Santino Marella joined IMPACT Wrestling at IMPACT Hard To Kill when he was announced as the new Director of Authority. Marella is the temporary replacement for Scott D'Amore, who was taken out by Bully Ray on the January 5 episode of IMPACT.
Marella's return was slightly tipped off when Anthem Wrestling filed to trademark his name in December.
Speaking on The Dave Van Auken Show presented by Fight Bananas, Satino discussed his decision to join IMPACT.
"I was looking for 2023, not this early, but to get back out there and do something. Scott (D'Amore), as a habit, when he gets former WWE guys, he goes and checks the trademarks. He found that in 2021, WWE did not renew the Santino Marella trademark. Scott jumped on it and IMPACT Wrestling now owns the Santino Marella trademark. A lot people, when I came out and said I was Santino Marella, they were like, 'Woah, how is he able to use that?' That was almost bigger news than me coming out, being able to use the name. It was fun. Not having to modify the character and just being Santino, something that I am good at and comfortable with and I can be Santino on the drop of a dime. I wasn't gone long enough to where nobody knows me, but I was gone long enough that it means something. It was a good balance. Timing is everything and it was the right time," he said.
Asked if he spoke to WWE or AEW about a joining them, Santino said, "I have a very good relationship with WWE and we chat sometimes. The thing is, I'm Canadian, so to bring me in for a one-off, they have to get a work visa. 'Man, we're going to spend five Gs ($5,000) to bring him in for one day?' It really didn't make it worth it. I had a green card, I have since relinquished my green card. With IMPACT, I have a US work visa again. I did talk to Scott in the beginning and said, 'one of the only things I ask is that when my daughter is able to be called up, I'd like to do something in the ring with her.' He's cool with that. AEW, I've been to a couple of shows backstage, a lot of friends. So many guys I admire or I've worked with. WWE, my life is so perfectly balanced right now, I can't gamble that. To go on the road for 50 weeks a year, even if it's for one day -- the Booker T schedule where I fly in, do commentary, fly home -- that's still every week. I really like this schedule."
Santino's daughter is Arianna Grace (Bianca Carelli). She has been out of action since October 2022 due to an injury that required surgery.
Following his appearance at IMPACT Hard To Kill it was announced that Santino had officially signed with the company.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit the original source with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.