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Leighty’s 2023 Countdown: The Matches of NXT Level Up

January 7, 2024 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWE NXT Level Up Image Credit: WWE

-We are off into the new year, but we need to look back to 2023 and the year that was for NXT Level Up. The show is basically NXT Developmental with a few exceptions here and there as they threw some Global Invitational Group Matches on the show this year. A lot of new faces debuted, and some familiar faces got a push on NXT and some even started popping up on Main Event and RAW. This column has been running for me every year since I took over reviewing this show after Larry’s tragic passing in 2020. Back then this show was still 205 Live. I am a sucker for countdown shows and always love doing columns like this. As I mentioned in my Main Event Matches of 2023 Countdown, I enjoyed when Larry would do a column like this and rank WrestleMania weekend matches, or Hulk Hogan’s WrestleMania Matches. As a note there are a ton of matches on this list, and I ranked them as each show completed and I would just slot them based on what I felt at that moment. I am human, so I do give preference to those wrestlers I am more entertained by, and the result of a match can also elevate or drop my opinion. As Larry would always write: The only rules are “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.” Let’s get to it!

141) Isla Dawn vs. Jakara Jackson (01.13.23) 1/2*

140) Kiana James vs. Kiyah Saint (08.25.23) 1/2*

139) Dani Palmer vs. Izzi Dame (07.21.23) 1/2*

138) Luca Crusifino vs. Tavion Heights (06.23.23) 1/2*

137) Fallon Henley vs. Tatum Paxley (07.07.23) 1/2*

136) Nikkita Lyons vs. Jakara Jackson (01.20.23) 3/4*

135) Blair Davenport vs. Kelani Jordan (06.30.23) 3/4*

134) Luca Crusifino vs. Von Wagner (12.01.23) SQUASH

133) Luca Crusifino vs. IKEMEN JIRO (09.22.23) *

132) Ivy Nile vs. Jacy Jayne (06.23.23) *

131) Quincy Elliot vs. Scrypts (03.10.23) *

130) Arianna Grace vs. Fallon Henley (09.29.23) *

129) Wendy Choo and Valentina Feroz vs. Lashl Legend and Jakara Jackson (04.21.23) *

128) Fallon Henley vs. Izzi Dame (08.11.23) *

127) Myles Borne vs. Trey Bearhill (08.04.23) *

126) Myles Borne vs. Trey Bearhill (11.03.23) *

125) Elektra Lopez vs. Brinley Reece (12.01.23) *

124) Dani Palmer vs. Brookyln Barlow (08.18.23) *

123) Odyssey Jones vs. Joe Gacy (01.20.23) *

122) Lash Legend and Jakara Jackson vs. Dani Palmer and Tatum Paxley (09.15.23) *

121) Bronco Nima and Lucien Price vs. Tyson Dupont and Tyriek Igwe (09.15.23) *

120) Scrypts vs. Kale Dixon (07.07.23) *

119) Dante Chen vs. Luca Crusifino (03.03.23) *

118) Dante Chen vs. Scrypts (08.25.23) *

117) Ivy Nile vs. Kiyah Saimt (10.13.23) *

116) Kiana James vs. Kelani Jordan (06.02.23) *

115) Boa vs. Bryson Montana (06.16.23) *

114) Dante Chen vs. Tavion Heights (05.12.23) *

113) Tank Ledger vs. Xyon Quinn (01.06.23) *

112) Javier Bernal vs. Boa (05.26.23) *

111) Valentina Feroz vs. Lash Legend * (03.31.23) *

110) Tank Ledger vs. Kale Dixon (02.10.23) *

109) Ivy Nile vs. Izzi Dame (09.22.23) *

108) Dani Palmer vs. Lola Vice (01.27.23) *

107) Von Wagner vs. Javier Bernal (12.22.23) *

106) Sol Ruca vs. Lola Vice (02.24.23) *

105) Indi Hartwell vs. Jakara Jackson (03.10.23) *1/4

104) Wendy Choo vs. Kelani Jordan (05.12.23) *1/4

103) Jacy Jane vs. Karmen Petrovic (08.18.23) *1/4

102) Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon vs. Jakara Jackson and Lash Legend (05.26.23) *1/4

101) Tank Ledger and Hank Walker vs. Tyson Dupont and Tyriek Igwe (08.25.23) *1/4

