Joshua Modaberi of Wrestling 101 recently interviewed Santino Marella, who discussed his new Battle Arts Academy gym, the cross over between wrestling and MMA, the Jim Cornette OVW incident and more. Here are a few highlights:

The Jim Cornette incident in OVW: “It was just a misunderstanding, I was in the audience watching with my daughter and I was sitting in the area where the OVW students sit. I had only been there for a few weeks and didn’t know anything about wrestling, The Boogeyman was trying to get out of an exit which was behind me and I had no idea the exit was behind me because he was going out of an emergency exit.

“I didn’t move out of the way and was enjoying the show as an audience member, so the fact that I didn’t move out of the way and play along showing I was terrified of this monster tipped Jim over the edge. He was already upset because The Boogeyman had a bit of a costume malfunction and the fact that I didn’t jump out of the way kind of made him snap and he gave me a couple of slaps backstage.

“I just told myself to keep cool because I was a Canadian in the United States and had just got there and wanted to study. I thought to myself if I retaliated in any way it won’t be good, first of all he was a stable old guy, it wouldn’t of been a fight but that’s not the point, you just shouldn’t be laying hands on anybody.”

Debuting as Santino Marella and winning the IC title in Italy: “Out of the blue one day I got the call up and they said I was going to debut as this Italian guy and my name would be Santino. This was an idea from top brass management, Vince (McMahon) himself actually so of course it was an honour and a privilege and I went with it.

“All of a sudden they flew me out to Italy, put me in the audience and the rest is history. I was so fixated with not making a mistake that I almost didn’t enjoy the moment as it was happening. Now when I look back I can actually watch it and remember what it was like, it was pretty nerve racking and very surreal.”

His dream opponent: “I would have loved to have wrestled Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle but he is obviously with another company and Dean Malenko. Those are guys I watched, they weren’t the biggest guys, but they are so technical and so tough, I know we could have had some really fun matches. I wrestled Chavo Guerrero quite a bit and we had amazing matches, he’s awesome, so I can only imagine how good Eddie was.

“If Santino was able to demonstrate his MMA prowess I would love to have matches with CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and Kofi Kingston.”

MMA stars like Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz entering the business: “That’s interesting, I don’t know if it’s something for the pay day but when Rampage Jackson came to Raw he told me he had often thought about becoming a pro wrestler as a kid so maybe he’s just living out his dream.”

His thoughts on the latest storyline with Triple H calling Daniel Bryan too small to be WWE Champion: “I’m interested to see where it’s going to go, it’s obviously making for some good television and they are making the fans want to see something happen. I’m very curious to see what the payoff is going to be.”

Source: Wrestling 101