The 35-year-old NXT wrestler revealed Thursday on Instagram that he would be undergoing surgery the following day — his third of the year. Despite the setback, he vows to come back stronger in 2019.
Sabbatelli also underwent surgery in late August. There’s no word yet on whether his last two procedures are related to his pectoral muscle tear.
A former NFL player, Sabbatelli — real name Sabatino “Sabby” Piscitelli — was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He spent six seasons playing the Safety position before joining the WWE Performance Center in October 2014.
He made his NXT wrestling debut on April 4, 2015, competing in a battle royal at a live event. He was given the ring name Anthony Sabatelli in October 2015, which later got tweaked to Tino Sabbatelli.
Sabbatelli made his NXT television debut in October 2016, teaming with Riddick Moss. They continued to partner but found little success as they didn’t pick up their first win on television until the following October. After a string of losses, they broke up in April. Sabbatelli left Moss to fend for himself during a tag team match against Heavy Machinery and then called him “dead weight” in a backstage interview.
Their breakup was staged to launch Sabbatelli as a major singles wrestler. The split aired on the WWE Network on April 25, and two nights later, Sabbatelli was in the main event challenging Aleister Black for the NXT Championship at a live event in Orlando, Florida. Sabbatelli then tore his pectoral muscle the following night during