James Maritato (aka former WWE Superstar Nunzio, aka Little Guido in ECW) was recently interviewed by FalseComeback. You can check out the interview in the video above, and you can read some highlights below:
How he broke into the business:
"I was actually trained by Gino Caruso [promoter of ECPW Wrestling] in America Style Pro Wrestling back in the early 1990s when I went to go work for WUFI, which was a shoot group out in Japan. I was trained by Billy Robinson (of AWA) in the shoot style. But in American wrestling I was trained by Gino Caruso, Rocky Jones, and the Kodiak Bear. But Billy Robinson was a whole new game and a vicious, violent person but I've had a great relationship with him. He was rugged, but he taught me the true reality of what professional wrestling is. And God bless his soul."
How he ended up in ECW and where the Little Guido character came from:
"I knew Tommy Dreamer, Taz and all those guys from working for the Savoldis in the early 1990s. Tommy Dreamer told me, 'come down, I will introduce you to Paul Heyman,' so I went there and met Paul E. I was working as Damien Stone. And Paul E. had this idea, he said I remind him of Joe Pesci type of guy. A rugged little guy, with a big mouth."
The night Rob Van Dam slapped Taz backstage at an ECW show in the 90s:
"Yes. I was there the night Rob Van Dam slapped Taz. I was not in the room. I use to travel with Rob. What I remember that night Rob was like slow moving [laid back]. He came in that night walking real fast and I said "hey Rob, what's up?" and went to shake his hand and he gave me a slap to my hand [gesturing that is unlike RVD] and I said to myself maybe he's pissed off. And then he went in and all that stuff went down. I was not in the room when it happened but I was outside by the ring when he walked in."
The biggest highlight of his career:
"When I wrestled at Wrestlemania XX at Madison Square Garden was a great experience. Especially since Wrestlemania 1 and I am from New York. My parents and family were there with me. Who knew 20 years later I would be performing in front of my parents and in front of my family at Wrestlemania XX. I've wrestled in the Garden before. But this was Wrestlemania!"
Going to WWE after ECW went out of business:
"It took a couple of years. When ECW went out, WCW went out right away. I was a mid-carder basically so I had to wait. They took all the top guys in ECW like the Tommy Dreamers, Rob Van Dams and Taz. Taz was there already, and then they took all the top guys in WCW which was a whole host of guys and I got lost in the shuffle. As people got hired and fired and left and left... then, two years later when Paul Heyman became the booker for Smackdown, he is the one that actually got me into WWE and pushed my name to Vince [McMahon]. I was hoping to get in right away but I had to wait two years (after ECW went out of business in January 2001)."