There are few villains currently in WWE that are as evil as Tommaso Ciampa – wrestlers that get such a negative reaction when they walk through the curtain it’s hard to hear anything other than boos or torrents of abuse. Yeah, people aren’t fond of Randy Orton or Samoa Joe. Brock Lesnar is disliked for other reasons besides being a part-timer, and Roman Reigns doesn’t count. When Ciampa beat Aleister Black for the NXT Championship, the faces of the crowd were a picture; mouths were wide open, hands covered their faces – people were distraught. The arena fell silent, and like the absence of Ciampa’s theme music, the company entered a new era – one where fairy tales become extinct, and heroes fall into oblivion regardless of how loved they are.
It’s amazing to think that Tommaso Ciampa first appeared in WWE back in 2005, on an episode of Smackdown as a lawyer to Muhammad Hassan. He was attacked by The Undertaker and was never really seen again. Nobody in a million years would see him now and remember his appearance. He had slick back hair and no beard, looking more like a cross with Christian Bale in American Psycho and Matthew McConaughey than the bearded psychopath he has become. When you look at reinvention within the professional wrestling spectrum, it’s rather amazing to see how much he has changed.
He had a run in ROH, feuding with Jay Lethal, and also becoming the ROH Television Champion after defeating Matt Taven at Final Battle 2013. It wasn’t until returning after a hiatus did he sport his new look, coming out with a more toned physic and the beard he now wears so well, just a bit shorter. He was always destined for greatness, and after finally coming to NXT and creating a friendship with Johnny Gargano, they won the NXT Tag Team Championship as DIY. However, it was his feud with Gargano that cemented Ciampa’s heel status. At NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, he came out and attacked Gargano with a crutch, smashing him in the back, then staring him down at the top of the ramp.
Their feud continued for most of 2018, and in that time he cost his former friend the NXT Championship against Andrade Almas. Gargano and Ciampa had a match which he lost, but it was at NXT TakeOver: Chicago II in July the two raised the roof and had one of the best matches in WWE history. It was the culmination of months of storytelling, with the two putting on career-making performances in a Street Fight. Ciampa ended up winning after using a DDT onto the exposed ring. It was filled with so many incredible moments it’s so hard to pick a favourite.
Following their war, Tommaso Ciampa focused solely on Aleister Black and his NXT Championship, and at the July 25 tapings of NXT, he once again put on a match filled with excitement, twists and turns, and horror. When Ciampa lifted the belt after beating Black, the crowd couldn’t believe it. Rarely does a crowd react in such a way, and in that moment the world was blessed with the most detested NXT Champion of all time. It’s obvious that Johnny Gargano isn’t over his feud with Ciampa, and it may lead to a title match at a later TakeOver event, but regardless, Ciampa has become the best heel in WWE.
Those fortunate enough to watch Ali during his prime did not realize they were watching The Greatest.
Don’t make that same mistake.
Once in a lifetime…
The Greatest Sports Entertainer of All Time pic.twitter.com/BemocOPGmF
— BLACKHEART (@ProjectCiampa) August 8, 2018
He is doing something nobody else is doing in World Wrestling Entertainment. He comes to the ring with no theme music, preferring to walk in silence allowing the crowd to despise him. He wants to hear the abuse – it drives him. He thrives on the vitriol and the hate. His presence on social media is excellent too, mocking the WWE Universe with tweets aimed to get the blood boiling, and with any interview he conducts, we hang off every word. Ciampa draws you into his world and refuses to allow you to find hope in anything he says.
There are seldom characters in the history of sports entertainment that have crafted themselves in such a precise and lucid way. Tommaso Ciampa knows exactly who he is, and knows exactly how to make the fans hate him. If you aren’t a fan of his persona, you can’t deny just how smart he is and how exceptional his ability to build one of the most solid villains ever from scratch is nothing short of remarkable. Ciampa goes from strength to strength, and hopefully HHH will allow him to hold onto the title for a long while to come. He’s earned his position within the company, and few will ever come close to being as good as him.
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