It was NXT’s turn to go cinematic on their April 8 edition, as Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano were instructed by Triple H to end their issues once and for all in “Blackheart vs. Rebel Heart: One Final Beat”.
The Game awaited them in the “empty building” he’d secured for this purpose. In it was a ring, referee Drake Wuertz, and lots of plunder. He broke down the rules... it had to end in the ring, but once he left, anything was fair game. Wuertz was just there to declare a winner. And after that happens, any additional hostilities between them would result in their firing.
Music played during this introduction, but once we came back from our first commercial (and there were lots of them, and I personally don’t know if I’ll be able to really judge how well this all worked until I can see the match without them) it was just the sounds of the men involved.
The action played out as an interestingly produced and directed version of their long TakeOver battles. Lots of callbacks to previous spots in their story, and without an announcer, Ciampa and Gargano’s acting served as narration.
Business picked up when they headed outside. The fighting there wasn’t terribly novel, but the director got to shine, making good use of a drone camera to provide overhead shots as they brawled on top of a truck.
If it sounds like Randy Orton and Edge’s Last Man Standing fight from Sunday at WrestleMania 36, it kind of was... especially in the “this seems too long” sense (but again, a commercial-free version might change that take, at least for me).
At the end, things got interesting. After some big bumps...
... Johnny’s wife Candice LeRae showed back up (she dropped him off at the beginning, and handed him something in a brown wrapper before driving off). LeRae did some acting of her own, asking Gargano who he even was any more, and Ciampa if he was happy - because he’d made her hate her own husband. This seemed to rattle the Blackheart, who didn’t move to finish it when Candice asked him to. Instead, she kicked her man in the junk and left.
Rather than finish it then. Tommaso decided to apologize. He was imploring Johnny to let it be over, and his old #DIY partner looked like he’d accept. That was Candice showed back up, and nailed Ciampa with a low blow from behind.
The Garganos smiled at one another, and Johnny revealed what his wife had handed him at the open - a cup. A Fairy Tale Ending ended it.
Intrigue continued to the closing credits however. Johnny and Candice walked past a car in the parking lot with another couple in it. And that couple looked a lot like Killer Kross & Scarlett Bordeaux...
A more detailed play-by-play, and a full set of results from the episode, are in our live blog here.