Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Tommaso Ciampa

Go To
The Blackheart (with Goldie).
No one will survive...!

Tommaso Ciampa (real name Tommaso Whitney, born on May 8, 1985) is an American professional wrestler hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, and trained by Killer Kowalski, Mike Hollow, Harley Race and Al Snow. He's signed to WWE, performing on its Raw brand.

He has performed in several other promotions such as Ring of Honor (1x Television Champion), Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Beyond Wrestling, Top Rope Promotions (1x Heavyweight Champion) and Chaotic Wrestling (1x Heavyweight Champion, 1x New England Champion).

Prior to the existence of the NXT brand, he appeared as one of Muhammad Hassan's lawyers and confronted The Undertaker under his real name. Then he signed to Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2007, but had to retire due to injuries. After a second stint in the indies (which included the stint in ROH and a brief appearance at TNA), he re-signed with WWE, this time for the NXT brand on September 2, 2015. He began performing in a Tag Team with Johnny Gargano called "#DIY", with whom he won the NXT Tag Team Championship, until their disbandment, which gave birth to one of the most prominent storylines of the entirety of wrestling. And that's not hyperbole. After all was said and done with "Johnny Wrestling", he set his sights on the NXT Championship itself, obtaining it in 2018.

Fairytale Tropes Ending:

  • Aborted Arc: Upsettingly enough, his long-running feud with Johnny Gargano was cut short by Ciampa's need for neck surgery just weeks shy of what was appearing to be the Final Battle between the two at TakeOver: New York.
  • Agony of the Feet: Bit Matt Riddle's bare feet.
  • Arc Words: "This is my moment!" for his feud against Johnny Gargano. It's a Meaningful Echo to their Catchphrase as a tag team: "This is our moment!"
  • Arch-Enemy: His former partner, Johnny Gargano.
    • Since he got called up to the main roster, he's now one to Mustafa Ali.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In 2018, Ciampa had accomplisehed his goal in not only destroying Johnny Wrestling (having defeated Johnny twice) but also successfully turning Johnny Gargano to the darkside. He then focused his goal of capturing the NXT Championship and successfully capture the title from Aleister Black in addition of ending Black's undefeated streak.
  • Bald of Evil: His Face–Heel Turn.
  • Beard of Evil: In his later appearances in ROH and in NXT.
  • Big Bad: Has effectively ascended to this for NXT since becoming champion, holding brutal dominance over the roster and continuing to psychologically torment Johnny Gargano so hard he snapped into a delusional Fallen Hero.
  • Companion Cube: The NXT Championship title itself, which he calls "Goldie." This is to the point where after his 2019 return (at which point Adam Cole was the NXT champion), his first on-screen promo saw him interrupt The Undisputed Era to talk to "Goldie" directly, and the only acknowledgment he even gave to Cole or the three other guys in the ring was to bring a crutch and a chair with him in case they tried anything. Two weeks have gone by and he's yet to look Adam Cole in the eye for more than a few seconds.
    • In a Funny Background Event during the Nov 1 2019 Smackdown — where NXT invaded Smackdown due to real life events preventing most of the Smackdown roster from returning from Saudi Arabia — he's completely locked gazes at Goldie even while Triple H is announcing NXT invading Survivor Series.
  • The Corrupter: Ciampa had been slowly turning Johnny Gargano to the darkside. As Gargano's obsession with Ciampa increased, he started to become more and more aggressive, and when he had the chance to defeat Ciampa at both TakeOver Chicago II and Brooklyn 4, Johnny instead chose to continue attacking Ciampa which led to his own defeat. The revelation that it was Johnny who attacked Aleister Black proved that Ciampa is correct that Johnny Wrestling is corruptible, leading to Gargano's Face–Heel Turn. In fact, Johnny had been teaming up with Ciampa again ever since turning heel.
  • Crush the Keepsake: At NXT TakeOver: Chicago II, he committed the big mistake of pulling the wedding ring off of Johnny Gargano's hand. This only managed to send Johnny onto an Unstoppable Rage.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: He ended Aleister Black's undefeated streak in NXT on July 25th, 2018, along with winning the NXT Championship.
  • Delinquent Hair: In ROH, a yellowish Mohawk thing.
  • The Dragon: to The Miz
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: The trigger for his heel turn. His injuries, and the quickness to which fans online started going through potential dream partners to replace him with, gave him an intense fear of being replaced and considered an afterthought. So after they lost the tag team title ladder match in Chicago and he knew he would have to take time off to recover, he decided to destroy #DIY himself rather than let that happen.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Appeared as Thomas Whitney, Esq., one of Muhammad Hassan's lawyers and confronted The Undertaker in an episode of WWE SmackDown in 2005.
    • First appeared at ROH Reclaims Boston in a multiman dark match going by "Thomas" in 2006 and wouldn't be seen again until five years later with a very different (if familiar) attitude.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Turned on Johnny Gargano after their loss to the Authors of Pain at TakeOver: Chicago. He then disappeared for the rest of the year due to a legitimate injury before returning in the winter of 2018, continually taunting the ultra popular Gargano to the point where he is getting some of the most harsh reactions in all of the WWE.
  • Fighting Your Friend: The last match of the first round of the WWE Cruiserweight Classic was against his then tag team partner Johnny, with this trope fully acknowledged. Ciampa had the match all but won, but couldn't find it in himself to truly hurt Gargano, allowing the latter to steal the win with a crucifix pinning combination.
  • Finishing Move:
    • Originally a sliding knee. Usually in tandem with a Superkick from Johnny as a part of #DIY's finisher, "Meeting in the Middle."
    • Ever since winning the NXT Title, he mainly used a DDT on an opponent draped over the top rope. Since his return to NXT post-injury and the Heel–Face Turn which accompanied it, he's named it Willow's Bell in tribute to his daughter.
    • Along with the Willow's Bell, he also uses lifting sit-down double underhook facebuster, called Fairytale Ending which he used to win the NXT Title for the first time.
    • In the indies, he uses a double underhook crossface as his submission finisher which he calls the Sicilian Stretch. He brought back the Sicilian Stretch in his 2023 feud against Gunther and his Imperium Power Stable.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Ciampa, being a Yandere, betrayed Gargano at TakeOver: Chicago because he couldn't stand the idea of Gargano "replacing" him with another tag team partnernote ; and if he couldn't wrestle, neither could Gargano. Gargano was completely traumatized by the betrayal, and couldn't really find it in himself to return Ciampa's newfound hatred until Ciampa attacked him at the end of NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia — and even then, he couldn't completely return it until Ciampa cost him his NXT career. After that, the subtext blew up full force; on top of Ciampa regarding Gargano as selfish for trying to move his career forward without him, Gargano started stalking Ciampa in hopes of forcing him to accept a grudge match against him (which eventually succeeded). The actual match itself was so raw with emotion that it was borderline intimate, with many fans stating that they felt like they were voyeurs for watching something so personal. Especially towards the end of the match, where it seemed like Gargano and Ciampa were about to reconcile; despite everything that happened between them, despite now hating him with everything he had, Gargano never quite gave up hope that Ciampa could be redeemed.
  • Happily Married: to Jessie Whitney in 2013.
  • Hate Sink: Yikes. It may not be an exaggeration to state that, as of 2018, Tommaso Ciampa may be the most over heel in WWE or any of its sub-brands. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being "nuclear heat", Ciampa is somewhere between 10 and... well, Hiroshima. Not only does the Full Sail audience almost unanimously boo him with a complete lack of irony (this is almost impossible to get to happen in a heavily smark-leaning crowd), but he's been the target of vociferous chants, the standouts among which aren't the least bit PG. He's actually drawn "FUCK YOU CIAMPA!" chants that got onto programming uncensored and at one point had one particularly emotional fan scream in his face, "You're the devil!" Not 'a' devil. THE Devil.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Following a legitimately career-threatening neck injury that robbed him of his heel heat for good, Tommaso finally came back to the light at the end of NXT TakeOver: New York, making a surprise appearance after Johnny Gargano's NXT Championship win to congratulate him and make amends after putting his best friend through hell for what felt like an eternity.
  • Heel Realization: Subverted. It seemed like Ciampa was having one of these in the final moments of his match with Gargano, but ended up being a ploy to sucker Gargano in. Gargano almost fell for it, but dodged the cheap shot at the last second.
  • He's Back!: Invokes this when confronting the Undisputed Era after his return. Armed with a crutch and a chair, he makes them retreat from the ring, then sits down in the chair, looks at the NXT Championship and declares, "Goldie, Daddy's home."
  • Iconic Item: A single crutch, which is his preferred weapon when he needs one. It's become representative of Ciampa's two-year saga with Gargano as well as the injuries he's had to overcome as a whole at this point in his career.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: As cold as winter and as soulless as Ciampa himself.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Non-romantic version. If he can't be Johnny Gargano's tag team partner, then Johnny Gargano can't have a tag team partner. And if he can't wrestle, then neither can Johnny Gargano.
  • It's All About Me: His last words before turning on Gargano at TakeOver: Chicago:
    Ciampa: This wasn't our moment...this is MY moment!
  • It's Personal: The absolute most personal one NXT ever had. Ciampa has come to hate Gargano in such a deep, visceral fashion that he absolutely revels in the hatred that Gargano's fans have for him, to the point that he used it as theme music for a while. It took place after Ciampa turned on Gargano after they lost a ladder match for the NXT Tag Team Championships against the Authors of Pain, a match in which Ciampa tore his ACL. Undeterred, Ciampa spent months tormenting Gargano on numerous social media sites, while Gargano was traumatized by the incident and entered a bit of rut in regards to his singles career. Just when he turned it around, Ciampa re-entered his life, almost completely healed, attacking Gargano after his five star classic against then-NXT Champion Andrade 'Cien' Almas. Gargano still couldn't quite face Ciampa, so he focused on the NXT Championship, putting his career on the line for the sake of a title shot; and just as he was about to win the title, Ciampa attacked him again, costing him both the title and his career. Thoroughly pissed, Gargano was done evading his former best friend, stalking him throughout the weeks since the incident and attacking him on NXT, culminating in an unsanctionednote  grudge match at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, where, if Gargano won, he would be reinstated to NXT.
