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Cup of coffee in the big time: Ciampa beat Gargano well before the pin

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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:

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.

That’s it for today, don’t let anything surprise you on this Monday.

You can follow me on Twitter @BrentBrookhouse.