Johnny Gargano was stretchered out of Full Sail University after a vicious attack by Tommaso Ciampa

Tommaso Ciampa ambushes Johnny Gargano, paving the way for Aleister Black vs. Eric Young: WWE NXT, April 25, 2018

Aleister Black's scheduled NXT Title defense against Johnny Gargano is upended by Tommaso Ciampa's ravenous attack on Gargano. SAnitY's Eric Young takes advantage of the opening and challenges The Dutch Destroyer. Video courtesy of the award-winning WWE

Tonight was supposed to be a new beginning for Johnny Gargano as he prepared to challenge NXT Champion Aleister Black, unencumbered by the ghosts of his past, namely Tommaso Ciampa.

Instead, the wretched Blackheart struck again, not only costing Gargano his title opportunity, but also sending the beloved Superstar to a local medical facility after a harrowing attack.

Ciampa ambushed Johnny Wrestling from behind during his ring entrance. He ran him into the announce desk and yelled that Gargano would “never get rid of” him. Gargano courageously fought back, but a low blow dropped him to his knees. Though NXT referees tried to intervene, Ciampa’s onslaught only escalated further, and he drove Gargano off the stage, through equipment tables below.

Once Ciampa exited, officials and medical staff rushed to Gargano. With a tremble in her voice, Candice LeRae assured her husband that he would be all right. Gargano was placed onto a backboard and stretcher, and Kassius Ohno joined the procession as it somberly but urgently snaked through Full Sail, passing distraught-looking Superstars — including Black — until it reached a waiting ambulance.

As the ambulance drove off with Gargano inside, WWE Network cameras panned to the haunting sight of Ciampa waving goodbye from atop a nearby NXT production truck, dead-eyed and unmoved by the grief he had caused.

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