Santino Marella Recalls Fans Turning On Him In WWE
Santino was not initially popular
During his 11-year run in WWE, Santino Marella became a popular comedy character on the main roster and his near fall during the 2012 World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match is still fondly remembered.
Marella's WWE career got off to a difficult start, though, as he won the Intercontinental Championship on his first night in 2007 in what has been named The Milan Miracle. Posing as a fan, Marella was picked to face Umaga for the gold and he subsequently won the title following interference from Bobby Lashley.
Santino would then find ways to successfully defend his title over the next few months which resulted in the WWE audience turning on him before he dropped the gold back to Umaga.
Marella recently appeared on Renee Paquette's Oral Sessions and he recalled the fans turning on him during his early months with the company.
"The WWE Universe was not impressed with being force-fed this fan. All of a sudden, I beat Chris Masters, I roll up Shelton Benjamin, and I'm pulling these victories. Everybody is like, 'Yeah right, as if, this guy was in the audience.' So they tried to say the backstory that, although he was in the audience, he was training to be a wrestler and that kind of thing. People were like, 'Yeah, no thanks.' It was in Houston one time and it was the pay-per-view where Umaga won back the title. He gave me the spike and they were like, 'One more time! Kill him! Finish him!' I'm like, these blood-thirsty savages want me dead," Santino said.
Following his title loss, WWE would turn Santino heel and Marella would display more of his comedic side. The former United States Champion reflected on this transition, adding: "Then, the conversation was, turn him heel and if that doesn't work, we'll see you later or repackage. They turned me heel, and I cut a promo and it was funny from day one - me complaining in that accent.
"This is talking about all the luck, growing up in Toronto, all my friends are first-generation Canadians. All the parents are from Europe. So I always had that broken English around me my whole life and my family spoke like that. So now I have to speak in this... I'm picking basically little pieces of my childhood and incorporating them into my character, and I have an endless supply of funny content because I'm from a very European, first-generation neighbourhood. I used all that stuff."
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