3. Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa – July 25, 2018
Hey, you know what didn’t happen very often? The NXT Championship changing hands on TV.
Well obviously before takeovers were invented it did, SHUT UP DAD, but once NXT got its own version of pay-per-view, the big crowning moments were saved for those big shows.
Not so mid-2018, which might just be the best single calendar year in NXT history which is F**KING SAYING SOMETHING.
Ciampa/Gargano was maybe the hottest feud in wrestling at the time, which was a shame for Aleister Black, because he was the poor soul who had custody of Goldie at the time.
Not only did he lose this match but he also lost out on a rematch at Takeover Brooklyn 4 as well. Poor Spooky Laurie.
Anyway this match ruled, Ciampa was the most hated man in the world, no entrance music Ciampa is the GOAT, both men could go for days, and indeed they went for almost half an hour, proper babyface vs proper heel none of these ‘both guys are cool’ indie affairs, F**K TOMMASO CIAMPA.
The fans are rabid for the match by the time Johnny Idiot runs in and accidentally gifts the belt to Ciampa and oh man, the boos when Ciampa wins, no music, just gloating, wonderful telly. And meaning of Jonathan and Tomato Champion.
2. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas – February 21, 2018
Johnny Gargano’s match with Andrade at Takeover Philadelphia is when the Gargano vs. Ciampa singles feud reignites after a terribly timed injury to Ciampa puts it on the back-burner immediately after the betrayal.
At the end of the show, after the five-star match, Ciampa returns to hit Johnny with the crutch, and there was much boo.
Fast forward a few months to the rematch on NXT TV. The most easily emotionally manipulated man in the world, Johnny Wrestling has been goaded into putting his career in NXT on the line for one last shot at the gold, and the match is as wonderful as you’d expect from two men on the in-ring run of their lives.
Another glorious NXT main event running at over 20 minutes, it is wonderful wrestling, smooth as butter, leading to another vicious crutch attack from Ciampa, as Mauro Ranallo is so outraged that he almost screams out his spine.
Unlike Aleister Black, Andrade is able to survive the Ciampa/Gargano feud with his title reign intact, the match ending with a wonderful bit of am dram business, Ciampa waving Johnny Gargano’s career goodbye. The best villainy.
1. Undisputed Era vs Moustache Mountain – July 11, 2018
But when it comes to true emotion, this is the often unsung crowning glory from NXT 1.0.
To date, it’s the only TV match in NXT history to gain the Big Sweaty Dave Massive Muscles Meltzer full five stars if you don’t count NXT UK AND I DON’T.
After winning the NXT Tag Team Championships from UE at the special two-day NXT UK title tournament in 2018, Moustache Mountain put the strap on the line in a rematch against Strong and O’Reilly a month later.
And oh the emotion that would flow. Early in the match, Seven damages his left knee on the ring steps and that’s the whole show. Undisputed Era grind his knee into a fine paste cueing some of the best-selling this side of Ricky Steamboat.
This also leads to a whole bunch of hope spots from Tyler Bate and if there’s a wrestler uniquely brilliant at brief bursts of power it’s Tyler Bate. Big strong boy.
The finish of the match is glorious, ending with O’Reilly first locking Trent Seven in an endless heel hook, and then a double kneebar.
Faced with the prospect of watching his mentor being permanently crippled at the hands of the Undisputed Era, despite Trent pleas to the opposite, Bate throws in the towel, conceding the match in one of the most beautiful, emotionally resonant, and uniquely booked finishes since Kevin Owens wrested the title away from Sami Zayn. Truly exceptional.
- Full Recap – Tony Khan Pre-Forbidden Door Media Call
- Big Update On Triple H WWE Return & Backstage Status
- Report: WWE Using Robert Roode To ‘Teach’ Veer Mahaan
- Here’s Who Decided Stephanie McMahon Should Replace Vince McMahon
- Original Plan For Jon Moxley At Forbidden Door Before CM Punk Injury
- Lineup For AEW Blood & Guts Match Revealed
- Matt Hardy Reacts To Report Claiming He’s Injured
- Lio Rush Explains The Difference Between NXT & WWE Raw Locker Room (Exclusive)
- Sasha Banks Spotted With Another New Look
- Real Reason Sammy Guevara Joined Jericho Appreciation Society