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Tommaso Campa: One Of The Greatest NXT Superstars Of All Time

5 Things you need to know about Tommaso Ciampa

Tommaso Ciampa was a recent guest on E&C's Pod of Awesomeness and the injured NXT Superstar opened up on a myriad of topics related to professional wrestling. Ciampa left no stone unturned when reminiscing about his storied career and revealed just how serious his current neck injury is.


If you think you know the NXT Superstar often referred to as Blackheart, think again because Ciampa has gone out of his way to keep kayfabe and reveal only a minimal amount of his own personal character during his career.

In the following, Tommaso Ciampa reveals more about himself than ever before, so sit back, relax, and enjoy 5 Things You Need To Know About Tommaso Ciampa.

#5. Ciampa was not supposed to be in The Cruiserweight Classic

Tommaso Ciampa & Long-Time Frenemy Johnny Gargano Compete In The Inaugural Cruiserweight Classic

When the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic got underway, neither Johnny Gargano nor Tommaso Ciampa was officially signed to any WWE roster. Ciampa's long-time friend, Johnny Gargano, was scheduled for the tournament, however, Ciampa was not.

Ciampa told Edge and Christian,

"I wasn't going to be in the Cruiserweight Classic. They [WWE] had their list together. I forget how we found out, whether it was a text or not, but we found out that he [Johnny Gargano] was in and I wasn't."

That's when Ciampa decided to take a major risk. After talking with Gargano, Ciampa approached NXT founder and senior producer Triple H and made his pitch.

Ciampa implored Triple H,

"I said, 'Listen, I know I'm not in the Cruiserweight Classic, but you guys have 16 matches on night one and obviously 16 guys have to come and just lose. Let me be one of them and let it be versus Johnny and we'll give you a close to the show where, at least, you'll know that you will get a main event caliber match. It can just be a one off and if we revisit it, awesome. If we don't, we don't, but at least we can give you a main event for that first night. With sixteen matches deep the crowd is going to be burnt out.'"

Triple H inevitably concurred and the two put on a barn burner as the opening round's main event match.

Gargano would best his long-time friend in the 11 minute classic, but the bout would have a lasting impact on each of their careers. According to Ciampa, "Everybody in the back started to go, 'Woah, we have something here.'"

#4. Team DIY was set up to break up

Team DIY: Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa

Tommaso Ciampa was never comfortable being a babyface and did not have much experience as a tag team wrestler either, but he knew he had something special with long-time friend Johnny Gargano. The duo also knew that their bread and butter in NXT would be a feud, but WWE had other plans, at least initially.


The company would pair the two indie stars as Team DIY and although Ciampa was never fully comfortable with the decision, he would go on to use his newfound role to build towards something far greater.

According to Ciampa,

"I was thrown into this underdog babyface tag team and I didn't do too much tag team stuff in the indies. I definitely did not play that kind of character and that was Johnny's forte. I really came in thinking, 'I'm just gonna kind of ride his coattails and let him do the workload. This is right up his alley.'"

The entire time Ciampa paired with Gargano, he was eagerly anticipating the day he could "flip the switch" and turn into the hated monster heel most wrestling fans have come to know him as. After returning from injury, Ciampa saw his opportunity and made the most of it by shocking the world and turning on best friend Johnny Gargano. The rest is history.


#3. His neck injury is much worse than you think it is

Former NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa

While wrestling is a scripted sport and the athletes in the ring are trained professionals, professional wrestling is not a safe sport. At any time, these gladiators may suffer an injury that could instantly jeopardize or even end their careers.

Unfortunately, Tommaso Ciampa recently suffered a career-threatening neck injury that forced him to relinquish his NXT Championship and miss NXT's biggest TakeOver event of the year on WrestleMania weekend.

Ciampa recently underwent anterior cervical fusion surgery to take pressure off his spinal cord. The surgery included replacing a ruptured disc with donor bone and bone from Ciampa's hip, as well.

Ciampa detailed his injury on E&C's Pod of Awesomeness,

"I wasn't under the threat of paralysis per se. My spinal column wasn't in jeopardy....all of a sudden whatever was happening over the course of the few months because I have spinal stenosis [the same injury that ended Edge's Hall of Fame career] that must have progressed and that's when everybody had to say, 'Wait a second, there's no more risking this.'"

The former NXT Champion claims the injury is different from any other injury he has ever faced and he has endured many throughout his professional wrestling career.

He adds, "I was so freaked out getting neck surgery, especially this young." After surgery, Ciampa has been asked to limit his daily routine, which has been a struggle.

#2. Ciampa gives a great deal of credit to Shawn Michaels

NXT's resident WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels

NXT has an abundance of talent that at times may seem like an embarrassment of riches. This includes their backstage talent. One of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time is also an NXT Trainer. Shawn Michaels loves his new role and according to Tommaso Ciampa is really good at his new job.

Tommaso Ciampa credits Michaels with helping him advance as a professional wrestler,

"Working with Shawn, something about him teaching a class....no one has taught me the way he has. Sitting in his skull sessions - and I think you can see it in everybody in that class, Velveteen Dream, and Kyle O'Reilly, and Undisputed Era, Adam Cole, everybody - he just makes you better."

Ciampa details the first time he ever watched video footage with the WWE Hall of Famer,

"The first time we were watching a skull session tape of some match and I just remember him hitting pause and just going - there's this silence and this wait in the room. Then he rewinds it a bit, and presses play. He doesn't say anything yet. He hits play again and he pauses it again. He said, 'I want you guys to listen to the crowd here. Could they have laid out more or should they have sped it up more?' He presses play again and it's honest to God - you hear your whole life, 'Listen to the crowd, listen to the crowd,' and here's the guy teaching you how to listen to the crowd. He started doing that everyday at the PC with every match and he's teaching you the ebbs and flows. The independent way was to let them peak and let them finish their, 'This is awesome chant,' and then you get going again. He had this way of teaching you that right when they're about to peak, get moving again."

Ciampa admits that Michaels is demanding and this has often led to him getting 'blown up' before the end of matches, but he also credits Shawn Michaels with rejuvenating his wrestling career, after twelve years in the indies.

According to Ciampa, "The tempo and the pacing is the number one thing he changed in me. It's really listening to the crowd, but then applying that." Due to Michaels' tutelage, Ciampa often feels like he's "cheating." He adds, "This isn't fair. Of course, we're going to get better."

#1. Ciampa has one major future goal

NXT Legend Tommaso Ciampa

Tommaso Ciampa's future goal is simply stated, but a difficult hurdle to clear. He doesn't have any plans for a particular feud. He doesn't desire championship gold. His main goal doesn't even include a main roster debut on RAW or SmackDown Live, honestly.

Tommaso Ciampa's only goal is returning to the wrestling ring,

"I just want to get back. If I can step in a ring again in my gear knowing I'm about to perform - I'm an emotional guy. I do my best to hide it when it has to be hidden."

Ciampa admits that he has no idea what he's coming back to,

"I have no idea what the landscape's gonna be. WrestleMania's ending. Then you have Montreal - I think there's a draft going on. After that the Fox deal comes in October. The landscape can change so many times between now and whenever I can get cleared to return. Am I going to be on RAW? Am I going to be on SmackDown? Am I going to be on NXT? Am I with Johnny? Am I a heel or face? I have no clue, so I'm just doing my best to not even think about it."

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, Sportskeeda)

Here's hoping Ciampa can have a complete recovery and safely return to doing what he loves so much. Readers may listen to Edge and Christian's full interview with Ciampa HERE.

A former WWE writer thinks Bronson Reed's push could be in jeopardy here.

Edited by
Riju Dasgupta
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