Santino Marella is no longer WWE’s property.
Fans who grew up on the Ruthless Aggression Era might recall a certain fan’s stunning victory over Umaga for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, courtesy of Bobby Lashley. The man was Santino Marella, a former OVW Television Champion, who made his main roster debut in splendid fashion.
Fast forward to 2023, and Marella is once again living his WWE gimmick, albeit in a different promotion. The 48-year-old showed up as IMPACT Wrestling’s new “Director of Authority” at Hard to Kill this past Friday. Marella interrupted Moose’s celebration following his controversial win over Joe Hendry for the IMPACT Digital Media Championship. He ordered the referee to start the match, allowing Hendry to retain his title.
It was later revealed that Marella had officially signed with IMPACT. Speaking on The Dave Van Auken Show presented by Fight Bananas, the former WWE Intercontinental Champion confirmed the reports that IMPACT owned his ring name.
“I was looking for 2023, not this early, but to get back out there and do something. Scott (D’Amore), as a habit, when he gets former WWE guys, he goes and checks the trademarks. He found that in 2021, WWE did not renew the Santino Marella trademark. Scott jumped on it and IMPACT Wrestling now owns the Santino Marella trademark. A lot people, when I came out and said I was Santino Marella, they were like, ‘Woah, how is he able to use that?’ That was almost bigger news than me coming out, being able to use the name. It was fun. Not having to modify the character and just being Santino, something that I am good at and comfortable with and I can be Santino on the drop of a dime. I wasn’t gone long enough to where nobody knows me, but I was gone long enough that it means something. It was a good balance. Timing is everything and it was the right time.”
Elsewhere during the interview, Marella said he’d like to work with his daughter Arianna Grace (Bianca Carelli) somewhere down the line. For those wondering, Arianna is signed to WWE, and performs on their NXT brand. She’s currently out of action due to an injury.
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