On March 13, 2019 tapings of NXT (airing March 20), Tommaso Ciampa relinquished his NXT Championship, thus ending his reign at 237 days. Ciampa gave an update on April 1, saying that if he is able to return to the ring, doctors say he will be on "borrowed time"
Ciampa made a surprise appearance at NXT TakeOver: New York after Gargano defeated Adam Cole to win the NXT Championship, and embraced Gargano to celebrate his victory. On the October 2, episode of NXT, Ciampa returned from injury as a face by confronting Adam Cole with the NXT Championship.
During a recent interview with Sporting News, the NXT superstar reflected on taking aim at the NXT Title again: “It’s the best, most prestigious, most coveted … it’s the pinnacle in this industry.
It genuinely, truly is. I totally understand how somebody can think that maybe I’m playing a character when I say it, but I think it’s why the character was so damn believable, because I didn’t have to make up anything.
Everything I was saying, I believe truly, to the core. The wrestling that I grew up on was this; it was NXT. Definitely not the athleticism factor or the in-ring factor — that’s evolved tremendously. But the storytelling part of it, that’s what grew up on.
I grew up on these long, drawn-out stories with four pay-per-views a year where things paid off. Everything was done for a reason. Then all of a sudden, I find myself in NXT and I get to play that out. I’m playing out my childhood. The thing with Johnny Gargano was over one year, two years long."