1. Anthony Carelli (born March 14, 1974) better known by his ring name Santino Marella, is a Canadian retired professional wrestler, mixed martial artist and actor.
2. Carelli was born in Mississauga, Ontario, to a family of Italian descent, and attended Elizabeth Simcoe Public School, and later Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School.
3. Carelli trained in judo at the age of nine and also competed in high school wrestling, winning a Region of Peel Secondary School Athletic Association (ROPSSAA) Tournament. Carelli was originally trained by journeyman wrestler Don Kolov in Woodbridge, Ontario.
4. Carelli started his career on the Ontario independent circuit as Johnny Geo Basco, debuting with a disqualification win over Xhibit (now Rico Montana) in the opening match of a Ring Wars show in Orangeville, Ontario, on August 17, 2003.
5. In 2005, Carelli (as Johnny Geo Basco) began training at Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), a developmental territory for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
6. In July, during a storyline where he was supposed to act afraid of The Boogeyman, but instead laughed, Carelli was shouted at and slapped by Jim Cornette, OVW’s head booker and co-owner.
7. This incident led to Cornette being fired as OVW booker by WWE.
8. On January 24, 2007, Alexiev won the OVW Television Championship from Mike Kruel, who was defending in place of champion Eddie Kraven. He lost it back to Kruel on February 7, and regained it from him on March 14.
9. Three days later, he dropped it to Shawn Spears. He was called up to the WWE roster a month later.
10. Carelli debuted as Santino Marella (a homage to WWE Hall of Famer Robert “Gorilla Monsoon” Marella ) on the April 16, 2007 episode of Raw from Milan, Italy.
11. The unknown Marella scored a surprising upset, and won the WWE Intercontinental Championship with a great assist from Bobby Lashley.
12. The next day, WWE.com posted a profile on Marella, saying he was an Italian national who moved to Canada as a child and returned to his native country a few times each year to visit family.
13. It said he moved to the U.S. to pursue a wrestling career with WWE.
14. Shortly after winning the Intercontinental title, Marella feuded with Chris Masters, narrowly retaining the title in his first defenses. after defeating him on June 24, at Vengeance: Night of Champions, by disqualification.
15. Marella then began a gradual heel turn and became increasingly jealous of his girlfriend, Maria.
16. Over several weeks, they appeared together in a series of segments on Raw, including two “game show” skits, hosted by General Manager William Regal, which resulted in retired wrestler Ron Simmons winning a date with Maria, to Santino’s dismay.
17. Marella began a publicity campaign against the WWE Films production, The Condemned, as its DVD release neared. starting a new comedic trend in his gimmick.