At NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, two former best friends and stalemates Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole are set for a war. The two former members of The Undisputed Era signed their lives away for a hellacious unsanctioned match where I believe they will tear each other apart.
While watching this perfectly-written story unfold it made me think of another defining rivalry in NXT history, Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa. Back in May 2017 at TakeOver: Chicago after a crushing loss, Ciampa brutally attacked his longtime DIY partner and friend Gargano. Ciampa would take his former partner out of action all because of jealousy. He addressed the NXT Universe a few weeks following the attack and claimed it was due to becoming an afterthought in the minds of the fans.
This would spark one of the absolute best rivalries in NXT history that would shape the company for years to come. These two bitter rivals would not only tear the house down at multiple takeover events, but Gargano and Ciampa would take precedence over the NXT Championship which spoke volumes. The DIY partners put each other through hell for a year, and I can only hope that O’Reilly vs. Cole will bring the same level of intensity.
The NXT Universe is still reeling from Cole’s devastating betrayal at TakeOver: Vengeance Day when he superkicked both O’Reilly and NXT Champion Finn Balor. Cole then fooled Roderick Strong who was seeking answers from his former leader, but all he was granted was a heinous low-blow and a superkick for good measures. Cole not only singlehandedly broke up the factions in the history of NXT, but he also has broken many hearts who were mistaking him for a good guy. The former NXT champ played everyone like a fiddle for weeks until he showed his true colors.
O’Reilly and Cole have a great shot at re-creating history with an extremely personal and brutal rivalry that could span up until SummerSlam weekend. I would implore the NXT Universe to rewatch the amazing rivalry between Gargano and Ciampa before Takeover: Stand & Deliver.
Do you believe this could usher in a new era in NXT history? Are you as excited for O’Reilly vs. Cole as much as I am? I think this is going to be an awesome rivalry. Perhaps when Bobby Fish returns from injury we could get an undisputed fatal-four-way match!