Former WWE prospect Tino Sabbatelli says he’s trying to enjoy life away from professional wrestling and sports. But the squared circle is never far from his mind. He’s currently in a relationship with NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose.

“The first time I met Mandy, I remember, when they were filming the show Tough Enough, they had the little – they called it like, a bunk, whatever it was, next to (the WWE Performance Center),” Sabbatelli told Insight with Chris Van Vliet. “I go – they built out a little warehouse right next to the PC in Orlando where they were keeping everybody for the show. So they have, like, no life. And I remember seeing them a couple of times walk through the PC and I was like, ‘Wow, that girl is cute’. Like, you know, I was kind of checking her out, joking around with my buddies, and I always thought she was beautiful. I really did. And I actually met her for the first time in the PC and we were just talking briefly and then, you know, I watched her go through the show, stayed great, and then she got signed.

“And I’ll tell you one thing about Mandy,” Sabbatelli continued. “What attracted me to her most, obviously beautiful woman. Obviously, everyone knows that she’s gorgeous. Her personality and her down-to-earth persona just drew me to her. She was such – so easy to talk to. Like, I was like, ‘Wow, such a beautiful woman, got everything together, and she can have a conversation?’ And I know it sounds like, sometimes you see these pretty women and they’re kind of distant and stuck up. But she was just such a genuine person and at the time, she had a serious boyfriend. She was engaged. So we were just friends, you know. We were just friends and after she broke up, it just kind of escalated from there.”

Tino Sabbatelli admits he’s disappointed that he never had a chance to work together on-screen with Mandy Rose. But he’s also excited to see her recent success as one of the top stars on NXT 2.0.

“Obviously, we could’ve been an incredible power couple in the industry,” Sabbatelli said. “We could’ve done a lot of things, maybe together. But, that being said, I really and truly am so happy for her. I’m her biggest fan. I wish anybody success. I wish everybody success, right? I try to help everybody because successful because I think that’s what true success is. You help others become successful. So for me, it’s like, I love watching Mandy on the journey. I try to help her through the ins and outs of it financially, professionally. So, that being said, it’s – I try to be in a humble way. It’s tough. It’s tough because you know, what Tino brought to the table, I’m not sure WWE has ever seen it and I mean that in a humbling way.”

Tino Sabbatelli had two runs as a developmental prospect with WWE. He first signed with the company in October 2014. Sabbatelli was released in April 2020. but returned to the company in October 2020. However, he never appeared on television during his second stint with WWE and was released for the second time last June. Sabbatelli admits he still has the desire to wrestle.

WrestleMania kind of bit me differently, to be honest with you,” Sabbatelli explained. “When I was watching Mandy, I was so happy. I’m her biggest fan, man. I really am. I’m Mandy Rose’s biggest fan. I’m so excited for her success. She’s doing so well. She’s a champion. But when I watched WrestleMania that was like, the first weekend where – like, I just kind of had to go for a walk, go for a little run, you know? Because it was just like, I know, I’m so competitive and I know the character Tino had so much to bring to the table and I know he was in his prime and I’m just still a little bit like, you know, like, to me, it’s like, I know like, Tino could’ve been on that stage at WrestleMania at the highest, in the main event and I truly believe that and that’s why I stuck with it for so long.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Insight with Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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