Tommaso Ciampa Explains Why He Doesn't Want to Defend the NXT Championship Against Johnny Gargano Again

Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano had a brief face-to-face during last week's episode of NXT, causing fans to immediately speculate over whether or not the two would be reigniting their legendary feud from several years ago. The pair were originally supposed to clash in a climactic battle for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: New York in 2019, but Ciampa suffered a surgery-requiring neck injury that forced him to relinquish the title and have Gargano move into a feud with Adam Cole. When Ciampa did finally return from injury later that year he wound up aligned with Gargano, only for the latter to turn heel and cost him the opportunity to win back "Goldie" at NXT TakeOver; Phoenix. 

The two then had a cinematic match dubbed "One Final Beat" to end their feud, which Gargano won thanks to Candice LeRae's involvement. And in a new interview with Planeta Wrestling, Ciampa made it clear he doesn't want to feud with his former tag partner again. 

"No," Ciampa said (h/t Fightful). "No. Right now? No. He's not on the top of my list. I like keeping my title. Stay away from him, he can go get the North American Title."

Ciampa finally won the NXT Championship back when NXT first rebooted as NXT 2.0 in mid-September. He talked about how important the victory was for him in a recent interview with ComicBook

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"I'll tell you, man, it's a responsibility that you take very seriously. I think you'd be hard press to find someone more passionate about this brand than myself," Ciampa said. "I've said it before in interviews, I've said it on screen, and it's one of the things that carries over so well because it's so true to my core. But I genuinely feel like Tommaso Ciampa is, was, and forever will be Mr. NXT. It's something that I hold near and dear to my heart. And I also think that there's no better representation of this brand currently or that NXT title. I mean, the NXT title's always special, but the second you put it with Tommaso Ciampa, it becomes gold. It just takes it to a different level. And I think that's something that I look forward to more so than anything is to raising that title and making it the most prestigious title in sports entertainment again because I feel like we did that in 2018, and I just think it's only a matter of time until that happens again."