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So, Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano just teamed up to beat Aleister Black

The latest twist in the now years long angle playing out between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa took a not-entirely-unexpected-but-still-brilliant turn on the NXT episode which debuted on WWE Network tonight (Dec. 19).

At the end of a grueling steel cage match between Gargano and Aleister Black (who also happens to be the #1 contender for Ciampa’s NXT title), with both combatants attempting to escape and pick up a win, Ciampa cut Aleister off at the door. He slammed it on his rival and threw him back in the ring to continue softening him up before their Royal Rumble weekend showdown.

Johnny was on the outside of the cage and could have opted to drop to the floor and pick up the victory. Instead, he returned to the ring for a tense staredown with his former best friend and tag partner turned bitter enemy. Only instead of throwing down for a resumption of hostilities in a feud which main evented three straight TakeOver live events earlier this year, the former tag champs did this - the Meeting In The Middle finisher they used as NXT Tag champs #DIY...

Despite looking shaken, Gargano covered Black to win the match while a grinning Ciampa looked on from ringside...

It’s moments like that which really make this one of the best stories WWE’s told this century. Most of us probably guessed that the descent into madness that started after he lost a Street Fight to Ciampa at TakeOver: Chicago 2 (a return to the city where Tommaso broke their friendship and left him broken on the stage a year before) would eventually lead to some kind of alliance with Ciampa. But it was still so well executed, and in a way that only leaves us with more questions...

[Chef’s kiss]

Will we see more of Dark #DIY? Has Gargano just worked his way into the already announced Black vs. Ciampa title match at next month’s TakeOver: Phoenix? How much murdering is Aleister gonna do now that his path toward acheiving retribution on Johnny for the parking lot attack which took him out of Brooklyn 4 main event ended like this?

Don’t ask Johnny Delusion. He can’t even answer questions about Tomasso, and still believes he’s the hero of a fairy tale journey to the top of the NXT mountain...

And old Tommy Machiavelli is of course pushing the envelope on his brainwashing with stuff like this...

I don’t know what’s next in a story that started when Johnny & Tommaso worked the first Dusty Rhodes Classic as unsigned talent, but I can’t wait to find out.

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