santino marella
Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling

Santino Marella Reveals Origin Of The Cobra

Santino Marella has a history for being one of the most comedic wrestlers of all time. In a new interview with Chris Van Vliet, the superstar revealed the origin behind his iconic finisher “The Cobra,” and why he can still use his wrestling name in IMPACT Wrestling.

On the topic of his finishing move, Marella revealed that things came together in Japan. According to Marella, he met a man in a restaurant once who was friends with his coach, and showed up something that would later become The Cobra.


“I was in Japan. So for most of 2004 I was living in Japan. And after the shows there, we all go to the bar restaurant every day,” said Marella. “There was a gentleman named Carl, who was friends with my coach, Mr. Ishikawa. And he’s just sitting at the table and just showed me this thing where he transforms his arm and his little kind of wooden puppet type thing. And I remember looking at Mr. Ishikawa like, I don’t get it. What is that? He goes it was a funny thing he does, you know. So he made me try it. The next time I saw him say, do you remember how to do it, you know, and that was it. Like that was it? That was the little funny thing between us. I’m guessing about five years later, I believe it was Atlanta. And I was wrestling either Chavo or Carlito, I think it was Chavo. I go I am I try something during my comeback. So it’s like you know jab and clothesline or whatever punch and then next I stop and this transformation in my arm and I hit them they turned away into a schoolboy.”

Marella said that after using the move to the audience’s success, and at the urging of WWE legend John Cena, he kept the move.

“And without seeing it on TV, the audience immediately laughed. So Cena, I always stand beside Cena, you know. So he came back, I came back through the curtain,” Marella said. “He’s like, I would keep that if I were you, that was funny. And so I was doing it only on live events. And then one day I go to TV and Ricky Steamboat was my producer, and he’s like, I was wrestling Zack Ryder, he goes ‘You know, you’re going over with the Cobra. Vince wants to see the Cobra.’ [I respond] Vince knows about the Cobra? He goes yeah, he reads the reports and I go okay, so then yeah, I did the Cobra. The Cobra was crazy, like in three weeks. Really quickly, I would gesture for it. I would see in my peripheral vision like entire arena, like jumping up. I’m like really? Ok, they like it. I mean, I didn’t find it that spectacular, but they loved it. So and then I think they did it for like a year without the sleeve, and then we introduced the sleeve.”

Marella also touched on the name he uses in the ring in the interview. After being released from WWE, Marella turned to his real name, Anthony Carelli, for his time in IMPACT Wrestling and other promotions. However, he returned to the name Santino Marella earlier this year, a move that the superstar says only came about because someone didn’t renew the trademark to his name in 2021.

“Yeah, so the big thing, I guess in 2021, somebody did not renew the trademark,” said Marella. “And as a habit. When IMPACT gets guys that were former WWE guys, they look up the trademarks, you know, they have to come up with a name for me. Well, what can they call me? St. Tino? Or you know, something? [Santino’s real name is Anthony] Anthony? No, nobody wants to see Anthony. I found out you know, nobody really wants to see Anthony they’ve in fact disappointed when they see Anthony. But it [Santino] was available, IMPACT grabbed it. And it’s great news, you know. I was gonna have a great time anyway. But the fact that I can be Santino Marella and be the genuine article, and not a knockoff, it was just the icing on the cake.”