Tommaso Ciampa was one of the pillars of the black and gold era of NXT. His matches with Johnny Gargano are some of the most celebrated in that brand’s history, and his relationship with Triple H is well documented. Although Ciampa has since left NXT, he still reminisces of his time growing on the brand and the memories he created with his fellow wrestlers.
During the El Brunch de WWE, Ciampa explained why NXT felt unique from all the other brands in WWE.
“Johnny, and Undisputed Era, and Finn while he shared it with us, and there was just so many of us, you know? Aleister and everybody,” Ciampa stated. “What we did as #DIY specifically, with Revival and then the Cruiserweight Classic, and splitting up and our feud, like, that’s something that I was very hands-on with and I got to put a lot of input into it.”
WWE NXT fans felt the emotion and excitement of the classic bouts between Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano, Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic, Shayna Baszler and Kari Zayne, and many more. The matches and feuds were given that extra bit of time and care to tell their stories masterfully, all the way until their ends. Ciampa believes that once NXT started to go on the road more, it began to seem like a third brand.
“I think without being an ECW, I think it had a very ECW-feel … When I got there, we had just starting to do a couple of Takeovers. We weren’t really doing live events on the road much and by the time we got to the pandemic, we were on the road twice a month for four days every month, and we were doing Takeovers every couple of months. We were like a legit third brand.”
While NXT has undergone many changes within the past several months with the relaunch, many fans of the brand still cling to the black and gold era. It was an era defined by the matches it was producing and the new faces looking to make their mark on the WWE landscape. Many have since left, but their legacies will remain etched in the company’s history. And who knows, maybe someday we’ll see Tommaso Ciampa make his return on the brand.
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