Santino Marella has signed with IMPACT Wrestling, having been unveiled as the new Director of Authority at last week's Hard to Kill pay-per-view.
Marella is the temporary replacement for Scott D'Amore (who was put on the shelf by Bully Ray earlier this month).
Speaking on the Dave Van Auken Show, the former WWE Intercontinental Champion discussed his decision to join IMPACT, saying:
"I was looking for 2023, not this early, but to get back out there and do something. Scott (D'Amore), as a habit, when he gets former WWE guys, he goes and checks the trademarks. He found that in 2021, WWE did not renew the Santino Marella trademark. Scott jumped on it and IMPACT Wrestling now owns the Santino Marella trademark.
"A lot of people, when I came out and said I was Santino Marella, they were like, 'Woah, how is he able to use that?'. That was almost bigger news than me coming out, being able to use the name. It was fun. Not having to modify the character and just being Santino, something that I am good at and comfortable with and I can be Santino on the drop of a dime. I wasn't gone long enough to where nobody knows me, but I was gone long enough that it means something. It was a good balance. Timing is everything and it was the right time".
Santino noted that he maintains a good relationship with WWE, but that it was not cost-effective for the company to use him as they were required to get him a work visa every time he was brought in (due to him being Canadian).
Marella's daughter currently performs in NXT as Arianna Grace.
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