The Revival v Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II, 8/20/16)
Really great match. Sort of feels like a hybrid of your modern day workrate tag and traditional southern style, like if you transplanted the Andersons into peak ROH or something and had them work surly cut-offs and heel distraction spots. And all of the southern trappings weren't just for show, either -- they got honest, legitimate heat in creative and interesting ways. I've only seen one Revival match before and don't remember anything about it now, but one word I've often seen used to describe them is "throwback." You know, "they're a throwback to an age gone by" or whatever. I don't know if this is how they always work, but in this match they turned in a hell of a throwback performance. None of their double teams were too cutesy or overtly laid out, but they still managed to range from flat out COOL to plain nasty (there's plenty to be said for just taking turns punching and stomping a guy in the head). The cut-offs were probably my favourite, though. There was an awesome bit where Ciampa was thiiiiiis close to tagging Gargano, so Dash, from the apron, just fell into the ring as if he'd leaned too far over the ropes. The ref', somewhat confused, goes over to check on him while Dash feigns injury, and as this is going on Ciampa makes the hot tag. Only to be cruelly denied his chance to come in like the house o' fire because the ref' never saw the tag. It was such a great spot. Totally and blatantly dickheaded, and best of all everything they were doing really wound up a 99% smark crowd, so you had only had one This is Awesome chant the whole match and instead everyone spent their time cheering the babyfaces and booing the heels. I don't have much of an stance on Ciampa and Gargano, honestly. I think I've only ever seen one match they're involved in and that was the one against each other from the CWC a few weeks back. But Ciampa played a solid face in peril, Gargano was a fun hot tag with his bursts of energy, their strikes looked fine if a bit thigh slappy at times, and none of their offence was too contrived. Basically they were responsible for the "modern day workrate tag" part of this fairytale and they held up their end admirably. Finishing run was great as well. You had some BIG nearfalls that the crowd were living and dying on; Dash brought the Arn Anderson by faking a punch and hitting a DDT as Gargano went to duck it; Gargano hit a cool slingshot spear from the apron into the ring, which is a spot that isn't always easy to make look not crummy; and there was even a kind of Dusty Finish just for good measure. I now feel like I owe it to myself to watch every Revival tag from this year.