Santino Marella - real name Anthony Carelli - has announced his retirement from wrestling at a live event in Toronto, Canada.
Marella, who won the Intercontinental from the late Umaga on his debut in Milan in 2007, made his speech to stunned fans, revealing that he has suffered a third neck injury.
Rather than attempting a comeback, the 35-year old has clearly decided to remove himself from the relentless treadmill of the WWE system and let his body heal up.
In a fan video posted online, a clearly emotional Marella speaks of his happiness at being able to retire in his real-life hometown of Toronto, and his regret at being unable to perform in front of his favourite crowd of the year.
It is expected that the former United States and Tag Team champion will stick with the company in a non-wrestling capacity, possibly in the role of a road agent, laying out matches and
It is also entirely possible that the innovator of 'The Cobra' will still remain an on-air personality, due to his popularity as a comedy character and natural charisma.
It is likely that Marella's decision to retire will be mentioned on the next edition of Monday Night Raw, but due to the faux-Italian's decline in support lately his news was obviously deemed unworthy of TV time.
Marella has had retirement thoughts for some time, having recently revealed that his career was winding down and he was interested in securing a backstage role with WWE.
Aside from his debut - accepting an open challenge from the crowd in Milan to beat Umaga - and his comedy gimmick, Marella will also be remembered as having almost won the Royal Rumble in 2011.
The grappler was thought to be eliminated by the time Alberto Del Rio had his hand raised for the match win, before he re-entered to almost cement himself in the annals of WWE history forever.
Whilst it would have been one of the boldest moves in the company's history to allow a comedy character win the battle royal, it also would have been one of the most ridiculous as well.
Despite his lack of in-ring success and credibility, Santino will still be remembered fondly for his natural charm and for playing the likeable lunkhead character to perfection.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: https://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms