Ciampa prides himself on the art of a good promo.
WWE‘s Ciampa has transformed his character several times in his seventeen year career. Along with character evolution, comes the craft of cutting a professional promo. In speaking on Out of Character with Ryan Satin, Ciampa admitted to being ‘mesmerized’ by promos in and outside of professional wrestling. Accordingly, he revealed his numerous pages of notes of quotes and promo material, just in case.
“I always have stuff. I have a phone over there with literally pages of notes,” Ciampa noted. “Anytime I think of stuff I just jot and write. Now it’s just in the bank, whenever you [WWE] need something.”
Ciampa went on to explain his fascination with promos in professional wrestling. On the other hand, he also emphasized the importance of breaking through ‘the wrestling bubble’ and exploring other avenues for inspiration, including film and poetry.
“Before I came to NXT, I start doing that [writing promos]. I started doing it, I’d say right at the end of Ring of Honor, and I started doing when I was just floating independents. Promos have always been a thing that have mesmerized me, the good ones–like the [Roddy] Piper’s and the Dusty’s [Rhodes]. Then I started to find what are other avenues where promos are happening that aren’t wrestling. I think wrestling becomes wrestling–I just watched Dwight Howard, who was at the [Nashville] tryout, I just watched the Twitter thing, and he did this promo, very entertaining. He was the shogun or something, But my god, the second he started talking he was a ‘pro wrestler’.”
“I hate the ‘pro wrestling’ promo, I don’t like that promo, so let me go to stuff I like. I started watching monologues from movies that got me. The Rocky Balboa one–he has a killer one. Tom Hardy has a lot of killer ones. So, I’d start to watch interview clips with Denzel [Washington] and Jim Carrey and stuff.”
“Then I learned the whole world of poetry–I didn’t know anything about that. Then I started to get into poetry slams. You start going into that rabbit hole on YouTube. Now, the delivery thing starts to open up, where all I can say, ‘oh my body language can do that. Oh, I can inflect here.’ It just became a thing where it’s just part of my normal week to week now. I’m constantly, any time I get put in a position of a promo sometimes if it doesn’t come to right away, I’ll just go ‘what quote of this can I pull?”.
Thinking outside one’s “wrestling bubble” challenges one’s mind, Ciampa noted. “It’s hard. You have to almost train yourself to figure how it can apply,” he declared.
Ciampa continued on to cite the work of Stephen A Smith as a personal example that has sparked inspiration to his on-screen persona.
“Recently, I got into Stephen A Smith. He’s a character. That’s what he is. I don’t know what he’s like in real life, but I know he’s not that [his character]. So it’s the same as Ciampa and Tommaso. I know what Tommaso is, and he’s not Ciampa. Something happens with Ciampa, and certain words come out, and certain phrasing come out that I never use in my real life. But it fits that guy. So I’m sure Stephen A is the same way. He’s one of those guys I’ll watch sometimes. The only reason it caught me is because he was on and my wife goes ‘I hate that guy’. I think she said ‘I don’t like him’ or whatever.
“That’s (hate) a trigger word for me. You feel. Okay, well let me figure out why. I started [watching] and go ‘he’s got a lot of cool nuances you can pull from. You can steal some of his mannerisms and facial expressions. Some of his stuff is so arrogant. You can pull it from anywhere, you just have to open up the avenue. How can I pull this into my wrestling bubble, my world?”