Ciampa now resides as a member of the WWE main roster, but the road to get there took many twists and turns.
Former NXT Champion Ciampa initially received his main roster debut in February of 2019. However, Ciampa suffered a neck injury in the months following. Then in 2020, the global pandemic shocked the world. Ciampa became a father as well. Finally in the early months of 2022, Ciampa was granted his move to the main roster on RAW. In speaking on Out of Character with Ryan Satin, Ciampa detailed the long road that lead to his main roster move to RAW.
“So much. It would be hard to put it on one thing. One, 300 days [on the road] doesn’t exist anymore, so that was big. That was something just kind of recently became a shift. I mean, prior to the pandemic, it slowed, and now it’s just a whole new game. The pandemic itself, the neck surgery, and how it all went down. I was home almost every single night of Willow’s (his daughter) first three years.”
“In the weirdest scenario, you couldn’t predict it. However, just the fact that I got to do that, you build such a relationship with your child in those first few years. It’s something they’re never gonna remember probably, but just our bond now, and now like she’s almost four. She’s here right now. She can travel with us to events. She came on a Green Bay loop so we could go to Milwaukee and see family. She’s been on like three loops now. So much has changed. Having the time at home with her for the pandemic, the schedule changing for the main roster, and just in wrestling in general. Those were two big factors and then the success of the neck surgery.”
“I was in an abnormal amount of discomfort for years, with my neck. I kept a lot of it to myself, because I just figured if I ever get a picture of this thing, it’s not going to look good. Finally, I had a stretch of stingers where they were like ‘we’re taking a picture of thing’. I remember landing and having the text from medical of ‘you have to get this MRI.’
In March of 2019, Ciampa underwent anterior cervical fusion surgery for his injured neck. Later that October, he returned to confront then NXT Champion, Adam Cole. In the months following, Ciampa would engage in various feuds before reclaiming the NXT Championship on October of 2021. After dropping the title to Bron Breakker the following January, Ciampa would embark on his official main roster call up in the early months of 2022. Now, Ciampa finds himself aligned with Grand Slam Champion, The Miz.
Ciampa went on to reveal his relief after his successful neck surgery, both physically and mentally.
‘The success of the neck surgery and coming out the other end and going like, ‘oh, not only do I feel good, not only do I have function and strength back, I feel better than I could.’ You don’t know the discomfort when it’s your norm, and it was my norm. So now all of a sudden, I’m like, ‘Whoa, like I feel amazing. I’m getting back in there, I’m bumping. I’m having matches. We did WarGames.’ I way overdo it in Portland just to see if I can as a personal test type of thing and I’m fine the next day. That started to factor in.”
“I’m like, ‘Wait, I thought I only had a few years left, but I might have 10 or 20 years left’,” he continued. “So once you start opening that up, and you don’t put an expiration date on your career, it was like ‘okay, what do I want to accomplish?’ Because I honestly felt like when I won the NXT Title like that was it for me. I’ve hit my pinnacle. I have this crappy neck. I’m probably in my twilight.”