Hometown: Palermo, Italy
When did you become a fan of wrestling, and who were your favorites?
I guess I will go the generic route and tell you that I was a fan my whole life. I'd say my first true hero was Bret Hart. I was a very short tempered kid in grade school. In fact, I was suspended from school every single year from Kindergarten until Grade 5 for fighting. And I'd be willing to bet in nearly every fight I had I emulated some sort of wrestling star in some fashion. Sadly, this even lasted into high school when I had a scuffle during lacrosse practice with a teammate and kept yelling "here comes the pain". Terrible I know...but sadly true.
When did you decide that you wanted a career in wrestling?
Again, I would have to say the decision was made as a child. In grade school we had to write an autobiography of our life and the last chapter was dedicated to our future. When talking about my future career I was certain I would be a pro wrestler. I still have the autobiography stored under my bed as a constant reminder.
Who trained you, and what was that experience like?
I was trained by too many guys to name. I feel like every match I have is a learning experience to some degree. We learn from our wins and we learn from our losses. If I was to pick a couple guys who have had a major impact on my career then I would say Mike Hollow for the in ring fundamentals he taught me, and Harley Race for teaching me how to be a star.
After spending two years on the Indy circuit, you got your first break when you appeared on an episode of WWE Smackdown, in a segment with The Undertaker. How did that come about, and do you think you were ready to be there at that point in your development as a wrestler?
Right place right time. WWE was in town and they called for extras to read for the part. I've been comfortable on the mic since day one, so I felt prepared for the role. I had the opportunity to meet with Hunter, Vince, and Stephanie prior to going in front of the live crowd. I hit a home run and the rest is history. Looking back on it today, I was definitely more than prepared for that role; however, I was still far from developed enough as a wrestler to be working full time for WWE.
Were you under a WWE developmental deal at that point, or were you signed later?
I was not signed until about 6-9 months later.
Not exactly. I have been motivated since the first day I stepped into a wrestling ring to be the very best. If anything, my experience with WWE and being fired simply exploited my weaknesses and gave me specific challenges to focus on developing.
After that you started making the rounds again on the Independents. Was it hard to get going again after being apart of the WWE?
It was different. The other wrestlers, promoters, fans - they all look at you differently. There is a lot of whispering. I was never quite tested like this before, both mentally and emotionally. But like anything else, I knew if I continued to work my ass off, continued to grow as a performer, and continued to prove myself then at the end of the day talent and passion could not be denied success.
In 2011 you started with Ring of Honor. What has that experience been like for you?
Challenging. The competition is the best you will find anywhere. A locker room of hungry talented athletes. Frustrating. I came to ROH with a desire to prove myself against the best athletes/technicians that wrestling has to offer, and just when I felt like I was getting some steam I blew out my knee. Motivating. I have truly never been more motivated in my life to return to the ring and make a major splash. My goal is to become irreplaceable. I want to be the most talked about guy in all of professional wrestling.
This past August you tore your ACL in a match against Jay Lethal, how is your recovery going?
Recovery is going as planned. It's a very long, lonely road. All I have is time. Time to train. Time to think. Time to reflect. The workouts are gruesome. The first two weeks of rehab were insanely painful. I was rehabbing 16 hours per day. Pissing in a bottle because walking to the bathroom was simply not an option. Week three things just seemed to start clicking. I'm now in the beginning of week 4. I'm off the crutches. I train 3 times per day for about 2 hours each time. All I do is envision my return to the ring. When the time comes shits gonna get real serious, real fast.
Is there a timetable for your return?
Not really. At first the doctor said 1 year. So far I've been able to cut that down to 9 months. I realize I might be real intense, some even say I'm a little crazy; but I will not rush rehab. I will not return to the ring until I am bigger, stronger, leaner, faster, and better than ever before. I don't plan to come back until I am ready to take the wrestling world by storm.
Tell us, Who is Tommaso Ciampa?
It's me man. I'm one intense, passionate, hard headed bastard. People either love me or hate me. I don't play politics, I don't kiss ass, and I don't sugar coat. If I think you suck you will know. If I think you are disrespectful you will know. My emotions are worn on my sleeve. And I wouldn't change it for a second. My stubbornness, my cockiness, and my attitude will either lead to my demise or make me the biggest star in this industry. I firmly believe it will be the latter.
|Hitting "Project Ciampa" on Sami Callihan|
How can people get in touch with you?
You can follow me on Twitter @projectciampa . I like using Twitter to amuse myself. Don't expect me to follow you or tag you in any post. I can't be bothered by all that. To be honest, as far as social media is concerned, I don't give a shit what's going on with anyone else. If it doesn't affect me then it does not concern me. But when fans write me I am actually pretty good at getting back to them. It's a good way to keep my finger on the pulse.
Also go to www.youtube.com/projectciampa - I have a lot of promos up on that site. Some that I posted and some in my "Favorites". It's good stuff. It's a good way for fans to see my evolution, watch me grow as a performer, and see my improvements on the mic. I plan to have some new promos out soon so keep an eye out for them.
I also accept anyone on Facebook at Tommaso Ciampa. But if you keep inviting me to your shitty shows or ask me to play games then I will delete you. So just be cool and don't be an ass.
Twitter - twitter.com/projectciampa
Facebook – www.facebook.com/projectciampa
YouTube – www.youtube.com/user/ProjectCiampa