At NXT TakeOver: Portland, we saw Johnny Gargano turn on Tommaso Ciampa during Ciampa’s NXT Championship match against champion Adam Cole. As soon as Gargano grabbed the NXT title, everybody knew what was going to happen, and I immediately didn’t want it.
Ciampa and Gargano had one of the best trilogies in wrestling spanning TakeOver: New Orleans, TakeOver: Chicago II, and TakeOver: Brooklyn IV and I loved every single one of them.
Their match at TakeOver: Brooklyn IV was scheduled to be a triple threat match involving Ciampa, Gargano and Aleister Black. But when Black was mysteriously attacked backstage, it ended up being a Last Man Standing involving Ciampa and Gargano. Johnny Wrestling lost the match, and later revealed himself as the one who attacked Aleister Black, turning Gargano heel for the first time in his NXT career.
The quality of Gargano’s heel run is debated in the wrestling world. Some loved it and some really hated it. No matter what people thought of it, the feud should’ve ended there…for good. But Triple H couldn’t leave it. We saw Johnny Gargano win the NXT North American Championship and become villainous friends with NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa. After an unfortunate injury requiring an anterior cervical fusion, Ciampa was forced to vacate the NXT Championship and was out of action for 6 months. Uncle Dave Meltzer reported that Gargano and Ciampa were set to face each other at TakeOver: New York.
And now we’re here. I loved #DIY just as much as the next guy, but there was no reason for them to team back up again. If Ciampa didn’t get hurt, they would have an incredible match at TakeOver: New York and hopefully that would’ve been the end of it. But since he got injured, Triple H didn’t get the finish to this feud that he wanted. Which is exactly why we got a meaningless team up and another meaningless heel turn by Gargano.
I’m not even worried about the match, because I know these two guys will continue to put on great match after great match. But there are so many other matches I feel we would want to see besides another Ciampa-Gargano match. Plus it seems they have just gotten so predictable. One of them turns on the other, then one of them cuts a passionate promo about the other. Then we’ll see a rebuttal, a few run-ins and beat downs, then somehow Candice LeRae will get involved and beg Gargano to stop and tell him he’s going too far. I’m sorry, I love NXT, but these Gargano-Ciampa feuds just become so predictable.
I understand why they did it. Ciampa didn’t lose his title and Adam Cole took the NXT Championship and ran with it, becoming one of the best NXT Champions of all time. Ciampa is also on that list of greatest NXT Champions ever, but they just couldn’t take the title off of Cole right now. So putting Ciampa in this feud with Gargano keeps him busy and away from the title.
It also seems like this feud will lead to a “Loser Leaves NXT” match at TakeOver: Tampa Bay during WrestleMania weekend. But I hate that even more! Both Gargano and Ciampa are huge reasons for the success that NXT has today. Ciampa was already quoted as saying he would retire before going to the “main” roster, and Gargano on Raw or Smackdown? I seriously think that would be one of the worst things that could happen to him.
Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka, and Samoa Joe were all considered some of the best to ever step foot into NXT. They went to Raw and/or Smackdown and most of them just didn’t have the success they saw in NXT. Sending Gargano or Ciampa to Raw or Smackdown would crush them, I truly believe that. Like I said earlier, I’m excited to see the match, but I just wish they would’ve done something else instead of restarting the feud. I know we technically didn’t get a finish to the feud, but truly ask yourself if we needed an end?
Featured Photo Credit: Mike Rosa – GCSN
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