Tommaso Ciampa: Vince McMahon & Triple H Were Just Two Dudes Making Protein Shakes

Before he was "The Blackheart," Tommaso Ciampa was a 20-year old lawyer standing in front of The Undertaker on WWE SmackDown.

In 2005, Ciampa appeared as Thomas Whitney, ESQ, a lawyer for Muhammad Hassan during his feud with The Undertaker. Ciampa had just started training to be a professional wrestler at Killer Kowalski's gym when WWE was in town, looking for extras.

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"I was a 20-year-old lawyer," recalled Ciampa on Chasing Glory when asked about his first WWE appearance. "That [memory] for me, is vivid. It was one of those 'right place, right time' things. I was training at Killer Kowalski's and it was like the feeding system. When WWE came to town in New England, they'd come to us to get any extra talent. It was really a fast track way to WWE at that time. Especially because the Indies weren't as hot as they've become. Getting to WWE, I felt, was very systematic; go to a reputable school, train hard, have an okay appearance, have a resume. It was very business oriented. So, I was taking all the steps. So they came to town and were like, 'we want people who are under six foot tall with darker features.' Our promoter called up three of us, I borrowed my brother's suit and headed out. The picking process was nothing. It was like John Laurinaitis looking at as and being like, 'He looks the most like a lawyer. We'll take him.' They said they didn't like my suit, so they bought me a new suit."

Before Ciampa got on-screen, he had to meet with Vince McMahon. And though he was nervous before heading into Vince's office, he quickly realized Vince is a regular guy.

"I had to do a read through with Vince in his office. Somebody comes out and I hear shouting. Michael Hayes looks over at me and goes, 'You next?' I was like, 'Yeah.' 'You got no effin chance, kid' and just starts laughing. For all he knows, I'm trying out. The next three minutes feels like an hour. I go in and right away, the mood is just the best. Vince is standing, Hunter walks in and they have a big thing of Muscle Milk powder, [Hunter asks] Vince, 'You want a shake?' For me, who is this fitness person, I'm like, 'Oh, it's just two dudes making shakes and hanging out,'" he said.

Years later, Ciampa would form a strong bond with Triple H, who has routinely gone to bat for him during their time in NXT. In the same interview, Ciampa called Triple H a mentor, both in wrestling and life. You can view his full comments by clicking here.

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