In a trip down WWE’s memory lane, Tommaso Ciampa shares an extraordinary chapter of his career, involving a controversial segment that led to an unexpected apology.
The 7th of July, 2005, remains etched in WWE history as a day of both wrestling drama and real-world tragedy. On this fateful day, a pre-taped episode of WWE SmackDown featured the polarizing Muhammad Hassan orchestrating an assault on The Undertaker, culminating in the apparent martyrdom of his manager, Daivari, who had already faced a brutal encounter with The Undertaker earlier in the show.
The segment, deemed by many as crossing boundaries, took an even darker turn as it coincided with the horrific terrorist bombings in London that claimed the lives of 52 people. Astonishingly, despite the pre-recorded nature of the show, the contentious scene was not excised and aired as originally planned.
Outrage ensued, prompting UPN, the network airing SmackDown in the US at the time, to promptly ban Hassan from their airwaves. This led to a swift transition to Raw for the character, only for Hassan to meet his ultimate fate at the hands of The Undertaker during The Great American Bash.
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Long before his rise in WWE, and prior to capturing the NXT Championship, Tommaso Ciampa was carving his path in the independent wrestling circuit. Unexpectedly, he was thrust into the spotlight, playing the role of Muhammad Hassan’s legal counsel on-screen. This unforeseen involvement led Ciampa to an unexpected task – issuing a heartfelt apology for the segment’s fallout, despite not being an official member of the company at the time.
In a candid conversation with Chris Van Vliet on his Insight podcast, Ciampa shared the surreal nature of the experience. He emphasized the authenticity demanded in his apology, as it was directed towards the network, acknowledging their concerns and the subsequent public outcry:
“Yeah, he disappeared after this, but they were like you have to do an apology for his actions last week. And it has to come off as sincere and real because we’re actually apologizing to the network on live TV because that’s what they requested. And it was just bizarre because, in my head at this point, I’m like, with Jamie the promoter. I’m like, why didn’t they just hire an actor? Why didn’t they hire somebody professional? I was like, This is so bizarre.
But I was a promo guy I’ve always been a promo guy. I’m like, ‘Thank God, I have this script, I can read it’ and like they were like, you’re reading it, you don’t have to memorize it. I did an in-ring rehearsal with Undertaker, with Hunter, Steph, and Vince and everybody watching me.”
Unfortunately, Ciampa’s apology did not receive the stamp of approval from The Undertaker, who concluded the segment with a powerful chokeslam and tombstone.
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Tommaso Ciampa’s unexpected journey into a controversial WWE moment unveils the complexities of the industry, showcasing the challenges faced by performers, even beyond their scripted roles.