– Speaking with Chris Van Vliet, Santino Marella discussed where his Cobra finishing maneuver came from and its surprising status as the most effective finisher ever. The finishing maneuver is an example of one of the ridiculous aspects of Santino’s character that got over with audiences, and Marella recalled Vince McMahon telling him through Ricky Steamboat to start using it on TV.
Highlights from the discussion, and the full interview, are below:
On the origin of the Cobra: “Originally, it was from a bar in Japan. This guy showed me a hand puppet transformation thing where he chopped his hand and made it this thing. And literally, like five years later I was in a match. It was a live event, I believe it was Carlito or Chavo. And I went to Cena, I go, ‘Hey watch this. Watch my comeback, I’m gonna try something.’ So I was like like, ‘Jab, jab, jab.’ Transformed the arm, cobra strike, turn around, schoolboy. And the audience immediately laughed at the arm strike. And I don’t even know if it had a name at the time. Anyway, it quickly became the cobra.”
On being told to use the move on TV: “And I remember I went to Raw and Ricky Steamboat was my producer. And he was like, ‘Ah, you’re gonna go over tonight.’ I think it was against Heath Slater.’ And he said, ‘Vince wants to see the Cobra.’ And I’m like, ‘Vince knows about the Cobra?1?’ Because I only did it at live events. And it was getting good reviews, and the producers were writing down, ‘The audience is reacting, it’s funny.'”
On the effectiveness of the move: “And later I found out that it was the perfect finisher. You can do it at any time to any size person. And then I saw another article recently about how statistically-speaking it’s one of the most effective finishers of all time. One person kicked out of it without the sleeve, Sheamus. And one person kicked out of it with the sleeve, Daniel Bryan. So and I’ve probably given, a thousand Cobras? That’s 99 percent, point 98.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.