According to a July 7 report from Cageside Seats, WWE superstar Santino Marella announced his retirement from active wrestling competition. Marella, 35, appeared over the weekend at a WWE house show in Toronto to tell the crowd that he's hanging up his wrestling boots and singlet for good. Marella apparently suffered a neck injury that didn't heal correctly, so he's retiring to avoid further damage.
It seems a bit odd that he would announce his retirement at a show that wasn't televised, but that was his choice. The WWE is holding a show on July 7 in Montreal, which will be televised on the USA Network. It would have been nice to see the promotion give him a nice sendoff on the air for millions of people to see, but it wasn't meant to be. However, there's still a chance the WWE airs a video tribute to him tonight on WWE Monday Night Raw. The WWE always does a fantastic job honoring its history, so it would be a nice touch to give Marella a proper send-off.
Marella, who had been with the WWE since 2007, became a fan favorite due to his wacky wrestling style and comedic gimmick. He often race-walked out to the ring, and defeated his opponents with his signature Cobra strike. To perform this technique, Marella put a sock puppet on his hand to strike at his opponent's neck, thus solidifying his place as a top comedy performer in the promotion.
While he was never a World Heavyweight Champion, Marella did pick up several belts during his time with the WWE. Marella is a two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, one-time WWE United States Champion, and one-time WWE Tag Team Champion. He made dozens of televised appearances on WWE shows over the years, including Smackdown and Monday Night Raw. He was rarely featured on WWE pay-per-views, but could always be counted on for entertaining mid-card filler on Monday Night Raw.
WWE Universe got to know him best from his comedic angles, with included performing in drag at times. In recent years, Marella teamed up with Australian WWE Divas superstar Emma for a feud with Summer Rae and Fandango. Marella and Fandango were featured in several matches this year on WWE Monday Night Raw, engaging in entertaining brawls that usually lasted just a couple minutes.
Marella announced that he will be sticking with the WWE in a non-performer capacity. No word yet from the WWE what his new role will be, but there's plenty of options. Marella could work as part of the WWE's creative team, or perhaps serve as a talent scout. He has always been a fantastic brand ambassador, so it will be nice to see him stay on with the promotion he helped build over the past seven years.