Santino Marella retired from wrestling a few years ago, but he decided to make his experience available by opening a gym in Canada. During an episode of Prime Time with Sean Mooney, Santino talked about his amusing Italian gimmick.
“In 2007 I get this call, ‘Your background is really Italian, right?’ I go, ‘Yep.’ He goes, ‘You can speak Italian?’ I just remembered we had this talk. There was this guy named Jack Bull, who was in developmental and Dusty Rhodes called him one time and said, ‘Jack Bull, this is Dusty Rhodes, can you ride a motorcycle? He’s like, ‘Nope.’ He thought someone was prank calling him and doing a Dusty impression. Dusty goes, ‘Can you learn to ride a motorcycle?’ He goes, ‘Nope.’ He goes, ‘OK.’ Anyway, he gets off the phone and sees 203, the area code, and he’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, is that Dusty Rhodes?’ Anyway, we kind of had a laugh about it and Dusty Rhodes came down to OVW and was talking to everybody," Santino explained.
He continued: "This poor guy never got another opportunity to get called up. He was going to get called up to do something with The Undertaker in this bike gang thing. Dusty said, ‘Look, if they ever ask you if you can do something, the answer is yes. Then you better learn how to do it.’ So when I used to work downtown Toronto. I always wanted to learn Italian more so I had this tourist, Conversational Italian tape that I would listen to everyday in rush hour traffic.
I couldn’t speak Italian; but, I could regurgitate some of the tape. They asked me if I could speak Italian and I just regurgitated a couple lines from the tape. All of a sudden he goes, ‘OK, we’re going to fly you out tomorrow and you’re going to debut as this Italian guy. Keep it under wraps. It’s always subject to change.’ They flew me out to Italy the next day. I got there on Sunday and I debuted on Monday.”