If there was ever a wrestling promotion in this world that Santino Marella was best suited to work for, it would be Japan’s Dramatic Dream Team (DDT Pro) – although a strong case for CHIKARA would exist. DDT Pro has become a performance art as much as it has been a wrestling promotion since it was founded in 1997 by Sanshiro Takagi and Shoichi Ichimya. While it’s the home of some fantastic wrestling – both in DDT Pro and its sister promotion, Tokyo Joshi Pro (TJP) – it also is filled with fantasy and lunacy that has made it a cult phenomenon around the world. It’s where Kenny Omega wrestled a young girl, Kota Ibushi had a classic with a blow-up doll, and Joey Ryan invented his penis gimmick. The WWE’s current 24/7 belt is a thinly watered-down version of DDT Pro’s Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship, a title that has been held by over 1300 title holders in its 19-year existence, including The Invisible Man, a trash bin, a dog, the entire live audience at a Beyond Wrestling show, and even Vince McMahon‘s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On Tuesday, DDT Pro announced that one of WWE’s most beloved comedic stars of the past decade, Santino Marella, was appearing on the card for their August 25 card at the legendary Kōrakuen Hall.
8月25日DDT後楽園大会に参戦決定！@milanmiracle サンティーノ・マレラ Santino Marella 選手！#DDTUNIVERSE にてもちろん生中継します?
— DDT UNIVERSE【VIDEOS】 (@ddtuniverse) July 30, 2019
If you’re only familiar with his work as the comedic character from WWE, him working in Japan may seem an odd destination for Marella. But the man behind Santino Marella – Anthony Carelli – is a world-class fighter trained in judo and spent early years of his training in Japan at the original BattleArts, where he trained in shoot fighting with Yuki Ishikawa, prior to joining WWE. Marella now runs his own wrestling and judo training center in Mississauga, Ontario (outside of Toronto), called BattleArts Academy (in tribute to his mentor). Being able to use his wrestling and combat sport skills in a more meaningful way than he was utilized in WWE, plus combining his comedic timing and wit, Santino Marella is bound to be a huge hit with the DDT Pro faithful in Tokyo.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can watch DDT Pro events on their streaming service, DDT Universe.