Tommaso Ciampa def. Aleister Black to win the NXT Championship
Tommaso Ciampa, the scourge of NXT, defeated Aleister Black to become the new NXT Champion, and Johnny Gargano — the one man who insisted that outcome could not be allowed to happen under any circumstances — is to blame.
Gargano’s involvement, which inadvertently swung the tide in his arch-rival’s favor, came in the waning moments of a wild and thrilling title bout in which The Dutch Destroyer and The Blackheart battered each other with every weapon in their arsenals. Black laced Ciampa with a wide assortment of kicks, but The Blackheart endured more of The Dutch Destroyer’s attack than any of Black’s previous challengers, forcing Black to employ rarely used maneuvers to try to take down Ciampa.
Ciampa pushed Black to his absolute limit, too, clamping on punishing holds and resorting to extreme (and underhanded) measures. As both Superstars brawled on the floor late in the contest, Ciampa pushed Black into a member of NXT’s ringside production team. While referee Drake Wuertz checked on the fallen third party, Ciampa nailed Black with his now-infamous crutch behind Wuertz’s back, though Black kicked out of the ensuing pin attempt.
Wuertz was knocked off the ring apron moments later after another fiery exchange. The Dutch Destroyer then wiped out Ciampa with Black Mass and had Ciampa’s shoulders pinned to the mat, but the referee was unable to administer the count.
Ciampa clawed his way back into the fight, literally, by gouging Black’s eyes. With the referee still down, The Blackheart grabbed the NXT Championship, presumably to clobber Black with, at which point Gargano entered the ring. Gargano superkicked Ciampa and ripped the title out of his hands, but accidentally hit Black on the backswing. Ciampa discarded Gargano from the ring and then planted a dazed Black with a double-underhook facebuster, just in time for the newly revived Wuertz to re-enter the ring and count the fall.
You can call the victory ironic, you can call it fateful, but by any description, there’s no denying that with Tommaso Ciampa as NXT Champion, the black-and-yellow brand will never be the same.