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Tommaso Ciampa: Hard to see an end game; No one really retires [Exclusive]

  • The Blackheart of NXT says he feels incredible right now, despite some major surgeries. He's not sure if he'll ever fully retire.
Rick Ucchino
Modified 10 Mar 2020, 06:23 IST

Tommaso Ciampa hasn
Tommaso Ciampa hasn't given much thought to retirement

Former NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa is officially one year removed from major neck surgery that cost him seven months of his career. Initially, The Blackheart thought he would be out much longer than that. I had a chance to interview Ciampa backstage at NXT's Live show in Columbus, OH last week, and he told me the original goal was to return by WrestleMania 36.

At the time of the surgery, he was told by doctors that he would be wrestling on borrowed time upon his return to the ring. However, Ciampa has very different plans and is taking all the necessary steps to make sure he wrestles as long as his heart desires.

I asked him if he's changed up his wrestling style at all, like Daniel Bryan has, to avoid future injuries. He told me he'd say yes, but anyone who watched his match with Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver Portland would call him a liar.

"It's more about what I'm doing outside the ring. As far as, I've always been pretty good about my shoulders and my knees because I've had those repaired. Now I've kind of smarted up a bit about the neck. I just wasn't taking care of it for 15 years or so, to the extent of how I am now."

Ciampa says he heats up his neck now before matches and recently purchased really nice equipment for his home to make sure he's doing the necessary exercises.

Every morning he wakes up and realizes that he's put his body through a lot over the last 15 years. When it comes to his health he says he's in maintenance mode right now, but when I asked him how much longer he wants his in ring career to last, he said he hadn't given it much thought. He does however, have a goal in mind. He wants to wrestle until his family has financial security.

"I have a little girl at home, who's about a year and half now. So, the idea is that I don't want her to worry about some of the stuff I worried about growing up. You know? When she's 16 and wants a car. When she wants to go to college. Just, life happens. I'd like to have a life happens fund. For myself, my wife, my little girl. So, I don't know that there's a time stamp on that. I think when the time's right, I'll know it's right."

At age 34, Ciampa could easily see himself getting to 40 before he starts slowing down. Despite all the surgeries he's had, he says he feels incredible right now. At this time, there just does not appear to be an end game in sight. Ciampa says no one really retires, and that he definitely never sees himself leaving the business.

There appears to be future as a backstage producer for Ciampa once he does lace up his boots for (seemingly) the last time. Triple H has said that he believes The Blackheart would make an excellent backstage producer, and Ciampa has already been doing producing and coaching work with Evolve for a while now. He hopes that if he continues to work hard that one day, when the time is right, he'll be able to step into that role for WWE.

You can hear my full interview with Tommaso Ciampa below. We covered a wide range of topics including the Wednesday Night Wars and his rivalry with Johnny Gargano.

What did you think of the interview? Follow me on Twitter and let me know.

Published 10 Mar 2020, 06:23 IST
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