Hi all in Bleacher Land!
Santino Marella has had an intersting career in the WWE. He was Intercontinental Champion twice. Of course, it should be noted that the first time he became champion, he got a considerable assist from then-superstar Bobby Lashley.
The second time he became champ, he did so by riding on the coattails of his...girlfriend at the time, Beth Phoenix. Her pinning Mickie James in a tag-team match garnered her the Women's Champion and Santino the IC strap as part of the stipulation.
He is currently U.S. Champion after defeating Jack Swagger (considering his current streak, Iron Mike Sharpe might even have gotten a win for once if he had faced Swagger).
This is not a bash Santino article. He has been cast as the comical foreign buffoon, and as such, he plays the part very well.
But, he should not be U.S. Champion, and if WWE is insisting upon keeping the strap on Santino, they need to seriously revamp his character.
Wrestlers can be funny. Randy Savage was one of the greatest IC champions ever. That man was hilarious. I defy anyone to watch some of his old promos and not break out laughing. But, there is not one fan today, nor then, who would confuse Randy Savage for comic relief. He was a bona fide wrestler and superstar and deserved to be champion.
Honky Tonk Man—an underrated IC Champion even if his longest title reign is frequently touted —was comic relief...but he could also go. He was one of the few weaselly champions whom you could still buy as champion.
Here is a guy who defeated many of the greats. The list includes Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake...many times with the help of Jimmy Hart, the bottom ropes, a pull of the tights or his guitar. But he won.
Santino Marella has become known more for who has beaten him than whom he has beaten.
The problem with this is that it makes Santino Marella look like a jobber. And since he holds the U.S. title, the U.S. title suffers greatly in terms of prestige. This has been a frequently and troubling theme that WWE has been guilty of, especially with any strap that does not have "Heavyweight" or "WWE" attached to it.
It damages the credibility of the Championship and diminishes its value as a stepping stone for future superstars who are destined for greater gold.
If WWE plans on keeping the strap on Santino, they need to do something with Santino. A heel turn maybe? More aggressive? Not bad options, but then to give Santino gravitas is to strip him of the comic relief which is at the root of the major pop that he gets when he enters the ring.
Another angle to look at this from is the damage to those who defeat Santino.
Basically, so what?
Take Santino's last match with Antonio Cesaro. Was anyone terribly impressed by Cesaro because he defeated Santino Marella? Santino got in a lick or too, but really, Cesaro looked like he could beat up on a jobber. Big deal, that's kind of the definition of a superstar.
I don't feel it furthered Cesaro, which is sad, because defeating the U.S. Champion SHOULD be a big deal. It should be impressive. But considering who is holding the strap, no one was impressed.
And while he looks cool, no one is all that impressed with Ryback beating no-name jobbers, no matter if it is two at a time. But, that's for another article.
Get the point?
I love Santino. He adds to the roster and the show with how well he plays the comic relief. And when allowed to, he puts on a decent match and is great on the mic.
But, we're talking about a Championship. Comic relief doesn't belong in the Championship picture, and if you're going to have a comic champion, he needs to actually beat someone of importance.
Santiono has not.
He needs to be stripped of the title or totally revamped for his and the U.S. title's sake.
I welcome your comments.