wrestling / TV Reports

411’s Tommaso Ciampa: blackHEART Report

October 10, 2019 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Tommaso Ciampa: blackHEART

411’s Tommaso Ciampa: blackHEART Report

-The plan was to do the Goldberg Network special, but this one about Ciampa dropped right after NXT ended, so my plans changed. The synopsis lets us know this is going to cover Ciampa’s recovery from injury and how he found strength from his wife, baby daughter, friends, and the NXT Universe.

-Run time: 29:46

-We start with HHH holding a meeting and breaking up as he addresses the NXT crew. He talks about how awesome this place is and how people fight for years to get to this spot. He talks about someone having a 14 year journey that has lead to NXT in New York on WrestleMania weekend. All journeys have ups and downs and for NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa he was to face Gargano at NXT New York, but his dream is on hold as he had neck surgery. HHH brings Ciampa out and we cut to the title card for the show.

-March 1, 2019: We are in Birmingham, AL and Ciampa is with his wife and baby daughter as he checks in to see Dr Cordover for his neck surgery. His wife mentions this is the same room they were in for his first surgery (knee). A sweet moment as Ciampa plays with his daughter and calls her the real “Goldie.” He almost used his daughter’s name (Willow) as the nickname for the NXT Title, but his wife came up with the “Goldie” nickname.

-Ciampa says he has been to Birmingham too many times in the last few years. The doctor gives us the gist on the surgery and basically he is getting the neck surgery that every other wrestler has seemingly had over the years. Ciampa talks about the symptoms and thought it was just what wrestlers get, but things seemed to get worse. He gets numb hands and can’t lay flat on his back.

-Gargano talks about how tough Ciampa is and brings up their tag team title ladder match where Ciampa tore his ACL during the match. He told Gargano that he tore the ACL and Gargano asked if he could jump as they still had a spot where they needed to jump off  the ladders. He said I think so and did the spot and somehow finished the match (and turned on Gargano)

-His wife, Jessie (Ward) Whitney of Tough Enough Season II fame and former backstage worker for WWE and TNA, is next and says Ciampa knows his body better than anyone. He can take a ton of pain and never complain, but the fact he started to complain to her, she knew it was bad. Ciampa says his spinal column was in jeopardy and he failed a physical exam after his RAW and SmackDown debut. The decision was out of his hands and he needed to have the surgery. The first person he went to when he got the news was Gargano to tell him that he was sorry. Jessie says she was relieved that he was finally getting help, but she was heartbroken as she knew he wanted to get to New York.

-The nurse tells Ciampa the baby looks like him and he says he gets that a lot, but he sees more of Jessie. He mentions they are thinking about adopting down the line with the idea they can let their daughter decide if she wants a brother or sister.

-Ciampa talks about how it was hard for them to have a child and they had just bought a home before he got the call from the WWE. He now had to move to Orlando, but Jessie couldn’t make the move. He moved down with Candice and Gargano (who were just newlyweds). Ciampa talks about how Jessie had to stay in Milwaukee and they had miscarriages while all this was going on. He talks about how hard it is to deal with and the toll it takes on the woman. I know from personal experience how hard it can be as my wife and I have sadly been down that road too many times.

-He talks about the Cruiserweight Classic and then quickly winning the tag titles with Gargano. He and Jessie found out they were pregnant and were set to make the announcement at a dinner. Jessie and Candice even made cookies to handout, but while at dinner, Jessie went to the bathroom and their world came crashing down. This is heartbreaking as Jessie is wiping tears from her eyes as Ciampa tells this story. Again, I know this fear and I will never forget my wife’s voice when she told me I needed to take her to the ER, or the other two times when we were in the doctor’s office and saw the sadness in their face when they told us they couldn’t find a heartbeat. There are no words to describe the helplessness I felt as a husband.

-Ciamapa goes over the list of surgeries he had over the next year. He and Jessie did invetro and they were down to their last embryo and with that Willow was born. The struggle of getting pregnant and having a baby has put things in perspective for him. That is why he is having the surgery now as he wants a future of being able to play with his daughter as she gets older. She is what matters to him!

