Tommaso Ciampa believes that NXT is set for another boom in WWE.
At its peak, the WWE Network show was the highlight of weekly programming and the quarterly TakeOver events often eclipsed the main roster show that took place the following day.
However, following a move to the USA Network and the rebranding to create the 2.0 era in September 2021, many fans of the grungy and edgy third brand were put off by the blast of colour and took a break from the show, which was reflected in the ratings. Fast forward to one year later and the show was rebranded to an aesthetic more familiar to the black and gold era. The familiar presentation and integration of main roster stars have seen the show achieve some of its best-ever ratings.
Speaking on After The Bell, former NXT Champion recalled a recent trip to the Performance Center and was reminded of a time when the promotion was white hot:
“I actually stopped by the Performance Center (last week) and the vibe there, and the energy, it’s exactly what it used to be. It had a tough stint, it had a tough time with 2.0, the adjustments, the color scheme changes, the vibe was different for a while. It’s hungry again, it’s competitive again, it’s a team effort again. It was a really cool thing to see. I kept saying that to everybody down there. All the producers, coaches, Shawn [Shawn Michaels], Matt [Matt Bloom], everybody. That crowd was as electric as anything I’ve ever seen for a taping.
It was the first time watching where I was like, ‘this is a Black and Gold feel.’ All these new talents and acts have now stepped past that point of being new and they are developed and they have a character and backstory and can connect. It was cool to see. It’s cool to see Carmelo Hayes be a full package and cool to see Trick Williams break out like crazy over the last few months. Ilja Dragunov is next level. He is full package, ready to go. Toss that guy up tomorrow and he’s ready to deliver. It was an awesome show, awesome environment,”
Ciampa continued by referencing previous stars of the black and gold era who are now main eventing pay-per-views in different promotions and how he is excited to watch the stars of the future go on that same journey:
“This era, to me, is very similar to the first. We got to watch Sasha [Sasha Banks aka Mercedes Mone] and Bayley and so many others develop and then we got to be part of their greatness when they went from a little bit on the greener side, trying to figure out who they were, and then ‘Whoa, that Brooklyn match.’
Within our generation, when we came in, Cesaro [aka Claudio Castagnoli], Sami Zayn, KO [Kevin Owens], us [Ciampa and Johnny Gargano], ERA [Undisputed ERA], we kind of defined ourselves a bit more on the independent scene, so when we got to NXT, you weren’t seeing a finished product, but you were seeing guys and girls who knew who they were. This new era, we got to watch Bron Breakker and Carmelo [Carmelo Hayes] develop.
I love that and think it’s fascinating to watch any talent go through the process. The process is so beautiful. Promo process, character process, in-ring work process, we’re watching that process and all of a sudden you see them on a big stage, packed crowd, full of energy. You know light bulbs are going off. They are hungry,”
Tommaso Ciampa Bringing NXT Act To Main Roster
October 2nd saw Ciampa unsuccessfully challenge GUNTHER for the Intercontinental Championship. Following the loss, The Ring General ordered Imperium to continue the assault, which brought out a returning Johnny Gargano and led to a DIY reunion. In the same interview, Ciampa revealed how surprised he was that the reunion got the reaction it did.
H/t to Fightful.