Denise Salcedo recently interviewed NXT Superstar Tommaso Ciampa, who spoke about his perception of NXT creative. He discussed how he feels as though he is a part of a larger machine and that he views his spot in NXT as a constantly spinning wheel.
“For me as a performer, you’re kinda just a cog in the wheel,” admitted Ciampa. “It’s just a matter of being adaptable and taking any opportunity that you can get and just running with it and making the most of it. It’s so different how this works in stages as you grow as a performer and mature too as an individual. Because it’s this big wheel and it just keeps spinning and you’re not always gonna be on top of that wheel and you just have to be able to make the most of it wherever you end up being.
“You look at a roster like ours or even take RAW and SmackDown, anybody for example, there’s so much talent right now in wrestling more so than I think probably ever. When you just take all of it together it’s an insane amount of talent and there’s only you know a certain amount of hours a week of television. Whether that’s NXT, or RAW or Smackdown or whatever and you just have to understand that. You can get 10 minutes, 20 minutes or last Takeover, I think I got 60 seconds in a promo, you just make the most of it and you just try to make sure that you’re always proud of what you’ve presented.”
When discussing the importance of being an adaptable performer Ciampa pointed at Randy Orton as a prime example of a talent who can fulfill any role they are assigned. He says this despite both of them taking shots at each other in the summer of last year.
“I’ll use a person like Randy Orton for example,” said Ciampa. “Randy Orton has moments where he’s the guy everyone is talking about. He’s the greatest villain in the world and then he has other moments where he’s gonna be tagging with RKBro and it’s still great because it’s Randy Orton. But he’s not the greatest villain in the world until he is again. It’s a wheel.”
While on the topic of NXT creative, Ciampa discussed how hard it is for creative to constantly have an idea for a talent every week of the year. He notes that he takes that into account when he is frustrated after being left off a show or event such as an NXT Takeover.
“To be honest I don’t know that you always do [have an idea for a talent] and you have to understand that that’s part of the process,” revealed Ciampa. “To keep everybody creatively fulfilled 52 weeks a year is impossible. That’s not real. So, it’s kinda just understanding the timing of it all. You could still put out quality during what you’re allotted but you control what you control.
“It’s not easy by any means, I am not saying I don’t have days where I am frustrated or I don’t have a chip on my shoulder when I am left off of Takeover or something, I do, but I have to step outside of my own bubble sometimes too and understand this is a much bigger business than just me.”
Ciampa also discussed forming a tag team with Timothy Thatcher. He admits he would not have even thought about teaming with Thatcher a year ago. He also spoke about Thatcher’s desire for his first taste of NXT gold and that he doesn’t believe MSK can stand in the way of their goal to become the tag team champions.
“In this scenario I am happy that it turned out to be what it did,” noted Ciampa. “It was a tough year, year and a half, for me just professionally. I was in two Takeovers in a year, and it was tough to stomach where you’re like, ‘Damn, well what do I gotta do?’ Because I know the work ethic I have, I know what I am controlling and there’s a lot of variables out of your control and you’re just trying to figure out well, ‘What are we gonna do? What’s gonna click?’
“I don’t think if I sat down in a room a year ago I would have been like, ‘Oh yeah Timmy and I are gonna do this thing, and it’s gonna click, and it’s gonna be great’ It fell on our lap. There’s the Dusty Cup opening, we get thrown together and I just remember that match ending and going like ‘Oh we’ve got some chemistry here, this is good ” and we’re like-minded fellas. We get along good and like you said, it’s really grown recently, it’s a good chemistry we got. Whether it’s in the ring or even when we’re doing backstage promos segments and such, we feed off each other really well, there’s good energy there, there’s good understanding there.
“Timmy is a star, and it’s not like nobody is carrying anybody around, it’s just two dudes who got aligned at the right time and it’s working and now at Great American Bash— I’ve never even stepped in a ring with them [MSK] and they’re definitely talented, they wouldn’t be NXT Tag Team Champions if they weren’t. I don’t think they have a chance in hell to beat us, it’s not even a knock on them, I don’t think anybody could beat us right now. It’s just the truth.
“I am working in a place right now that I haven’t been in before as far as just physically and mentally. I am as sharp as I’ve ever been. Timmy is hungry, he’s never won gold in NXT, he’s real hungry, he’s quiet hungry, he doesn’t complain, he sits by himself a lot, but that boy is hungry. That Great American Bash that is the most eyes that will have ever been on us as a tag team. It’s a big stage, it’s a big match and if I was a betting man, which I am not, but if I was I’d bet it all on us.”
Ciampa also touched on how he is feeling mentally and physically. Ciampa noted that he is in the best shape of his life and that he feels he is in the prime of his career. He also disclosed that he believes he will create a legacy for his career within the next five years.
“All I want is the opportunity to continue to do that, especially right now I am 36, I am in the best shape of my life, I feel like I am entering my prime,” shared Ciampa. “So, I look at these next five years as like, ‘Ah damn, these are the five years where the legacy gets created.’ Everything else has been ground work but these next five years like, just give me the damn ball, that’s all I want, just give me the ball.”
Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher will face NXT Tag Team Champions MSK at The Great American Bash tonight. As always, Wrestling Inc. will have live coverage of the show.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit TheSportster’s Denise Salcedo with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.