Santino Marella has done a lot in pro wrestling, from becoming WWE Intercontinental Champion to drinking Twisted Tea with Adam Rose at a sad backstage barbecue because his love interest got released before they could finish their “weird people with living snake puppet arms fall in love” story.
Santino currently works for the Canadian sports TV network Sportsnet, and while hosting the Twitch show Behind The Lights — seriously, he’s done everything — the “Milan Miracle” dropped some interesting opinions about the Artist Formerly Known as TNA. The words “interesting phenomenon,” “legendary moment” in wrestling history and “competition” all came up. From the episode:
“I tell you what, Impact Wrestling, this is such an interesting phenomenon, because they’ve had different incarnations — TNA, Impact Wrestling. Sometimes there’s somebody new at the helm and then people wonder, ‘How is this going to turn out?’. And sometimes, ‘ah it’s kinda the same thing, they’re shuffling old guys, whatever, whatever’, and it hasn’t really connected in the past in terms of that renaissance. But this one here there’s a different feeling — again, Scott at the helm and Don — there’s real change. It was getting a reputation in the past of being, ‘Oh they’re just recycling old WWE guys’, you know, hand-me-downs, and that was the reputation they had for a while. Now that’s not the case. Now they’re developing fresh, new talent that’s not… I mean if there’s someone there from WWE that’s fine, but the roster’s not comprised of leftovers anymore. The mentality, the direction they’re going in, it’s very good for the business because you need competition. There was a long time when there was no competition to WWE. Now there’s places to go.”
The reason for this big swing in opinion? Impact’s Redemption show, which was largely retconned at the next set of TV tapings, but still managed to be entertaining and get some positive buzz.
“I thought it was awesome. It solidified the notion of the change of direction for me. It’s funny because to be competition with WWE already means that you’re on the map, you’re on the radar. But you can’t compete with the budget. You can’t compete with the juggernaut marketing machine that they have. But you don’t have to have a massive budget to have that one creative genius especially with the different platforms we have today to be able to get out there. So before it was only TV, and now because of all these different mediums you can compete with TV …
For the viewers at home, the pro wrestling universe, enjoy watching this evolution. This is history right now in the making. Back in the day when ECW was growing and there was something happening. You felt it. And it was a legendary moment in wrestling. This is the beginning of another legendary moment in wrestling. So watch it, be a part of it, so you can say, ‘I was there, I was a part of it, I watched it happen’ and I would love to even have my fingerprints just a little bit involved on this evolution to say that, ‘We did something great in the professional wrestling business and we became something that could compete with the big juggernaut.’”
How do we get a Santino Marella vs. Abyss match where he debuts Janice, the snake puppet covered in nails?
What do you think about Santino’s comments? Is Impact finally turning a real, observable corner, or is this another in a seemingly endless string of second chances for the company to right the ship and create its own identity? Let us know in our comments section below.