After suffering a devastating loss at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans in April, Tommaso Ciampa got revenge Saturday by beating Johnny Gargano in a street fight at NXT TakeOver: Chicago II.
Ciampa prevailed in the most brutal match in NXT history despite being fitted for a neck brace and loaded onto a stretcher.
Gargano wasn't satisfied with that finish, which led to him pulling Ciampa off the stretcher and continuing the match:
Johnny Wrestling inflicted a ton of punishment on Ciampa and even made him tap out; however, the referee didn't see it.
After a group of security attempted to escort Gargano away from the ring, Ciampa shockingly caught him with a DDT onto the exposed wood under the ring canvas to pick up the win.
Things came full circle for Gargano and Ciampa on Saturday night, as their rivalry began in the Windy City just over one year ago.
At the original NXT TakeOver: Chicago, Gargano and Ciampa lost a ladder match to The Authors of Pain for the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Following the defeat, Ciampa brutally attacked Johnny Wrestling, which spelled the end of DIY.
Ciampa was on the shelf for several months after that because of a knee injury. However, he returned to attack Gargano once again at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia in January.
After a few months of bad blood between them, Gargano and Ciampa finally locked horns for the first time since their friendly encounter in the Cruiserweight Classic.
Since Gargano lost a match to Andrade "Cien" Almas that resulted in him being banned from NXT, his clash with Ciampa at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans was unsanctioned.
Gargano had the opportunity to earn back his spot in NXT with a win, and after a five-star classic, he did precisely that by forcing Ciampa to tap out.
That was far from the end of their rivalry, though, as Ciampa viciously attacked Gargano on NXT TV a couple of weeks later, leading to the former friends attempting to get their hands on one another on numerous occasions.
The most emotional moment came a few weeks prior to TakeOver: Chicago when Gargano's wife, Candice LeRae, got caught in the crossfire and suffered an injury after landing on the ramp.
That added even more fuel to the rivalry, and it made the meeting between Gargano and Ciampa at TakeOver: Chicago II one of the most highly anticipated matches in NXT history.
Gargano and Ciampa had a lot of pressure on them to live up to the high standard they set in New Orleans, and although that was virtually impossible, they still managed to put on another one of the best NXT matches ever.
In fact, it can be argued that Saturday's encounter was the greatest thing to ever occur inside (and outside) an NXT ring.
Ciampa's win evens the series between him and Gargano at 1-1, which suggests there could be a rubber match in the offing.
If not, Ciampa may have positioned himself to be the next challenger for the NXT Championship, and there is no doubt that he has earned it through his remarkable heel work.
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