When I blogged about Ciampa and Gargano’s 4/7/18 match in New Orleans, I treated it as the final resolution of their relationship, with Johnny Wrestling apparently opting for a traditional hetero relationship instead of continuing to play around with former partner Ciampa.
To my total delight, they wrestled yet again in a violent Last Man Standing match in Brooklyn on 8/18/18.
Similar to their prior battle, Ciampa targets Johnny’s back — here shoving him into those treacherous ringside steps. Why do they make those damn steps out of heavy metal rather than something safer like lightweight plastic or even padded plywood?
A series of beautiful Sleepers by Gargano had me all drooling and gooned up. Look at Johnny’s expression, overwhelmed by his ex-partner’s passion — that too-tight squeeze. Nice big bicep on the Heel, pressing it right into that carotid.
This sexy Sleeper is a metaphor for their relationship, with Ciampa desperate to hold onto his former Boy, recapturing him each time he gets free. Yet this unrequited love is clearly smothering Gargano, choking him out, leaving him unable to get away from Ciampa and end it.
Each of their matches is getting more outrageously dangerous than the last with them battling in an Unsanctioned Match, a Street Fight, and now a Last Man Standing. They’ve used all sorts of weaponry to hurt each other from fire extinguishers to handcuffs to crutches. This violence and destruction of these progressively dangerous brawls speaks to the passion of their relationship and red hot emotions sparked by their break-up, similar to a domestic violence situation where the angry couple busts up their furniture and damages the television, each disagreement getting uglier than the last.
To be honest, the match also presented the Dark Side of Johnny Wrestling. He gets more violent and vicious, letting the love-struck Ciampa know that he’s done playing and he wants to end it.
He mirrors some of the brutal tactics used by Ciampa previously, such as busting a crutch across his back.
But I prefer my Johnny Wrestling to remain the long-suffering, rule abiding, compassionate Hero — like the Ricky Steamboats or Tito Santanas of yore.
I guess you can go find this match on the Network if you want to see Johnny play an Angry Bad-Ass. I’m all about the one-sided Good Guy abuse.
Johnny suffers gorgeously as always. His expressions of agony are either caused by the pain in his injured back or the pain in his broken heart due to his former best friend now trying to destroy him. Poor Johnny — I’ll be your new BFF if you need one.
One of the most brutal assaults by Ciampa was this Running Knee Strike with a chair placed between his kneecap and Johnny’s face. DAMN, he broke the fucking barrier, leaving Johnny all ragdolled and injured in the audience!
I’m gonna end the match here — it’s the most Killer move Ciampa inflicts. Actually Gargano would fight back and try to Knee Strike Ciampa right back (again mirroring his enemy’s nasty tactics, a sign that he has shifted to the Dark Side.) But Gargano’s knee misses its target and he strikes something to injure or “dislocate” his knee. He can’t answer the 10 count and Ciampa is the Last Man Standing.
Meanwhile, who is this trainer guy with his hands all over Johnny’s bare shoulders? Dude better be careful or Ciampa is going to get jealous and Knee-Strike him into oblivion.