NXT TakeOver: Portland proved to be one of the most exciting, most action-packed events in the brand’s history. The big night was on Sunday, February 16 and from start to finish, the TakeOver card delivered on every level.
But it was the main event that has everyone talking. Adam Cole put his NXT Championship on the line against Tommaso Ciampa in the final match. It was hard fought, featuring one impactful high spot after another. However, Cole won in the end thanks to an unlikely assist from Johnny Gargano.
The moment sent shockwaves throughout the arena and indeed, throughout the company. Gargano appeared to be coming down to give Ciampa a hand, as his DIY tag team partner and former rival was outnumbered by Cole’s Undisputed Era teammates.
But Gargano pulled the shocker, opening the door for a possible revisit of his feud with Ciampa. The two men waged war over the past two years, following Ciampa’s own betrayal of Gargano in late 2017.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) February 17, 2020
That action lead to arguably NXT’s most memorable feud of all time. Ciampa and Gargano gave fans that feud and they destroyed each other in a series of matches that the NXT faithful won’t soon forget. But that rivalry eventually lead to a Gargano heel turn, which was nothing more than a swerve to gain Ciampa’s confidence.
Once that move was successful, Gargano showed his true colors and the war was back on once again. It seemed as though the two men would feud forever, as their careers continued to intertwine at every turn. Now it’s apparent that trend is restarting once again. So what happens after this latest shocker?
The fact is that Gargano and Ciampa are NXT’s top two stars and that’s been the case for quite some time. They were brought to WWE’s main roster and it seemed to be a good move in the short term. But fans wanted them back on NXT. NXT actually became Vince McMahon’s third brand, rather than a developmental territory, which mean that neither Ciampa or Gargano needed the added spotlight of the main roster.
NXT was their home and many fans were thrilled to see them back where they belonged. So if this is the direction that WWE is taking with the them, then it’s only logical that they would eventually lock horns once again.
— WWE (@WWE) February 17, 2020
Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean that the fans are ready for the next round of Gargano versus Ciampa. This time, Johnny is the heel and Tommaso is the babyface, which means the dynamic is completely different than before. Then there’s the possibility of fan fatigue, which could be on the horizon. Do fans really want to see this feud restart?
Adam Cole is still the NXT champion. Finn Bálor is back on the brand and he’s making noise as a top draw. Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic are impressing the audience every time they’re in the ring. The Velveteen Dream is back from injury and he will surely get back on track. Where else would Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa go except back in a storyline together?
But the endgame for these two stars is likely the NXT Championship once again. How they go about getting there is another matter altogether. It’s clear that they have demons to exorcise once again and until that happens, the brand’s top prize may not be in the plans as of yet.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa appear to be locked in a never-ending feud in NXT. Like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn before them, Gargano and Ciampa seem to be forever linked. The NXT fans went along for the ride the first time around. Whether or not they do so this time is anyone’s guess.
Where will Gargano and Ciampa go from here? NXT is their playground and despite what happens, they will surely deliver like they always do. Their story indeed appears to be far from over.
Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live