Gargano v Ciampa – The Match of Wrestlemania Weekend

Apologies to Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles, but the Johnny Gargano – Tommaso Ciampa is the match that’s gonna steal the show Wrestlemania weekend. Don’t get me wrong, Nakamura – Styles should tear the house down if AJ is anywhere near 100%. It won’t, but that match should headline Wrestlemania instead of Roman Reigns – Brock Lesnar. Gargano and Ciampa have the opportunity to have the match of the year, anywhere.

How did we get to this point where these two best friends are now enemies? Ciampa and Gargano went through a war at NXT Takeover: Chicago in a loss to the Authors of Pain in May 2017. They practically killed themselves trying to get the titles back. That was the last straw for Ciampa. He turned on Gargano and #DIY were no more. We all saw it coming, but it was still a shock the way it went down.

Tommaso Ciampa went away for a while with a knee injury. In the meantime, Johnny Gargano went on to challenge for the NXT Title and had two awesome matches with Andrade “Cien” Almas. Their second match at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia in January 2018 was epic. The match had so many ups and downs. Just when you thought the match was over, it went on for another 20 minutes. After Gargano lost that match, Ciampa finally emerged and attacked Gargano again.

Fast forward and Johnny Gargano loses another match to Almas and is forced to leave NXT. Bye Johnny Wrestling, for now. With Gargano out of the NXT picture, Tommaso Ciampa re-emerged on TV to tell his side of the story. Gargano tried to get his hands on Ciampa outside the Performance Center and even at Ciampa’s home. Good build, NXT. Why can’t the writers on the two main shows do the same thing?

Now we have an unsanctioned match between the two at NXT Takeover: New Orleans. Johnny Gargano is a madman. All he wants is to make Tommaso Ciampa pay for what he did, and all Ciampa wants is to finish what he started. This promises to be a war. These guys know each other very well. I can see this being as good or better than Gargano – Almas in Philadelphia. Johnny Gargano sells as good as anyone in the biz. You want to root for the guy. He’s got heart. He’s not big, but there’s nothing he won’t do in the ring to win. He’s got a Daniel Bryan vibe, and you know how much people love him.

Tommaso Ciampa is talented as hell. He can do pretty much anything Gargano can do, but he’s more physical. These guys are going to beat the hell out of each other and we’re going along for the ride. I don’t imagine these guys will have anything left at the end of this. Get ready for a ton of false finishes. My prediction is that these guys put on the best WWE match of the year. Gargano has to win. He didn’t win the NXT Title, but the fans will be willing him to win this.

In the end, they’ll shake hands out of respect and the past will be the past. They’ll realize that they bring out the best in each other. I don’t think this means #DIY gets back together. Johnny Gargano has done all he can in NXT. It’s time for him to move up. Smackdown would be a good place for him. I can see some nice matches between him and Nakamura/AJ Styles/Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens. If there is another shakeup, maybe Gargano could wrestle Finn Balor/Seth Rollins. My fear is that Johnny Gargano will end up in 205 Live. I know it’s a better show now, but Johnny Wrestling deserves to be on one of the main shows. Ciampa should continue in NXT, and he can be in the mix for the new NXT North American Title.

Let’s not worry too much about what happens after the match. Let’s get ready to see one crazy, emotional match. This is gonna be so much fun. Fight Forever..clap…clap…clap…clap…clap.

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Don’t Too Sweet Me, bro

RAW 1-29-2018

The weekend was so full of great wrestling with NXT TakeOver and the Royal Rumble that it was hard getting excited for RAW this week. Luckily, WWE didn’t make this week’s show a chore to watch. I was a bit disappointed that there were no call-ups from NXT, but the show delivered like it hasn’t in a while.

Of course, the show starts off with Stephanie telling us how historic the Women’s Royal Rumble was; in case you didn’t pick up on the vibe the night before. Asuka comes out, but doesn’t specify who she’s going to face at Wrestlemania. Sasha comes out to interrupt. The slow Sasha heel turn continues. Honestly, Sasha needs to be off TV for a while. I know it’s the right time for it now with Wrestlemania around the corner, but her shtick is tired. I get it, you’re “The Boss”.

Asuka vs Sasha Banks happened later in the show. Of course, Asuka won in a pretty good match. Both women got a chance to look strong. Sasha nearly killed herself with a botched dive outside the ring. Her legs hit the top rope as she was diving out and she spiked herself on the ground just as Asuka was about to kick her. It could have ended up very badly for Sasha. The only problem I had with this match is that Bayley was nowhere to be found. Sasha eliminates her in the Royal Rumble, but there is no fallout the next day. Bayley should have at least confronted her at some point during the show, or come out to distract Sasha and cost her the match. Just goes to show you how far Bayley has fallen. WWE is doing this angle and Sasha and Bayley are wrestling at Wrestlemania, but they should have started it from this episode of RAW. Lazy booking.

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The Miz beat Roman Reigns in another IC Title match. Good stuff from these guys. WWE is making The Miz look strong. The rumor is that he’ll be feuding with Braun Strowman at Wrestlemania. Speaking of Braun, he again tried to murder Kane. They had a Last Man Standing match as an Elimination Chamber qualifier. Strowman tipped the announcer’s table/stage over on to Kane and the match was over. How many times does Braun have to almost kill someone before the police charge him with attempted murder? The funny thing is that, for some reason, the announcers had to set up a new table near the ring because of what Braun did when someone could have very easily just tipped it back and things would have been fine. Maybe the area was a crime scene that couldn’t be disturbed.

In the two other Elimination Chamber qualifiers, Elias beak Woken Matt when Matt was distracted by Bray Wyatt, and John Cena beat Finn Balor. Two very good matches. WWE is making Elias look strong and I’m curious to see how he’ll do in the chamber. I know people are probably wondering where Woken Matt is headed. It looks like he now has full control of all the Broken Matt related trademarks. Hopefully this is a sign that he is ready to move forward with this gimmick. I see a Bray Wyatt – Woken Matt goofy tag team coming. It could be fun.

RAW closed out with John Cena and Finn Balor. I don’t know why John Cena had to win this? Maybe Finn Balor still finds a way into the chamber match. He deserves to be in it. That being said, this match delivered. Both guys got in some big spots, and the finish was in doubt until the end. Sure, maybe you thought Cena was going over, but it wasn’t a slam dunk. There were a few times when I thought Finn was taking it. Cena heeled it up a bit with his Too Sweet and the fans booed. Finish came from a Super AA from the second rope. Balor lost, but looked good.

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There were some other matches, but they didn’t move anything along. No surprises on this show, no Ronda Rousey, no Seth Rollins, no Jason Jordan, and no 205 Live guys. Speaking of 205 Live, Drake Maverick (Rockstar Spud) was named the new GM on Tuesday night and a new 16-man tournament started. Looks like they’re getting a reboot after the whole Enzo thing. 205 needed it, whether or not Enzo was gone. I like 205 Live, but they haven’t done it any favors by having the same guys on every week for most of the year when they had so many other talented guys (Gran Metalik) sitting around doing nothing.

RAW delivered this week. Let’s hope they can keep this up on the road to Wrestlemania.