Tommaso Ciampa has become one of the main stars in NXT over the past few years and is helping the brand battle against AEW in the Wednesday Night Wars.
However, his first appearance for WWE came way before NXT was even a thing, as it occurred over 14 years ago when The Undertaker was still a regular on WWE TV.
Ciampa, under the name Thomas Whitney, ESQ, appeared on July 14's episode of SmackDown in 2005 as one of Muhammad Hassan's lawyers during his feud with The Deadman.
As Whitney, the former NXT Champion read a statement from Hassan before he was attacked with a Chokeslam by The Undertaker in the middle of the ring.
Speaking on the State of Combat podcast, Ciampa told the story of how he got the gig to share a WWE ring with The Phenom.
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He said, via Ringside News: “I was 20 at the time, they happened to be in town and at that time I was living close to Boston, Massachusetts. I believe that the show wasn’t that far from me.
"I was training at Killer Kowalski’s old place, and at that time it was the Chaotic Training Center but now it is the New England Training Academy, but we were kind of the feeding ground.
"Anytime WWE was in the northeast area that is who they would call,. They would call them for extra talent.”
Ciampa noted how, even back then, he was comfortable on the mic, just like he is today in NXT.
He said: “Luckily for me, I have always felt comfortable around the microphone, so in that part I wasn’t nervous, particularly because I had a script that I was reading off of because I was acting like a lawyer that day so I didn’t even have to memorize the lines.”
“But the day itself was crazy, because once I got picked, it was probably 4 pm at the time. It was an important angle for WWE because maybe a week or two prior, Mohammad Hassan and Davari had done something to upset the executives or whatever it was at the time, or maybe it was UPN, or whatever it was. It was around the time of the terrorists so it just didn’t sit well with people.”
“This lawyer thing had to be an apology that came off sincere, and also in the wrestling world, it had to make sense and also for The Undertaker to come out.
"I rehearsed that script in front of everybody. I did a solo in front of Vince McMahon in his office. I did an in-ring with The Undertaker, Vince McMahon and Triple H.
"Looking back now, it’s like I see how big of a deal it was and how crazy it was to have that one-on-one time with everybody as a 20-year-old kid on the independents. It was wild. Everyone treated me incredibly well.
"I remember that they didn’t like the suit that I had on so they went and bought me a suit and let me keep it.”
While Ciampa is now one of the biggest names in NXT, his time in WWE goes a lot further back than some people might expect.News Now - Sport News