Last week, Kenny Omega won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the culmination of a story wherein he realized the power of love, friendship and family.
It was one of the feel good moments of the year for wrestling fans.
On Saturday, we saw the polar opposite when Johnny Gargano lost his match — and, more importantly, himself — at NXT Takeover: Chicago II.
Tommaso Ciampa’s greatest moment in the bitter rivalry between himself and Gargano was not ending their DIY partnership by violently turning on “Johnny Wrestling,” nor was it scoring the pinfall at Takeover: Chicago II. It was poisoning Gargano’s mind and corrupting his soul to the point where the human at the heart of the character lost sight of who he is.
Mith Gifs has a great thread on Ciampa’s obsession with being proven irreplaceable and the recreation of moments Ciampa feels bind the two forever, I suggest reading through it since he just wrote the column I wanted to write:
When I first posted this gif after the last TakeOver, someone scoffed at the moment, saying it was contrived and not spontaneous. Which… yes.— Mith Gifs (@MithGifs) June 17, 2018
That’s exactly the point.
(A thread on irreplaceability and the Ciampa-Gargano feud) pic.twitter.com/DnjYf8314c
Ultimately, Gargano had the chance to walk away as Ciampa was stretchered off. Johnny won in New Orleans and he’d emphatically proven his point by taking the violence to a new level, leaving Ciampa incapable of fighting back.
Gargano could have walked away, point proven, and continued forward in life with his career and his wife. But Ciampa had dragged him down so far. He’d already broken him as a man.
The second Gargano chose Ciampa, hatred and the past over Candice, love and the future, he was defeated.
The eventual three-count was just a formality. And the Johnny Gargano who was helped to the back by his wife was broken.
Read much more NXT Takeover: Chicago II coverage here.
- Money in the Bank was last night and we’ve got tons on the show, including highlights.
- Braun Strowman wasn’t my favorite option to win the briefcase, but he’s already making it fun by talking about hunting down Brock Lesnar.
- Paige was allegedly assaulted by a fan leaving Money in the Bank, and the toxic portion of the fandom continues to rear its head.
- The NJPW G1 field was announced over the weekend.
- Here’s a primer on Keith Lee. If you’re not familiar, it’s time to fix that.
- There’s seriously so much to talk about from over the weekend, check out the complete list of coverage for Money in the Bank and TakeOver: Chicago II.
That’s it for today, don’t let anything surprise you on this Monday.
You can follow me on Twitter @BrentBrookhouse.