Exclusive interview: Tommaso Ciampa on overcoming obstacles, turning NXT into the “A-show” and more
Tommaso Ciampa’s shocking procurement of the NXT Championship has not only served to further distance Ciampa (who is arguably the most disfavored Superstar in all NXT) from the endearment of the NXT Universe; The Blackheart has also used his reign to reinforce his self-proclamation of greatness. With his NXT Title Triple Threat Match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 against Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black fast approaching, Ciampa spoke to WWE.com about his newfound championship status and his plans for the future of NXT. [Ed. Note: This interview was conducted prior to the mysterious events of Wednesday night, which resulted in Black in winding up in a medical facility.]
WWE.COM: My first order of business is to congratulate you on becoming NXT Champion. How do you feel?
TOMMASO CIAMPA: It's good to be champ, and right now, there truly is no debate. I am the champion of champions. I'm the main event. I'm untouchable. I, Tommaso Ciampa, am the greatest sports-entertainer of all time.
WWE.COM: How do you respond to Johnny Gargano's claims that he's the reason you became NXT Champion?
CIAMPA: Who? There is a reason why the name plates on my NXT Title say Ciampa. One person is responsible for my success. One. And his name is Ciampa.
WWE.COM: You've managed to elicit a rather passionate response from the NXT Universe, especially by your earlier claims of being the greatest sports-entertainer of all time. Where does this belief come from?
CIAMPA: I am a realist. I call it like I see it. I have the best physique in all of WWE; this is not by accident. I am the best in-ring performer in all of WWE; this is not happenstance. I am the best on the microphone in all of WWE; this is not a debate. I am your NXT World Champion. I am a god. You want something to believe in. Believe in me.
WWE.COM: You've been very vocal on social media regarding your self-professed prowess. Specifically, you recently claimed you were the perfect role model for kids out there. Why is this?
CIAMPA: In a society that believes every child deserves a participation award, one man sets himself apart, and that man just so happens to be the NXT World Champion. I am not interested in participating. I am interested in winning. If you are teaching your child to be content with a participation award, then you already failed at life. If you want your kid to be a winner, then tell them to look at Tommaso Ciampa for inspiration.
WWE.COM: Can you expound on some of the obstacles you feel you've had to overcome to reach this level of inspiration?
CIAMPA: I’ve experienced emotional obstacles, like at TakeOver: Chicago in May 2017, when my “best friend” and the entire NXT Universe turned their backs on me. I’ve also had physical obstacles. Between May and August 2017, I had three surgeries — one on my ACL, one on my right shoulder and one on my left shoulder. Less than one year later, I became NXT World Champion. Need I say more about overcoming obstacles?
5.30.17 - ACL Surgery— BLACKHEART (@NXTCiampa) August 1, 2018
7.11.17 - R Shoulder Surgery
8.22.17 - L Shoulder Surgery
7.25.18 - NXT Champion
Truly inspirational. I am the role model your child needs. An absolute treasure. pic.twitter.com/NsjMMuv96A
WWE.COM: Where do you see this brand going with you as NXT Champion?
CIAMPA: With Tommaso Ciampa as its ruler, NXT has officially become the “A-show.” There is no ceiling. No boundaries. No limits. I am writing my own legacy, and I am carrying NXT along for the ride. When my mission is complete, kids will no longer dream of their WrestleMania Moment. Kids will dream of their “TakeOver Moment.”
WWE.COM: What can the NXT Universe expect from your title defense at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4?
CIAMPA: Well, for starters, the NXT World Title will finally be defended in the main event of TakeOver again. Spoiler alert: I win.