With Tommaso Ciampa turning on Johnny Gargano, my enthusiasm for a possible forthcoming Feud of the Year 2017 had been enormous. Unfortunately, it now more looks like possible Feud of the Year 2018 since Tommaso Ciampa suffered from a torn ACL. But before he underwent surgery, he delivered Promo of the Year 2017. And makes me already miss him.
A no-kayfabe injury at the worst time
Now, I’m no physician but I know from football that a torn ACL can be a mess. Which means, up to one full year of recovery is needed. But torn anterior cruciate ligament also is too wide a subject to make specific assumptions. Maybe it’s not completely torn or at a place that heals rather fast. We don’t know. But at least for two or three months we won’t see Tommaso Ciampa.
Maybe some people out there still remember about TM-61. Also Shane Thorne tore his ACL a good while ago and for Nick Miller that meant being on the sidelines and off TV as well. I can’t imagine something similar for Johnny Gargano.
WWE consider Johnny Wrestling to be the bigger star out of #DIY. That’s why the break-up was possibly done in the first place: to build Johnny Gargano as the all-around loved singles babyface. Tommaso Ciampa was injured before the torn ACL. NXT even promoted his injured ankle. So, the break-up was planned before but with a shorter absence from TV.
Now, that Tommaso Ciampa is out for possibly a very long time, NXT could do with Johnny Gargano what Tommaso Ciampa assumed they would do and why he injured Johnny. So, let’s just read and hear from the fresh heel why he did what he did:
#DIWhy: The hard truth by Tommaso Ciampa
“I’d like to um… I’d like to take a moment right now to call Johnny Gargano out to the ring. I feel like I should give you an explanation. Johnny Gargano!
Oh, right, Johnny’s not here tonight. Oh, oh, you don’t like that, do you? No! Do you wanna, do you guys want to replace Johnny Gargano? Let me tell you all a little something about being replaced.
Over the last two weeks of my life I learned more life lessons than I had the thirty-two years prior. Thursday before TakeOver: Chicago I sustained an injury. And questions started to circulate whether or not I would be ready to perform by TakeOver: Chicago. I didn’t have those questions! I had answers! I knew, yes, I was going to fight! Because that’s what we do, right? That’s what this is about. That’s what #DIY has been about since day one – two kids who fight.
In a mere twenty-four hours all those questions, those questions started to turn to these hypotheticals. You people started to replace me with, replace me with dream partners for Johnny Gargano. It took less than one day for you to replace me, less than one day for me to become an afterthought. Well, newsflash: I’m not a damn afterthought!
But! But I, I, I put it aside. I looked to Johnny Gargano, my best friend, and I said, ‘hey, we’re gonna go and we’re gonna fight because that’s what we do, man! TakeOver: Chicago, when those lights are bright, no-one performs like #DIY. So, Johnny and I, we’re gonna fight.’ I let it all pass by.
And here we come, we enter into Chicago in a ladder match with AOP; and we fought! We fought! Because that’s what we do! And I realized, we lost, man, and I’ll be honest, in the ladder match, I took a fall. And I, I felt… I felt something in my knee pop. And, man, I’ve been doing this, I’ve been doing this for twelve years, and I know the difference between being hurt and being injured. And I knew that this was serious. I knew I was about to go away for a long, long time.
And I lay there, man, in the ring, and I decided, I gotta keep fighting, right? #DIY = we gotta keep fighting, that’s what we do. I put it all aside – for you people; for my best friend – I put it all aside. And I fought. It wasn’t enough. But, hell, did we fought.
At the end of the night, when I looked across at Johnny when we were sitting in this ring, I looked across at my best friend, my brother. I looked out at you people, I looked across at Johnny Gargano and I realized, you all are just alike. And just like you are about to replace me just like that, there was no doubt in my mind that Johnny Gargano was gonna do the same damn thing.
If given the opportunity, if I went away, Johnny Gargano wouldn’t even hesitate. And I wasn’t gonna let that happen. I wasn’t gonna become an afterthought. So, man, I made… in that moment I made my decision. I knew what had to be done. It’s not my fault. No. It’s your fault! It’s Johnny Gargano’s fault! Because, man, we had something special with #DIY!
But you all ruined it! And if I was gonna go away for a long, long time, then Johnny Wrestling was gonna go away for a long… long time. You don’t understand. You think, this is something I wanted. #DIY was supposed to be something special. It was you and us from the ground up – living our dream together.
Johnny and I we talked for the last two years night after night about our moment, about how we were searching for our moment. TakeOver: Chicago, TakeOver: Chicago was supposed to be our moment. It wasn’t; it wasn’t our moment. And… it certainly wasn’t [hand gesturing connection between himself and the NXT crowd] our moment. TakeOver: Chicago was my moment.
I am a thirty-two year old man! And there is something I know! I know it in my heart that this, this right here, this ring, this ring for me is not replaceable! Tommaso Ciampa is not nor will he ever be replaceable! Johnny Gargano, he’s not replaceable!
You know what is replaceable? You. I don’t need you now. And I never needed you. I’m not gonna tell you a sob story about how I’m gonna go and fix myself and how I’m gonna be bigger and better than ever before! What I am going to do is promise you, promise each and everyone of you that when I return, I will be the most dangerous son of a bitch in all of NXT!
I am professional wrestling whether you like it or not!”
Rambling thoughts about the future
You can fight me all you want but this is already my Promo of the Year 2017. Because it’s a perfectly delivered heel promo and you still feel for Tommaso Ciampa. It makes sense all around and explains everything in a very logical way. Where do you have this in all of WWE? I’m not watching RAW or SmackDown any more. But I sometimes stumble upon arguing and moaning about ever the same stories or senseless stories. There is nothing to argue or moan about this all-around story of Tommaso & Johnny since their start in NXT. At all.
Spontaneously, I thought about further possibilities for an earlier continuation of this just blossoming feud. Tommaso Ciampa could do guest commentary for Johnny Gargano’s possible single’s matches. Just like William Regal did commentary for Dean Ambrose’s matches in FCW. I’m sure that Tommaso Ciampa could do this. I already know that he’s great on the microphone. And now, everyone else who didn’t know before, should know now because of this promo alone.
There is no need for having Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano off TV for up to one year. Even though Tommaso Ciampa might not be able to have a match for such a long time. But we saw with said feud between William Regal and Dean Ambrose that almost one-year-long feuds with just one or two matches have the ability to work with the right opponents. Because when you already know that the matches will be great, you anticipate them even more with every other promo or commentary. You start longing for every single tiny segment between those two counterparts. And that’s always better than overdoing something because you have no idea what to do with a character.
If Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano work this out in NXT, I’m sure this will be something for the ages. And I’m already thinking about a special sub-section for it like I did with the Ambregal feud.