Though Shinsuke Nakamura is currently the next man up to wrestle Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, there is a small army of performers who are lining up to call next on the “Visionary,” with everyone from Tommaso Ciampa to Bronson Reed, Ricochet, and even Akira Tozawa, fresh off a win over The Miz, now in line for the strap.
With his first win of the year now on the books versus the “A-Lister,” Tozawa was offered a spot on RAW TALK to discuss the win with Byron Saxton, even if it didn't last long, as “Big” Bronson Reed decided to jump in line and shoot his shot on a former World Champion.
“Now Byron, I don't have enough time for your stupid questions. I'm here to send a message to Tommaso Ciampa about how he is going to become the guy and how he always comes this close, and how he is going to take over the game. But there's only one problem, and it's a big problem, Byron, and it's me. Because if anyone should be talking about taking over the game, it's me,” Bronson Reed said.
“Heck, I don't even need to take over the game; the game is designed for big men like me to win, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. Next week, Tommaso Ciampa, let's run it back, you versus me one more time, and I will beat you again. And I will leave you in the ring knowing what everyone knows, that when you're in the ring with Bronson Reed, size does matter.”
What does “Mr. Nice Guy” gain from beating Ciampa a second time? It's hard to really say, save for a guaranteed match on RAW, which isn't always a guarantee for Reed. Still, even as Ciampa searches for his former #DIY tag team partner Johnny Gargano – nice shoutout to the NXT Tag Team Champions in that promo, by the way – securing a singles win over Reed will only benefit his case for a choice spot on the RAW card moving forward.
It sounds like Tommaso Ciampa might just accept Bronson Reed's challenge.
Speaking of Tommaso Ciampa, the former NXT World Champion was afforded a little over a minute to address his spot within the WWE Universe, as he's been spending the nine weeks since he returned and started evaluating who he wants to be moving forward.
Who, you may wonder, does he want to be moving forward? Well, the answer to that question is simple: a self-made champion.
“It has been nine weeks since I've returned to Monday Night RAW. A long 63 days to reflect on the man I've been since returning. I'm the man who lied in that ring two weeks ago as Chad Gavle celebrated with his son. And this is nothing against Chad Gable, he is a workhorse, but I would be lying to you if I said I didn't want that Intercontinental Title opportunity versus Gunther. And heck, even before Chad Gable, I'm the man who Shinsuke Nakamura defeated, and now look at him, challenging for World Heavyweight Championship,” Tommaso Ciampa said in a promo segment on RAW.
“This close. But I didn't come back to be this close. I didn't come back to be that guy. I came back to be the guy. I've been him before; I know that feeling; I know that pressure. It's like Oxygon, and I am dying to take a breath. So I'm going to be the change that I want to see. Do it yourself, because I ain't here to play no more games; I am here to take over the game.”
Which belt does Ciampa have the best chance of wrestling for? He had a banger of a bout for the United States Championship last fall, but that title has since moved to SmackDown, with Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship taking its place as the mid-card title on RAW. Still, whether Paul “Triple H” Levesque decides to put him up against Gunther – or Chad Gable, if he wins the strap in the not-too-distant future – Seth Rollins, or even opts to hold him back until Johnny Wrestling is back and ready for full-time action in the tag team division, it's clear Ciampa is a man without a mission right now on RAW. If or when that changes, however, will go a long way in defining what his special niche in the WWE Universe will be both now and moving forward when The Way is back to full strength.