Johnny Gargano def. EC3

Johnny Gargano vs. EC3: WWE NXT, July 4, 2018

Johnny Gargano shows a vicious new side as he battles EC3 in a hard-hitting main event. Video courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.

Johnny Gargano is a changed man. Bearing little resemblance to the cool and collected sportsman known as Johnny Wrestling, Gargano channeled the viciousness of his arch-rival, Tommaso Ciampa, to topple EC3 in a hard-hitting main event. 

The Top One Percent may have been expecting a wrestling match, but what he got was a fight. Gargano threw punches and pushed the pace, while EC3 relied on his incredible strength to stop Gargano before he could gain too much momentum. Johnny Wrestling almost cinched in the Gargano Escape, but EC3 countered by deadlifting Gargano into an explosive powerbomb for a near fall.

As a fatigued EC3 sat up in a position reminiscent of Ciampa at TakeOver: Chicago II, Gargano seemingly interpreted EC3’s body language as evoking The Blackheart. Gargano snapped. He locked in the Gargano Escape twice (vindictively reapplying it near the ropes after EC3 had forced the break) and drilled EC3 with an exposed knee, a la Ciampa. Gargano was momentarily appalled by his own actions, but still hit The Top One Percent with a draping DDT (the same move that Ciampa beat Gargano with in Chicago) to claim victory.

Johnny Gargano has found a dark place in his rebel heart, and there’s no telling if he’s going to leave anytime soon.

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