In a surprising revelation from the past, former independent wrestler Tommaso Ciampa, who made a brief appearance as Thomas Whitney in WWE back in 2005, shared some behind-the-scenes details about one of the company's most controversial storylines.
His comments came during his recent appearance on the "Insight with Chris Van Vliet" podcast. During his WWE stint, Ciampa portrayed the role of a lawyer for the character Muhammad Hassan. This was during a time when Hassan's storyline took a controversial turn, closely aligning with a terror-themed plot.
The timing of this was particularly sensitive, as it coincided with the tragic London bombings on July 7, 2005. Given the backlash, Ciampa was instructed to make an on-air apology to the broadcasting network UPN, which was televising WWE events at that time.
Tommaso Ciampa Genuine Apology
Recalling the tense situation, Ciampa stated, "When they approached me, they made it clear that the apology had to be genuine. It was a peculiar situation for me, considering I was still relatively new to the big stage.
I kept wondering why they wouldn't hire a seasoned actor for such a critical task." One aspect that Ciampa appreciated was the support he received from Jamie Jamitkowski, the promoter of Chaotic Wrestling. "Jamie likened the situation to one of my earlier 'penmanship promos'
Thankfully, I was provided with a script and didn't have to memorize it," Ciampa added. He also recalled rehearsing in the ring with some of the biggest names in the business, like The Undertaker, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
The contentious episode of "WWE SmackDown", which aired on July 7, 2005, showcased a group of masked men ambushing The Undertaker, followed by them carrying Daivari, Hassan's associate, in a dramatic scene. It is noteworthy that this episode aired merely hours after the unfortunate events in London.
The public's reaction, coupled with media scrutiny, put immense pressure on UPN. Consequently, they insisted that WWE keep Hassan's character off air. The character was subsequently phased out after WWE's event, The Great American Bash 2005.
The wrestling community continues to reflect on this incident as a demonstration of the challenges of balancing storytelling with real-world events.