The WWE Raw debuts of NXT stars caught many by surprise, including those in the company.
Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp reports that a lot of people within WWE were caught off guard by Ricochet, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa and Aleister Black appearing on Raw.
"There were people on the SmackDown brand and NXT who had no idea this was happening today," reported Sapp on the Fightful post-Raw podcast.
PWInsider first reported the news that the four NXT stars were backstage at Raw. They later confirmed that the plan was for them to be used on television. Shortly after, WWE alerted fans on social media that all four men were backstage.
— WWE (@WWE) February 18, 2019
Triple H opened WWE Raw by announcing that Gargano, Ciampa, Black and Ricochet would make their debuts on the episode in a series of matches. Gargano & Ciampa ended up teaming to defeat Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival, Ricochet teamed with Finn Balor to knock off Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush, and Aleister Black scored a victory over Elias.