NXT Stars Ciampa, Gargano, Aleister Black and Ricochet Make WWE Raw Debuts

Joseph Zucker

WWE got fans excited Monday when the company tweeted that NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa, NXT North American champion Johnny Gargano, Ricochet and Aleister Black were all backstage at Raw.

Ricochet was the first to arrive when he came to the aid of Finn Balor. Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush were exacting revenge after The Almighty dropped the intercontinental title to the Irishman at Elimination Chamber on Sunday.

The One and Only helped even the odds, setting up a tag team match. Ricochet and Balor earned the victory after the former hit Rush with his 630 splash.

Ciampa and Gargano rehashed their old NXT rivalry with The Revival. They combined to deliver their tandem running knee and superkick to Scott Dawson for the victory.

Black battled Elias in a singles match. The lights went out for the musician after he was on the receiving end of Black Mass.

The timing of the NXT influx was surprising.

For one, WWE just called up six wrestlers from NXT (EC3, Lars Sullivan, Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans and the Heavy Machinery tag team) in December. None of them have had the chance to make a big impression on the main roster, and they're now immediately overshadowed by Ciampa, Gargano, Ricochet and Black.

WWE is also kicking WrestleMania season into high gear with The Show of Shows approaching on April 7. The pay-per-view card will clearly shift a lot before then, but the company would presumably want to have a significant build to any NXT-related match. The Nexus' invasion in 2010 received main event status at SummerSlam that August.

Ciampa, Gargano, Ricochet and Black have all done more than enough to justify a spot on Raw or SmackDown Live. Waiting until after WrestleMania was perhaps the best way to integrate them into the main roster, though.

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