I had the pleasure of catching up with Tommaso Ciampa before NXT Live in Columbus, Oh this past Thursday. I had to bring up his WWE debut in 2005, where he made a one-off appearance on SmackDown. In that segment, a very different looking Ciampa, was playing Thomas Whitney Esq. He was the legal council for Muhammad Hussan.
The segment ended with The Undertaker coming down to the ring. He would leave Mr. Whitney laying on the canvas after a Chokeslam and Tombstone Piledriver. That would be the first and last time the WWE Universe would see Tommaso for a really long time.
Back in 2005, Ciampa was just 20 years old but he wasn't nervous at all for his big moment. The Blackheart has always been comfortable as an in-ring performer and he said it was very helpful that he was reading his lines off a piece of paper. However, Ciampa said he didn't quite grasp how big of an opportunity was in front of him.
"At the time, I 100% did not realize what I was doing. Like now, I mean - if somebody told me tomorrow, 'Hey you're going to go and do a thing with The Undertaker' - the scope and the magnitude of it would be weighing on my shoulders. I would understand what type of opportunity it was."
Reflecting back on that day, The former NXT Champion said had he known that would be the last time he'd step foot in a SmackDown ring for more than a decade, his career might have gone a lot differently.
"The next time I appeared on SmackDown, and I might be wrong someone might correct it, I think was Johnny (Gargano) and I tagging vs. Cesaro and Sheamus. And that is like 2019, before surgery. So 14 years later. If you told me in 2005 you're doing this thing with the Undertaker, but you're not coming back into this ring for 14 years. I don't know if I would have stuck around for that."
Thankfully for wrestling fans he did stick around and went on to become one of the greatest NXT Champions in company history. As for getting back into the ring with The Undertaker one day, Ciampa says it's something he desperately wants.
"I don't have many like dream dream scenarios or matches. I mean like him (Undertaker) and Edge and Randy (Orton) and Rey Mysterio are like four guys that always come to mind."
Ciampa also said he wishes Triple H and Shawn Michaels would stop teasing the fans and lace the boots up one more time for DX vs. DIY. Of course, that match would have to wait until Ciampa and Johnny Gargano are back on the same page. To hear what Ciampa had to say about his on going feud with Johnny Wrestling, and so much more, listen to my entire conversation with him below.