If Johnny Gargano’s decision to reunite with NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic caused the NXT Universe to question whether Gargano had fallen under The Blackheart’s spell, tonight’s shocking turn of events — in which Gargano carried out a premeditated attack on Ciampa — revealed that Johnny Wrestling knew what he was doing all along.
Ricochet & Aleister Black toppled Ciampa & Gargano in the semifinal round of this year’s tournament, but that feat, as notable as it was, was overshadowed almost immediately by #DIY’s implosion at Gargano’s hands.
Gargano carried out his plan to perfection. Bell to bell, there were no clues to his true motive, as #DIY operated cohesively while going toe-to-toe with Ricochet & Black. But when Gargano seemed to injure his leg late in the match after a nasty pileup in the ring, the NXT Champion was left to go it alone against The One and Only and The Dutch Destroyer. Outnumbered, it wasn’t long before Ciampa fell to the Black Mass and Ricochet’s 630 Splash.
Candice LeRae came to ringside to check on her husband, and she and Ciampa assisted the limping Gargano up the ramp. As soon as they got to the entrance stage, however, Ciampa showed his true colors and went to slam Johnny Wrestling into the LED board in a scene eerily reminiscent of #DIY’s first breakup at TakeOver: Chicago in 2017. The only problem was that Gargano was waiting for it. He put the brakes on Ciampa before spinning The Blackheart head-first into the LED board. Shaking out his leg to prove that he had feigned the injury, Gargano then drilled Ciampa with a superkick, as a smile stretched across Candice’s face and the NXT Universe rejoiced.
#DIY rose to prominence in the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and now, more than three years and many twists and turns later, the Dusty Classic is where #DIY ends. While what’s next for Ciampa and Gargano remains a mystery, the path forward for Ricochet & Black is anything but. They now turn their attention to the Dusty Classic Final in two weeks, where an NXT Tag Team Title opportunity against The War Raiders at TakeOver: New York will hang in the balance.