Tommaso Ciampa has given fans a "spoiler" regarding the brand he will be wrestling for when he returns to the ring.
The star is currently out with a neck injury and was forced to relinquish the NXT Championship back in March. There is no timetable for a return just yet but Ciampa will look to head back to NXT - not Raw or SmackDown - when he's cleared to wrestle as he still has unfinished business there.
“I don’t know if people think I’m going to Raw or SmackDown, but here’s a spoiler, I’m not. I’m going to NXT," he told Sports Illustrated. "If someone tells me anything else, I’m answering them with a no. I bleed black and gold. NXT is home. And I have unfinished business there.
“I didn’t lose the title. Storyline or not, entertainment or not, that title meant the world to me. I was ‘The Guy’ for NXT, the hottest brand in the entire world. I came through knee surgery and two shoulder surgeries to get to that point. That’s what I worked my entire career for, so giving up the title is not how I envisioned it ending. I am the best sports entertainer in the world. I always hear, ‘Sports entertainer? You’re a sell-out!’ Call me a sell-out if you want. I’m buying in. This is my brand. NXT is mine.”
Ciampa also claims to have nothing but respect from Adam Cole, whom he says he wanted to emulate when he became NXT champion after watching the latter apply additional polish to the ROH title.
“When I was in Ring of Honor, Adam Cole was the champion. When I won the title in NXT, in the back of my head, I told myself, ‘I have to do for this title what Adam Cole did for the Ring of Honor title'," he explained. "He was the champ and carried the company to a new level. My job was to create my own footsteps, but do the job he did. So I don’t have any hard feelings for Adam. The only disservice to Adam Cole is the second I get cleared.”
Back in March, it was announced that the 34-year-old would be undergoing anterior cervical fusion to deal with a neck problem. The procedure normally takes around six months to heal from but we still can't be sure how long it will take him to actually get back into the ring.
Of course, people who don't wrestle could suffer from neck issues just as badly as persons who do. So just in case you're reading this and you are, here is a list to help you figure out the best neck pain pillow for you. As for Ciampa, we wish him a speedy return - but, as you can see, he's well on his way.