Locker Room Scuttlebutt: Santino and Sal

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May 25, 2008

This past Monday on Raw, fans watched once again as Santino Marella mouthed off and acted with his characteristic lack of respect. Continuing his rivalry with WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Santino arrived decked out like the "Hot Rod" and attempted to interview Jimmy Kimmel's Cousin Sal. Just as Santino had interrupted Sal's birthday celebration with Roddy on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Monday night's imitation "Piper's Pit" was interrupted by the segment's true host. Unable to leave well enough alone after being kicked out of the ring, Marella challenged Cousin Sal to a match, which Piper quickly accepted on Sal's behalf.

Whenever a Superstar throws down the gauntlet, it gets people talking in the locker room. But when it's someone as controversial as Santino, people start talking as much as the braggadocios Italian Superstar himself. Though people's feelings about the former Intercontinental Champion are mixed at best, most express some concern over Cousin Sal's ability to compete in the ring.

"I don't know what type of background he has," said SmackDown's Jimmy Wang Yang, "but not anybody can get in that ring and wrestle."

World Tag Team Champion Cody Rhodes agrees with Yang that it's "one thing to get into a fight at Hooters; it's another to step into a wrestling ring." However, Raw's second-generation Superstar was quick to add that his personal history with Santino will have him rooting for Cousin Sal.

While there's no lack of contempt for Marella in the locker room, some Superstars are directing their ire at his opponent. Elijah Burke pointed out that "Cousin Sal is not a professional wrestler," advising that the man doesn't even belong in a wrestling ring. The ECW Superstar had some advice for Santino too: "The WWE Legend, Roddy Piper — I guarantee you he's going to have a say about this match and how it turns out."

Even Beth Phoenix, a competitor accustomed to winning through sheer power, admitted that strategy and Sal's ringside back-up might play a role in the outcome of this match. "I would say that with Roddy in his corner, Cousin Sal does have a chance," said Raw's Glamazon, though she's still unsure if Piper's involvement would clinch the victory for Sal. "I gotta go with Santino on this one … Unless the Hot Rod gets himself involved, I would say Cousin Sal's in deep, deep trouble."

The locker room is split on how the match will turn out, but it looks like Sal really does have his work cut out for him in going up against Santino Marella. However, it's way too early to count the Jimmy Kimmel Live! star out completely, since he'll have the Rowdy one in his corner. We'll all be waiting to see how this match turns out, but perhaps ECW's own full-blooded Italian speaks for all of us: "I think Cousin Sal deserves to kick his butt. Because obviously, Santino … he has a big mouth." Short and to the point—thanks, Nunzio!

The date hasn't been set, but these two Italians are headed toward an unavoidable brawl, with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper right in the middle of it. Keep tuning into Monday Night Raw at 9/8 CT on USA Network for new developments on this continuing rivalry!

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