Santino Marella is a two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion and WWE Tag Team Champion, but for the past five years his gimmick has mostly been a joke as he danced and goofed off in the WWE ring.
In the past couple of weeks, things have gotten serious for Marella as he earned a main event spot at the Elimination Chamber PPV, won a huge "Friday Night Smackdown" main event and has had his fan base grow with each impressive feat.
Smackdown Battle Royal
Santino's rise began on the February 17th edition of "Friday Night Smackdown." The main event was a battle royal where the winner would earn a spot in the "Smackdown" Elimination Chamber match. Santino survived against Superstars like Hunico, Ted DiBiase, Drew McIntyre and David Otunga.
This was a huge shock for WWE fans as Marella had not won a match for several weeks and now had an opportunity to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
Smackdown Elimination Chamber Match
Despite being against the Big Show, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, The Great Khali and Champion Daniel Bryan, Marella was impressive in the Elmination Chamber match. He actually pinned Rhodes and Barrett to eliminate them from the match.
Marella was part of the final two participants with just Daniel Bryan standing between him and the championship. Even though Marella successfully used the Cobra finisher, Bryan kicked out and made Marella tap out to end the match.
This was very reminiscent of the 2011 Royal Rumble match where Marella hid under the ring until only Alberto Del Rio was left inside. Marella ended up losing the Royal Rumble, but he got the crowd excited and riled up.
Future of Marella
If Marella's streak continues, he could become a WWE title contender. A match like the Money in the Bank ladder match would give him the best odds of winning WWE gold as he would get a guaranteed WWE Title contract at any time.
Marella has made his character last for several years in the WWE and hopefully he continues to do as he gains more fans, has higher profile matches and wins more WWE Championships.
"Friday Night Smackdown" airs on SyFy at 8 pm ET.