At Sunday night’s live event in Toronto, Canada, WWE star Santino Marella announced that he can no longer wrestle due to injuries and was retiring from in-ring competition.
Marella stated that he recently suffered a third neck injury which was causing him to hang up his boots. He had been talking openly about retirement for a while now and last July opened “Battle Arts Academy” in Mississauga, Ontario for training in mixed martial arts and pro wrestling.
Before getting into pro wrestling, Marella (real name Anthony Carelli) fought in MMA and was at one time nationally ranked in judo. The Ontario native signed a developmental deal with the WWE in 2005 and made his debut on a 2007 edition of Raw in Italy where he was a fan in the audience. That quickly changed as he challenged and defeated Umaga for the Intercontinental Championship.
After that, he became the company’s top comedy act while also winning the United States Championship and the WWE Tag Team Championship. Over time, he wrestled less and less and was most recently paired with Emma upon her debut with the main WWE roster.
Marella is expected to remain with the company with a variety of roles including as a pitch man for sponsors (like we saw last week on Raw in a segment for Twisted Tea) and for things like the company’s anti-bullying campaign.