NXT Champ Tommaso Ciampa to Undergo Surgery for Neck Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2019

Photo credit: WWE.com.

WWE announced on Wednesday that NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa would undergo neck surgery the following day.

"Following a medical evaluation today, Ciampa has been scheduled for an anterior cervical fusion," WWE said in a release. 

Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported Ciampa isn't going to be able to wrestle "for a long, long time" and added that he will be forced to vacate the NXT title as well:

Meltzer also reported the scheduled NXT Championship match between Ciampa and Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: New York two nights before WrestleMania 35 in April will have to be changed.

The 33-year-old has held the NXT Championship since July, and his reign is the fourth-longest of all time and the lengthiest since Finn Balor from 2015-2016.

Ciampa last wrestled at the NXT television tapings on Feb. 20, and he has been held off live events, Raw and SmackDown Live since then.

Along with Gargano, Aleister Black and Ricochet, Ciampa got called up to the main roster in February. He reformed DIY with Gargano, and the team scored victories over Raw tag team champions The Revival, as well as The Bar on SmackDown.

Neither Ciampa nor Gargano have been seen on television since the Feb. 19 SmackDown, though, and a neck injury appears to be the culprit.

Ciampa missed eight months from 2017-2018 with a knee injury, but he returned to provide perhaps the best work of his career. There was arguably no better all-around performer in wrestling over the course of 2018 than the Bostonian, who became known for his strong promos and in-ring work.

Gargano and Ciampa engaged in a memorable trilogy of matches at NXT TakeOver events, and another meeting at NXT TakeOver: New York with Johnny Wrestling coming out on top would have been the perfect way to end their rivalry.

Instead, Triple H will need to make some changes and find someone else who can step in and face Gargano next month.

Adam Cole, Matt Riddle and NXT North American champion Velveteen Dream are among the Superstars who could make sense, but none of them have the history and chemistry with Gargano that Ciampa does, which puts a damper on an event that has a chance to steal WrestleMania weekend.

           

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