PODCAST RECAP: Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling” with Santino: Mixing comedy and wrestling, what makes him laugh, wrestling in Japan


The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Episode 325 – Santino
November 3, 2016
Report by Chris Davidson, PWTorch.com / PWPodcast.com contributor


-Santino Marella talks comedy wrestling, his time in Japan, and what makes him laugh.

-Colt Cabana talks about his favorite comedy wresters and his recent wrestling appearances.


0:00 – Introduction

6:28 – Song of the week

9:53 – Santino Marella interview

16:29 – Santino Marella talks growing up doing judo and getting into wrestling

23:16 – Santino Marella talks his time in Japan

36:21 – Santino Marella talks comedy wrestling

40:23 – Santino Marella talks early time in WWE  

45:53 – Santino Marella talks bad comedy bits and good straight men

51:35 – Santino Marella talks about comedy he enjoys

1:00:53 – Colt wraps up the show

1:04:43 – Easter Egg


0:00 – Introduction: Colt opened the show plugging “Wrestling Road Diaries 3”, which begins shipping November 6. Colt called his guest, Santino Marella, the most successful comedy wrester in America. Colt talked about seeing Marella and Eric Young as successful comedy wrestlers, noting that he probably could have been jealous of their TV success, but hasn’t been because they are so loveable. Colt teased an ROH spoiler concerning his relationship with Dalton Castle, and went into depth about his recent travels. Colt wrestled at The Fest in Gainesville, Florida, and he praised that experience.

6:28 – Song of the week: The song of the week this week is “Andy Always Dreamed of Wrestling” by The Bobs.

9:53 – Santino Marella interview: Colt opened the interview asking Santino Marella about losing his voice, meaning he can’t do the Santino voice for the interview. Colt brought up Vladimir Kozlov, and asked Marella if he had any stories about Kozlov. Marella was doing a Russian gimmick when Kozlov was brought in, and he instantly liked each other. Marella called Kozlov one of his favorite people, and attempted to show how fun Kozlov can be despite the gimmicks he has had. Colt asked about some of the international wrestlers that Marella has been working with in his gym. Marella brought up working in Japan, and having been banned from the country for overstaying his tourist visa. Marella owned a scooted, and learned to speak Japanese, although he isn’t as fluent as he once was.

16:29 – Santino Marella talks growing up doing judo and getting into wrestling: Marella grew up in Ontario, Canada doing judo, which he only did because his mother could take him to the judo classes hosted by the parks and recreation department. Marella kept doing judo, and competed in national and international competitions until college. Eventually, he met Don Kolov and got into pro wrestling. After several matches, when he realized no one was going to see him in Canada, Marella went to Japan to wrestler for Battlarts at age 30, having started training at 28.

23:16 – Santino Marella talks his time in Japan: Marella left his daughter with for a year while he went to Japan, and he discussed the issues he faced leaving her and staying in Japan. Battlarts didn’t teach traditional pro wrestling, and he had to train doing MMA and shoot fighting. Marella talked about various wrestlers that he interacted with during his time in Japan. Colt circled back to Marella’s ban from Japan. Marella had been told the visa policy was going to change, but he still had to return to Canada. Marella met “Buck Wild” Brian Jack in Japan, which led to him contacting Ohio Valley Wrestling and signing of for training. Marella was able to get government funding to pay for his training. Marella told a story about a bodybuilding competition against Cody Rhodes where he won a pose-off after WrestleMania. They were planning to delay the competition until after WrestleMania, but they were coaxed into competing during the WrestleMania after party.

36:21 – Santino Marella talks comedy wrestling: Colt brought up his new documentary, “Wrestling Road Diaries 3”, and praised his costars Kikutaro and Grado. Marella asked if Colt had ever done stand-up, and Colt talked about opening for Mick Foley, where he is over with fans before he tells any jokes. Both men talked briefly about stand-up comedians they enjoy, and Colt tied the innovation of one comedian back into innovators in wrestling. Marella said that boring wrestling moves annoy him, because he wants to experiment and do more interesting spots.

40:23 – Santino Marella talks early time in WWE: In OVW, Marella was working his Russian MMA gimmick, when he was flown to Italy to debut as Santino Marella. The Santino character didn’t work right away, and after a few months he turned heel, keeping him from getting fired or repackaged. Marella credited the way he was a heel with an Italian accent for amusing the right person. Colt asked how he turned into a comedy wrestler. Marella talked about his earlier gimmicks having some goofy elements, and said that comedy wrestlers need to be witty and subtle.

45:53 – Santino Marella talks bad comedy bits and good straight men: Marella told a story during a tag match where he was able to tag his partner, but instead went to get his cobra from another corner, making the fans angry.  Marella credited Jack Swagger for being one of the best straight men he had worked with. Marella talked about a match with Swagger that they had perfected during house shows where each aspect of the match paid off in the end. Colt said that his matches have morphed into stand-up sets, where he cares more about making the crowd laugh rather than getting them riled up. Marella talked about getting laughs, and even applause, for the spots he performed, and realizing that laughter isn’t always going to be as loud as boos. Marella briefly touched on wrestling as a performance, and his surprise during an early WWE match when he was “punched” but no contact was made.

51:35 – Santino Marella talks about comedy he enjoys: Colt asked what kind of comedy Marella enjoys to watch. Marella mentioned Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson, and guys who tell one liners, like Milton Berle and Rodney Dangerfield. Marella praised John Ritter as a great physical comedian. Marella plugged his wrestling school and martial arts training facility, Battle Arts Academy, and talked about some of the kids he is training in martial arts and events in his facility. Marella’s pride for his Academy, and his community, really shone through as he talked about the opportunities he is giving to people, specifically children, in his hometown. Marella plugged his social media, and talked about his neck injuries, before Colt ended the interview.  

1:00:53 – Colt wraps up the show: Colt said that one of the things he loves about his show is how interviews tend to happen organically, and his interview with Marella just happened to coincide with him promoting “Wrestling Road Diaries 3”. Colt plugged his upcoming events, thanked his fans, Santino Marella, his tech help and sponsors. Colt plugged “Wrestling Road Diaries 3” and encouraged fans to check out the first two films before signing off.

1:04:43 – Easter Egg: Colt and his mom celebrated the Chicago Cubs World Series victory.


Score – 8.0: This was yet another enjoyable and easy to listen to episode of the Art of Wrestling. While it wasn’t the typical interview through the life of Santino Marella, it was very interesting to hear the ideas and motivations of someone who did comedy wrestling in the WWE. Colt and Marella talked a lot about the psychological aspects of their wrestling style, and what makes for good comedy wrestling. I did want to hear more about Marella’s time in WWE, but that can always happen on another episode. Overall, this was a very fun episode of the Art of Wrestling to listen to.

If you are interested in volunteering to contribute a review of a weekly or daily podcast hosted by a wrestling personality, send an application to pwtorchstaff@gmail.com.

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