Don't-call-him-Tommaso Ciampa might just be the hottest wrestler in the entire WWE Universe. He's turned a weird initial run and a seemingly-ill-fated partnership with The Miz into a money angle that's been drawing praise from across the industry, has delivered promo after promo that each would be the best of a lesser performer's career, and has parlayed the return of Paul “Triple H” Levesque into a title shot at Bobby Lashley's United States Championship thanks to not one but two big wins on RAW over the likes of Chad Gable, Dolph Ziggler, and A.J. Styles.
While his NXT presentation isn't completely back just yet, as he's remained firmly in the hellish Miz's hip pocket despite clearly being a babyface, his run in RAW has gone from borderline disastrous to arguably the coolest thing going on the Red Brand, which, considering Bayley's faction is also being played out on Monday nights, is really saying something.
Now granted, not all pushes are made equally; plenty of performers have been built up only to fall in a championship bout and then disappear back into the lower half of the card in the hopes of securing another shot at some point down the line. Performers like Dolph Ziggler, and to a lesser degree Zach Ryder, have made a career out of this sort of “when convenient” booking, and while it didn't keep the latter employed through budget cuts and the COVID-19 pandemic, it made both men more money than they could have ever earned working indie dates across the US.
Fortunately, Ciampa isn't afraid of Lashley, of Roman Reigns, or anyone really, and cut yet another all-time great promo to explain why he deserves to have his greatness acknowledged.
Ciampa is going to put on a show on Monday Night RAW.
“I am not here to take anything away from Bobby Lashley, he is a proud United States Champion. The “Almighty One” is not just a catchphrase; this is a guy, Bobby Lashley, who is a national wrestling champion, almost an Olympian but throw it on the ladder. He’s a hell of an MMA Fighter, Bellator, not the UFC. Bobby Lashley served in the United States Army, but he is not a Marine. My point is, Bobby Lashley always leaves just a little bit of room for someone else to be just a little bit better than him. I am the greatest sports entertainer of all time; I’m not just good, I’m not just great, I am the greatest and, and, and I have ‘The Miz Factor’ by my side. I mean with Miz, we’re not talking about a guy who was a United States Champion, he was a World Champion, he’s been in the ring with champions, he has Bobby Lashley scouted and the fact of the matter is Bobby Lashley doesn’t even know half of what I’m capable of in the ring, so with Miz leading the way, it’s as good as gold this Monday night on RAW you are looking at the new United States Champion, Ciampa.”
Goodness, now that is a promo.
While some will squabble with the inclusion of the goofiest phrase in wrestling, “sports entertainer,” or the inclusion of The Miz in this promotion, as it sort of breaks the immersion of the story Ciampa is trying to tell and the point he's trying to make, it's hard to hear the bearded wonder state those words without an ounce of cynicism in his voice and not get behind him. This passion, this red-faced, eyes ablaze passion, cuts right through a camera's lens through the screen of a phone, computer, or television, and right to the soul of every fan watching at home; that, friends, is a babyface in 2022, 1982, or 1902 and will likely be what a babyface looks like in 2042 as well, assuming humans are still wrestling and WWE isn't instead hosting hologram fights where the “Video Undertaker” powerslams “Andre the Giant line of code.”
Will Tommaso Ciampa ultimately pull it off? Will he successfully transcend his initial booking, ride this current wave of momentum, and ultimately win the United States Championship? Or will something get in the way and make Ciampa have to work even harder to get the gold he certainly deserves? Could Paul Levesque parlay a loss to Bobby Lashley into a break-up with The Miz that finally allows Ciampa to be the babyface he's destined to be? Fans will find out soon enough, as, with a title match officially booked for RAW, Ciampa's first chance at a RAW belt has to be considered much-watch television for fans of wrestling regardless of brand preference.
.@NXTCiampa shows no fear towards the Almighty @fightbobby. 😳🔥 #WWERaw #WWECharleston pic.twitter.com/2IACHCk7z0
— WWE (@WWE) August 7, 2022