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.

Advertisements

Welcome Back Daniel Bryan

Smackdown 3-20-2018

In February 2016, Daniel Bryan went on RAW and told us what we didn’t want to hear. Years and years of concussions had taken a toll on him and doctors told him that he shouldn’t and couldn’t wrestle anymore. It was a huge blow for wrestling as a whole. Who didn’t like Daniel Bryan?

Daniel Bryan was a wrestler, a real wrestler. It was his life and it was hard for him to be around the business but not in the ring giving us everything he had. You could see that he appreciated having a job in WWE, but he didn’t look like he was totally into it. Eight months later on an episode of Total Bellas, we saw Daniel Bryan break down in tears at the realization that he wouldn’t be allowed to wrestle ever again. There were stories of him being understandably depressed and now it was confirmed.

Fast forward to 2017 and there were signs that Daniel Bryan might actually be cleared to wrestle. The verbal feud between Bryan and The Miz on Smackdown and Talking Smack was gold. The Miz got real with Daniel Bryan and said things that hit close to home. It seemed as though a match was the only way this could end. At the same time, Daniel Bryan was talking about going to specialists and getting good news. Could this be true? Unexpectedly, The Miz was shipped over to RAW and the whole angle was dropped.

Three weeks before Wrestlemania, WWE and Daniel Bryan announced that he has been cleared to wrestle. Yes! Yes! Yes! Just when it looked like he would go elsewhere when his WWE deal expired, he’s back. The wrestling world lost their minds. What’s next? His first order of business was to fire Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn only to get beat down by them. They didn’t take it easy on him. He took some nice shots and even a powerbomb on the edge of the ring. Way to get thrown right back into the fire. This is gonna be fun. I expect Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon to take on Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens at Wrestlemania. A tag team match allows Bryan to not be the focal point and allows him to work his way back into ring shape. Knowing Daniel Bryan, he probably wants to go all out in that match. Stay healthy Daniel Bryan, wrestling needs you in it.

Sami Zayn + Kevin Owens = Gold

Smackdown 1-23-2018

I sure hope the rumors are true and Shinsuke Nakamura wins the Royal Rumble because Smackdown could use some excitement. Smackdown isn’t a bad show. They have great talent and interesting storylines, but there’s something missing.

This episode was way better than last week’s and did what it was supposed to do as a go home show, advance storylines and make me want to get the PPV. To be honest, I was gonna watch the Royal Rumble anyway. Too bad RAW had to pack in so much nostalgia instead of actually working on getting people excited about the PPV.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are the best thing on WWE TV right now. Snarky Sami Zayn is the best Sami Zayn. I love AJ Styles, but the idea of WWE co-champions KO and Sami sounds like pure gold. How would that even work? That’s what’s great about it, not to mention the eventual turn and match between these two. Go back and watch their feud on the WWE Network; it’s fantastic.

AJ takes the bait from Sami and KO and accepted their challenge to fight them both in one night. Daniel Bryan continues to give the illusion that he’s stacking the deck against AJ. I somehow think this storyline ends with a big swerve. There’s no way the fans want to boo Daniel Bryan. I see Shane McMahon somehow joining KO and Sami. A heel Shane is easy to boo, especially if he starts to morph into a milder version of Mr. McMahon. If Daniel Bryan does get cleared to wrestle, a Shane O Mac – Daniel Bryan feud could be interesting.

AJ beats Owens, but loses to Sami Zayn. Both matches delivered, and Shane tried to even the odds by trying to make sure AJ only had to worry about one competitor at at time. Great stuff and two storylines advanced at the same time. What a concept! Who knew WWE had it in them? There’s no way RAW and Smackdown have the same writers.

Chad Gable and Jey Uso had a great back and forth match. Gable can do so many things in the ring. I wonder if he’ll get a chance as a singles competitor because he deserves to do more than just be part of a tag team. Gable wins. I wonder if WWE would put the titles on Gable and Benjamin at the Royal Rumble? The Usos are probably the best tag team on the planet right now, but Jey Uso getting a DUI recently might give them a reason to switch the titles.

The rest of the show also delivered. Shinsuke Nakamura beat Baron Corbin by DQ when Randy Orton decided to show up and RKO everyone. Good, physical match prior to that. Earlier, Nakamura gave a backstage interview without his mouthpiece in. Finally! His English isn’t the greatest and that mouthpiece wasn’t helping. It made a huge difference.

Naomi beat Liv Morgan in a singles match that ended with all the Smackdown women in the ring after the match. Liv Morgan had some nice moves and looks to be improving in the ring. She certainly has life after the Riott Squad. Nice tension at the end of this segment when Becky Lynch went after Naomi and tried to put her over the top rope. Every woman for themself.

Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Bobby Roode vs Rudev Day and Jinder Mahal. Pretty good match. Everyone had a chance to look strong, especially Bobby Roode. Woods pins English, and the crowd is happy. Rusev did his thing here, but they need to do more with him. The fans love Rusev Day and this could go far if WWE let it. Rusev should be going for the US Title next. Jinder is done. Let Rusev chase, it’ll be a lot of fun.

Match of the night: AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn
Pop of the night: AJ Styles. The guy is money.
No reaction of the night: Naomi. Yes she glows in the dark, but I don’t feel any excitement when she comes out. Fans aren’t really feeling the glow.

089_sd_01232018ej_2582-826e6c6631b938a024ed7397b10f0a98

New US Champion

Smackdown 01-17-18

I look forward to Smackdown every week. It’s kinda my show, but it’s getting hard to get through the shows lately. KO, Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan, and Shane usually are enough to make it an enjoyable show. This week, no KO and Sami in the ring, no furthering of the Shane-Daniel Bryan tension, and no AJ Styles in the ring. Instead, we got Jinder Mahal wrestling twice on a show that only had four matches.

For some reason, WWE changed the US Title finale from the Royal Rumble to Next week to tonight. Jinder Mahal beat a very game Xavier Woods in the first semi-final and Bobby Roode beat Mojo Rawley in the second semi-final. Both matches were decent, nothing special. I want to like Mojo Rawley, I really do, but if he were gone tomorrow, I probably wouldn’t notice.

The same six girls, but different from the same six girls on RAW, fought in a 6-man match that was won by the Riott Squad. This looked like a showcase for Liv Morgan. She looked the most impressive in this match. I hope they call up more women because it’s hard to get excited about these matchups week after week.

The show closes with Jinder Mahal vs Bobby Roode for the US Title. I’ll be honest, I thought Jinder was getting over her because WWE wanted to build him back up for possibly another WWE title run. Well, Bobby Roode beat Jinder to become the new US Champion. Where does Jinder go from here? Is WWE admitting that their experiment didn’t work? Is Jinder gonna start sliding down the mid-card? What’s gonna happen to the Bollywood Boys? Personally, I’d move the Bollywood Boys to 205 Live. They can work, and 205 Live needs new blood, so we don’t have to see the same people every week.

Some other stuff happened with AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, and Randy Orton, but it wasn’t that memorable. Most of the night was spent hyping the Mixed Match challenge. Overall, this episode was a miss.

  • Match of the night: Roode vs Mahal
  • Pop of the night: AJ Styles during an interview segment
  • No reaction of the night: Mojo Rawley (what’s the point?)

Roode