Tommaso Ciampa returned to WWE in 2015, having been away for 8 years. He joined the NXT brand and as a world-class performer it was noticeable to the product when he had to miss 7 months with a severe neck injury.
Now he has returned it would be expected that having been in what was is deemed developmental for several years, he would be due a call up to Raw or SmackDown, but it seems that isn’t going to happen.
Speaking to Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast, he said:
“I have a little one at home, and my schedule is better in NXT than it would be on the road – and I had neck surgery, and I’m not freaking stupid. I get that my window is smaller than it was and my bump card is ticking, and I just look at it like if I’m doing 200+ days a year on the road with Raw or SmackDown, or I’m doing a manageable load of 30 to 50 matches with NXT.”
“So I can do four years of that in the time I do one year with Raw and SmackDown. So how long can my career and portfolio grow here as opposed to going there? Now it’s become a thing where I have legitimately vocalized to them that if I have to go to Raw or SmackDown, then I’m going to retire. And I would love to produce or coach or be a part of it, but there’s no way I’m taking on that load.”
NXT wrestlers are paid much less than full-time roster members of Raw and SmackDown, so it’s unusual to not want to move brands but makes perfect sense given the circumstances.
You can listen to the interview below.