Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa Talk to WWE About the NXT Dusty Classic, What to Expect, More

Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampo

– WWE’s website spoke with indie stars Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa about being entered into the WWE NXT Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. WWE notes that they are still free agents. Here are a few highlights:

WWE: You’re in different locker rooms every week on the independent scene. What is the impression that NXT is making on you and your colleagues?

GARGANO: Right now, I feel that NXT is the hottest thing in wrestling. There’s no doubt about that. The guys that they’re utilizing are some of the best talent in the world. I know a lot of those guys. I’ve been in the ring with Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens numerous times. You look at a guy like me, I’m not 6-foot-8, 300 pounds, but from what I’ve been able to do with my talent around the world, I can come to NXT and show the world what I have. Based on the past, that wouldn’t happen. NXT gives guys like me that opportunity, to do what we love to do and show the world what we’re capable of.

CIAMPA: It has an indie, underground vibe to it, but the production value and expertise of WWE leading it. It’s the best of both worlds. From the first live special they did, I think that was the first time that the masses saw that this was something special and the place to be. From that point on, seeing things like Sami Zayn and Cesaro’s 2-out-of-3 Falls Match, seeing Kevin Owens do so well, it’s seeing guys who were the top of the independent world going to NXT and getting a bigger platform to show themselves on. Seeing how well they’re doing gives you this drive to want to be a part of it. I just watched TakeOver: Brooklyn a couple days ago. When Triple H was in the ring introducing the show and it was dark, all you could hear was his voice. When he says, “You told us the future is now!” and throws his arms up and the cameras go wide [to show the crowd], you could feel this energy. I told my wife, “I want that. I need to be a part of that.”

WWE: When William Regal invited you to be a part of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, what was going through your mind?

CIAMPA: “Make the most of the opportunity.” Getting a phone call from William Regal was surreal, hearing his voice on the opposite end of the line. Him asking me if I was interested was, to me, an interesting approach, because of course I was interested. How could I not be? We didn’t know right away what we would be doing. Getting to the building and slowly finding out more and more information and then hearing that we’re going to be a part of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic was cool. I never worked under Dusty myself, but you hear so many stories and you know the respect he has in this business. To be a part of something that’s going to go down in history, it’s a cool feeling. The door’s being cracked open. It’s our job to push through and make the most of it.

GARGANO: It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. When I was younger, I watched WWE. If you get into this business, your main goal is to wrestle for WWE. To be able to do that and perform for NXT, which is the hottest thing going, is a dream come true. I’m extremely excited about it. I’ve been very, very lucky to do a lot of cool things in my career, but this is the pinnacle. Everything has led up to this match. I know that opportunities like this come around once in a lifetime. I’m not going to let it slip by me.

WWE: What can the NXT Universe, Tyler Breeze and Bull Dempsey expect from you on Wednesday?

CIAMPA: Expect the unexpected. The thing Johnny and I have on our side is that we both have over 10 years of experience, but neither one of us is in a rush to show our hand the first time out. I don’t view this as a one-and-done opportunity. I’m looking at the big picture. I’d like to be able to show more and more as time progresses. I don’t want to show everything the first time I come out of the curtain. There’s a lot of levels to me. That’s going to evolve and be seen by the NXT Universe in time.

GARGANO: They can expect someone that’s going to leave it all in the ring and knows how big this opportunity is. They’ve been in NXT for a while. This is my first taste. I’m not going to let that slip through my hands. I’ve been working for almost 13 years for this. It’s been my dream since I was 8 years old. Once I step foot in that ring, I’m going to leave it all on the table. Some people like to call me “All Heart,” because I wrestle with all the heart in the world. I can guarantee you that I’m going to leave my heart in the NXT ring.

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