed “The Fratliner” for the victory.
Andre Chase and Bodhi Hayward defeated Channing Lauren and Troy Donovan via pinfall in 6:53.
John’s Ramblings: ‘Chase U’ went over in the main event to continue their push, but Lauren and Donovan did look good in the moments where they were allowed to shine.
All of the matches were enjoyable this week, but I think ‘Level Up’ would benefit by having more introductory packages for the new talent on the show as this would allow you to become more invested in their characters and progress. They did this on Episode 6 but haven’t continued this trend on the recent shows which is a shame.