Santino Marella talks retirement, Battle Arts, Hell in a Cell, and more

Oct 27, 2016 - by Steve Gerweck


On the latest episode of Main Event Radio, Anthony “Santino Marella” Carelli steps into the Main Event for a 1-on-1 interview with Ryan Rider. They discuss his WWE retirement, Battle Arts, picks for Hell in a Cell, and more.

Audio can be downloaded here

Here is a recap of the interview:

His retirement and health: Health is awesome. I recently did laser light therapy on my lower back and my back feels like I’m in my 20’s. Unbelievable. I tried it on my neck though and after double fusion [surgery] it’s not bringing my neck to how I want it to be. My mobility for day-to-day life is perfect.

Because I was off with my injury, they had the option to extend my contract for as long as I was off. At first they were going to do that and be extended until 2017, and instead they decided not to invoke their clause and have my contract expire in June [of 2016]. And that was it. I said They treated me and my family really well. It was a weird day. I was about to leave on a trip to Florida with my wife and I saw the office calling. That was it, the run came to an end. It was liberating though, life after WWE here we go.

I started Battle Arts while I was off with my neck injury. I was able to focus on my business. When my contract expired and they opted not to renew it it wasn’t too bad as I was focused on Battle Arts. Battle Arts was this hybrid dojo in Japan where MMA fighters and pro wrestlers would train together with a focus on submission wrestling. It was that style that got me noticed and I stood out a lot because of that style. Asuka trained there too. We provide very strong submission wrestling and from there MMA, wrestling, or both.

I’m starting at Sportsnet [360 in Canada] doing the Aftermath show in November. There was discussion with WWE of me taking on a non-wrestling role. I thought it was going to be Smackdown GM but I guess they decided to give it to someone else but that’s fine. If I did go back now it would have to be on a one-day a week schedule and I could probably swing that.

People come up to me in public all the time and say it isn’t the same without me. It’s all the time that I hear this. Must be something to it that people are missing you. I was the real people’s champion. I came from the audience, 5’10, not overly muscular. I see a lot of kids looking up to me. Every dog can have its day, miracles can happen. People related to it, they can visualize themselves as seeing anything being possible.

What he is most proud of: Near the end of my career I really dialed in my work and go out there and not have one wasted footstep. I was telling stories really well and truly having the audience engaged the entire match. Knowing that I became very good at being a professional wrestler meant a lot to me in my career. Having the monitor sellouts, with all the talents, agents, and producers in the back watching my segments and telling me it was sold out during my matches with all the boys watching enjoying and laughing. I would’ve liked to have been a badass at some point but whatever; it’s nice to be able to pay the bills.

Bodybuilding contest with Cody Rhodes: Cody was young and brash and we were jawjacking back and forth. He called me fat. And I said yeah maybe I am fat but I could lose this weight and if I do I’ll have a bodybuilding contest and beat you. Everyone was egging us on so we set the date for the Wrestlemania [25] afterparty. Months and months of preparation and I went from 230 pounds to 203 pounds. I did my hour of cardio every day, I got a posing instructor and professional tights. Kid Rock was hanging out and jamming with the bands. When they called for Muscle Mania (what it was called), Kid Rock said “okay I’m out of here,” and he left the stage. I won. I basically used competition to bring out the best in me.

Acting aspirations: I’m a really good actor and I think I could do tons of different roles. It’s about having the opportunity to make these relationships with the right people and show them what you could do. I wouldn’t mind doing one of those roles with me as a single dad with a little daughter in a romantic company; something like that.

Santino shares his Hell in a Cell picks: I think maybe less is more but I’m sure the audience will love every one [of the 3 HIAC’s]. Charlotte might get that championship back. I think Seth [Rollins] is more agile and I’ll give it to him [over Owens]. I’m a big Roman Reigns fan so I gotta go with him. The WWE universe is really trendy and it’s cool to boo him and dislike him but deep down inside everybody likes him. It’s like Italians and Kraft Dinner. They’re all programmed to hate it but then when they try it for the first time they secretly love it. Rusev was my final opponent/match, his camel clutch was the straw that broke this camel’s back. It aggravated my neck where I couldn’t move it at all. Was the end of the line; couldn’t do it anymore.

Leave a Reply