Prior to his main roster call-up in April, Ciampa had famously spoken out against wrestling on either Raw or SmackDown, but what changed in his mind?
The former ‘Blackheart’ of NXT was one of the then-black-and-gold brand’s top performers, holding the NXT Championship twice and the NXT Tag Team Championships once with Johnny Gargano. He defined the brand during the 2018-2019 period, openly admitting that he didn’t want to wrestle on the main roster.
Speaking with Inside The Ropes’ Kenny McIntosh ahead of WWE SummerSlam, Ciampa revealed what, exactly, changed in his mind that made him want a main roster run:
“It’s all timing. I think for me, one, I really wanted to build the NXT brand and turn it into something that was equivalent to Raw and SmackDown. I wanted that bad, a lot of us wanted that bad, and I think we were headed that way, and then the pandemic happened. A lot of stuff’s changed. It was very much clear that NXT was backtracking to developmental for a lot of good reasons, I understand them. On top of that, I had my daughter, I had my neck surgery, I had about three years at home with her and to recuperate.
I feel amazing right now. I think prior to neck surgery, I didn’t think I could handle the schedule and the load. Now that I’m a couple years removed, I feel the way I do, it’s kind of rejuvenated…I don’t feel like I have a timeline on me anymore. I thought, ‘Oh, you got three years left’, [now] I kind of feel like I got ten or twenty years left. A lot of changes, there’s a lot of stuff factored into it.”
Ciampa was written out of NXT when he lost to Tony D’Angelo at NXT Stand And Deliver over WrestleMania 38 weekend. Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque embraced Ciampa post-match, with ‘The Game’ having held the pen for the majority of the former DIY man’s NXt tenure.
Following a fruitful career on the independent circuit, the then-Tommaso Ciampa was confirmed as having signed a WWE contract in April 2016, though he’d already been a semi-regular enhancement talent prior to this. Both his tag team with and rivalry against Johnny Gargano are hailed as the brand’s biggest successes.
Ciampa now resides on the Monday Night Raw roster, aligned with The Miz. He’ll accompany ‘The A-Lister’ to ringside for his SummerSlam encounter vs. Logan Paul.
If you use any quotes from this article please provide a link back and a H/T to Inside The Ropes.