When the average fan thinks of professional wrestlers, they picture a muscular, chiseled man with bulging biceps. However this is not always the case. Professional wrestlers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are smaller than most, some are older, and some have unique talents outside of the ring. As a semi-retired professional wrestler from Canada, Santino Marella stands out as an anomaly in the wrestling world; he is neither tall nor short and does not have bulging muscles or superpowers like many other wrestlers.
In fact, he is a retired judo athlete who chose to become a professional wrestler at the age of 28. Read on to learn more about Santino Marella: From Judo Athlete to Semi-Retired Professional Wrestler
Who is Santino Marella?
Santino Marella is a Canadian judoka and semi-retired professional wrestler. He is a two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, a one-time WWE United States Champion, and a one-time WWE Tag Team Champion. Additionally, he is the founder and instructor of the Battle Arts Academy.
As a wrestler, Santino’s character and moves were different from most other wrestlers. He didn’t have bulging muscles, or superpowers like many other wrestlers. Instead, he was a smaller-than-average wrestler, had smaller-than-average hands, comical, and performed moves like a face slap and a cobra grab.
As his popularity grew, he began playing the character of a stereotypical Italian man. He would wear tights with a pattern of the Italian flag, carry an Italian flag in the ring, and speak with an exaggerated Italian accent.
How old is Santino Marella?
Santino Marella was born on March 14, 1974 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. His birth name is Anthony Carelli. He is of Italian descent and grew up as an only child in a low-income family.
To date, he is 48 years old. His zodiac sign is Pisces. Likewise, he holds a Canadian passport and is of Italian and Métis descent.
The WWE Champion is a graduate of Concordia University. Previously, he attended St Basil’s Catholic Elementary School and then Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School.
Carelli was a sporty kid. He has been training in judo since the age of nine. He also competed twice in the Region of Peel Secondary Schools Athletic Association tournament in wrestling.
Santino Marella started professional wrestling in 2002
The founder of the Battle Arts Academy practiced combat sports from an early age. He had been doing it since he was 9 years old. Likewise, he also participated in wrestling in high school.
However, his professional debut did not come until his late twenties. His first game was on the Ontario Independent Circuit as Johnny Geo Basco. He won his first match with disqualification. He had wrestled four matches in 2004 and had also participated in mixed martial arts.
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What’s it like to be a professional wrestler?
Being a professional wrestler is hard work. For starters, it takes a lot of time and energy to train, diet, and learn to do what wrestlers do in the ring. Also, they travel a lot and are away from home for long periods of time.
Moreover, it is a very dangerous sport and many wrestlers suffer from serious injuries. As a result, many wrestlers retire at an earlier age due to injury or simply because they are no longer in the mood for long hours and hard work.
Santino Marella was lucky in that regard; he suffered no major injuries and retired on his terms. He achieved success as a professional wrestler, winning the Intercontinental Championship twice, the Tag Team Championship once, and the United States Championship once.
Santino Marella joined WWE in 2005
After several fights in Japan, 31-year-old Anthony joined Ohio Valley Wrestling to train for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). His first WWE role was as Boris Alexiev, a Russian shooter/mixed martial artist.
Then, after a few matches, he signed a developmental contract with WWE on August 11, 2006. Just the following year, he won the OVW Television Championship, losing it and regaining it within months.
Tag Team, United States Champion and Departure (2010–2016)
Santino teamed up with Vladimir Kozlov after he was repeatedly rejected in 2010. Then, at the end of that year, the duo became Tag Team Champions after defeating The Nexus. They held the title for a few years before losing it to Gabriel and Slater.
Then, on August 5, he was released from WWE, which caused him to have a gap of a few months. He returned to WWE in October. Afterwards, he had several wins and losses, eventually winning the United States Championship on the March 5 episode of Raw.
He held the title for about 6 months. Then, in September, he lost the title to Cesaro. In December, he suffered a neck injury and left WWE for a month. However, he was eliminated at the Royal Rumble. So he took another two months leave.
After a few wins and several losses and a third neck injury, Marella declared his retirement on July 6. He returned again in 2014 as a semi-retired wrestler. He then made several appearances throughout 2014 and 2015.
Subsequently, he was released from WWE in 2016 as he did not appear on WWE television on May 6, 2016.
Return to WWE (2019, 2020)
About a year after his release from WWE, Marella announced that he would have one final match for Destiny World Wrestling. After the match, he officially announced the end of his wrestling career.
However, that didn’t last long and he returned to WWE in 2019 on the Raw Reunion show in a backstage skit. The following year, he made a surprise appearance in the women’s Royal Rumble match. But, he eliminated himself via “The Cobra”.
Santino Marella founded the Battle Arts Academy in 2013
Carelli, kung fu practitioner Steven J. Wong and fitness magazine publisher Terry Frendo opened a 15,000 square foot multi-purpose facility and gym in Mississauga, Ontario called “Battle Arts Academy” in September 2013.
Initially, the trio opened the academy to train MMA and professional wrestling. However, the academy hosts many other programs, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), boxing, Muay Thai, Olympic wrestling, group fitness, and personal training.
Santino Marella has been married twice
The two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion has had two marriages. His first wife was called Petrina. The couple have a daughter, Bianca.
Then, in 2015, Carelli married his second wife, Anna Babij. Anna is a fitness competitor and model. Additionally, the couple have two beautiful children; a son and a daughter.
His daughter is also a wrestler
Carelli’s daughter is also part of the wrestling family. She has the ring name Arianna Grace. Previously, she wrestled for the NWA, but is currently with WWE.
Santino Marella net worth
According Sportslumo, Santino Marella has an estimated net worth of $1.5 million. He made the majority of his income from his wrestling career.
Likewise, along with his two partners, he owns The GTA’s first MMA/Pro Wrestling training facility, Battle Arts Academy. In addition, he is the brand ambassador for Judo Canada and supports the vitamin/supplement company PVL.
Additionally, he and his partner Dan Garneau are the founders of Canada’s junior ice hockey team, Milton Battle Arts Cobras. He also worked as an analyst at Sportsnet 360.
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The post Who is Santino Marella? How long has he worked with WWE? appeared first on Celebzall.
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