Episode: NXT #221
Recorded: 30 October 2016 (Los Angeles)
Aired: 09 November 2016
Match duration: 9:55 minutes (plus one commercial break)
The match starts off with Tommaso Ciampa and Akam going against each other. And Tommaso Ciampa is instantly pushed into a corner for a few times and beaten down. But pushed right into the opposite corner, Tommaso Ciampa refuses to stay down by avoiding being crushed once again. Early on it’s pretty obvious that the strategy for #DIY needs to be using speed and agility to their advantage.
Tommaso Ciampa uses the surprise factor by taking Akam into a headlock and even though it didn’t last long and he is pushed against the ropes, Tommaso Ciampa still got control and the tag to Johnny Gargano. Diving underneath Akam, Tommaso Ciampa got another surprising moment to hit a dropkick on Akam. And Johnny Gargano doing the same from the other side. Yet another dropkick by Johnny Gargano connects but with the next one he misses and Akam takes his chance to get his hands on Johnny Gargano.
Johnny Gargano is pushed into the corner of The Authors of Pain but with a series of elbow strikes to Rezar and foot kicks to Akam, Johnny Gargano avoids punishment for a while. Then Johnny Gargano comes out of the corner and when Rezar entered the ring to join his partner, Tommaso Ciampa entered the ring as well. Now, the legal men going against each other and the non legal men doing the same.
By switching sides, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa get another successful attack on The Authors of Pain. But being one on one again, both Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano are beaten up. Akam and Rezar tried to crush Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano against each other in the centre of the ring. But #DIY avoided that and turned it into their special double team action against The Authors of Pain: Tommaso Ciampa hit the high knee to Rezar while Johnny Gargano got a superkick to Akam.
Akam rolled out of the ring all by himself while Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano used their combined strength to throw Rezar out of the ring over the top rope. And they kept both of their opponents outside the ring. Paul Ellering being at ringside for this match gathered his troops around him to give some advice. And when Johnny Gargano went for the suicide dive, he was caught by both, Akam and Rezar. Tommaso Ciampa then went for the same to help his partner but instead The Authors of Pain threw Johnny Gargano against the flying Tommaso Ciampa to knock out both. And with this we went to the commercial break.
After the break, Johnny Gargano had to suffer inside the ring at the hands of Rezar. Lying beaten up on the mat, Johnny Gargano went up again, just to be further punished by Rezar who used the top rope to his advantage. Then it was the right foot of Rezar that kept Johnny Gargano down again until the referee broke the physical contact. But the referee was distracted now, so Paul Ellering was able to hit the head of Johnny Gargano right on the apron. Finally, this move was finished with a cover by Rezar on Johnny Gargano. But he kicked out.
Now, Rezar tagged in Akam for some double team action. And while Rezar took Johnny Gargano on his shoulders, Akam kicked Johnny Gargano’s head onto the mat. For the following cover, Tommaso Ciampa entered the ring to be there just in case but Johnny Gargano was able to kick out himself.
While Tommaso Ciampa now fired up the Los Angeles crowd, Johnny Gargano tried to fight back but he was easily pushed into the corner of The Authors of Pain again and then had to suffer a hard fist to his face. Rezar was tagged back in and while Akam held him into a headlock, Rezar hit a hard fist into Johnny Gargano’s kidneys. And then, Rezar tried to crush and squeeze Johnny Gargano into the mat. Still, Johnny Gargano came back up and slapped Rezar into his face.
Rezar tagged Akam back in and the man took Johnny Gargano up on his shoulders for a backbreaker. Standing that way in the centre of the ring, Akam teased Tommaso Ciampa while the latter tried everything to get the audience chant for Johnny Gargano. And they did. But Akam tagged Rezar back in. And when he just took over Johnny Gargano onto his on shoulders, further punishment appeared on the horizon. But this time, Johnny Gargano was able to counter into a DDT and after a scissor kick to the head of Rezar finally tag in Tommaso Ciampa to big cheers from the crowd.
First, Tommaso Ciampa took out Akam on ringside with a high knee, then avoided an attack by Rezar and came from behind with stomps and hits to the body of the big man. With momentum from the ropes Tommaso Ciampa connected with two high boots to Rezar’s head. But as it’s always the case in wrestling, he misses with the third attempt when Rezar caught him midway at the ropes with a knee to the mid-section.
