By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Tommaso Ciampa
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via Podcasts.Apple.com
On being Muhammad Hassan’s lawyer: “Similar to being in the right place with Chaotic, they called up the promoter at the time Jamie and they said hey, we need, which is a weird suggestion from WWE for what we need, but we need guys under six foot tall, who look like they could be like fresh out of law school. So I forget how they worded it, but because it was for Hassan and Daivari, like they wanted you to have a certain look, I think their wording was. So three of us got sent it was me this kid Matt Logan and this kid Chase I’m I want to say maybe I’m like at that time six months older than Matt younger than Chase. But we didn’t have anyone who was like 20, which is just so weird now thinking about wrestling but we didn’t have anyone who was 26-30. It was all kids and we all went there. I borrowed my brother’s suit because I didn’t have one and the three of us are in catering and John Laurinaitis comes in he just like looks at us and he’s like, Yeah, I think he’s gonna do, and that was the end of that. You’re like, Okay, I didn’t know exactly what we’re there for. And then all of a sudden, like it was the whirlwind of a day.
“Stephanie McMahon comes up to me, next thing I know, takes me for a tour. And I’m like, What the heck is going on? So like an individual tour. This is the backstage, this is where we do this this is that and I remember like to this day her just say it’s just like the independents just with like, a lot more money behind it, and but she was the nicest person ever. And I was like, This is crazy. And then finally, like, you know, I did the whole thing and stuff and they were like, you know, you’re gonna read this, this script and you have a writer Ed Koskey, who still like to this day with the company head writer. And they kind of let it slip to me later in the day as the day went on there. This is super important. Like, at that time, they did something with Hassan. I forget what it was, but it was like, I want to say something happened with terrorist attacks too and UPN was under crazy heat.”
On being forced to apologize for Muhammad Hassan: “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? And I was like, this is so bizarre. He’s like, you know, but I was a promo guy I’ve always been a promo guy, he’s like it’s just like your penmanship promo, just go do whatever your penmanship problems. 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. So I like, okay, and then I did. I did an in-ring rehearsal with Undertaker, with Hunter, Steph and Vince and everybody watching me.”
On a possible NXT return: “Performance-wise I don’t think so. I think there’s a door that’s very open for guys like myself and Johnny because of loyalty because of the way we handle ourselves outside of the ring, professionalism and stuff that like there’s a spot producing coaching something. Yeah, I’m just not done performing. Like, physically. I know, my body sometimes just tells me like, hey, stop. But really, mentally, I’m not anywhere close. So like that wouldn’t. Before I would do something like that. The option would be well, no, it’s the Ring of Honor option. It’s the I think I can do this thing that’s really special. I’m gonna go do it. Yeah, like, Please give me the opportunity to do it here. But if not, I’m still gonna go do it.”
On the mistimed main roster call-up: “So here’s the scenario. I’m like three matches away from TakeOver in New York. I gotta get through a couple more NXT tapings. And I’m like, I know I can get there. I think I have one more left and this is great. I’m gonna get there. At the same time, completely randomly, me Ricochet, Aleister and Johnny get called up to the main roster. And I’m sitting there going, I have a broken neck that 100 percent needs surgery. The surgery date is literally already set, early April. Maybe I shouldn’t go do extra stuff. So no one knows what’s going on. It’s confusing. So I’m like, I must be the mouthpiece. We must be coming in as a group of NXT invaders and I must be the mouthpiece. This is fine. It’ll be fine.
“We get there, we don’t hear much all of a sudden, like I think Johnny and I have like a tag match with someone. I don’t know if it’s The Bar or Revival. And we’re like in a feud. And we’re like, what? And I wish I kept saying to myself, just don’t do this. Tell them no, like, go have a man-to-man conversation with Vince and explain to him passionately, why you think this is a bad idea. And then the other part of me was like, I mean, this is just your job, and they’re the boss and then they know what they want and just go to your job. So I’m gonna do my job, you know, and we were on Raw, SmackDown, flew back, did the taping, Raw, SmackDown. It was just a bizarre like, for me, like just sitting there going like, I know, I need surgery. Why am I tripling my workload?
“I just gotta get to this thing. And we’re tagging and this is weird. So my regret of it is like, I just wish, seeing how my conversation with Vince went when I finally met him. I was like, I’m pretty sure if I explained it he would have just been like, I didn’t know that. Because, you know, not everything’s communicated. Yeah, I’m fairly certain he would have just gone I wasn’t aware, forget it. And but I didn’t I didn’t do it. I didn’t initiate the conversation, you know, and I just did. So that’s the regret because I’m like, if TakeOver New York happens, we have that moment Johnny wins the title, and that feud ends the way it’s supposed to. And because it didn’t happen, the frickin’ feud never ended. You know, it just never had its ending, it just kind of kept having hiccups.”