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The six-match long pay per view went on to deliver as per expectations, and it ended with a cliff hanger. Johnny Gargano turned on Tommaso Ciampa, hitting him with the NXT Title belt during his Championship match against Adam Cole, which resulted in Cole retaining the title.
While anything is possible in WWE, this was a very odd turn of events, considering that Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa just recently reunited as a team after a spectacular and long rivalry. The feud produced many great matches, and after it wrapped up, they re-formed their team DIY and took on Moustache Mountain at NXT: Worlds Collide.
Gargano’s attack on Ciampa most likely reignites their feud, but the reason for the same remains a mystery. However, there could be one valid explanation for the attack - Finn Balor.
Balor turned heel in October last year when he attacked Gargano, and the two of them had a great match earlier in the night at TakeOver: Portland, but Johnny Gargano failed to beat The Prince.
Their rivalry revolves around Balor’s belief that although NXT has moved on since he left in 2016, he was the one who established the brand, and that he is better than Johnny Gargano who is currently considered the best wrestler in NXT. His claims are fortified by his 292 days NXT Championship reign, which still stands as the longest in NXT Title history.
Adam Cole who won the title last year has been the NXT Champion for more than 260 days as of February 17. Given his successful title defense against Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: Portland, he will continue his reign as Champion.
NXT TakeOver: Tampa, where his next title defense will most likely take place, is still just over 40 days away, therefore, if he does not defend his title between now and TakeOver, he will go on to become the longest-reigning NXT Champion, thus beating Balor’s reign.
After Gargano failed to beat Balor, ending his title record could be the motivation behind the attack on Ciampa at Portland.
This seems to the most logical justification for the attack, and Gargano’s reluctance before executing it stands testament to this. This intertwined storyline featuring four NXT greats might sound complicated at first, but it could prove to be a creative masterstroke for determining the future of the NXT Title.
What's still left to be seen is Finn Balor's reaction to all this. Will he take the matter in his own hands and challenge Adam Cole for the title to protect his record? Or will he continue feuding with Johnny Gargano?