The news surrounding Tommaso Ciampa’s neck injury that ultimately led to surgery was certainly concerning. While the WWE and Ciampa ultimately opted to get surgery sooner than later to repair the damages done to his neck, there was a distinct possibility that a hard hit to his head could have paralyzed him in its previous state.
Ciampa had recently been called up to the main roster alongside former partner-turned-enemy-turned partner Johnny Gargano, Ricochet and Aleister Black. At the time, it looked like all four were being primed for big things. Unfortunately, though, the injury would take him off television sooner than expected and eliminate the closure for a storyline that has been years in the making between himself and Gargano and NXT television.
When speaking in a media call for NXT TakeOver, Triple H spoke on Ciampa’s injury, the severity of it and how it affected plans moving forward for the TakeOver event.
“I hate the fact that Johnny and Tommaso aren’t able to pay off what has been a very long, emotional storyline for them, it is what it is, and we’ll head in a different direction that honestly feels epic
inthis moment. I know I use that word a lot here, but it just does. It feels like a moment where at the end of that taping Michael Hayes, Shawn Michaels and I looked at each other and said ‘wow, this feels almost as big.”
The injury wasn’t a surprise to Triple H or anybody else with knowledge of the situation. The severity of the injury, however, was seemingly unknown or rapidly got worse as Triple H would outline in the call.
“It was—obviously, we knew about it. We knew that that was going to be… a necessity going forward, but the decision was made ‘let’s do this with the main roster, let’s give him that exposure. He’ll take some time off, and we’ll use that in whatever way we can. He’ll take the time off, get fixed up and be back and be better than ever, and move forward from there. Unfortunately, with the type of injury he had, it went from one thing to another very rapidly.
We couldn’t wait; it sort of changed from something that was manageable to being something that we just—this is a risk that we are not willing to take for anything. We moved to him immediately doing the surgery at that point in time and starting on the road to recovery. A lot of thought put into all of the conversations, but clearly something we knew about and there was a plan for him on all aspect of it, including he’s going to need to take some time off down the road here, very soon to get this fixed.”
Triple H would continue by discussing how plans change depending on injuries sometimes and that Ciampa’s injury led to a change in direction.
“We knew the length of time probably that it was going to take for a return anyways, but as you’re looking at this there are certain things that are manageable and you can manage the situation, there’s no risk, no damage, no anything. You’re just managing the symptoms and the situation—you know it’s something you’re going to have to take care of eventually, then that situation changed. Instead of being manageable, it progressively got worse, as soon as we saw it progressively getting worse, you realize that this situation is not something that is manageable for us and him, and we made the decision with him to go in the direction that we did.”
The Blackheart of NXT could be out for close to a year and was forced to vacate his NXT Championship as a result.