Santino Marella Recalls John Cena’s Initial Reaction To “The Cobra”

In an appearance on Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw, former WWE star Santino Marella revealed the origins of his popular finishing move, The Cobra. According to Santino Marella, it all began at a bar with a man named Taro.


"I was at a bar, just drinking at a bar," Marella said. "And some guy, his name is Taro, he just showed me this thing where he just transform his arm into this little snake puppet thing. And I didn't even get it at the time. I looked at my buddy and I go 'what is that?' 'Ah, it's just a funny thing he does, you know?' I said 'okay.' And then the next time I saw him, he asked me 'do you remember how to do it? You do this thing, then you hold and you do a little wooden puppet.' And you know, we laughed about it again and that was it.

"Fast forward like five years, and I'm at a house show in Atlanta. I think I was wrestling Chavo or Carlito. And I said 'you know what? I'm going to try something in my comeback. I'm going to do jab, jab, jab, this arm transformation, hit you with it, turn away, and I'll do a schoolboy.' And it's funny, I used to call it the 'Schoolboy From Hell' actually. So I did it at a live event. I told John Cena, I said 'hey watch this, I'm going to try something.' And I did the Cobra and the audience laughed, like, the first time. I stood there, made this face, did the whole thing, hit him with it, rolled him. I came back and he goes 'I would keep that if I were you, that was funny as hell.'"


Santino Marella would continue to use the move at house shows, until one day Vince McMahon asked him to use it in a match on RAW. Marella revealed that even he was surprised at how quickly fans took to the move.

"Regal bumped off it to cover," Marella said. "That was the first time it kind of became a finishing maneuver, you know? It was only on live events. And then one day I was at RAW, and Ricky Steamboat was the producer. I was wrestling Zack Ryder and he goes 'you're going over with the Cobra.' And I'm like 'Cobra?' He goes 'yeah, Vince wants to see the Cobra.' And I'm like 'Vince knows about the Cobra?' And he goes 'yeah, he's been reading the reports and he wants to see the Cobra.' I was like 'ah okay.'

"Anyway, I did the Cobra. Three weeks, it took three weeks of doing it on television before I would gesture for it. And I remember almost being blown away like in shock. I would see in the corner, like in my peripheral vision, the audience jumping out of their seats, like, screaming. For the Cobra? Are you guys okay? You guys are settling. There's not really much to it, you know?"

If you use any quotes from this interview, please credit Stories with Briscoe and Bradshaw with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription