Santino Marella Announces Retirement At WWE Live Event In Toronto

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Santino Marella announced his in-ring retirement at Sunday's WWE live event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Marella stunned the live crowd by saying he has suffered a third neck injury and because of it, his in-ring career is over.

Below are eyewitness reports from Twitter:

Marella admitted just last week his career was winding down. He opened a wrestling school called the Battle Arts Academy in Canada last year. Santino missed most of last year due to a neck injury as he underwent a procedure called a facet rhizotomy. In the procedure, injections are given, where there’s an axillary nerve that comes off.

Santino revealed in an interview with Live Audio Wrestling in August 2013 that he had several problems with his neck including bulging discs, herniated discs, stenosis, degenerating discs, in addition to arthritis.

  • J Vomkrieg

    Santino was one of the great comic talents of WWE. Heck, the guy was better out of the ring than in, so I hope they can still use him in some capacity. Whether it is as a manager for comic talent, a GM, or, if i had my way, as a backstage interviewer for silly segments.

    • J Vomkrieg

      Replying to yourself is weird. But I was just going to add that I thought he had one of the best debuts is WWE history. That show in italy exploded on his debut.

  • David F

    He would be good manager for Adam Rose. Hopefully WWE gives him nice sendoff on RAW tomorrow. Thank you Santino for all the memories.Tea time with Sheamus is still one of my favorite Santino segments

    • Chris

      No, no, no, you do NOT put him with Rose. Did you SEE that segment on Monday?

      • David F

        give him and Rose a chance. it would be good way to put Rose over and shut up Dunn. At least one good thing will come of Triple H taking control that is he will fire Dunn;s ass

        • wwe rules

          kevin dunn has done a lot of good for wwe over the years. he is vince McMahon’s right hand man. don’t hold your breath on triple h taking control of wwe. vince is only 68 years old.
          yes, vince is too old to “fued” with the wrestlers in storylines and he is too old to take “bumps” in the ring, but behind the scenes, vince can be in control for another 15 years as long as he remains in good health.

          • Adam

            What good things has Kevin Dunn done? I would love for you to tell me, because from what I’ve read he hasn’t done a good thing for that company.

          • wwe rules

            dunn has done a lof of good things in the tv production side of wwe which is why vince McMahon, the most important guy in wwe has kept him employed for many years.
            even though dirt sheet writing con men like dave Meltzer, wade keller, dave scherer love to give their opinions on the inner workings of wwe, they will never work for the company. vince McMahon hates these bastards because they always get their info from second ot third place sources, namely disgruntled wrestlers who think they can get fame in this circus industry if they get in the good graces of a dirt sheet writer.
            the point is that vince McMahon controls wwe and if he did not value kevin dunn’s contributions to wwe as a corporate entity , he would not be there.
            triple h is just a stupid pro wrestler who paved his way to fame and fortune by establishing a relationship with the boss’s daughter which led to marriage and a lifetime of financial security as long as he remains married to the boss’s daughter.

          • Adam

            Haha this is great, I ask for you to tell me what good things he has done and you fail to mention any, then you criticise dirt sheets for not actually working for the company they are writing about BUT then you go on to criticise Triple H and call him a “dumb wrestler” yet you do not know him, or know the details of how he worked his way up the company. (Triple H has control over NXT and it’s currently better than Raw and Smackdown that Dunn has control over) anyway, you are wrong.

            Paul Bearer hated Kevin Dunn and Paul Bearer didn’t hate anyone, the former head write of Raw hated Kevin Dunn, you do not know what you are talking about, most people hate him. Here is what Alex Greenfield (former WWE head writer) wrote about him.

            “This could easily become the most TL;dr post ever as I’d love nothing more than to expend several gallons of digital ink telling you how little I like Kevin Dunn, but I’ll endeavor to restrain myself. Here’s the long and the short of it: when I saw that KD was the “My Name Is” today, my heart leapt with mean schadenfreude joy. I’ve been readingCSS regularly since right after ‘Mania, but this morning I was compelled to sign up. I’m kind of glad that there was a delay before I could post. Instead of just launching into a stream of vitriol, I got to read other comments. Many of them. Interestingly, it’s the defenses of Dunn that I find most intriguing.

            The unanimity with which people hate on KD would absolutely set off my skepticism spidey sense if I didn’t know the guy. It feels to me like a lot of the defense in these comments can be boiled down to, “We don’t know the guy and he can’t POSSIBLY be as bad as these people are saying.” I totally understand the instinct to say that. Here’s the thing: I worked closely with KD for a couple years at WWE when I was a writer/producer on the creative team, and he absolutely IS that bad.

            One of the primary arguments in his defense is that WWE product looks good, and that this demonstrates that he is a talented television director/producer. I’ve worked on a number of sports projects over the years and I’m here to tell you that KD is not one lick more talented than the EP/director of a mid-market NBA team. Indeed, I argue thatWWE television would be well served bringing in someone just like that to take over television production because they would be more creative and could get outside the box programming has been in since the early-‘00s.

            WWE shows do look good, but they also look the same. There’s a homogeneity to the feel of the product that stems directly from Dunn. His creative instinct is fast food: if it works, don’t muddle with it and keep Vince convinced it is the only way to do things by any means necessary.

            When I took over as the head writer of Smackdown in the summer of 2006, one of the first things we pitched was to replace Kevin Dunn as the executive producer and promote Tim Walbert to take over the position. Tim was one of our directors (something KD is actually no good at doing – he can’t actually direct a live show to save his life) and was more than qualified for the job. We wanted Smackdown to look and feel like a completely different television than product – think in terms of Nitro vs. Raw – and for a little while Vince was intrigued by the idea (and Stephanie supported it as well).

            Kevin, naturally, cared more about his fiefdom than trying something different with a show. He started his whisper campaign with Vince the moment we got off the plane (I intentionally did the initial pitch of the idea in Kevin’s presence on a flight back from TV). He buried Tim, me, the idea of a different feel to the product as a whole. It’s not just what another commenter said – that KD doesn’t give a shit about wrestling and is all about sports/entertainment – it’s that he wants to create an entertainment product that’s like fast food. He wants his job to be easy.

            That means neutralizing any threat. Stephanie took a shine to me pretty early in my time at WWE and started grooming me to take over a show. She was no fan of KD at that point and it was very clear to me that he and handful of Vince’s other stooges would be gone at the moment of she and Hunter’s coronation. There are plenty of writers out there who bury Steph at every opportunity, but I remain convinced that the company will be in better hands when she takes the reins.

            Any rate, the faith Stephanie had in me did not go unnoticed by KD and he did not like that at all. He didn’t like Stephanie having someone ambitious working for her, and he didn’t like that I was clearly on her side. So he started burying me with bullshit. It got back to me that he’d told one of the segment producers that I’d been slipped a roofie and passed out in a hotel lobby.

            This was not the case.

            I got my heat back on him plenty, but it was a constant fight long before I was given the head writer nod. The more instructive part of the story is that Kevin did this with anyone he perceived as a threat. Vince is a bit capricious about who he lets in his ear. Whenever he got close with Bruce Prichard, KD would be right there the first time Bruce was out of earshot burying him. Same with Brian Gewritz. Same with JBL. Same with JR. Same with a long list of people, and this I personally observed. KD once tried to turn ME against another writer who was similarly ambitious. Anyone who posed a danger to Dunn’s position from any perspective – a producer at the studio, a talent, whoever – KD would bury them to the boss. This was true even when there wasn’t any real threat.

            So yes, KD still has a job, but I think the way you treat people matters. There is certainly something to be said about being cutthroat in a corporate culture that rewards sociopathy. I was no kinda freaking angel to get ahead as quickly as I did. At the same time, WWE would be a better place to work that would present a better product if Kevin Dunn were gone.

            Case in point, one of the big rubs on KD: he’s a misogynist influence on the product. I can tell you this is absolutely true and I learned it almost from jump street. One of the long term stories I’m most proud of from my time at WWEwas being the principal producer on the Trish Stratus/Mickie James “Single White Female” story. There’s no humble in the brag when I say we grabbed the audience by the throat by a couple weeks into the angle and our quarter-hour ratings bore that out.

            The first time we were given a crossover segment because the story was getting over, KD fought it tooth and nail. He fought us every week. Show was heavy? KD wanted to cut Trish/Mickie. “Temple of Trish” segment? KD argued that we needed more action and people would get bored. Lesbian kiss? “Trish has gotta like it!” Every single element, he wanted both protagonist and villain to be sexier and stupider.

            Perhaps the following scene will be more instructive. You are on the WWE corporate jet. Imagine every rock star plane in any movie: four captain’s chairs facing each other in the front. Behind them, two benches facing each other across the aisle on which are crammed the writers. The captains? Vince, KD, Michael Hayes, HHH (Steph was on maternity leave, of Hayes would have been on the bench). We’re flying back from TV after taping one of the earlyWWECW shows. Kelly Kelly has just been introduced as the domestic [violence] partner of Mike Knox.

            Hayes: She just feels cold, you know? She’s not connecting.
            Vince: Mm. She needs to find her sensuality.

            KD hops up and down in seat with sniggering laughter in that “Hey, boss, pay attention to me” way. Vince turns to him.

            KD: She NEEEEDS to find some TITS!

            KD continues to snicker, eyes on Vince, begging for approval. Vince snorts. Conversation continues.

            This kind of thing? The tendency to present women as only softcore objects? Those conversations came every single day, and KD was the WORST about pissing on any serious woman’s program.

            Ugh. I’m now on pg. 3 of the word doc I’m typing this in, so I’ll wrap it up. [Yaaaaay!] In my opinion based on my personal experience, Kevin Dunn is a detriment to WWE programming from both a creative and a production perspective. It is fair to credit him with being a part of something we all enjoy, but at the end of the day the product would be better if he weren’t involved in it. When that day comes, WWE will be a better place to work for both talent and crew.”

          • Malboja

            Thanks for the info
            Sounds a good read 🙂

          • Bob’s Diner

            HA I read the same thing the other day and was ready to post here – good work.

          • Adam

            not going to reply?

  • Simon Veitch

    There are two sides I see here, on one hand it really sucks that he’s injured and I wish him a speedy recovery for his own personal health and well being, the other side here relates to Emma, and any other divas that may have gotten partnered off with Santino in the future (seeing as he’s had some before as well) if nothing else, it removes the whole “comedic relief characters girlfriend” gimmick for now, so perhaps we can see a character shift for Emma once she’s out of the dog house with management.

    • Mike McCarthy

      I personally believe that Emma’s now labeled as someone who will be used as a staple of NXT.

  • Rayner Chee-bai

    That was very uncalled for…

    • Mysterion


  • Lebron James

    Santino was a staple in my wrestling life. Easily the funniest man of all time in the WWE. He made an impact without being a world champion, had longevity, and will easily be a memorable figure in wrestling history. I really do hope he gets a proper send off at RAW tomorrow. Thank you for the laughs, Santino!

  • Dustyn

    He played the role perfectly, and was great in the ring (even if we didn’t see it too often). I’ll miss seeing him.

  • Harlie Boucher

    Always sucks to see someone’s career end early due to an injury. Though, hopefully this will be a good thing for Emma’s character.

  • Moto212

    FINALLY!!!!! THE JOKE IS FINALLY LEAVING!!!! Now to Great Khali to retire!

  • Moto212

    Disregard my comment, i didnt read that he was injured, i hate his wwe character but he’s a great guy

  • Whammaster

    I’ll still remember his debut, as well as his moment in the Elimination Chamber against D-Bryan <3 I popped so hard when he hit the cobra.

  • Noor Gangi

    I was there. I don’t think he directly mentioned retirement but was more vague. He also mentioned how he is actually 40 years old and not 35

  • Thanks for the entertainment, Santino! Hopefully they keep you around in a non-wrestling role.

  • James

    Good Riddance …. But we still have Sandow to take over his stupid role

    • Vic Jose

      Good riddance?

  • Bob’s Diner

    Darn… I guess there goes that chance for a match against Jim Cornette…

    • Vic Jose

      That could still happen, he wouldn’t have to do much.

  • Spuddy

    My favorite Santino moment is the awesome showing he had with Daniel Bryan at Elimination Chamber a few years back. He was outstanding in the match and really put on a tremendous final fall and had the crowd truly believing he might win. Great performer!

    • Mysterion

      That was CM Punk

      • Chris

        No it wasn’t. ….

  • Vic Jose

    I’m not sure there will be a sendoff on Raw, in fact he can still be used, he just can’t wrestle.

    • Mike McCarthy

      But it’d be nice if they could let him make an official announcement in the ring that he won’t be wrestling anymore, and have the roster come out and pay respect.

      • Bob’s Diner

        It isn’t like we are talking about Edge of Ric Flair, though – we’re talking about a guy who was comedic relief for about 99% of his career.

  • rschell21

    I’m gonna miss santino Marella he’s definitely has had some memorably moments like tea time with sheamus and kozlov almost winning the royal rumble or the honky tonk man ic title countdown and he as well has had one of the more interesting debuts in wwe history. And this is my opinion but I believe he is a future HoFer. In The great Words of Santino Marella “Som of A gunnnn!!!”

  • Mandy

    I figured this was coming after he admitted his career was winding down. I’m going to miss him, he made me laugh and was fun to watch on WWE. Its sad when your career ends early due to injury but I am hoping WWE can still find ways to use him like they have with other wrestlers. All the best Santino!