Marino Tenaglia is coming to a TV near you. Or streaming device, or something.
The first thing you notice when approaching Marino Tenaglia is what you don't notice about most others -- nobody looks like him. He stood out from the crowd, even as he trained it a colorful gym with several other members of the AIW roster.
Now a tag team champion, he didn't always start there. He and his tag team partner Philly Collins actually started much further than just around the block from where he now lives, but it led them to each other.
"Where we originally started training, it was this place—Mega Championship Wrestling—out in [Elyria, Ohio]. That’s where Philly [Collins] and I met originally, God, like four or five years ago now. I lose track of time. But, we would train all the time. We’d always partner up in the ring during drills and we’d stay later and just try stuff because we trusted each other. We would put matches on in this gym by ourselves. But, we’ve never done anything, really. We had one match in front of a crowd against each other. The guy who was training us at the time and got us our first booking was like, “Hey, I don’t know what to do with you guys. Just figure it out.” So, essentially we were just two guys who got put together. But, we started hanging out outside of wrestling, and now I live with the guy, living with him for like three years. So we live the tag team dream," said Tenaglia, clad in a Scott Hall t-shirt.
Tag teams aren't quite as plentiful on the independent scene, though there are still some. Usually it's a performer looking out for number one, but that hasn't swayed The Philly and Marino Experience. The fun loving duo have made name for themselves doing what they want to do, and entertaining along the way.
"We like to say that, yeah, that we can be tag team specialists. We don’t like to toot our own horn, but we try to be different, try to be us," Tenaglia said.
So when Tenaglia, being that tag team specialist hears that the most powerful man in wrestling, Vince McMahon, doesn't like tag team wrestling? Or when Eric Bischoff notes that he always considered tag teams "too expensive?"
"Take it with a grain of salt," Tenaglia said. "We still love to do this and I don’t think we’ll ever stop loving it. So, just because the man himself isn’t a big fan of it, it doesn’t mean there’s no chance out there. Doesn’t make us lose hope."
Even though those in power -- or formerly in positions of power -- don't always seem on board with the idea of tag team wrestling, Tenaglia wants to end up in WWE.
"To be fair, I think we have a pretty similar goal. Of course, at the end of the day you want to end up in WWE. That’s what we all…the two of us at least, grew up watching forever. Yeah, we’d love to be there someday. Wherever the world takes us, wherever wrestling takes us," he said.
For now, they navigate the indpendent wrestling waters. A few years in, they're not always going to get to enjoy bookings that have the professional reputation of AIW and John Thorne. Tenaglia was asked about any indie wrestling horror stories, and remembered almost being stiffed on pay.
"There was name, I don’t mean to name drop places, but we’re working down in the Virginia area at a show. We were going down to wrestle, I think it was a normal tag team match against the Hooligans. We were super excited ‘cause they’re one of those teams that’s in in indie wrestling that’s strictly a tag team. So, we’re like, “Sick. Can’t wait to wrestle these guys and learn.” Anyways, the show goes great, match was awesome. Afterwards we talked to the promoter, “Hey, man, thanks for having us,” and blah blah blah, and waiting for our envelope, just like awkwardly standing there like, “So, are we getting paid or…? ‘Cause we talked about...” He’s like, “Yeah, don’t worry. I’ll paypal you.” We’re like, “Oooh, the dreaded ‘I’ll paypal you.’ We know where this is going.” Yeah, thankfully, out great friend Dominic (Garrini) —that’s definitely one scary motherfucker, man. Thankfully he was there for us and stayed on the guys for weeks and finally we got paid. Wasn’t the first time that happened. We’ve been told once, “Hey, I don’t pay people,” the first time, we had another buddy step in," said Tenaglia.
As he's emerged as a premier player in Absolute Intense Wrestling, Tenaglia hopes to become that veteran standing up for younger talent. The past year alone has seen the Philly and Marino Experience step up their game to capture the AIW Tag Team Titles, and face The North and other top teams along the way.
A concentrated effort to be different. A look, a style, a method of entertaining and wrestling, and filling a much needed role on the independent circuit. Marino Tenaglia is working his way through one of the most flooded hotbeds in pro wrestling, and with Philly Collins by his side.
You can see our full interview with Marino Tenaglia above. Follow him on Twitter at this link