  • Jobber Entrance: Subverted. At Takeover: New Orleans, Ciampa came out for his unsanctioned match with Johnny Gargano with no music, but it didn't mattered because he was instantly showered with boos and hollering on his way to the ring due to betraying Gargano earlier and disbanding their tag team, and he happened to win that match. It was revealed to be a technical mishap later, but the effect was so great that Ciampa kept coming out with no music for several weeks before finally getting it played.
  • Last-Name Basis: In keeping with one of WWE's favorite traditions, his first name suddenly disappeared when he was promoted to the main roster. A few months later, just as suddenly, it reappeared when changes at the top saw a relaxation of some of WWE's quirky naming conventions.
  • Odd Friendship (?): Not long after arriving on the main roster, he aligned himself with, of all people, The Miz, for reasons that were never really made clear. This didn't seem to carry over to Maryse, who at times appears visibly uncomfortable around Ciampa and his... intense personality.
  • Older Hero Versus Younger Villain: The role he played toward the end of his NXT run. Basically he was the gatekeeper from the old guard that was trying to get these young 2.0 punks to wake up to the fact that this wrestling thing isn't a picnic. In order to underline this, he even took to calling himself "Old Man Ciampa" and letting his beard (and what little hair he has left) grow in longer, fuller, and grayer.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: He is also known as "Psycho Killer", which comes from using the Talking Heads song as his theme in the independent circuit and which fans enjoy chanting.
  • Power Stable: He was the Centerpiece of the third incarnation of The Embassy in Ring of Honor, who had Prince Nana and RD Evans as managers, Mr. Ernesto Osiris as the Heir Apparent, Rhino as the Muscle, and Mia Yim as the Hanger On.
  • Red Baron: "The Dominant Male," "The Sicilian Psychopath," and "The Blackheart".
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Even the "Reformed" is in question - it's just that Ciampa's a face by default now that the NXT faithful basically refuse to boo him after literally breaking his neck for the promotion. All that said, he's still clearly unhinged and extremely frightening.
  • Rival Turned Evil: He became this to Zack Sabre Jr. in PROGRESS Wrestling.
  • Sadist: He's been called this on commentary, and it's not a misnomer; how else would you describe someone that takes as much delight in ruining his former best friend's life as much as Ciampa does?
  • Signature Move: His knee strikes.
  • The Sociopath: Ciampa's Heel character in NXT is the coldest, most compassionless, most horrifyingly manipulative sonofabitch on the face of the planet, putting even Seth Rollins at his absolute worst to shame. But what else would you expect from someone with the Red Baron "The Sicilian Psychopath"?"
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The Gargano/Ciampa feud has taken the main event spot over the NXT Championship match for two Takeover events in a row. When the triple threat match for the NXT Championship was announced between the two and Aleister Black, fans joked that the NXT Championship was finally main eventing a TakeOver card. Though considering that it is currently one of if not the biggest story line in NXT as well as both matches receiving high praise, this is not exactly seen as a bad thing.
  • Squash Match: Added onto Cheeseburger's misfortunes by beating him in under two minutes at Michael Bennett's Bachelor Party.
  • Start of Darkness: One could argue it was the match he and Johnny Gargano had at the Cruiserweight Classic tournament. In retrospect, it's easy to postulate that after that match (which ended with his defeat when he hesitated in finishing off Johnny) it might've occurred to him that his friendship with Gargano was causing him to lose his 'Psycho Killer' edge. Safe to say, when he found it, he more than made up for lost time.
  • Trash Talk: While in #DIY, Ciampa was always the one insulting his and Gargano's opponents, both in the ring and on interviews. After turning on Gargano, this trait only got worse, except now it was all directed at his former best friend.
  • Troll: To Johnny Gargano while Ciampa was injured, to the point that Gargano blocked him on Twitter. Mauro Ranallo straight up even called him this on commentary.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • His inability to beat Jay Lethal resulted in severe Sanity Slippage.
    • Towards the end of his unsanctioned match with Johnny Gargano. Ciampa threw everything he had at Gargano, Kitchen Sink Included, and Gargano still wouldn't stay down. After Gargano kicked out of a middle-rope Project Ciampa, Ciampa looked just about ready to cry.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Deliberately invoked this in the closing moments of his match with Gargano, in hopes that he would lower down his guard long enough for Ciampa to get an opening. Unfortunately for Ciampa, Gargano proved that Good Is Not Dumb and dodged the cheap shot, before finally finishing off Ciampa.
  • Wham Line: "This is my moment." note 
  • Worthy Opponent: Before he got called up, Ciampa considers Bron Breakker as his worthy rival in NXT 2.0.
  • Younger Than They Look: Ciampa seems to have embraced his aging, weathered look, with wild, almost completely gray beard, and salt-and-pepper receding hair ( when he doesn't shave it all off). As of 2021, he looks like this, age 35, pictured on the right. (On the left is Timothy Thatcher, who is two years Ciampa's senior if you can believe that.) For perspective, Ciampa's only a couple of weeks older than Roman Reigns. note