Once upon a time, Tommaso Ciampa found himself having to apologise for real after one of the most controversial segments in WWE history.
The 7th of July 2005 edition of WWE SmackDown will go down as one of the darkest days in WWE as well as one the bleakest in UK history. On the pre-taped show, the controversial Muhammad Hassan led a group of masked assailants in an attack on The Undertaker before they carried off his manager Daivari, who had been decimated in a match against The Undertaker, as an apparent martyr.
The segment was beyond what many would consider in good taste but was made profoundly worse as it aired on the same day as 52 people were killed in terrorist bombings in London. Despite the show being taped, the offending segment was not removed and aired as originally planned.
Uproar followed. UPN – the network SmackDown aired on in the US at the time – banned Hassan from the station meaning the character had a short time on Raw before being taken out for good by The Undertaker at The Great American Bash.
Tommaso Ciampa portrayed Muhammad Hassan’s lawyer
Long before he was part of the WWE roster or winning the NXT Championship, Tommaso Ciampa was making his way on the independent scene and he was unexpectedly called in as an extra to play Hassan’s legal representative on-screen. As a result, it was Ciampa who had to offer an apology for what happened despite not even being a part of the company.
Speaking to Chris Van Vliet on his Insight podcast, Ciampa reflected on the surreal experience and noted that his apology had to be very real as it was an apology to the network for the segment and subsequent outrage:
“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 apologising 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 memorise it. I did an in-ring rehearsal with Undertaker, with Hunter, Steph, and Vince and everybody watching me.”
Ciampa’s apology however did not meet with the approval of The Undertaker as he took out the supposed lawyer with a chokeslam and tombstone to end the segment.
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