Tommaso Ciampa Claims Rick Steiner Pulled Out Of WWE NXT Appearance

In a new interview with talkSPORT, current WWE NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa discussed some of his top matches in NXT, including his successful title defense against Bron Breakker at Halloween Havoc two weeks ago. Ciampa also noted how Breakker's father, Rick Steiner, was originally supposed to be at the event.

"So, he was meant to be at Halloween Havoc. He pulled out last minute. Maybe because I retained, but I won't say that's why," he said with a laugh. "I would love to be friends with him. I said to Bron, 'I don't want to meet your dad, I want him to be my buddy.' I want us to exchange numbers, and whatever Rick Steiner does. He's probably not a big phone guy, I don't know. But I just want to be friends with him."

Arguably Tommaso Ciampa's greatest rival during his time in NXT was his former friend and DIY teammate, Johnny Gargano. The two had standout bouts at multiple NXT TakeOvers before their final match, titled "One Final Beat", was booked as a cinematic match in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ciampa acknowledged the challenges associated with this cinematic match, and how it was actually filmed before the acclaimed "Boneyard" cinematic match Undertaker had at WrestleMania 36.

"It was disheartening. I'll be honest, a lot of our feud, I can't think of something that's had more obstacles than that, between Aleister [Black] getting injured and my injury. It would have been perfect if we'd gone to TakeOver: New York like we were supposed to," Ciampa explained. "So, it hurts a little sometimes because I know it's tarnished in some people's minds, but I know how much we put into it and that's what hurts. We know the passion that went into that work, so yeah, it's a bummer that we didn't get to finish it the way we imagined.

"The cinematic match specifically, it's a weird one. The day we filmed, there were only three takes. It wasn't a heavily-edited act. There were two 'stunts' in it, and the rest we just wrestled and they let us do it. The thing that hurt it was it was the first cinematic match we had filmed. It was filmed before the Boneyard match at WrestleMania, but it came out after it, and I think that's what hurt that match.

"Because once you see the Boneyard match, it's held to a different standard," Ciampa continued. "So that was a bummer, because everyone involved with the recording of our match and our peers were so happy with what we did, but then you see it get a mixed reception from the fans. It's a tough spot."