Tino Sabbatelli Discusses Accusations Of Leaking NXT Spoilers


Former WWE Superstar Tino Sabbatelli was a recent guest on the Insight with Chris Van Vliet podcast and commented on the time he was accused of leaking WWE NXT results, meeting his girlfriend Mandy Rose, and more.

You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

Tino Sabbatelli on his move from the NFL to WWE: “That is where there was the struggle. I was playing in front of 80,000 people, I had banners and my jersey was the number 2 seller in 2009 for Tampa Bay. I went from 80,000 to setting up rings in the PC for around 100 people. [Chris mentions the salary change from NFL athlete to PC recruit] I am glad that you mentioned that because I had to adjust myself in a humbling way. I was all in, I told Triple H that I was all in, I knew I had to start at the bottom. So I went to the PC and I did whatever they asked me to. I didn’t know how to wrestle, so I learned how to wrestle. Then I had to set up rings and be in locker rooms with cockroaches, and I am used to being escorted to my car. But I’m like OK, just stay the course. But for me, I bought in and dedicated my life to it. I get going and I don’t know what to expect. I develop this character that is me but just turned way up to a person that you wish you could be. So I started getting booed out of arenas, so I’m like this is good.”

“Fast forward a bit and Triple H approaches me. He said ‘Listen Tino, you look like a million bucks, talk like a million bucks and carry yourself like a million bucks. But I really want your wrestling to be a million bucks. When you are a package like Tino, if you can’t wrestle then it will expose you and you can’t be the star that you really are.’ I took that personally and I really honed in, and that craft is hard! It’s not something you can just teach overnight, there are so many aspects. It really wasn’t easy, if you are an explosive athlete, it is the opposite in the ring. You are moving fast, but you have to act like you are not moving fast. So I said to Triple H ‘OK I’m up for the challenge.’ He says ‘I’m going to team you up with Riddick Moss, he is good at what you need to work on and you are good at what Riddick Moss needs to work on.’ I’m like perfect, let’s team us up. It was another alpha presence, so we were butting heads at first, but for me I was grateful. He taught me so much about tagging, psychology and how the pace of a match goes. I knew we didn’t really want to do it at first, but as my career came, it really, really helped.”

“Fast forward 3 years and I came to this realization. I was 35 and I gave everything that I had to WWE, so I wanted to sit down with Triple H and ask what was the plan. So I sat down with Triple H for 45 minutes in Atlanta, and I will never forget it. He said ‘Listen Tino, I see you as a huge star. We just want the timing to be right with you because of the background and what you have accomplished. With your background we want to make sure that all the stars align and the timing is right.’ So I bought into this. He then said ‘This is what we are going to do. We are going to break you up on TV with Riddick Moss, here we go.’ That happens and I am in 3 main events.”

“I was against Alistair Black for the belt, Velveteen Dream and somebody else. I was catching my pace and was feeling comfortable. So I had the match with Alistair Black for the belt and Terry Taylor was there. At that time he pulls me aside and said it was the best match he had seen me work. Then I said ‘I am going to tell Triple H personally about it.’ This was a Friday night and I was excited. I had the Saturday off and I get a phone call at about 11am. It’s from Terry and he says ‘Tito, you want to work the main event tonight against Velveteen?’ I’m like absolutely, perfect. So I get in my car and I drive over to Tampa somewhere. Long story short, he goes to dropkick me and gets me right in my pec. His foot tore my pec, freak accident, if he did it 1,000 more times he wouldn’t have done it again. I’m about to get my singles debut and I tore my pec.”

“So I have the surgery and as I am out, I tell WWE I have an elbow problem, so let me get this sorted and I will be back at 100%. I go and get the surgery and it is supposed to be a 30 minute surgery. They get 8 pieces of bone fragment out, but the last one the tweezers snap and vanish. I was on the table for 5 and a half hours while they were digging around. They finally get it out, I wake up and they tell me what happened. They say it’s fine but I am like no something is wrong, I can’t feel my hand. Fast forward again 2 months later and my hand has no feeling and strength. I had to have a third surgery again in December, and they tell me it will be 3 months or 3 years, we can’t say. WWE stood behind me and paid for everything while I was on the shelf for 2 years. But I wanted to fight through and wanted to come back, because I felt like I was that next star. I remember Scott Hall pulled me aside one day and he said ‘Kid, you have a candid ability for people to hate you.’ Those were like the moments where I still wanted to chase this dream. Another was Dusty Rhodes, he said ‘Son, you’ve got the it.’ Those conversations kept me going through the hard times. I started this journey, let’s finish it. Triple H says that they want me back, so I started working my butt off and get through the physicals and get in shape. All of a sudden I get cleared in February 2020, but 2 weeks later, COVID hits. Vince McMahon says ‘Anyone who hasn’t been on TV is gone.’ So I get a phone call from Canyon Seaman. He’s like ‘I’m sorry we have to let you go.’ I’m like ‘Let me go? You just paid me for 2 years, I just got back.’ He’s like ‘It’s not my call, trust me.’ So they had me for 5 years and this is how they let me go? I was struggling. That being said, Canyon did text me every week saying they were going to get me back, but I didn’t believe it.”

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