Although WWE had doubled down in recent weeks by calling up even more NXT standouts to the main roster, two of those newcomers — Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano — were conspicuously absent from in-ring action on this week’s Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live episodes. As reported by WrestlingNews.co, this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter explained that this happened because Ciampa was dealing with an unspecified injury that would likely keep him out of the weekend’s scheduled NXT live events. Unfortunately, the latest update on the reigning NXT World Champion suggests that his injury might be more serious than what was initially reported.
On Thursday afternoon, PWInsider wrote that per multiple sources, Ciampa suffered a neck injury, which was described as a “lingering thing” for at least the past four to five weeks. Depending on his availability in the coming weeks, there’s a chance WWE might have to do some booking changes for the NXT Championship, which Ciampa is scheduled to defend at NXT TakeOver: New York on April 5.
The above booking changes could also apply to the 2019 Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic, which, per WrestleZone, is supposed to feature Ciampa and Gargano officially reuniting as #DIY. As part of their call-up, both men had recently been teaming together on Raw and SmackDown Live, but like their fellow call-ups from the past several weeks, have yet to be assigned to either main roster brand.
According to PWInsider, the original plan was for Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano to continue teaming up on this week’s Monday Night Raw in a four-way tag team match also featuring their fellow NXT call-ups Aleister Black and Ricochet, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, and an unspecified fourth team. Due to Ciampa’s injury, he and Gargano instead appeared in non-wrestling roles, while the four-way tag match was turned into a standard two-on-two match between Black and Ricochet and Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival.
While it remains unclear how much time Ciampa will have to miss, the 33-year-old wrestler has had a history of injuries since signing with WWE in 2016. As reported by Pro Wrestling Sheet, Ciampa suffered a torn ACL in May 2017 and underwent surgery soon after, with WWE estimating in July of that year that he would only be able to return to action in March 2018. Per Wrestling Inc., Ciampa returned about two months ahead of schedule in a backstage segment, where he attacked Gargano after the NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia pay-per-view and continued the intense feud that was set up prior to his surgery.