This past weekend saw wrestling fans witness a very moving and candid moment which, for once, didn’t involve drugs or a violent death or shoplifting.
Wrestler Santino Marella announced his retirement from WWE, stating that he hasn’t wrestled much due to his third neck surgery and even apologized for that fact.
Watching the video on YouTube (from footage shot by a fan), it’s very apparent that Marella (an Italian-Canadian wrestler, born Anthony Carelli) loves what he does and it’s fairly obvious that Marella has his fans as they vocally boo when he suggests he’s done with wrestling.
Santino’s retirement announcement isn’t shocking, really. He had hinted at such a move a couple of weeks ago, saying that he was going to let the younger guys come in and get over.
What does shock me (but shouldn’t) is the fact that nearly every single blog that used to trash this man and his matches are now falling all over themselves to praise him. They speak so highly of him, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Triple H booked a match with Santino just so he could bury him for getting over this late in the game.
Besides Santino paying homage to the great Gorilla Monsoon with his last name, I was never a fan. Never was, never will be. I can’t speak for everyone else, of course. And I’m sure my opinion is probably unpopular.
I found his early “matches” to be somewhat decent but not particularly well-wrestled and I admire that he enjoyed going out there to entertain people with his clownish antics but let’s face facts here. That’s pretty much all Santino was to Vince McMahon: a gigantic clown which, while it wasn’t the most offensive thing McMahon’s ever pushed, was basically a horrible stereotype to boot.
It could be argued that Santino was the one who really owned the Comedy Wrestling spotlight. This is quite the dubious honor. Santino’s act was so terrible, it made MTV’s Domenico Nesci look like an erudite, well-travelled millionaire playboy.
And when the Italian Clown act got old and the Santino push stopped, they let him play around in goofy matches with a bunch of goofy spots — which pretty much killed any show by sucking any and all heat from the crowd. Did this stop McMahon?
Nope. They trotted him out there night after night against other dying stars like Fandango, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and, arguably, Emma.
Not that all of this is Santino’s fault.
For somebody who wrestled some really tough guys in Japan and even fought in an MMA circuit with a claimed “6-1 record”, he was severely misused by WWE — something that has become this company’s leitmotif.
I do hope that Santino sticks around in WWE. I wish him no ill will. He seems like a genuinely nice guy who is having the time of his life.
Unfortunately, WWE’s penchant for going to the well too many times and losing Santino as their go-to guy has seemingly lead them to find some sort of suitable replacement as if people will miss Santino flopping around a ring and pretending that his Cobra Arm is really alive and making out with Emma’s cobra arm.
Thus, the comedy torch has been passed to Adam Rose and, frustratingly, Damien Sandow and Fandango who were once pushed as top contenders.
If the reaction to Rose and Sandow’s surprise Money in the Bank match was any indication, the fans are tired of seeing screwball “humor” in the ring. The mere fact that acts like Rose and Santino and Sandow fill up an honest hour of time each Monday Night RAW and play to a mostly-quiet arena should be a HUGE red flag to WWE.
It’s time to cut some of the comedy from WWE. Leave the humor spots to the B-shows and let’s get on with better, more important booking.