-We get some gnarly footage of the surgery and Jessie gives a hug to the doctor when things are finished. The doctor tells Ciampa everything went perfect and that before he can get back to a contact sport they need bone on bone healing. It can take anywhere from 3 months to a year.  We hear from the doctor who assisted and got to lock the plate in place. Nasty! He says Ciampa is goal driven and had no second thoughts about going through with the surgery.

-Jessie and Willow go in to meet Ciampa as he wakes up from the surgery. What a fantastic moment! I can’t stop smiling from watching this. I was already a fan of Ciampa, but this is amazing. Watching tears stream down his face as he holds his daughter after waking up from major neck surgery is all the feels. He says he knew the window coming back from this surgery was small, but it was made clear to him that no matter the outcome there was always a place for him. He is grateful that the WWE told him they would take care of him, no matter if it was in the ring or not. Again, the WWE gets a lot of hate, but there is a lot of good as well.

-HHH is very solemn talking about Ciampa and how this weekend in New York should be his moment, but the moment with his daughter is more important that anything else. Well said!

-We are a week after surgery and his wife and daughter are by his side to help him get through each day. Gargano says everything happens for a reason and a day after the surgery he got a text from Ciampa about how he no longer had trembling in his hands and no pain. He could now hold his daughter without pain.

-Ciampa says he stays busy through the day with his baby and his dogs and wife. He is still having a hard time processing that the match with Johnny is off, but he has to get by. He let them know he was available to come down to Full Sail to meet everyone. That takes us back to the opening where HHH finishes the speech and brings out Ciampa to speak to everyone. Ciampa hands the NXT Title over to HHH and breaks down. He gets a standing ovation from everyone before he can say anything. He fights through the tears as he talks about the love he has for NXT. He calls NXT his home and that the destination doesn’t change. He loves the company and he loves everyone there. He says this isn’t a sob story as he can now hold his baby without pain and that is a win for him. He apologizes for missing TakeOver and he apologizes again to Gargano. He loves him like a brother and he wanted to put a stamp on their story. He says he has learned more about wrestling from Gargano than anyone else and he tells everyone to kill it tonight and again at TakeOver.

-April 5: TakeOver New York: Ciampa is 4 weeks post surgery and he was given the okay to travel a few days earlier. He felt he needed to be here for this event. He talks about the advice he gives to others that get hurt: wrestling will always be there and there will always be another big show. He is trying to remember that advice.

-Shawn Michaels talks about how he doesn’t go to a lot of RAWs and he just happened to be there when Ciampa had to go to medical and was pulled from action. Edge, who can relate to what Ciampa is going through, talks about having the rug pulled out from under you with an injury just as you were firing on all cylinders. He calls it devastating and it’s more than just the loss of not being in the ring.

-Ciampa says it is tough for him to see that there is a bigger show down the line as this was the culmination of a 4 year story on the biggest show of the year. We see Edge checking in on him, and says there is a brother and sisterhood with all the guys who had the next surgery. HHH says that Ciampa texted him before the surgery talking about the bumps he took and how he thinks about what would have been if he didn’t take certain ones. HHH told him he can’t think like that as he has to focus on where he is and where he is going. Michaels talks about how Gargano and Ciampa have torn the house down against each other for the last year and says Ciampa was doing some of the best work he’s ever seen. Edge feels horrible for him, but has told Ciampa to focus on being dad as there is no better job than that.

-Ciampa says he wants to be here tonight as he wants to be part of it for Johnny if he wins the Title tonight. He can’t feel the energy of being in the ring, but he wants to feel the energy with the fans, Johnny’s parents, and his wife.

-We see Ciampa watching the match from backstage and you can see tears starting to swell in Ciampa’s eyes. Everyone needs a friendship like Gargano and Ciampa have! As they show Ciampa’s celebration they cut in photos of Ciampa and Gargano together as someone is apparently cutting onions in my house. They show Ciampa coming out to greet Gargano at the top of the ramp and we fade to black with this celebrating.

-I seemingly say this with all these specials, but this was amazing. The emotion was off the charts and I will never be able to look at Ciampa the same way. It also makes me appreciate how great this man is at being hated because he looks like the greatest babyface ever after this show. Take the 30 minutes to watch this and let yourself get sucked in by all the emotion. Highest recommendation!

-Thanks for reading!