Rezar now took Tommaso Ciampa onto his shoulders but the man was able to wiggle himself back down. And then, Tommaso Ciampa went for a series of hard and fast slaps to Rezar’s head, only interrupted by a few but much harder slaps by Rezar to Tommaso Ciampa. He then kicked Rezar halfway down with his knee and even went for a German suplex. But Tommaso Ciampa was unable to get the heavy Rezar up. Instead it was Rezar who pushed Tommaso Ciampa back into a ring corner. But Tommaso Ciampa got Rezar again with a high boot into his face. And this time he actually hit the German suplex to Rezar and big cheers from the crowd. From the following cover though, Rezar kicked out.
Now, Tommaso Ciampa tagged in Johnny Gargano for some double team action. But Rezar was able to counter both of their attacks. So, Rezar took Tommaso Ciampa onto his shoulders and also caught Johnny Gargano mid-air when he tried to save his partner. And finally, Rezar took out both of his opponents with a double suplex, followed by a cover on Johnny Gargano. But he kicked out.
Rezar then tagged Akam back in for double team action. Akam got Johnny Gargano up, Rezar Tommaso Ciampa in the opposite corner. They went for a crash into both men in the centre but Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa avoided it simultaneously and instead, Akam and Rezar crashed into each other. Both were pinned but kicked out. Then, the big men ran for both, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa but #DIY made them flying over the top rope outside the ring.
Tommaso Ciampa climbed on the apron to hit Rezar with a flying knee strike with Johnny Gargano following shortly after with his own flying attack to Akam. Johnny Gargano rolled Akam back in as the legal man and tagged in Tommaso Ciampa for their finisher. And they hit the high knee and the superkick to Akam respectively. But the referee lost attention because Paul Ellering talking to him from ringside. So, Tommaso Ciampa’s cover on Akam was uncounted.
In all that following confusion, all of a sudden Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder from The Revival appeared from under the ring and they took out Johnny Gargano with a DDT outside the ring. Now on his own, Tommaso Ciampa first confronted Paul Ellering but went back inside the ring, just to take the finisher from The Authors of Pain, The Last Chapter. And this time, the referee wasn’t distracted.
Winner: The Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar; w/ Paul Ellering)
I’m keeping it short with my explanation of why I think this match deserves to be on my list of Best NXT Matches of 2016. Because great matches don’t really need an explanation. Everyone who watches this match can see it. So, that’s why I won’t loose many words here. Just watch the match and you will see (if you haven’t already; then just watch again).
For the match itself it was the great storytelling that I always like, and matches need good storytelling. Otherwise why should I watch them? It’s not just about wrestling moves or how one wrestler looks like. Nothing could be more boring than that if it doesn’t come with interaction with the crowd, drawing emotions and – well, like I said – telling a great story.
This also was a very funny match to watch with impressive spots but still a highly annoying commentator in Corey Graves. If it wasn’t for this guy, I would have enjoyed this match even more. My favourite moment, of course, was when Tommaso Ciampa hit Rezar with a German suplex, really OMG moment! But it was also Paul Ellering interfering two times, so the referee was distracted. Otherwise #DIY would have won the match. And finally The Revival interfering by taking out Johnny Gargano, so #DIY finally losing this match.
I’ve read a few comments on the internet being mad at all the interfering, stating that it was unfair and #DIY deserved better. Well, yes, it was unfair but this is wrestling. It’s all about drawing emotions. And this match made #DIY look very, very strong. It was pretty clear that The Revival would cost #DIY the win in the end, so their NXT Tag Team Championship match at NXT TakeOver: Toronto would be justified. #DIY always said since they lost against The Revival at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn on 20 August 2016, it’s this NXT Tag Team Championship they are after. And that didn’t change. #DIY are focused on those titles, and that’s why we will see new tag team champions on the eve of 19 November 2016.
And for those of you who have missed one or two details of their story since Brooklyn or simply enjoy watching those two cutting enjoyable promos, here is a little video about their story, The Story of Johnny & Tommaso, The Story of #DIY. Enjoy!