NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa will undergo anterior cervical fusion surgery Thursday on his injured neck, WWE announced.

Dave Meltzer reported Tuesday on his Wrestling Observer Radio program that Ciampa would need surgery on his neck and that he would be out for a “long, long time.”

Ciampa, 33, has not wrestled since the NXT TV tapings on Feb. 20. At the tapings, WWE set up a match against Johnny Gargano for Ciampa’s NXT Championship at “NXT TakeOver: New York” in April. Ciampa will likely be forced to surrender his title and WWE will have to rework the storyline. 

Ciampa (real name Tommaso Whitney) recently made his main roster debut, teaming with Gargano on Raw and SmackDown on Feb. 18 and 19, signaling WWE’s confidence in him as a rising star. 

This is the second time in three years that Ciampa has suffered a serious injury, also tearing his ACL in May 2017. That injury kept him out for 11 months but also ignited his rivalry with Gargano, one of NXT’s most memorable feuds.