Santino Marella’s push is said to be patterned after the 1993 Sean Waltman “1-2-3 Kid” push, with Marella being positioned as an underdog “giant killer” getting a series of upset wins, according to Dave Meltzer in the April 23 issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (click here for subscription information).
Paul Heyman pushed Marella as Boris Alexiev in OVW to be the new Tazz/a Fedor Emelianenko hybrid, but his MMA characteristics were downplayed when Heyman stopped booking OVW. Heyman had the idea to bring him up as Angle’s protege, which died with all the Angle troubles, and then prior to Survivor Series as Anthony “Killer” Karelli, a MMA fighter in the crowd, who would answer a challenge from a top heel, making the heel tap that night, and then again at December to Dismember. It was being pitched to have him feud with CM Punk. Vince turned it down, calling him “a midget,” even though writers Pantelis Ypsilantis and Dave Lagana both vouched for the wrestler.
In a related story, also from the Observer, apparently Heyman wanted to bring Spike Dudley back to ECW as a “giant killer,” and got into a huge argument with Vince about it. Heyman’s idea was to have Spike beat Big Show at One Night Stand 2006, followed by ECW Champ RVD rubbing it in at the first ECW TV show. As the story goes, Show would put his career on the line in a rematch, and then kill Spike, leading to a pull-apart brawl to start the Show/RVD program. Of course, this never happened, as Vince thought Spike beating giants would kill the big guys’ credibility.
Tags: ECW, Raw, WWE