100) Valentina Feroz vs. Stevie Turner (09.01.23) *1/4

99) Thea Hail vs. Lola Vice (05.05.23) *1/4

98) Elektra Lopez and Amari Miller vs. Sol Ruca and Dani Palmer (01.06.23) *1/4

97) Myles Borne and Tank Ledger vs. Damon Kemp and Tavion Heights (02.24.23) *1/4

96) Xyon Quinn vs. Tavion Heights (04.14.23) *1/4

95) Valentina Feroz vs. Amari Miller (12.15.23) *1/4

94) Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen vs. Kale Dixon and Luca Crusifino (07.14.23) *1/2

93) Kale Dixon vs. Quincy Elliot (06.02.23) *1/2

92) Von Wagner vs. Oba Femi (01.13.23) *1/2

91) Brooks Jensen and Josh Briggs vs. Xyon Quinn and Bronco Nima (02.23.23) *1/2

90) Lola Vice and Elektra Lopez vs. Dani Palmer and Kelani Jordan (06.16.23) *1/2

89) Edris Enofe and Malik Blade vs. Tyson Dupont and Tyriek Igwe (08.04.23) *1/2

88) Oro Mensah vs. Damon Kemp (04.21.23) *1/2

87) Oro Mensah vs. Joe Gacy (04.07.23) *1/2

86) Dante Chen vs. Kale Dixon (01.27.23) *1/2

85) Dani Palmer vs. Tatum Paxley (11.17.23) *1/2

84) Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Javier Bernal (06.16.23) *1/2

83) Tyriek Igwe and Tyson Dupont vs. Javier Bernal and Luca Crusifino (10.06.23) *1/2

82) Tank Ledger and Halk Walker vs. Quincy Elliot and IKEMEN JIRO (07.21.23) *1/2

81) Hank Walker vs. Kale Dixon (04.14.23) *1/2

80) Luca Crusifino vs. Myles Borne (06.09.23) *1/2

79) Tatum Paxley and Izzi Dame vs. Kelani Jordan and Valentina Feroz (10.06.23) *1/2

78) Oro Mensah vs. Kale Dixon (05.05.23) *1/2

77) Dante Chen vs. Luca Crusifino (05.19.23) *1/2

76) Roxanne Perez vs. Brinley Reece (12.22.23) *1/2

75) Fallon Henley vs. Karmen Petrovic (09.08.23) *1/2

74) Lyra Valkyria vs. Dani Palmer (03.17.23) *1/2

73) Oreo Mensah vs. Tavion Heights (05.26.23) *1/2

72) Dani Palmer vs. Lash Legend (02.10.23) *1/2

71) Jacy Jayne vs. Izzi Dame (10.27.23) *1/2

70) Gigi Dolan vs. Jaida Parker (12.08.23) *1/2

69) Gigi Dolan vs. Stevie Turner (11.10.23) *1/2

68) Damon Kemp vs. Tank Ledger (01.20.23) *1/2

67) Dante Chen vs. Eddy Thorpe (02.17.23) *1/2

66) Axiom vs. Kale Dixon (02.24.23) *1/2

65) Elektra Lopez and Lola Vice vs. Wendy Choo and Kelani Jordan (05.19.23) *3/4

64) Oro Mensah vs. Scrypts (01.27.23) *3/4

63) Gallus vs. Tyson Dupont and Tyreke Igwe (11.10.23) *3/4

62) Damon Kemp vs. IKEMEN JIRO (07.28.23) *3/4

61) Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. Kale Dixon (06.23.23) **

