Tommaso Ciampa recently spoke with Matthew Aguilar of ComicBook.com and discussed the feud with Karrion Kross and Scarlett, ahead of the big match at "Takeover: In Your House" on June 7.
The interview was recorded before this week's NXT episode, which saw Scarlett taunt Ciampa during his squash win over enhancement talent Leon Ruff, who also lost to Kross in his recent debut. The interview noted how last week's NXT episode saw Scarlett hold the ropes for Ciampa as he made his way into the ring to reveal the Takeover match to Kross. Ciampa said this interaction with Scarlett was more of a feeling of Déjà vu from their Ring of Honor days. Fans compared it to Ciampa's recent situation with Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae, but Ciampa said this is different. Ciampa continued about his history with Scarlett as they were in ROH together.
"Yeah, I don't know how many people are aware of it, but Scarlett and I have a bit of a past as far as wrestling goes," Ciampa said. "We were both in Ring of Honor at the same time, and our paths crossed when she was managing Matt Taven. It was more than anything just a familiar face that I know what she's capable of ringside and the distraction that she causes and it was one of those days, you have your moments, I think of just Christ, we're doing this again.
"This time around, she just happens to have a monster behind her. I don't know, man. Deja vu more than anything, and in a very different way than Johnny and Candice."
Regarding Kross, Ciampa was asked what weaknesses he sees in the newcomer.
"I don't know that we've seen enough of him to know a weakness, so I kind of feel like, in a weird way, while I have home-field advantage, he has the advantage of studying my tapes and knowing what I do and what I don't do and my tendencies," Ciampa said. "I don't know much about him, so that's a hard one to answer. He's big. He's very strong, and he seems like he's technically sound.
"I don't know what his weakness is, and kind of how I said it last week on television, this doesn't feel as much to me like a match that is going to be won or lost by weaknesses as much as it is by just who comes in and gives their A-game, and I think my A-game just happens to be better than his A-game."
Ciampa also talked about his current NXT character and how he's not the pure heel he previously was in NXT. Ciampa recently had the curtain pulled back on his life when his neck injury was covered, and that heel character didn't feel natural anymore.
"Honestly, for a guy who spent the better part of two years being the most hated person in professional wrestling, once that was taken out of my hands, and it was like oh, we're going to tell your story, everybody else just felt... I just kind of went with what felt natural as far as just letting people in on the rehab and stuff," Ciampa said. "It's kind of like once we pulled back the curtain, there was no shutting people out again. It wasn't like I was going to return and be that same villain that I was prior.
"There's nothing I could do to be that hated person. I think it just became like okay, well, we pulled back the curtain, we might as well just now go with it and be organic and real. I'm still eagerly awaiting the time when something happens and I can go back to my villainous ways, but until that happens, I will continue doing what I'm told to do."