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31 Days of Wrestling (12/13/17): The DIY Implosion


By Los Smarkajadores Canćion y Brazo

Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2017 produced for us.


Some people say NXT is the true home of tag team wrestling, and with matches like in this epic arc spanning from NXT TakeOver: Orlando to TO: Chicago, it's hard to disagree. You can't say you love some good old tag action if you weren't marking hard for this next entry in our #31DoW series that chronicled the break-up between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano, better known as DIY.

We need to start this story at the three-way battle between then-NXT Tag Team Champions The Authors of Pain, the always-fantastic Revival, and DIY at NXT TakeOver: Orlando. Because sweet baby Jesus, this match was awesome.

This was clearly match of the night and masterpiece of simple, solid, continuity-driven storytelling. It fed right into a lot of people’s expectations and really made the most of the shared history between all six men. Seeing DIY and Revival work in tandem to try to take out the champs was a sight to see, after all the wars they've waged against each other.

The unlikely foursome worked well enough to really challenge Paul Ellering’s mammoth wards, and seeing them pull off combos were memorable. From the table bomb spot, to the dueling submissions, and especially when they swapped partners for their respective finishers, these moments weren’t just great pops; they highlighted the chemistry and knowledge between the two teams, and was a nice little salute to fans who had obsessively been following the grander arc leading up to this match.


That said, it was expected that the partnership wouldn’t last, and that would spell disaster for both teams.

Nigel McGuinness made a great call when he highlighted Scott Dawson’s decision to take out Ciampa with the superplex by calling it the biggest mistake of the match. Creative had done a great job of building up Dawson as this masterful ring psychologist, but it was his pettiness that lead to disaster. By giving AoP the opportunity to take DIY out of the equation, it left NXT’s Top Guys at the mercy of these monsters. And it made perfect sense.

Yeah, it was a damn shame for DIY to take the first elimination, but to have it caused by the Revival’s ego called back to their great feud. And this humbling fumble was a great (if subtle) prelude to the absolute fracturing of the team at the Chicago show.


Fast forward to Chicago, where DIY finally had the solo opportunity to topple AoP for the tag gold. But while everyone ultimately ended up talking about what happened after the match—as well they should—don’t sell the match itself short. It earned every minute it had as the main event. Both teams used the match’s stipulation well, with multiple ladder spots that were both creative and violent. Ciampa and Johnny Wrestling did a lot of the heavy lifting in term of the high-risk spots, including stereo dives to the champs who were laying prone on top of ladders. Akam and Rezar looked like beasts, especially when the nailed Gargano with a vicious ladder strike to the head. By the end of the match, it really felt like AoP deserved to retain the titles.


Ciampa’s turn was well-executed. It felt incredibly effective, especially when they hadn't really telegraphed it in a long time. It came out of nowhere, and Gargano’s face was really heartbreaking. Seeing Ciampa’s stoic face as he stared at his fallen partner was just excellent. The heel turn also came at the right time; there was nothing left for DIY to prove as a team, but as individuals, they had a lot more untapped promise. This may have been a story of ultimate out-of-nowhere betrayal, but what a ride they took to get there.


Don't you dare sleep on the tag team scene. With NXT serving as a glorious sandbox for tandem talent, 2018 should be an even more insane year.

*****

31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2017. 

Read our previous entries: 

1. The Okada/Omega Trilogy 
2. Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 33) 
3. The Mae Young Classic Finals 
4. Billy Suede vs. Jake De Leon (Wrevolution X 2017) 
5. WarGames 
6. Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark (Ultima Lucha Tres) 
7. Fatal Four Way for the WWE Universal Championship (SummerSlam) 
8. Manami Toyota's Retirement 
9. Jinder Mahal Wins the WWE Championship 
10. Roman Reigns Tries To Take The Torch (No Mercy 2017) 
11. Hanzello Shilva vs. Aldrin Richards (MWF Balikbayan 2017)
12. Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega (G1 Climax 27 Finals)

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