Former Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella opened up about how his infamous Cobra came to be.
After winning the Intercontinental Championship in his WWE debut was dubbed the Milan Miracle, Santino Marella went on to find success as a comedy character in WWE. His trademark Cobra became a staple in his matches, and during a guest appearance on the Monday Mailbag with Mike Chioda (available via AdFreeShows), the star recounted how the Cobra initially made its way into his act.
Surprisingly, Santino Marella didn’t think much of the Cobra when he was first shown the comedic move.
“The funny thing is, so this guy in 2004 showed me the Cobra in a bar in Japan, just this funny little thing where he transformed his arm into this little puppet thing, and that was it. And I never thought about it for like five years.”
However, years later, Santino Marella decided to use the move on a whim, and it was a hit.
“And I was in Atlanta, I believe it was Atlanta. And I was the the wrestling Chavo or Carlito. And I was like, hey, I want to I want to try something. So in my comeback, I did like, you know, the jab, jab, jab, Cobra, and the guy would turn away and I would give him a schoolboy, and the audience popped in immediately. They’ve never seen it. They just laughed, you know, and, and I remember Cena came back and Cena was like, ‘I would keep that if I were you, that was funny.’ And so I just kept doing it at live events.”
Despite the Cobra being a popular one with members of the locker room, Santino Marella didn’t expect for it to become a successful finisher and was shocked when he got word that he would be using it to defeat a fellow superstar at the behest of Vince McMahon.
“And one day I go to Raw and I was wrestling I think Zack Ryder and Ricky Steamboat was the producer and he goes, ‘Santino you are wrestling Zack and over with the Cobra.’ I go Cobra? And, and he goes, ‘Yeah, Vince wants to see the Cobra.’ Like I go ‘Vince knows about the Cobra?’. And he goes, ‘Yeah, he gets reports.’ I’m like, oh, sh*t.
“So yeah, that was the beginning of the Cobra. Then the Cobra, I mean, within like, within like six weeks, when I would gesture for the Cobra, In my peripheral vision, I would see people jumping up and going. I’m like, really for the Cobra? They love that I couldn’t, it almost didn’t make sense.”
Santino Marella’s legacy is continuing as his daughter Arianna Grace is currently signed to NXT. Earlier this year, the Milan Miracle spoke about advice he gave his daughter when he found out she would be following in his footsteps as a wrestler.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit Monday Mailbag with Mike Chioda and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.