NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II’s tag team championship match was very literally everything a fan of tag team wrestling can ask for. In terms of domestic federations, the NXT Tag Team Championship match is currently the front runner to win tag team match of the year.
The Revival may very well be the most underrated tag team in recent history. While none of us have any idea how their act would (or will) translate to the main roster, their gimmick is tailor-made for the more intimate, wrestling-heavy NXT brand.
Somewhat a Brainbusters ripoff, but in a sincerely great way, The Revival tend to rely on old-school heel tactics. Whether that is one of them running around the ring on the outside to take down an opponent to prevent a hot tag, all the way to the fake punches to DDTs that tend to happen often, a more true “bad guy” tag team hasn’t existed in years. They aren’t cool bad, nor do they want to be. They are purely there for us to hate, and do we hate them – you know, while still appreciating how good they are at the nuances of their craft.
As for their opponents, Ciampa and Gargano, I’ve long thought of them as if they were made in an ROH generic wrestler create-a-guy mode. However, whatever shortcomings I personally thought they brought to the table is no longer the case (at least in terms relative to how I perceived them). Both have improved dramatically over the last few months, which was actually highlighted when the two faced off at the Cruiserweight Classic.
The two team’s build to this match was fine, if not unspectacular, but none of that is actually all that important. Both teams tore the roof off the place. It wouldn’t have mattered if the feud was born over one of the guys eating the other’s bowl of generic cereal. The in-ring stuff was that good.
Funnily enough, this came after Corey Graves said prior to the match that The Revival wasn’t there to put on a Match of the Year. That’s exactly what they did.
A long match, even for an NXT Network Special, the build to the crowd being as invested in this match as any other had a lot to do with how much the crowd hated The Revival. Every single time it appeared Johnny Wrestling was going to get a pin, something evil would happen.
False finish after false finished, the last 10 minutes of the title match felt like the most important 10 minutes of all four guys’ careers. The sort of 10 minutes that left the live crowd gasping for air, being left in numerous moments of disbelief, and leaving the consumer yelling at their picture-box like it stole money from them.
When the match itself was actually over, as it felt as though Ciampa and Gargano were destined to pull off the upset near the end, it took awhile for many of us to let the match wash over us in all its greatness. Now that we have, a new positive has also come to light.
There were no losers in that match. The Revival were not only able to continue to be the best heels this side of the Mississippi, but showcased how – given the right circumstances and opponents – they can indeed have 5-star quality matches. As for Ciampa and Gargano, it has elevated them into a more sincere, believable pairing. One that’s gimmick is wrestling-heavy focused, with a tiny bit of underdog story sprinkled in.
Moving forward, we are now invested even more in both groups. Rarely is that the case after a (relatively) clean finish.
Stars were born, reborn and christened on Saturday night. Four men came into the ring looking to make an impact, and four men left leaving with a far better perception of each than they had beforehand. So much so, the NXT Universe, and then some, are left clamoring for more.
And in wrestling, wanting more of anything is a good thing.