"From Calabria, Italy; weighing in at 233 lbs, he is the WWE United States Champion—Santino Marella!"
For some reason, this just doesn't feel right.
A United States Champion, billed from an area in Europe that is known for its wines, who is supposed to be a goofy good-guy character, has a finishing move named the Cobra—which is goofier than him—and almost never seems to defend his title itself.
Also, he is actually from Canada, was trained as a mixed-martial artist in Japan and had a Russian gimmick in his earlier years. Oh, did I mention that he played his own "twin sister"? (John Cena only played his own "cousin", Juan. I wonder if we'll get Joanne Cena or Juanita Cena someday?)
It's so goofy, it can only have come from the same part of the WWE that gave us Mae Young's "son" and Heidenreich's "poetry." And Kerwin White. And Vinnie Mac's illegitimate Leprechaun offspring. (And Katie Vick. Or is that from a much more messed-up layer?)
Okay, the WWE has a lot of messed up storylines in its history, but Mark Henry Jr. and Katie Vick are not currently holding any WWE title belts—although Zombie Vick would make a great Divas Champion! What Santino Marella's current run as US Champion is doing is undermining both the worth of a prestigious championship and and turning one of the few good wrestlers the WWE has into an outdated punchline.
If you have seen Santino's earlier works, you will know that he is a decent—if slightly unorthodox—technical wrestler. (His finishing move as Russian Boris Alexiev was the devastating Triangle Choke. Compare that to the weak-looking Cobra—a finger jab to the side of the neck.)
He has the gift of gab, a rather quick wit and the willingness to make jokes at his own expense. Unfortunately, the last part has been abused so violently that Santino is often overlooked as just that—a joke!
And that part, has more than run its course. The same fans—myself a member—who used to laugh heartily at his humor, now are forced to groan as he plays the buffoon on every WWE program he appears on, be it on any day of the week, including Sundays.
The US title has become his jester's hat, falling into the same filth that his character is forced to roll in. For what? The entertainment of a few underage wrestling fans, the majority of whom will be—in about ten years—ashamed to publicly admit they enjoyed his antics?
What about the millions of other fans who have watched the sport he is a part of for tens of years and witnessed so many greats hold the iconic strap that is now just a clown's prop?
Hey, don't get me wrong. I like a joke now and then. In fact, some of the sentences above are just bits of humor—in case you didn't get that. But, humor is only useful if it does not take away from the main themes of the show. And, Santino Marella, with his current United States Championship reign, has tried to force so many jokes into the narrative that it just isn't funny anymore.