By John O’Connor, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@thereal_JOC)
NXT: Level Up (Episode 75)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Streamed July 21, 2023 on Peacock/WWE Network
Hank Walker and Tank Ledger made their way to the ring as the broadcast team of Blake Howard and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show…
1. Hank Walker and Tank Ledger vs. Ikemen Jiro and Quincy Elliot. The fans chanted ‘Welcome Back’ to Jiro as the match began. Walker and Elliot started. Walker tagged in Ledger and Elliot made the tag to Jiro. Ledger knocked Jiro down but Jiro kipped up. Jiro hung up Ledger on the top rope but missed an attempted splash which allowed Ledger to tag back in Walker albeit briefly before tagging back in.
Ledger worked on the arm of Jiro but missed an elbow drop which allowed Jiro to make a hot tag to Elliot. Elliot hit a running bulldog on Ledger but Walker made the save. Jiro took out Walker with ‘jacket punches’ as Elliot looked to finish. After dealing with Jiro, Ledger made the tag to Walker as the duo hit the ‘flying fridge’ on Elliot for the win.
Hank Walker and Tank Ledger defeated Ikemen Jiro and Quincy Elliot via pinfall in 5:40.
The commentary team hyped Dani Palmer vs. Izzy Dame for after the break…[c]
2. Dani Palmer vs. Izzy Dame. Dame, making her ‘Level Up’ debut, used strength early to take Palmer down to the mat. Palmer rallied and applied a side headlock wearing down Dame. Dame sent Palmer into the turnbuckle and drove Palmer into the canvas for a one count. Dame hit a clothesline for another one count as the audience tried to rally Palmer back into the match. Dame looked for a suplex that Palmer avoided but was hit by a clothesline in response. Palmer hit a reverse elbow and used the brief window of offense to climb to the top rope and hit a diving crossbody on Dame for the victory.
Dani Palmer defeated Izzy Dame via pinfall in 4:34.
The commentary team hyped the main event…[c]
3. Dante Chen vs. Javier Bernal. A stalemate as the match got underway. Bernal worked on the arm of Chen to take him down to the mat but Chen responded with a series of armdrags and applied an armlock of his own to take control. Bernal powered Chen into the ropes to force a break and rocked Chen with a series of punches and hung up Chen throat first over the top rope.
Bernal got a two count as he transitioned into applying a sleeper hold on Chen. Chen rallied and hit a big boot as Bernal jumped off the middle rope. The two men exchanged punches as the match entered the late stages. Bernal threw Chen towards the referee who put on the breaks as Bernal used the distraction to poke Chen in the eyes and hit a reverse DDT for a long two count. Bernal looked to finish but Chen hit a knee to the face of Bernal and hit the roaring chest strike for the win.
Dante Chen defeated Javier Bernal via pinfall in 6:50.
John’s Ramblings: A return, a debut, and an enjoyable main event was on tap for this weeks show. Apparently, Ikemen Jiro was making his first appearance on the show in 2023 after a long injury lay-off. I’ve got to be honest I didn’t even realize that he was gone and pairing him with Quincy Elliot did him no favors with this viewer.
Izzy Dame looked like a prospect in her debut match and with a bit more ring time could be a factor for the future.
Another reliable performance from both Dante Chen and Javier Bernal in the main event. Surely these two can do more on the main NXT show and not just appear on Level Up? Here’s hoping.