Johnny Gargano is one of the most beloved superstars in NXT history, and his ride to the NXT title match in Philly has been a long one. After a great run alongside Tommasso Ciampa, he’s struggled to regain his footing, but this could be the culmination of all that hard work. NXT may pull the trigger on him this weekend and have him win the title from Andrade “Cien” Almas, but this isn’t the time, and we’ve got a few reasons for that.
First of all, Almas just won the title at the previous Takeover, and with Zelina Vega alongside him, his story is far from over. After how impressive he’s been since his business partner has arrived, it just makes sense to continue his story until WrestleMania weekend at the earliest. After a poor start to his NXT career, Almas is finally showing the promise that he showed in Mexico and Japan for years prior to the WWE, and his partnership with Vega could make him a valuable piece on the main roster if he continues to prove himself. They’ve got great chemistry as a pairing, and if the main roster comes calling after WrestleMania, then Almas will be a star on whichever show he’s promoted to. But there’s no reason for him to drop his title just a few months after winning it.
As for Gargano himself, his journey in NXT has been compared to that of Sami Zayn. With the crowd following of Gargano, it’s easy to see why but Zayn didn’t come in and win the title his first try, and Johnny Freaking Wrestling shouldn’t either. Gargano plays the best ‘baby face in peril’ in wrestling today as he is a master at building up sympathy. Thus another failure or two before finally reaching the mountain top is just good storytelling.
And finally, we come to the elephant in the room, the Psycho Killer. Following NXT Takeover: Chicago, Tommaso Ciampa turned on his #DIY partner after suffering an injury, and apart from one promo, we’ve not heard much from him. But we know his return is imminent and is likely to play a part in this match. Whether he interferes in the match, or again Vega finds a way to get in Johnny’s head, we know that Ciampa is going to play a part this weekend. It could be setting up a huge match at NXT Takeover: New Orleans over WrestleMania weekend.
With all that being said, no one in their right mind would complain if Johnny won the championship because he’s exactly what people all around the world should aspire to be. But with all these factors, it just makes sense to hold off on the Johnny Wrestling coronation. So here’s how we would do it: we know that Vega gives Almas the numbers advantage, so late in the match we’d find Johnny an equalizer (didn’t the WWE just sign someone that might be able to help Johnny?). When it finally looks like Gargano will climb the mountain top, Ciampa arrives and again breaks all of our hearts.
It’s a pretty straightforward narrative, but if the NXT creative staff can weave certain nuances and details about their friendship and subsequent breakup into their story, and delve deeper into the reasoning of both men, this could be a killer feud. It would be the perfect way to get everyone’s hopes up just to dash them seconds later.