The Chicago Street Fight between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano at NXT Takeover: Chicago II was supposed to be the end of the feud. However, the way the match ended and the bad blood between the former tag team champions seems to be leading to a third match.
The show ended with Ciampa laying out Gargano with a DDT on the boards of an exposed ring before lying on his former DIY partner for the three count. There was plenty of chaos, especially towards the end when Ciampa was being put on a stretcher and Gargano, in a fit of rage, pulled him away from security and medical personnel to deliver more punishment.
Gargano applied the Gargano Escape and Ciampa was visibly tapping out but there was no referee to call for the bell. Security would eventually pull Gargano off, which led to the finish.
“Whether a bell rang or not, an official got knocked down so there was no bell. So the match is still going on, but I think they were looking out for the well being of Tommaso Ciampa,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque told reporters after the show. “Ciampa is one of those people that 11,00 people don’t like very much so no matter what, him winning was not the outcome they were looking for tonight. If I was a betting man, I would say this is not over between the two of them. But that could be the worst thing in the world for them because until they get out of their system, they won’t be able to move on with their careers and they really should.”
This feud between Gargano and Ciampa dates back to 2015 when the duo were paired up for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament. They would fall short in the tournament but would continue to partner up in NXT.
WWE’s first Cruiserweight Classic pitted the two against each other, with Gargano coming out on top before eventually falling to the winner, TJ Perkins. Gargano and Ciampa would reform DIY and have some classic matches against then NXT Tag Team Champions, The Revival. The team would capture the tag straps and battle for it on and off until May 2017 when Ciampa turned on Gargano after losing a chance at the championships in Chicago.
“I think it’s great storytelling. When you can take people that close in a believable manner. You can see it in them that it’s real. Their friendship and support for each other. It’s real and it’s palpably real,” Levesque said. “And when you can take that and turn it inside out and continue to run with it and people invest in it emotionally, you can go a long way with it.”
After the breakup, Ciampa would have knee surgery and Gargano would rise in the ranks of NXT as he would flirt with the Championship scene on more than one occasion.
Ciampa would return to NXT at Takeover: Philadelphia in January 2018 to attack Gargano after his defeat to then champion, Andrade “Cien” Almas. Gargano would get a rematch for the title, putting his career on the line, on a February episode of NXT when Ciampa interfered in the match costing his former partner his job.
“You’re making people feel it. It’s not just something they’re seeing they feel. They feel this rivalry. Where we go with it now? We’ll see,” Levesque said. “It’s hard to tell with these things. You want to write the next chapter and see where it goes but you have to wait and see where this live chapter plays out on tv and see exactly how you feel coming out of it. I think this one leaves a lot of doors open and I’m excited to see where it goes. Those guys are so talented I think they can do this for awhile and people won’t get tired of it, but you have to watch it carefully.”
The next NXT Takeover will take place Aug. 18, the night before WWE’s SummerSlam, in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center
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