Former Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella has revealed the origins of his dreaded Cobra, and like all good stories, it all began at the bar.
Marella burst onto the WWE scene in 2007, winning the Intercontinental Title in his debut match on Raw where he was presented as just a fan in what became known as the ‘Milan Miracle.’
Despite being presented as a comedy character for much of his WWE career, Santino Marella captured the Intercontinental Championship twice as well as holding the US Title and the WWE Tag Team Championship with Vladimir Kozlov.
Later in Marella’s WWE career, he began using a move that became known as the Cobra. Marella went so far as to take a page out of Mick Foley’s book and don a sock baring a snake on it as he got ready to strike his opponents.
Speaking on Stories With Brisco and Bradshaw, Santino Marella explained to WWE Hall Of Famers JBL and Gerald Brisco how the Cobra came to be:
“I was at a bar, just drinking at a bar, and some guy, his name is Taro, he just showed me this thing where he just transformed his arm into this little snake puppet thing. And I didn’t even get it at the time. I looked at my buddy and I go ‘what is that?’ ‘Ah, it’s just a funny thing he does, you know?’”
“I said ‘okay.’ And then the next time I saw him, he asked me ‘do you remember how to do it? You do this thing, then you hold and you do a little wooden puppet.’ And you know, we laughed about it again and that was it.”
“Fast forward like five years, and I’m at a house show in Atlanta. I think I was wrestling Chavo or Carlito. And I said ‘you know what? I’m going to try something in my comeback. I’m going to do jab, jab, jab, this arm transformation, hit you with it, turn away, and I’ll do a schoolboy.’ And it’s funny, I used to call it the ‘Schoolboy From Hell’ actually.”
“So I did it at a live event. I told John Cena, I said ‘hey watch this, I’m going to try something.’ And I did the Cobra and the audience laughed, like, the first time. I stood there, made this face, did the whole thing, hit him with it, rolled him. I came back and he goes ‘I would keep that if I were you, that was funny as hell.’”
The move soon took on a life of its own after Marella began using the Cobra to win matches, and once WWE Chairman Vince McMahon heard about it, it became a key part of Marella’s arsenal:
“Regal bumped off it to cover. That was the first time it kind of became a finishing maneuver, you know? It was only on live events. And then one day I was at RAW, and Ricky Steamboat was the producer.”
“I was wrestling Zack Ryder and he goes ‘you’re going over with the Cobra.’ And I’m like ‘Cobra?’ He goes ‘yeah, Vince wants to see the Cobra.’ And I’m like ‘Vince knows about the Cobra?’ And he goes ‘yeah, he’s been reading the reports and he wants to see the Cobra.’ I was like ‘ah okay.’”
“Anyway, I did the Cobra. Three weeks, it took three weeks of doing it on television before I would gesture for it. And I remember almost being blown away like in shock. I would see in the corner, like in my peripheral vision, the audience jumping out of their seats, like, screaming. For the Cobra? Are you guys okay? There’s not really much to it, you know?”