PWInsider is reporting that after months of competing on the NXT brand, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa have finally been signed to full-time WWE contracts.
Gargano and Ciampa are two of the most respected talents on the U.S. independent scene. Gargano, who's earned the nickname "Johnny Wrestling," dominated Dragon Gate USA for years as the Open the Freedom Gate Champion, while Ciampa held the Ring of Honor TV Title before losing it to record-setting champion Jay Lethal.
Gargano and Ciampa first debuted in NXT last summer, working as a team in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Despite not being signed to contracts, they upset Tyler Breeze and Bull Dempsey in the tournament's first round, but they were defeated in the second by Baron Corbin and Rhyno.
Since the tournament, both men have continued to make appearances on NXT TV, usually in singles competition. Ciampa has picked up wins over Danny Burch, Dempsey, and Jesse Sorensen, while just two weeks ago, Gargano became the first man to score a victory over "The Drifter" Elias Samson.
Both men have consistently received good reactions from an NXT audience familiar with their outside work.
Scott Fried is a Slammy Award-winning* writer living and working in New York City. He has been following/writing about professional wrestling for many years and is a graduate of Lance Storm's Storm Wrestling Academy. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/scottfried.
*Best Crowd of the Year, 2013