When the first reports of a shake-up at NXT came out, Tommaso Ciampa was one of the wrestlers fans looked to for a reaction. A presumed lifer for WWE’s third brand, he was the kind of talent it sounded like Vince McMahon wanted phased out as he retooled the show into something focused on molding bigger, greener workers into Superstars™.
But more than a month has passed, and Ciampa’s still there. Not only that, but on the premiere of NXT 2.0, he was crowned the first champion of the new era - his second time with the NXT title.
His latest optimistic remarks about the rebrand, offered to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, aren’t because he hasn’t been released, or was booked for last Tuesday’s big win. Instead, they’re evidence of why WWE would trust him to lead the transition. Ciampa’s always been a tireless advocate for the formerly black-and-gold brand.
“I’m embracing the change. It reminds me so much of the NXT that I fell in love with before even arriving to the company. It’s exciting watching people develop right in front of your eyes. And here I am, NXT champion of this new, very colorful, loud, in-your-face NXT 2.0. I’m staring at an extremely exciting opportunity. There are guys like Bron Breakker and Von Wagner. There’s Kyle O’Reilly and Pete Dunne. There is also a draft coming up in a few weeks. Survivor Series is right around the corner. I look at Roman Reigns, I look at Big E, and I think, ‘I might be sharing the ring with these guys.’ That range of competitors is incredible, and I get to be the face of this rebranding.
“I made a real case in 2018 for NXT to be the A-show. That’s SmackDown right now. But I look at the roster we have in NXT, so give us three months, give us six months, and we’re going to be back in that discussion. I want to make the NXT title the most prestigious title in all of sports entertainment, and I am very confident I can do that.”
It’s a super optimistic outlook. There haven’t been reports NXT will be back in the Survivor Series mix again in 2021 (they weren’t in 2020), and it stands to reason that if any acts break out enough that Tuesdays are looking like WWE’s top night of the week, those acts will be moved to Raw or SmackDown.
Still, what the champ is laying down here is exactly what fans and members of the roster need to hear.