Tommaso Ciampa Comments on Feud With Karrion Kross, Says He Feels Great Physically, More


During a recent interview with CBS in New York, Tommaso Ciampa commented on Karrion Kross’ WWE NXT debut, his current physical condition, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:

On Karrion Kross’ debut: “I’ll tell you that based on his first entrance, I don’t think it matters if you knew who he was. You saw that first entrance, and that presentation, and the ‘wow’ factor is there. The ‘it’ factor is all over the dude, and same with Scarlet. I think in his situation, I don’t know if it mattered. The dude is a monster. He’s got a look. He’s got great music, unbelievable song. I don’t know who came up with that, but it’s great. It reminds me a lot of Aleistar Black, when he made his debut or Shinsuke Nakamura. Immediately I go, ‘Okay. This is the main-event player.’”

On if he lobbied to work with Kross: “Absolutely not. No, no, no. He’s 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds. I had my share with AOP. Fanfare, I think is what led to this more so than anything. When the rumors were that he was headed to NXT, I was getting a lot of tweets and Instagrams and all that. The social media was going crazy about seeing the two of us head-to-head. I think for him, it’s pretty simple. It’s clear who some of the top guys are in NXT. I’m clearly one of them, and he wanted to make a statement, so he attacks some of the top guys. So I think more so than anything, it was a combination of fans wanting to see it as a pseudo dream match and him wanting to make an immediate impact and name for himself.”

On moving into this feud out of the feud with Johnny Gargano: “It feels very organic and natural in some weird sense. I feel like I do my best work when I am put into scenarios where there’s some in-depth story to be told. For instance, when Johnny and I tagged versus Mustache Mountain, it was a super fun time. I loved the match and all that. But one-offs for me is what they are. I like it when you can kind of sink your teeth into something. So in that scenario, it’s great for me, because obviously Kross is a completely different opponent than Johnny. It’s a whole different type of matchup. It’s a whole different style. It’s a whole different presentation. And it’s something that I think people are excited for. And it kind of freshens me up in a little bit of a way too. It forces me to… Not that I was losing any sort of passion or losing any drive, but it definitely — when you see the new guy come in and he’s hungry — it does force you to look in the mirror and say, ‘Okay, am I what I was two, three, four years ago? Do I still have that same itch that he has?’ Because you make it to the top of the NXT mountain, and now here’s a guy who hasn’t sniffed it, but boy does he hunger for it. So it’s a very different dynamic that has… Yeah I could feel people are excited for it, and it’s forced my hand, to dig down deep a little bit.”

On if people are likely to judge his body of work against his feud with Gargano: “I don’t know that I’ve ever thought of that. I don’t know if that’s the thing though. And the only reason I say this is because when I think of [Triple H] and [Shawn Michaels], I never watched Hunter versus Taker, or Shawn versus Taker, or them versus any of their other opponents and thought like, ‘Oh yeah, but it’s not Hunter and Shawn.’ I think it’s what starts to create a legacy in a way. It’s how a guy adapts and how a guy gets into all these different situations and performs and continues to build his resume. So that’s the challenge that I have. That’s the test that I put myself through is that I just don’t want people to ever say, ‘Oh yeah, he had these great matches with Johnny Gargano.’ I want them to be able to say, ‘Oh yeah, then there was that double team dream match. There was that Adam Cole match. That Aleister Black match. That Karrion Kross match.’ I just want them to be able to rattle off that he went through the best of the best and found ways to have chemistry with all of them, or bring out their best or bring out a different side of them.”

On how he’s feeling health-wise: “I feel great because I don’t wrestle anymore. It sounds so crazy, but sometimes I have trouble remembering. I think the match with Johnny was my last match. I’m pretty sure. It feels like that was forever ago. I think it was over two months ago now. I feel physically like the best I’ve ever felt. … All I’m doing is training at home. I’m sleeping in my own bed. I’m not traveling. So physically I feel on top of the world, but with that said, I’m sure Karrion Kross does too. You know, when he wrestles, he wrestles for 30 seconds, so I don’t know that that’s going to be an advantage unfortunately.”

On the return of the In Your House theme: “It’s the best, right? It’s one of my favorite parts of this whole NXT thing. I always tell people, when I was a kid, there was four pay-per-views a year, and everything had three-month builds, and it was just the best thing ever. That’s my wrestling. It was like, if there was a way for it to go back to that, oh my God, I would be so happy. And that’s what NXT has provided. It’s this slower storytelling and these big four TakeOvers. When In Your House became a thing when I was a kid, it was just the coolest ever and people are winning houses. … So when NXT is bringing out the old-school graphics, the only thing I’m wondering is if somehow we could have that old In Your House set. That’s all just the fan in me. I’m literally doing what, 10 or 12-year-old me was watching, and going crazy about on the couch. So that is very, very cool. I don’t know why, but something about wrestling Karrion Kross is perfect for it. It’s very strange because, not that he is a mid-90’s character, but he’s definitely not your typical five-star indie guy. He is more of the throwback. He’s a big dude who passes the airport test, and everybody sees him and knows [he’s someone].”

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