The Revival vs D.I.Y. – The chemistry of tag team wrestling

NXT Takeover Toronto was the host of a best out of three falls match between Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson vs Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. This served as their rematch from the stunning performance at the last pay per view, which had intense near pin falls and a superb climax. Tag team wrestling presents a set of circumstances that provide instant satisfaction with the hot tag and exciting back and forth finish attempts. It becomes understandable why the sequence of events and timing is crucial to executing the emotional crusade and the perfect pin. These two teams have already demonstrated their seamless rapport combined with joyous heroism and villainous tactics, building the anticipation for this match.

D.I.Y. are so called because both Gargano and Ciampa believe that nobody in wrestling will give them their chance, and they had to do it themselves. The classic good guys fighting tooth and nail from the ground up. Ciampa presents the hard-hitting knee striker with aggressive intensity and Gargano the prettier and slick wrestling stylist. Dash and Dawson are similar in appearance to one another and are big and hard. Their slogan “No flips, just fits” summarises their style with aplomb but downplay their vicious combination work. They are the champions and scuppered D.I.Y.’s plans to take their throne at Takeover Brooklyn, with some evil tactics, making Gargano succumb to submission in the centre of the ring. Their subsequent shenanigans prevented Ciampa and Gargano from progressing in the Dusty Rhodes tag team classic. The tension between these teams has already boiled over and this was most certainly the last opportunity for D.I.Y. If nobody is giving them a first chance, they certainly aren’t giving them a second.


Johnny and Tomasso enter the arena to great applause with focus and intent, the mistakes made in their last match are not to be repeated. Dash and Dawson walk with confidence and the swagger that one would expect from the tag team champions. At every moment they have psychologically marred their opponents and they expect no difference today. The match begins at rapid pace as Dawson locks up with Gargano only to be hit with repeated takedowns and body scissors leading to a quick two count. Dawson’s expressions are already conveying that little bit of surprise and fear as he runs to his corner to recuperate with Dash. Both Johnny and Ciampa take their chances to punch and strike The Revival as much as they can. But it is Gargano that flies in from the tag with running corner chops and a confidence that cannot be beat. He even counters the double teaming and readies for the slingshot spear on Dawson, but suddenly is blocked mid move and Dash appears behind them to execute their signature move, the Shatter Machine. First pin falls. All appeared to be in control and Johnny was in full control but The Revival provide an abrupt full stop and take the first three count. It is already looking more unlikely for the crowd favourites.


A damaged Gargano is dominated in The Revival corner with heavy fists and forearms, even giving Dawson time to boast and mock. The body scissors in the middle of the ring gives the opportunity for some aggressive forearm swipes to Johnny’s face. The Gory Special and Tornado DDT highlight the quality of manoeuvres on display. Dash prevents the tag by taking out Ciampa and then distracting the referee, obstructing his view thereby negating the legitimate tag from Gargano. Classic heel tag team tactics ensue with Ciampa furious and being ordered back into the corner as Revival then carry out their homage to the Hart Foundation with a Hart attack. When the hot tag finally arrives and Ciampa puts his knee to good use, a near fall brings some hope to D.I.Y. When Dash tries to help his partner, he is met with even more knees and expelled from the ring. This opens up the opportunity for the DIY combination, opposite corner super kick and knee. A thunderous crack which Dawson just cannot get up from. One each.


The story of this match is starting to ramp up very sweetly, where the enthusiastic Johnny Wrestling was caught short, his recovery and Ciampa’s rescue attempts have brought an equalising pin against very cunning opponents. Dawson’s ability in the ring cannot be underestimated as his countering ability is second to none. He manages to avoid the arm bar from Ciampa on more than one occasion and even attempts a pin. As the ascendency is with DIY, it is up to Dash to stop a rampage. Gargano has recuperated and his confidence once again starts to rise with a near pin from his signature tornado DDT. He goes to the well for a second time only to be met with an uppercut into a devastating suplex. The Revival are never out of this game as they are resolute as they are conniving. With Tomasso providing another save, Johnny Wrestling needs to take care because it is only a matter of time before he is caught short again. Even as he fights his way out of the opposition corner with counters and punches, he is in a place of danger.


Dash grabs the tag belts intimating that they should leave and accept a disqualification, ready to fight another day. As he is met with a huge Ciampa clothesline sending them both out of the ring. Gargano seizes this chance to roll Dawson from the ropes and kick him in the face. CRACK. Dawson protects his head with the title belt, thrown towards him in Dash’s earlier attempts to dash. The referee completely unaware only sees Dawson pretending to have been hit, in another of his incredible story telling expression. His frown turns to a grin as he locks Gargano in an inverted figure four not only hurting the leg that just kicked the title, but also the move that ended the match last time. Johnny Wrestling agonises as he tries to endure the pain, knowing that his time has come. Where he once let Ciampa and himself down, he is not about to do it again. His suffering is palatable as his hand almost completes the motion to submit but at the last moment reaches for the bottom rope. Not this time.


The Revival try to add insult to injury by using the DIY knee/kick combination against them, only to fail and be hit with their own finishing move, the Shatter Machine. One, two, no! Dash and Dawson are not finished yet, they still have a few nefarious strategies up their sleeve but the referee is not foolish enough to fall for a handful of tights. How Dash and Gargano have the energy to go through chain pin combinations, is incredible but it culminates with a Gagano Escape submission finisher. As Dash tries his damnedest to keep fighting, Dawson runs to the rescue only to be met by Ciampa and his arm bar! The two DIY teammates have double submission moves in the middle of the ring and Dash and Dawson stare at one another urging the other not to give up. Dawson grabs Dash’s hand to keep their titles in their possession, but it is to no avail as they both succumb to the pain. Two hard slaps to the matt and D.I.Y. prove it is possible to become tag team champions by themselves.


The beauty of this match doesn’t lie with the plucky courage of Gargano or the ability of Ciampa to save the day but the sheer determination and imagination of both teams. As the good guys, D.I.Y. play out their hot tags with passion and excitement with some glorious moments of last gasp saves. But it is the Revival that have some incredible bad guy combination moves and play their cheat cards with conviction. Dawson’s face sells the story as much as Gargano’s sheer desperation leading to a truly joyous victory for DIY. NXT proves once again that they produce some of the best matches in wrestling full stop, let alone just WWE. For a long time, tag team wrestling seemed to be the poor cousin of the singles world with some terrible teams and uninspiring matches over the past few years. That precedent has changed and it is about time too because The Revival and D.I.Y. will produce for years to come.

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