60) Boa vs. Eddy Thorpe (05.05.23) **

59) Oro Mensah vs. Dante Chen (11.03.23) **

58) Gigi Dolan vs. Tatum Paxley (08.04.23) **

57) Myles Borne vs. Riley Osborne (09.29.23) **

56) Edris Enofe and Malik Blade vs. Lucien Price and Bronco Nima (05.12.23) **

55) Xyon Quinn vs. Oba Femi (02.17.23) **

54) Edris Enofe and Malik Blade vs. Kale Dixon and Javier Bernal (04.21.23) **

53) Odyssey Jones vs. Kale Dixon (03.24.23) **

52) Dante Chen vs. Boa (04.07.23) **

51) Eddy Thorpe vs. Kale Dixon (05.19.23) **

50) Lyra Valkyria vs. Tatum Paxley (03.03.23) **

49) Javier Bernal vs. Oba Femi (02.03.23) **

48) Von Wagner vs. Odyssey Jones (03.10.23) **

47) Dante Chen vs. Damon Kemp (08.11.23) **

46) Brooks Jensen vs. Dion Lennox (12.08.23) **

45) Lash Legend vs. Fallon Henley (10.20.23) **

44) Scrypts vs. Javier Bernal (12.15.23) **

43) Oro Mensah vs. Tavion Heights (09.29.23) **

42) Joe Coffey vs. Myles Borne (06.30.23) **

41) Valentina Feroz vs. Lola Vice (07.14.23) **

40) Malik Blade and Edris Enofe vs. Dante Chen and Boa (10.20.23) **

39) Xyon Quinn vs. Eddy Thorpe (03.17.23) **

38) Axiom vs. Damon Kemp (12.22.23) **

37) Ivy Nile vs. Lola Vice (04.28.23) **

36) Dani Palmer and Sol Ruca vs. Lash Legend and Jakara Jackson (04.07.23) **

35) Drew Gulak vs. Dante Chen (10.06.23) **

34) Ivy Nile vs. Karmen Petrovic (07.28.23) **

33) Tyler Bate vs. Luca Crusifino (04.28.23) **

32) Hank Walker and Tank Ledger vs. Bronco Nima and Lucien Price (06.02.23) **1/4

31) Duke Hudson vs. Luca Crusifino (07.28.23) **1/4

30) Duke Hudson vs. Damon Kemp (01.13.23) **1/4

29) Drew Gulak and Charlie Dempsey vs. Tony D’Angelo and Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo (12.15.23) **1/4

28) The Dyad vs. Hank Walker and Tank Ledger (04.28.23) **1/4

27) Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Elektra Lopez and Lola Vice (04.14.23) **1/4

26) Damon Kemp and Tavion Heights vs. Edris Enofe and Malik Blade (03.24.23) **1/4

25) IKEMEN JIRO vs. Oro Mensah (08.18.23) **1/4

24) Ivy Nile vs. Valentina Feroz (02.17.23) **1/4

23) Nathan Frazer vs. Tavion Heights (06.09.23) **1/4

22) Javier Bernal vs. Nathan Frazer (03.31.23) **1/4

21) Javier Bernal vs. Dante Chen (07.21.23) **1/2

20) Joe Coffey vs. Tavion Heights (08.11.23) **1/2

19) Javier Bernal vs. Riley Osborne (09.01.23) **1/2

18) Tavion Heights vs. Riley Osborne (11.17.23) **1/2

17) Tavion Heights vs. Drew Gulak (12.01.23) **1/2

16) Global Heritage Invitational: Group B Match: Duke Hudson vs. Akira Tozawa (09.01.23) **1/2

15) Scrypts vs. Axiom (02.10.23) **1/2

14) Tavion Heights vs. IKEMEN JIRO (09.08.23) **1/2

13) Ivy Nile vs. Valentina Feroz (11.03.23) **1/2

12) Global Heritage Invitational: Group B Match: Joe Coffey vs. Akira Tozawa (09.08.23) **3/4

11) Dante Chen vs. Charlie Dempsey (06.09.23) ***

10) Sol Ruca vs. Lash Legend (02.03.23) ***

9) Malik Blade and Edris Enofe vs. Tavion Heights and Myles Borne (01.06.23) ***

8) Malik Blade and Edris Enofe vs. Charlie Dempsey and Drew Gulak (12.08.23) ***

7) Oro Mensah vs. Eddy Thorpe (03.03.23) ***

6) Axiom vs. Tavion Heights (07.14.23) ***

5) Oro Mensah vs. Charlie Dempsey (03.17.23) ***

4) Axiom vs. Riley Osborne (10.13.23) ***

3) Global Heritage Invitational: Group A Match: Axiom vs. Charlie Dempsey (09.22.23) ***

-Neither man can advance as this is the last match of Group A, so this is all about pride. Dempsey quickly dumps Axiom and wants him to bring it. Dempsey gets another throw and goes to work on the arm. He breaks Axiom down, but Axiom gets back up and gets wrist control. Dempsey misses a clothesline and eats a dropkick that gets a one count. Axiom hooks a side headlock as the crowd chants, “Thank You, Regal,” I think. Dempsey back in control as he buries some knees into the back and constantly goes for the pin, but Axiom is out each time. Axiom with a heavy slap to the face, but Dempsey just eats it and gets a trip. He hooks an abdominal stretch, but Axiom escapes and they start trading strikes. Dempsey wins that exchange as he pounds Axiom into goo and gets a two-count. Axiom fires up with strikes and gets a dropkick. Dempsey rolls to the floor, but Axiom follows with a suicide dive and hits his back off the announce desk. Axiom off the top, but Dempsey catches him and turns it into an SOS slam, but he bridges into a pin for two. More heavy strikes between the two and the crowd is starting to groan with each shot delivered. Dempsey gets a deadlift German Suplex into a bridge for two. Dempsey gets set up top and he slugs Axiom down. Axiom back with a head kick and he hits a Spanish Fly from up there. Golden Ratio finishes at 6:53.

