NXT star Tommaso Ciampa joined Busted Open Radio, and during the visit, Ciampa was asked what was the best thing for him right now. He responded by saying health and schedule.
“Trying to stay healthy is big, and the schedule is big,” Ciampa said. “As you guys know, the last couple of years have been so unpredictable for the world, and how that’s affected our small bubble of wrestling. With first, losing crowds and losing travel. It’s all stuff that you really couldn’t prepare for, and it’s forced everybody from the performers all the way up.
“Just talking on the performers standpoint, it’s really forced me to re-evaluate everything about it; how you wrestle, your style, what’s important to you. What’s important to me now, when it comes to wrestling, it’s all story. I’ve always been a story guy. I’ve always been someone who tried to build towards moments and stuff. But I think the pandemic, it really pulled back on, ‘you weren’t doing anything for a reaction anymore. You weren’t basing anything in your match off of noise.’
“And when you got to strip that away and go, ‘okay, I’m going to build this for what I like and what I want it to look like.’ That started to have an affect. And now that crowds are coming back, I’ve noticed the carryover of that has been pretty big. I just think, for me, its about finding the right opponent, the right platform, being put in situations that still challenge me. Everything I get to do, whether it’s a a sixty second promo or an eight minute match or I get a twenty minute stage with a guy like WALTER, it’s just, ‘how do I make sure that contributes to a legacy that I’m proud of?’ I want to look back on the work that Tommaso Ciampa did and say, ‘yeah, that represents me as the performer and as the person.’ I want to be proud of what I put out there. And that’s kind of like where I’m at right now. NXT still provides that platform for me, so I’m enjoying what I’m doing.”
Ciampa was also asked about the upcoming changes to the NXT brand that have been reported. Despite Nick Khan himself confirming changes were coming, Ciampa seemed to dismiss the changes as speculation, and that as long as things stay the same, he doesn’t mind.
“There’s always noise in wrestling,” Ciampa said. “That’s all I can chalk it up to for now. I’ll be the first to admit I got caught up in it a lot five, six, seven years ago, whatever it may be. I was reading the internet and keeping up on it and stuff. I’ve tended to pull back a lot from that, especially in the last few years since having a daughter. I just realized how little it affects my life. It’s rumblings, it’s rumors. I did see the logo and I don’t know. Cool? I’m not very picky. Whatever, it’s fine with me.
“NXT, for me, is, it’s hard sometimes for me to articulate it. I still remember the exact moment I was watching on my phone when I saw NXT Arrival and I saw Cesaro in the ring with Sami Zayn, and I was like, ‘I have to be there.’ It’s the first time I had ever felt that way, and at that point, I think I had been wrestling for twelve years. It’s what it represented. It was taking the indie style and it was putting the lights behind it, the music, the production, and going, ‘we’re going to deliver. Bell to bell, we’re going to deliver. But we’re also going to have a commentary team that can support it and tell our story. And we’re going to have entrances and this awesome vibe and crowd and atmosphere.’ It just had everything I loved about pro wrestling when I was growing up. Then I started to watch it continue to grow while I was at Ring of Honor, and I was watching from a distance and going, ‘oh man, now they’re running a PPV called TakeOver once every three to four months. And they’re building storylines and everything means something. There’s a purpose and a matter.’
“As a fan, I can get invested because I feel like, ‘they’re going to pay it off for me. They’re not just going to forget my story in a week or two. They’re going to actually see things through.’ That’s what attracted me. And when I got to the company and I got that opportunity, and Johnny and I got brought in, not signed, for the Dusty Classic. Everything that’s transpired my entire time there, it’s still that desire and has lived up to every expectation and hope I had. So I don’t know, man.
“What’s to come for me? I’m still there, I’m still in NXT and Hunter and Shawn and all these great minds with their vision are still there. I see them every week; every time I go to TV, they’re there. So it’s hard for me to read too much to an internet report when my day to day life, my week to week life hasn’t really changed a lot. I’m still going to work and say, ‘hey, I think my promo can get the best reaction and tell the best story this way. I think the match can go this way or that way.’ And we’re still being heard, and we’re still seeing our visions being delivered and put through on camera to a wider crowd at home through USA and stuff. So, it’s hard for me to buy in to too much. I just don’t think I’m going anywhere. So, as long as Tommaso Ciampa gets ten, fifteen minutes on NXT, you’re going to see me doing what I do best and what NXT does best. I’m going to represent the company the way I have been the last six years.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription