Last week, WWE confirmed NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa would undergo neck surgery, potentially keeping him out of action for over a year. The shocking and devastating news has been a major talking point throughout the past week and with Ciampa having such a major impact since his last return to action, many have been reflecting on his run as NXT Champion. We have course seen many fantastic stars hold the prestigious title but did Ciampa have one of if not the best reign?
I Only Need ONE Chance
When Ciampa made his return to NXT following a knee injury he set his sights on Johnny Gargano and the two engaged in one of the most iconic NXT rivalries of all time but in moving away from that intense feud slightly he made becoming NXT champion his number one priority promising that he only needed one shot at the champion to walk out with the title around his shoulder and that proved to be very much true. It only took Ciampa one championship bout against the then champion Aleister Black to become the new title holder and the surprise victory saw fans view Tommaso in a completely different light. He had just knocked off one of the biggest stars on the roster, taken the top spot and kept to a promise becoming one of the most dangerous and unpredictable talents on the black and yellow brand.
From CWC Competitor to Biggest Star on NXT
The story of Tommaso Ciampa’s career so far has been something truly special and awaiting the next chapter is most certainly exciting! His journey to becoming NXT champion is part of what made his reign so special going from a former NXT Tag Team Champion and Cruiserweight Classic Competitor to the man at the very top of the NXT roster. Fans witnessed a superstar literally grow going from strength to strength and because of that story and that journey you were naturally impressed and taken aback by what he was delivering. This is a man who went on a true journey and the changes he went through allowed us fans witness him become a top star and major champion in the WWE adding to his popularity and the impact his reign had.
The Johnny Gargano Story
The biggest highlight of Tommaso Ciampa’s NXT career has been his rivalry with Johnny Gargano, there is simply no denying that. The chemistry the two possess, the story work, and the matches they have delivered has all gone down as some of the best we have seen not only in NXT but WWE history and the seeing that development of their story carry on throughout Ciampa’s run as NXT champion was such an interesting and exciting element. Whether it be for the NXT championship or rebuilding their relationship as friends the work here was simply something on another level. Ciampa did what Gargano couldn’t ever do, capture the NXT Championship, the two done battle for the title, and come the end of it they were able to reconnect both as champions. Gargano was such a huge part of Tommaso’s title reign and the story and chemistry and the development we witnessed were truly iconic.
Forever Defying the Odd’s
What I personally really enjoyed about Tommaso Ciampa’s reign as NXT Champion was the element of surprise he brought to the table and the fact he was forever defying the odds. Despite spending his entire NXT career proving to be one of the best in-ring competitors in the WWE right now and a true all-around talent there was still this sense of surprise every time he walked away with a victory over certain talents and walked away still champion. Take his more recent NXT Championship match against Aleister Black as a prime example. This was one of my favourite contests to come from Ciampa’s reign and with many wondering if he could and would actually walk away with the win over Black it came as a surprise to some to see him do exactly that. It didn’t matter who stood in his way, Ciampa always proved just how good he is and a bit more walking out still our NXT Champion.
The Quality of Matches
Speaking of his performances of champion we cannot just recognise those surprises such as walking away with the win over Aleister Black twice but his overall showing. Whether it be Black, Gargano, or Velveteen Dream, Tommaso Ciampa walked into the ring and stepped up to the plate delivering an array of matches that went down as career, NXT, and year highlights. It’s impossible to pinpoint a single bad match Ciampa has been a part of since his return and that’s something we can’t say for many talents. His entire reign was full of entertaining matches and it’s a shame we couldn’t see even more.
His Character Work
Tommaso Ciampa was a completely different kind of NXT champion bringing something totally unique and different to the table and the title. What’s so amazing about the history of the NXT Championship is how clear it is that every title holder has done exactly that and brought something different to the title but Ciampa’s dark, unique, and intense character really made for something extremely exciting. From the segments we saw between him and Nikki Cross, the story between him and Gargano, the rivalry with Velveteen Dream, and his relationship with the title and his sadistic ways of keeping hold of the championship that meant so much to him made this one of the most exciting and entertaining reigns in NXT history. Ciampa brought something totally new to the table and in the process was shaking up the landscape of the NXT roster completely.
As a major Tommaso Ciampa fan, I’m personally really upset to hear the news that he has suffered such a major injury but of course, we all wish him a healthy and speedy recovery. There is simply no denying Tommaso Ciampa has had one of the best NXT Championship reigns of all time and the story his of his WWE career has so far been a very unique and entertaining one and we now all wait to see what the next chapter holds.
All Pics wwe.com