Winner: Axiom via pin at 6:53
-This was fun as you would expect. Dempsey is the newbie in his group so it’s not shocking he ended up going 0-3. I enjoyed having these matches on this show as they carried some importance. Give me more of both of these guys in the ring.

2) Global Heritage Invitational: Group A Match: Tyler Bate vs. Charlie Dempsey (09.15.23) ***

-I am ready for this one! Lockup and Bate works the arm. They fight over control and Bate reverses and takes Bate to the match. He bends the fingers back and and gets a bridge while holding the arm for a two count. Bate gets to his feet and uses his feet to escape and flips Dempsey over for a stalemate. Uppercut from Dempsey and he gets a monkey flip and we go again. Dempsey grabs a leg and tries a bow and arrow, but Bate rolls over for a one count. Dempsey grabs the leg again and bends on that before switching to an armbar. He rolls Bate up for a two count and they start trading Euro Uppercuts. Backslide from Bate gets two! Roll-up gets two! They fight into a kunckle lock and Dempsey gets a take down and holds the arms down for a two count. Bate bridges up to escape and suckers Dempsey into a monkey flip. Bate gets top position and they start slapping the crap out of each other. These two are great! Bate dead lifts Dempsey into a slam and the crowd is very appreciative of what they are seeing. Bate gets his foot caught and Dempsey stomps on the back. Headbutt to the gut and a clubbing forearm to the back. Bate back with a knee, but Dempsey gets a bridging German Suplex for two. Bate mans up from a forearm and gets an airplane spin for two. They start trading uppercuts again and Dempsey wins this exchange. Bate avoids a whip to the corner and tries a dropkick, but they take turns countering each other with pins and Bate gets the final reversal for the jackknife cover and pin at 7:12.

Winner: Tyler Bate via pin at 7:12
-This was fun! I enjoy something different and that’s what we got here with the catch style wrestling and strikes. Bate winning was never really a question as Dempsey is just there so far to take losses but gain experience.

1) 1) Axiom vs. Riley Osborne (10.27.23) ***1/4

-These two had one of the best matches of the year for this show two weeks ago, so I have high hopes for this one. They work the arm to start and trade counters and flips out of that. Osborne controls with a head scissors, but Axiom does a head stand to slip out and gets a sick submission reversal. Osborne counters and flips out which leads to a test of strength. Axiom gets Riley down and gets several one counts. They keep knuckles locked as they flip around the ring. We get some wacky stuff with them tied up and standing on their heads staring at each other. No clue what I saw, but it looked cool and the crowd appreciated it. Osborne gets knocked to the floor, but blocks a suicide dive. He connects with a sling-shot shoulder block for two. Axiom with a nasty chop! Osborne tries a sunset flip, but Axiom rolls through and lands a kick for two. Axiom heads up, but Osborne rolls away and catches Axiom with a clothesline. Axiom back with a knee and a German Suplex followed by a punt to the chest for two. “Level Up,” chant! Heavy chop from Axiom and the crowd chants, “one more time.” Axiom doesn’t disappoint and then counters an Osborne head scissors attempt into a powerbomb. They fight on the floor and another nasty chop from Axiom. Osborne tries a back flip off the apron, but Axiom moves and hits a superkick that sends Obsorne into the announce table. Axiom waits up top for Osborne to roll back in, but Osborne is ready this time and blocks. Standing corkscrew splash from Osborne gets two. The crowd lets them know that what they are seeing is awesome! Inverted suplex from Osborne gets two! He heads up and Axiom lands a head kick. Both men up and Axiom hits a Spanish Fly from up there. Golden Ratio finishes at 7:47.

Winner: Axiom via pin at 7:47
-They played off the match from two weeks ago and gave us a more satisfying finish. I liked this one more than the match two weeks ago. Good stuff from these two and I want more!

-Good year from Axiom and Dempsey as they dominated my Top Ten. Tyler Bate nearly ended up with the Level Up Match of The Year to go along with his Main Event Match of The Year. Thanks as always for reading and for any feedback. See you in 2024!

article topics :

NXT Level Up, Robert Leighty Jr.