Before Santino Marella became famous in WWE as an undercard comedy figure, he was a student at Ohio Valley Wrestling who was infamously slapped by Jim Cornette after he botched an angle with the Boogeyman.
Fight: Santino Marella vs Civilians
Date: April 16, 2005
Location: Orangeville, Ontario, Canada
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
But before he was in OVW, he was an indie wrestler known as Anthony Carelli who had done some MMA training. One of the indies he had wrestled for was called Ringwars, promoted by Chris Drury in Ontario, Canada. After the Cornette/Marella slapping incident in OVW, Drury came forward with a story involving Marella that showed Cornette is extremely lucky he didn’t knock his head off. And while Cornette told Marella he was lucky Boogeyman didn’t beat his ass right then and there, it’s possible Marella would’ve taken him out too.
Drury said an incident happened “a couple of months” before the Cornette incident, which was in July of 2005. We found a record of a Ringwars show in April, which is likely when it happened. While Marella’s name is not listed in the results, there was a battle royal on the card and it’s possible Marella was one of the participants.
Drury doubled as a wrestler, and he lost on the undercard to a wrestler named Wraith. If Marella was indeed in the battle royal, then he was getting heat from a group of local fans after the show. Marella was with another wrestler on the card named George Terzis, and the local fans were heckling them both and challenged them after the show.
Details are extremely scarce, likely because whatever happened was quickly broken up. What is known is that the group of fans numbered around seven or eight, and despite being ridiculously outnumbered, Marella had already taken care of two or three of the guys by himself. We’re assuming Terzis was tied up with the rest and maybe one or two of the fans was leading them on or watching. We don’t know how Terzis ended up, but Drury was the one who had to break it up. It’s believed the brawl took place in the parking lot outside the venue.
We don’t know much about Terzis, other than he wrestled in Canadian indies for years and now trains for the Battlarts promotion in Ontario. Based on how he wrestles, he likely has an amateur wrestling background because he’s smooth with his maneuvers and knows a lot of grappling submissions. If that’s the case, he probably cleaned house or at least held his own similar to how Marella did.
Marella might have been a comedy figure on TV, and while he’s on the small side by pro wrestling standards, it’s clear he’s still somewhat of a badass. Much respect to Santino for not taking any crap from the fans. Bill Watts would be proud.