Santino Marella Explains Why He Signed With IMPACT Wrestling
Santino Marella explains why he signed with IMPACT Wrestling.
Former WWE star Santino Marella made headlines over the weekend when he made his IMPACT debut at Hard To Kill. Marella was revealed to be the new on-air “Director of Authority” while Scott D’Amore recovers from an attack at the hands of Bully Ray. Following his debut, Marella appeared on The Dave Van Auken Show to discuss returning to an on-air role after being released from WWE in 2016.
“I have two small children—one and four—so I wasn’t really looking to get on the road again. Scott D’Amore is a friend of mine, and we chatted about possibilities a few times, and everything seemed to line up. All of a sudden, I was looking for 2023, not this early, but to kind of get back out there and do something. Scott, 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. So that’s why a lot of 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 flick a switch 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.”
The former WWE United States Champion noted that he has a good relationship with WWE and they maintain contact. However, WWE bringing him in for one-off appearances didn’t seem worth it financially since he resides in Canada. He relinquished his green card, but now has a work visa through IMPACT. Marella also revealed his one major “ask” of D’Amore when he signed.
“I did talk to Scott in the beginning and said, ‘One of the only things I ask is that when my daughter is able to be called up, I’d like to do something in the ring with her.’ He’s cool with that.” Marella added, “AEW, I’ve been to a couple of shows backstage, a lot of friends. So many guys I admire or I’ve worked with. WWE, my life is so perfectly balanced right now, I can’t gamble that. To go on the road for 50 weeks a year, even if it’s for one day—the Booker T schedule where I fly in, do commentary, fly home—that’s still every week. I really like this schedule [with IMPACT].”