He’s dropped the Tommaso portion (or rather WWE forced him to), but recently the legendary NXT wrestler went into the importance of his chosen last name. Interestingly enough although Ciampa is Italian—Sicilian specifically—his real last name is Whitney.
He has had many names in his career, as so many pro wrestlers have, but for so long, the Tommaso Ciampa name stuck and he built that name to acquire quite the following of fans.
This is why it was disappointing to many that after his main roster call-up, he dropped his first name, but if you ask Ciampa himself, the important portion of that name remained and that’s good enough for him and he has no problem going by Ciampa alone.
Here’s a little of what he had to say on the matter while speaking with Wrestling Inc.:
“I’m good with Ciampa…Tommaso is my birth name, Ciampa is actually my godmother’s name so when I picked that for wrestling there was a lot of meaning behind that for me. The first time it was on the ‘NXT’ title I got uber emotional and then it was on packaging and figures and stuff…
The fact that that gets to live on, not to get emotional on you, but my godmother during this time has gone through some hard times health-wise so the fact that I kept that – I was like, oh no, if we’re picking one, please, let’s keep Ciampa.”via Wrestling Inc.
His main roster call-up could have gone better at first. He wasn’t at all shown in the light that would have been due for a competitor such as himself. This was the case for many NXT alumni that made the move to the main roster, but as soon as Triple H started to helm the ship so to speak, Ciampa’s direction also changed.
He was showcased in quite the triple threat match this past Monday on Raw pitting him against the likes of Chad Gable and Dolph Ziggler, and on the same night he faced AJ Styles to become the next number one contender for the United States Championship currently held by Bobby Lashley. I’d say that that’s a drastic difference from where he was headed a few weeks back.
It was a few months back that Ciampa had this to say on his main roster call-up as he spoke to Metro UK:
“There’s so many people that I can look at right now on those Raw and SmackDown rosters and think, ‘Man, what if?’ I haven’t been in the ring with so many of them…Whether it’s Edge or Rey Mysterio, I’ve never really had a singles match with AJ Styles, done stuff with Roman Reigns. There’s so many – you can just go down the list forever and ever…
It’s all stuff that now, the more I’ve done it, the longer I’ve been doing it, you keep checking off boxes and keep building that resume. It’s stuff that, if five to 10 years from now, I can check off all those things and have those be part of it, that’d be awesome…I’m very much focused on what I can control. There’s a lot of stuff – not just in wrestling, but in life – you just don’t control,” he said. “I know I’ve done the ground work, I’m prepared for it, I’m ready for it, I’m excited for it.”via Metro UK
So he was definitely willing to do the work and was excited for it, even a few short months back, but Ciampa is of course a patient man, as his career has proven. His physique is at the top of the WWE roster, and that’s because he works hard at it, so yeah, here’s another one that checks all the boxes. To see just where he takes these opportunities will be interesting indeed.