By John O’Connor, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@thereal_JOC)
NXT: Level Up (Episode 53)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Streamed February 17, 2023 on Peacock/WWE Network
Dante Chen made his way to the ring as the broadcast team of Byron Saxton and Blake Howard welcomed us to the show…
1. Dante Chen vs. Eddy Thorpe. Eddy Thorpe is the new ring name for the former NJPW wrestler Karl Fredericks. An exchange of holds from both men led to a stalemate early. Chen got the best of a test of strength and took Thorpe down to the mat for a near fall. Chen worked on the arm of Thorpe but Thorpe responded with a twisting crossbody as Chen came off the ropes.
Thorpe worked on the neck of Chen to take control before transitioning into an abdominal stretch. Chen chopped the chest of Thorpe and looked for a kick but Thorpe hit a kick of his own to Chen in the corner. Chen rallied with a kick but Thorpe hit Chen with a Saito suplex dropping Chen on his head and hit the Impaler DDT, struggling into the cover for the win.
Eddy Thorpe defeated Dante Chen via pinfall in 4:33.
The commentary team hyped Oba Femi vs. Xyon Quinn for after the break…[c]
2. Oba Femi vs. Xyon Quinn. Quinn looked confident as Femi entered the ring. Femi utilised his power on Quinn as the bell rang dropping Quinn to the canvas. Quinn rolled to the outside as Femi gave chase to Quinn who rolled back into the ring. Femi sent Quinn into the corner, Quinn moved and hit a dropkick to the back of Femi to gain the advantage. Quinn dropped Femi with a strike to the back of the head and gained a one count.
Quinn applied pressure to the neck of Femi as Femi powered up to his feet and drove Quinn into the corner and hit a polish hammer as Quinn moved out of the corner. Femi hit a strong scoop slam on Quinn but Quinn would drive Femi into the ring post as Femi looked to finish and hit a roaring forearm for the victory.
Xyon Quinn defeated Oba Femi via pinfall in 5:11.
The commentary team hyped the main event…[c]
3. Ivy Nile (w/Tatum Paxley) vs. Valentina Feroz. Nile took Feroz down to the mat with a suplex but Feroz would block a second attempt and take Nile down with an armbar. Feroz focussed on the ankle of Nile and slingshotted Nile into the ropes which gained a two count. Feroz wore down Nile on the mat but Nile rolled through for a near fall. Nile powered Feroz down with a fallaway slam and a German suplex and worked on the neck.
Feroz attempted an escape to no success but tried once more and shrugged Nile off. Nile hit a dropkick in the corner to Feroz and nailed a running powerslam for a near fall. Feroz hit a meateor but was distracted by Elektra Lopez who appeared at ringside. Nile took advantage and locked in the Dragon sleeper for the submission win.
Ivy Nile defeated Valentina Feroz via submission in 6:35.
John’s Ramblings: An enjoyable episode this week. Eddy Thorpe looked impressive in his NXT debut and looks to be a top prospect going forward. Ivy Nile is always a joy to watch as she and Valentina Feroz’s ring styles meshed together well in the main event. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the future between Feroz and Lopez given the distraction finish.