Source: The Steve Austin Show
On episode 384 of The Steve Austin Show, WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin spoke with former WWE Superstar Santino Marella, also known as Anthony Carelli. Marella talked about how he was able to put his shoot background behind him as a professional wrestler, how he thought that pro wrestling was a partial shoot for his first five matches, and how performers like James Ellsworth give aspiring professional wrestlers false hope.
"Shelton Benjamin comes to mind. Bobby Lashley, like, tough guys, badass, wicked wrestlers, and in the back of their head, I could tell they wanted to say, 'if this was real, I would be the champion,' but it's not real. It's entertainment. And I had a coach called Rip Rogers. And Rip said, 'take all them Goddamn judo bulls--t and leave it at the door. This is phoney bulls--t and if I said someone's going to hit you in the head with a feather and you get knocked out, guess what. You get knocked out. It's just as phoney when you win as when you lose.' And it's exactly what I needed to hear."
Also during the show, Marella admitted that he used to think that pro wrestling was partially a shoot because Rogers told him not to let anyone take liberties with him in the squared circle.
"The physical side was easy, but the psychology side was a little more difficult. That's what I needed Rip Rogers [for]. My first wrestling match, someone put in a word for me. I had a little match in Ontario and I swear I thought it was partially shoot because Coach is telling me, 'listen, don't let these guys take advantage. If they're going to start giving you the beats, don't sell it. Take over.'" Marella added, "my first few guys got beatings and I'd see them talking after the match, kind of raising their hand saying, 'what the f--k was that? That guy just beat me up!' So I had to learn. It was a big learning curve."
In Marella's view, performers like James Ellsworth give kids unrealistic expectations about making a living in pro wrestling. Moreover, Marella stated that he is honest and upfront with his students at the Battle Arts Academy in Mississauga, Canada about their chances of making it.
"I have a couple of kids who are great, talented, 5'11", 6'0". You can't walk around and show up at 160 [lbs.]. You can't show up at 138 lbs. Just, you're going to get hurt and I'd be doing you a disservice if I said you wouldn't. And I've become brutally honest with these guys."
Marella continued, "there [are] guys like, right now, James Ellsworth or Spike Dudley, and just having them kept that hope alive, so there is a chance because those guys have been there and from time to time they get these little, scrawny guys and it sets up a lot of these kids for disappointment."
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