How WWE NXT's Johnny Gargano Keeps Tommaso Ciampa Feud Interesting After So Long

One of the longer-running rivalries in WWE's NXT continues to impress fans, and Gargano explains why it's working.


In NXT, the friendship and falling out of Johnny Gargano--the king of Marvel-inspired ring gear--and Tommaso Ciampa is one of the most engaging stories WWE has told in years. On Wednesday, April 8 at 8 PM ET on the USA Network, the duo will battle each other one more time--and quite possibly for the last time.

However, when you have storylines and feuds running for years, fans can become bored with seeing the same two competitors battling each other, week after week. But that hasn't happened with Gargano vs. Ciampa. "I think the secret is, honestly, just being authentic, being as real as possible," Gargano told GameSpot. "I think that's always benefited me and Tommaso--is having a sense of realness to us and just telling logical stories.

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"Tommaso Ciampa [came] back after neck surgery, to amazing fanfare and people applauding him--going crazy to see him, chanting 'Daddy's home' at him, even after everything he's done to NXT--six months ago, he was the most hated man in NXT history. He breaks his neck, has a baby, comes back, and everyone forgets that. But you know who didn't forget? I didn't forget. I didn't forget what he did at NXT. I didn't forget what he did to me. I think it's a very logical place where the story has gone. I think it makes a lot of sense personally for both of our characters and the progression of both our characters."

It's more than just friends that had a falling out though. Connecting with an audience and creating long-form stories is more about making something relatable to the audience, something they may have personal experience with. "That's what wrestling is all about, man. Just telling real stories that people can relate to--that people can kind of dive in on. I think people can relate to seeing someone and knowing what their true colors are, having the whole world be fooled. You see somebody you're like, 'That guy's a piece of garbage. I don't know why everyone else doesn't see this.'"

The dynamic between these two wrestlers may have changed, with Gargano recently turning heel, but the core of the story still remains, and fans of the NXT brand still want to see Gargano and Ciampa battle it out in the ring.

Gargano will face Ciampa on NXT tonight at 8 PM ET on USA Network.

For more on WWE, check out our Wrestlemania coverage from the April 4 and 5 weekend.

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