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Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa (Unsanctioned Match - NXT Takeover: New Orleans 4/7/18)

WWE NXT Johnny Gargano Tomasso Ciampa MOTY

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#1 SmartMark15

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 09:20 PM

Johnny Gargano has put on two five star matches in a four month span. Unless Daniel Bryan gets booked in a high profile singles feud, I don't see anyone topping the emotional investment and sympathy that Johnny Gargano draws out from a crowd. Pairing him with Tomasso Ciampa, who transformed from fun indie superstar into one of the best most vicious heels in the world today, is just absolute magic. The feud has been built up to simmer and simmer until it came to its insane boiling point here.

 

The match was worked with an immediate sense of hatred and brutality. Big punches, heated brawling, all of them building up to big spots. The incorporation of weapons was ridiculously good and organic all throughout. I mean, Ciampa stealing crutches from a fan?! That's some 80's heel heat right there and it was perfection. The addition of the knee brace to create some truly magical storytelling moments towards the finish. I mean, I don't know how much I can gush about this match. It was just so good on every level and by far the match of the year.

 

It's crazy what a long term build and two incredibly talented workers dedicated to their story can pull off. Absolutely everything right with pro wrestling.

 

*****



#2 Jmare007

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 09:36 PM

Incredible match, not even sure what else say about it. It was everything it should've been, if anything tops it this year I'll be sincerely amazed.



#3 KawadaSmile

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 09:47 PM

I must say: Gargano is the best wrestler in the world as of April 2018.

 

There's not much I can say about this. Ciampa stealing crutches from fans, exposing the concrete, trying to use tape to choke Gargano and more, are just evil heelish things that are lacking.

 

Gargano giving him one last shot at redemption just for Ciampa to try to kill him is the stuff movies are made of. The classic ones.



#4 Edwin

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 01:35 AM

Upon initial watching, this is another great Johnny Gargano match and up there with the Andrade Almas championship match from the previous TakeOver event. I would love to read someone's review upon having re-watched it.



#5 cactus

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 04:09 AM

Okay, we all can agree that Johnny Gargano is the greatest babyface in wrestling right now? Good. Let's now talk about how Tomasso Ciampa is the best heel in the business currently. From the moment he stepped out from the curtain, he was vilified by the smark heavy audience. I did not hear one pro-CIampa chant and rightfully so. He's so good at being a right psychotic bastard. When he's paired with the most loved guy in the industry not called Daniel Bryan, you are guaranteed a great showing at the worst.

 

Was this bloated? Sure. But it's bloated in the way a Kurosawa epic might be. At the end of the match, you felt like you have traveled on an intense journey with the characters. All the big moments deliver in spades and that more than makes up for the slower paced parts of this 37 minute wrestling odyssey. 

 

★★★★½



#6 ShittyLittleBoots

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 06:40 AM

Hate to say it, but this did absolutely nothing for me. 40 minutes of forgettable wrestling without any sense of hatred or feeling of a bloodfeud. Felt like them just trading moves with a few big, brutal spots thrown in there to sell the feud. The dramatic moments w/ the crutch & all, the callbacks to their whole feud were cool on paper, but when the body of the match is so damn dull they do absolutely nothing for me. Comparing this to the Bucks/Lovers match, because they do have similarities on paper, Ibushi, Omega & The Jacksons told such a better story IN RING w/ their in ring work. So much more compelling than this plodding 40 minute borefest between Ciampa & Gargano. *



#7 SmartMark15

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 08:40 AM

Hate to say it, but this did absolutely nothing for me. 40 minutes of forgettable wrestling without any sense of hatred or feeling of a bloodfeud. Felt like them just trading moves with a few big, brutal spots thrown in there to sell the feud. The dramatic moments w/ the crutch & all, the callbacks to their whole feud were cool on paper, but when the body of the match is so damn dull they do absolutely nothing for me. Comparing this to the Bucks/Lovers match, because they do have similarities on paper, Ibushi, Omega & The Jacksons told such a better story IN RING w/ their in ring work. So much more compelling than this plodding 40 minute borefest between Ciampa & Gargano. *

 

Whoa, I did not see this coming at all. SLB and I are typically far more in tune, taste wise.



#8 peachchaos

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 08:49 AM

 

Hate to say it, but this did absolutely nothing for me. 40 minutes of forgettable wrestling without any sense of hatred or feeling of a bloodfeud. Felt like them just trading moves with a few big, brutal spots thrown in there to sell the feud. The dramatic moments w/ the crutch & all, the callbacks to their whole feud were cool on paper, but when the body of the match is so damn dull they do absolutely nothing for me. Comparing this to the Bucks/Lovers match, because they do have similarities on paper, Ibushi, Omega & The Jacksons told such a better story IN RING w/ their in ring work. So much more compelling than this plodding 40 minute borefest between Ciampa & Gargano. *

 

Whoa, I did not see this coming at all. SLB and I are typically far more in tune, taste wise.

 

 

 That's gonna go down as one of the biggest outlier takes of the year. This was perfect wrestling on every level.



#9 Jmare007

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 09:00 AM

I think the only thing that the YB/GL match had over this one was a couple of flips. The emotion, drama and story smokes anything on that tag match imo.



