A former NXT star has discussed the praise he received from the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Scott Hall, whilst also noting another WWE veteran claimed the company “dropped the ball” with him.
Tino Sabbatelli joined the WWE in 2014 after spending six years in the NFL. He went on to debut for the company a year later, although his early career was stunted slightly due a concussion and soon afterwards a serious pectoral injury.
WWE released Sabbatelli in April 2020, and he has only been seen sporadically since including a single appearance on AEW Dark.
Speaking on Sportskeeda Wrestling’s UnSKripted with Dr. Chris Featherstone, Tino Sabbatelli recalled someone with plenty of experience contacting him after his released to say that WWE had really missed the boat when it came to his talents.
I’ve kind of distanced myself a little bit since my outing and then I still have an itch because I know the character Tino could be a megastar, and I do believe that. And I’ve had people in the industry, and I won’t name no names, that’s been inside of WWE for 16, 20 years, on the writing side, creative side, all this stuff, personally text me and say that I’ve probably been the biggest dropped hall they’ve seen of being a star.
And that means a lot to me, and it kind of motivates me to maybe give it another run. And I think it’s one of those things where, when you have people like that texting you, you’re like okay. And I know in my heart what Tino could have been. It’s just one of them things where it was a lot of bad timing, lot of bad situations, but I still have the itch because I know I could be, I know the character could be very successful in this industry.
Tino Sabbattelli went on to discuss how comments from the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Scott Hall motivated him.
The one thing I learned quick, just learning the industry was, the character Tino just had that ability for people to hate him,” Sabbatelli explained. “And it was something that I took pride in. What really kept me motivated [was] when superstars pulled me aside. ‘The American Dream’ was the first one to pull me in the office and say, ‘Hey kid, I don’t say this much, but you got something different, man.’ And that motivated me.
It was one of the things where that was what kept me going in the PC every day. And guys like Scott Hall pulled me aside one time and that meant a lot because when people tell you, listen, you’re a main-event calibre character, you’re like okay, you get motivated. People don’t just throw that word around.