Santino Marella Calls Heyman a Genius, Talks Wanting to Incorporate MMA Into His Matches, His Name Paying Homage to Gorilla Monsoon & More

Nick Paglino

santino marellaWWE star Santino Marella was a recent guest on Ring Rust Radio hosted by Donald Wood, Mike Chiari, and Brandon Galvin, which you can check out at Blogtalkradio.com/ringrustradio. Below are some interview highlights:

On a match or an angle or a moment that stands out as his favorite since he's been with WWE:

"It's very difficult for me and I often tell people that the best moment is yet to come, but I believe winning the United States Championship was very nice, Elimination Chamber was very special for me, defending my U.S. Title in a cage vs. Jack Swagger was cool; I had never been in a cage match before, to have just one moment; maybe wrestling in Italy."

On incorporating MMA into future matches:

"For my matches maybe not because my character is established but for the future and young talent, I believe this is the way the business should go because of the growth of MMA and people are becoming more savvy when it comes to submissions and takedowns and things like that. Before, when we said that wrestling was real we didn't have to work so hard, but now that we acknowledge that it's entertainment we have to be very realistic and that is the style we teach at Battle Arts Academy in Toronto."

On his last name paying homage to Gorilla Monsoon:

"When they told me, immediately I realized it was an honor and a privilege and it did put some pressure on me to deliver the goods, so to speak."

On Paul Heyman's influence going back to their days in OhioValley Wrestling:

"Paul Heyman is like a wrestling genius. His input weighs a lot for me. In training, he was observing me and he pulled me aside and said I have an idea for you and he heard about my background and we became more selective and it was very good and it was very fun. I believe the people that watched, they believed 100 percent so we did our job, you know."

On how much of his work is a collaboration with others or does he come up with everything we see:

"In the beginning, it was more regionalized, then it was a collaboration, and now I have more freedom for input. They give me a skeleton, and say 'you need to say this, this and this, but in your way' and I come up with what I want to say."

Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report? Submit it now!