Episode: NXT #198
Recorded: 19 May 2016
Aired: 25 May 2016
Duration: 9:21 minutes (plus one commercial break)

Match analysis

The match started off with Tommaso Ciampa and Nick Miller doing a bit of grappling and mat wrestling. Very fast paced; great to watch. But soon enough both of their tag team partners, Johnny Gargano and Shane Thorne, were tagged in to introduce also the other pal to the NXT crowd. The audience started with their “Johnny Wrestling” chants for Johnny Gargano but Shane Thorne wasn’t impressed. He actually started his very own tune inside of his head to show off some great agility to overcome Johnny Gargano’s holds. A little double team action later, Shane Thorne also shown some fabulous facial expressions to mirror the pain of Johnny Gargano.

With a few tags between each other, Shane Thorne and Nick Miller now dominated Johnny Gargano until he was able to crawl for a tag to Tommaso Ciampa in a rather unconventional style. Now Ciampa was making his presence known but not for too long. A quick tag back to Thorne brought another double team action at the expense of Ciampa when both opponents hit him simultaneously with one move, Thorne with a standing moonsault, Miller with a fist drop. While Ciampa rolled out of the ring, Gargano made it back inside but only to be shoved straight back out again as well. Now Ciampa and Gargano regrouped themselves at ramp side. Thorne teased for a suicidal dive but made his mind up otherwise during the run to show us a back flop from the second rope back inside the ring. After Thorne and Miller enjoyed a bit of crowd cheering while Ciampa and Gargano looked on from outside the ring, we went for the commercial break.

We were back with Thorne trying to get some steam out of Ciampa in the centre of the ring. But Ciampa made his comeback with a few hard hit elbows, and when Ciampa finally made the tag, Gargano hit Thorne with his spear through the ropes from outside the ring – always a joy to watch. Now Thorne got to demonstrate his selling skills with some fun facial expressions and finally only broke Gargano’s fabulous submission hold by reaching out for the ropes with his feet. Another tag back to Ciampa brought further punishment to Thorne. The young man from Australia was able to fight back several times but only a drop kick to Ciampa’s head gave him the desired time to make the saving tag to his partner.

And Nick Miller now ran rampant against Ciampa. His furious onslaught culminated in Ciampa colliding with Gargano in the centre of the ring that followed by both men hitting the ground from a double arm lariat by Miller. Ciampa and Gargano crawled outside the ring and Ciampa was keen to save the day with going for a sunset flip. But Miller kept him on his shoulders, tagged in Thorne and Ciampa was the victim of just another double team action. The following cover by Thorne on Ciampa was just broken by Gargano when we entered the hot phase of the match with Gargano suicide diving himself outside the ring on Miller.

Thorne was back up earlier and went a little too furious at Ciampa who was able to avoid a few hits and finally got Thorne with one of his slaps from hell (possibly). Thorne ended up hanging into the corner and Ciampa got Thorne again with a running knee. Done a little too speedy perhaps, Ciampa rolled over the top rope outside the ring but went back in straight and tagged in Gargano in one smooth move. Now Thorne had to taste double team action
with two simultaneous kicks to his face and that was the final blow. Gargano got the cover on Thorne and the win for his team.

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano

I instantly liked Shane Thorne and Nick Miller when I first saw them cutting their promo before their NXT debut match as TM61 (first letters of their surnames and the dial code of their home country Australia). Announced as one the hottest tag teams on the planet, I haven’t seen them before because, yes, I have to admit, I only watch NXT (and only very occasionally WWE) right now, so everyone from the Indies coming to NXT, is literally new to me and everyone of them needs to make a first impression on me – which is kind of exciting in its very own way. If you already know certain wrestlers from the Indies, you are able to compare their characters from the Indies with how they are portray themselves in NXT. You already know about them.

But when you see such already made wrestlers for the first time, you get the whole package all at once and you are able to decide if you like those guys / gals or not. It’s a huge difference to the crop that wants to grow in NXT, those young promising talents who are signed to NXT to learn and train, get better and create a character they are able to portray the best they can.

Now what I instantly liked about Shane Thorne and Nick Miller is that they are basically a split Dean Ambrose: Shane Thorne is the slightly crazy character while Nick Miller is just a natural heel. Shane Thorne is there to take punishment for the team and he does great with his facial expressions and the selling. While Nick Miller is the aggressive part of the team who saves his partner and takes out steam of his opponents. Both are great in the ring and I can’t wait to see what plans NXT has got for TM61.

Another great aspect of this match was the aftermath. Usually, the winner stands tall inside the ring to enjoy the applause from the audience. This time, Ciampa and Gargano left early to applaud Thorne and Miller. A nicely done debut for a new tag team and full of respect from one Indie team to the other.

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