Tommaso Ciampa says he had no idea Triple H would publicly greet him on-stage at NXT Stand & Deliver.
Ciampa had just lost his last match, for now, in NXT to Tony D’Angelo. After the match, Ciampa soaked in the applause of the fans and headed back toward the stage. That’s when Triple H’s music started to play and he made his way out in front of the live crowd.
“Yeah, it was totally a surprise,” Tommaso Ciampa told BT Sport. “And I guess I will say, and I didn’t know this until it happened, I guess I’m easy to surprise. I won’t say I’m gullible. That’s different. But I’m easy to surprise, just in the sense I don’t – I’m very in the moment. I’m very now.
“I don’t think much ahead. So when they told me – the director – the direction I was given was, ‘After the match ends Tony will leave. We’re gonna give you about 30 seconds to stand and let the crowd applaud or whatever. But listen, there’s gonna be a Peacock commercial after. So you have about two minutes to just take your time. But when the ref says, ‘Go, go.’ So, OK. Cool. I put no thought into that.
“Then as I’m going through Gorilla I saw Hunter just for a brief second and I was like, ‘Holy crap. I had no idea you were gonna be here.’ He said, ‘Oh yeah, I wouldn’t miss it.’ I said, ‘Aw, cool’. And next thing you know the music hits and I go out. So when the match had ended, I get the applause or whatever and I heard the ref smack the side of the ring so I’m like, ‘OK. It’s time’, and I leave.
“Even when his music hits – if you see the video I just keep walking. When his music hits, in my head, I internally go, ‘Huh? What a weird ad for Peacock to play.’ And I just – I’m almost befuddled by it. Like, this is bad timing after I had this match to play a Hunter – But it makes sense to me. He just retired. So, it’s kinda like, ‘Huh’, and I keep going.
“And then I see him and I had that moment of, ‘Oh, we’re doing the thing. OK.’ So I had no idea. And I was – I also think it was so far out of my realm of thought because – and I might be mistaken but I think that was the first time he was seen in front of crowds since having his health complications. So I would’ve never thought the first time he’d be in front of a crowd was just to come out and give me a hug and raise my hand.
“You know, you just never. No, the first time is gonna be when you’re at WrestleMania or we’re inducting you into the Hall of Fame or whatever. So for him to be unselfish and kinda give me that one moment, it was cool. And we have such a storied relationship. He’s been so instrumental in all of my success in NXT and WWE. So, yeah, just super cool.
“There’s no one that means more to me and my career than him. So, and he knows that. We’re very open with one another. So, it was extremely cool and a total surprise and it made the moment what it needed to be for me.”
Tommaso Ciampa was called up to WWE’s main roster following NXT Stand & Deliver. He is currently assigned to the RAW brand.