Some people clamored that the DIY reunion made no sense, Steve Cook says Nay Nay. Let’s take a look at his feelings on the DIY subject!
I see a lot of people out there confused by one aspect of the appearance of NXT’s top talent on Raw & SmackDown Live this week. No, I’m not talking about the people confused by their presence, we’ve already covered that. The people I’m talking about now are the folks that watch NXT. The ones that know who all these guys are. They’ve seen Aleister Black’s entrance a bunch of times. They’ve seen most of Ricochet’s flips. Probably not all, because that boy does a ton of different flips.
I saw a certain question pop up over & over again the last couple of days. The $64,000 Question: Why were Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa together as a tag team?
I mean, we’re talking about a Freebird & Von Erich teaming up here. It’s not talked about much now, but Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts were actually friendly with the Von Erich family when they first arrived in World Class. David even won the six-man title with Michael & Terry when Buddy couldn’t work, and let Buddy have his share. Things changed, and a feud erupted that lasted for years and powered World Class to heights nobody would have expected.
SmackDown Creative has heard of that rivalry.
I don’t think Ciampa’s betrayal had the same effect on NXT business (somebody can let me know if it has), but it’s certainly been a hit from a critical perspective. Gargano got the first win in their feud in New Orleans, but he’s had a tough time since then. Ciampa got the next two TakeOver victories, and eventually earned the NXT Championship with a win over Aleister Black…due to accidental help from Gargano.
Poor Johnny has been in a downward spiral since, at least emotionally. His former best friend turned evil, then found all the success! Johnny found himself in the spot where he was having great Takeover matches, but losing all the time. You know what happens when you keep doing that? You end up being Dolph Ziggler. Nobody wants to be Dolph Ziggler. Hell, Dolph Ziggler doesn’t want to be Dolph Ziggler.
Gargano turned to the dark side. He attacked Aleister Black in a parking lot & kept going after him. He got another Takeover loss on his record, but did win a re-match on NXT in a cage…thanks to Ciampa, who talked Black & Gargano into that cage match to begin with.
How bout that?
I don’t know if Gargano is like Randy Orton and hears voices in his head. If he does, I’d wager one of them sounds like Tommaso Ciampa. Ciampa’s played his part in urging Johnny down this path. Much like Sami Zayn believed that Becky Lynch needed to see the light & forsake the fans in order to achieve her full potential, Ciampa grew to believe that Gargano could benefit from leaving the NXT Universe behind and following his lead. So he’s been sowing the seeds for that, and it’s been working. Gargano insists that Ciampa doesn’t have an effect on what he’s doing. Obviously that isn’t the case. Ciampa’s success has motivated Gargano for months now. The question is if he’ll follow in Ciampa’s footsteps, or take the one thing that Ciampa loves most.
Even on their promo on SD Live, Gargano spent an inordinate amount of time looking at Goldie, Ciampa’s pet name for the NXT Championship. It sure seemed like he was pointing at Goldie when he said that “this – this is the future”.
It was pretty noticeable. It’s like I always say: if a man can take his eyes off of Kayla Braxton to look at anything else, he’s gotta be pretty serious about whatever it is.
Who’s zoomin’ who?
Wednesday’s NXT episode continued the story, with Ciampa hanging out while Gargano got ready for his North American Championship match. Gargano wound up losing the strap, which prompted this interesting reaction from Ciampa:
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) February 21, 2019
I’m not entirely sure where this is going, and that’s the way I like it. What I do know is that some of the reporting surrounding the NXT appearances on Raw & SD smell like BS. The assumption that creative ignored NXT storylines to put Gargano & Ciampa in matches against the Revival & the Bar is not something that passes the smell test with me. The team formerly known as #DIY’s appearance on Raw & SmackDown Live fits the story perfectly. Ciampa & Gargano both know how effective they are together. They know that together, they can make quite the impact on the main roster right away.
This isn’t Doug Basham shaving his head to look like his OVW rival, who changed his name to Danny Basham so he could be Doug’s brother.
As for the idea that they turned Ciampa face…well, they did wrestle against heels both nights, and you saw them standing next to Sheamus & Cesaro. Typically, casual fans will treat them as babyfaces in that type of situation unless they’re given reason not to. NXT fans are going to cheer them either way. So why swim against the current?
Besides, the WWE Universe will find a reason to hate them soon enough. They turn against everybody.
I understand the skepticism. I’m not even telling you that Ciampa & Gargano will be successful on the main roster together or separate. It’s too soon to tell. What I can tell you is that their story isn’t being sunk by their sudden ascension to fame & glory as a tag team on the main roster.
It’s just another chapter of what will probably be a never-ending story. Some people are destined to do this forever.