#10 tim

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 09:16 AM

Hate to say it, but this did absolutely nothing for me. 40 minutes of forgettable wrestling without any sense of hatred or feeling of a bloodfeud. Felt like them just trading moves with a few big, brutal spots thrown in there to sell the feud. The dramatic moments w/ the crutch & all, the callbacks to their whole feud were cool on paper, but when the body of the match is so damn dull they do absolutely nothing for me. Comparing this to the Bucks/Lovers match, because they do have similarities on paper, Ibushi, Omega & The Jacksons told such a better story IN RING w/ their in ring work. So much more compelling than this plodding 40 minute borefest between Ciampa & Gargano. *

 

I definitely need to rewatch this because I wasn't really feeling this whole show for some reason, but everyone else is raving so maybe it was just my mood. But on first impression, I'm closer to this opinion than the blowaway MOTY position, though I didn't dislike the match at all. It felt too WWE-faux-dramatic and not enough like a real grudge match, though I guess it felt closer to a real grudge match than you just about ever get in the WWE context. A match like this needs to be more about hate, grit and selling than visually impressive spots and big kickouts. Although, the ending was off the charts awesome, I'll give it that.



#11 RingoPlaysDrums

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 09:58 AM

This was a long match and usually when matches go this long my engagement will peak about 10 minutes before the end and I'll look back and think they should've finished it earlier, but not here. This was an epic. The last 10 minutes was the peak. The sit down tease was masterfully done. One of the best examples of overt "storytelling" in a match that I've ever seen. Gargano's face, Ciampa's face. And then Ciampa swinging with the brace and missing. I loved the crutch theft, the use of the knee brace, the multiple DIY and CWC match call backs and the two brutal spots on the outside - the suplex off the announce table and powerbomb onto the concrete. Gargano is a top class babyface and Ciampa is so convincing as a sick psychopath heel. This is a modern WWE interpretation of a blood feud blow off with the limitations they're given but I think being able to work with what you're given, being creative and encouraging an emotional response is what wrestling's all about and they did all those things. Personally I would probably take a classic 80s style brawl with blading and so on over this but then I'd also much rather see something like this than the same old tired kendo stick and steel chair shots to the back and a load table bumps. I didn’t think this was perfect but it was very close. Currently my #2 MOTY behind Almas/Gargano.



#12 DMJ

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 11:43 AM

I really liked this match, but I preferred Gargano/Almas actually. I wrote it on my blog, but as few will read that, I'll just say it here too: I know its wrong to criticize a match for what it didn't deliver rather than just focusing on what was done and whether it was effective or not, but yeah, I think there's something to be said for the expectation of violence and that, in 2018, that can still mean blood and furniture damage. Obviously, this was not a "soft" match and, in terms of emotion, had more weight than maybe any other grudge match in WWE history, but I still have that nagging feeling that it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Admittedly, that's not necessarily a fair judgment to make, but its what prevents me from going all the way to MOTY status. 4-stars, but not the 4.5 that Almos/Gargano was (on my scale, I don't do quarter stars, so a 4 is an excellent/"must watch" match and a 4.5/5 is a rare, all-time masterpiece).



#13 El-P

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 06:01 PM

MOTYC. Epic for the ages. 



#14 CapitalTTruth

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 11:15 AM

Yeah, I am on board with this being a sure fire MOTY contender. I currently have it behind Almas/Gargano and right along side Thatcher/Walter. The drama of this was other worldly, especially at the end. I think the finish might be perfect wrestling. I loved Ciampa pulling the knee pad down and lining up for the kill shot.  I will probably always regret not making it to Takeover while in town and if I was in the room this might be my run away #1 right now. 

 

I really wish I watched it first without the commentary beating me over the head with every symbolic gesture in the match, but that takes nothing away from the match really.  I would say the only thing that keeps this from being 5 stars for me and jumping to the top is that parts of the match felt like it didn't have the teeth/violence that the build up and the context really demanded it to have.  That is such a nit-picky (and completely personal) thing. It isn't even really a criticism of the match, more just me parsing out all the elite wrestling we have already seen this year from my own personal taste. 

Still, this was lights out wrestling. Gargano is the best babyface in the world. Wrestling is awesome. ****3/4



#15 G. Badger

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 04:27 PM

I was hesitant to watch this but, I am so glad that I did. Not only was it a gruelling battle but, it had a weight to it that few matches have. This was all punctuated by a finish that wasn't fade to black hammers but, instead one that showed a depth of emotions. I thought it was a classic.

#16 Loss

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 04:55 PM

In April, Gargano has already had an all-time year. For comparison purposes, the only other wrestler I've ever argued as having more than one 5* singles match in a single year is El Dandy in 1990. No one else ever.



#17 Phil Schneider

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 05:12 PM

Not 1989 Flair? 



#18 Loss

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 05:36 PM

Nope, had him having just one (Steamboat at Clash VI), although he has a lot of close ones and it would take a lot for Gargano to have an overall better year.



#19 Matt D

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 05:44 PM

It's too bad we don't have more NXT house show fancams.



#20 Richeyedwards

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 07:15 AM

In April, Gargano has already had an all-time year. For comparison purposes, the only other wrestler I've ever argued as having more than one 5* singles match in a single year is El Dandy in 1990. No one else ever.

Not Misawa? in 95 vs taue cc final and then the 6/9/95 tag, or kobashi with the 93 hansen and then world tag league final, hell I would argue that kobashi could have 3 in 98 vs kawada vs akiyama and vs misawa.







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