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    Tuesday, August 7, 2018

    #ThemeSongTuesday: The Emperor's New Theme

    What theme do you compose for the most hated man in WWE?

    How about you don't?

    From the moment Tommaso Ciampa turned on Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: Chicago last year, Ciampa earned the unadulterated abhorrence of the NXT universe. Here was this vile creature who dared blame their failure on his best friend. He then proceeded to brutalize him in ways that made us feel uncomfortable, for all the world to see. Ciampa then proceeded to express resentment towards his former friend for finding a life outside of their friendship—for finding love and for not letting the anger consume him. How can you not detest this sad excuse for a human being?

    That's what makes NXT's decision to not give the NXT Champion an entrance them even more brilliant.

    The mere appearance of his last name on the Titantron is enough to make Full Sail Arena erupt in a chorus of boos. Older fans can yell all sorts of expletives at him. Women and children can be heard screaming to his face, telling him how much he sucks (whether in the ring or at life is irrelevant at this point—it's all their opinion anyway).

    The intended output is obvious. The absence of a theme makes all the noise much more audible. Here is a man who nobody can find it in their heart to cheer for. He's not a heel that people cheer for because he's cool like AJ Styles once was. He's not the heel that people cheer for out of respect like Kevin Owens is. He's not the heel that people cheer for because they like him better than the babyface he's up against like Samoa Joe was against Roman Reigns.

    But what's more fascinating is if you compare Ciampa's lack of a theme with that of two other Superstars'. Let's start with a recent example in Dolph Ziggler.

    Before Ziggler moved to RAW through this year's Superstar Shakeup, he would come out to the first few seconds of his entrance theme, have that really bad record scratch sound effect, and then come out to no theme at all. Yes, people booed him, but that was because he was a heel—and maybe because it was a really corny, hammy way to drive the point home. Yes, you'd hear people jeering, but it wouldn't be as vitriolic as what you'd hear when Ciampa makes his entrance.

    Here's another example from a few years ago.

    This is from R-Truth's heel run in 2011. You could argue that this was a better prototype for what NXT is trying to achieve with Tommaso Ciampa. Just listen to those boos. That's deafening stuff. I forget just how hated Crazy R-Truth was, before he got silly and doubled down on Little Jimmy. Then again, R-Truth still had some sort of audio effect to announce his entry into the arena. The recording of him saying, "The truth shall set you free," still counts as some sort of entrance audio, as opposed to Ciampa who literally has nothing playing on the speakers.

    Just listen to all those "ASSHOLE!" and "YOU SUCK!" chants. Hell, even the "JOHNNY WRESTLING!" chants are meant to throw Ciampa off, which is indicative of the nuclear heat he has with the NXT Universe. It's not every day you can find a heel who can elicit that amount of hatred, especially in WWE.

    Triple H knows NXT has something golden in how Tommaso Ciampa has become the ultimate heat magnet in WWE. It's kind of sad to think about how this'll translate on the main roster because I do want the man behind the character to succeed in the industry. But at the same time, I want him to stay on NXT because I don't have the confidence in RAW or SmackDown to capitalize on him the way NXT has managed to. Those are one fan's selfish thoughts, though, because nobody can stay on NXT forever, which is why I'm just choosing to enjoy the Gargano/Ciampa arc as much as I can while it lasts.

    FUCK YOU, CIAMPA! (clap clap clapclapclap)

    Image from WWE


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: The Emperor's New Theme Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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