From a suicide dive to a Full Blooded Italian…
How becoming Italian can change your life
If you have ever watched a wrestling match, it is quite sure you have witnessed more than one suicide dive.
This specific professional wrestling aerial technique is a
And that is exactly what JS Smith did at Wrestlepalooza in ’95. But the problem was that his toes got caught in the ropes and he landed flat on his head, getting a concussion.
When he came back to the wrestling scenario, ECW owner Paul Heyman, made the most of it arguing with a hint of humor that Smith had come back with a mild brain damage and that now he believed to be Italian, even talked with an Italian accent, despite the fact that he was an African American born in Philly in 1967.
In his comeback, Smith befriended ‘Big’ Val Puccio and from that alliance the faction called ‘Full Blooded Italians’ (F.B.I) was born. And so was the fun.
In April 1996 at Massacre on Queens Boulevard, Smith introduced to the world his ‘legitimate’ Sicilian cousin, James Maritato calling him ‘Little Guido’. He was actually born on March 12, 1972 in Queens, N.Y.
Later on ‘The Main Man’ Tracy Smothers (Knoxville, Tennessee, September 1962- October 28, 2020) and ‘The Big Don’ Tommy Rich (Tennessee, July 26., 1956) joined the team and so did Salvatore Bellomo, Davey Piezono, Mabel, ‘The Italian Stallion’ J.T. Smith, Sal E. Graziano, ‘Big Guido’ Michael Iorio (born April 20, 1964), Ulf Herman, ‘The One Man Gang’.
With this crew F.B.I. got successful enough to win the World Tag Team Championship, twice.
‘Where is my Pizza?’
Claiming to be purebred Italians, using mafia references, exaggerated hand gestures and adopting stereotypical Italian American ways, they created their ‘Italian Persona’.
Whomever watched their ECW run, will remember the crowd chanting “Where’s my pizza?” and the wrestlers coming out to the sound of the ‘Staying Alive’ cover by N-Trance to challenge their opponents to funny dancing duels. They were on fire, and they knew it.
For three years they kept the audiences laughing and cheering on end. But in 1999 things changed.
Smothers and Rich left the F.B.I., and Sal E Graziano took things in hand and in 2000 brought in Tony Mamaluke (Charles John Spencer). The company was now ready for its 2nd reincarnation.
Little Guido Maritato recreated himself as ‘Nunzio’ and with Tony Mamaluke and Leone Bonanni feuded against The Sinister Minister.
Competing on the SmackDown brand, Nunzio was defeated by Rikishi, so keeping up appearances, he threatened to bring his famiglia in, making a parody of the Goodfellas film.
In early 2005 Nunzio paired with Vito LoGrasso and they won the WWE Cruiserweight Championship .
In 2006, Vito and Nunzio had a match against each other where Vito, wearing a dress, won.
Full of drama and acting, the wrestling universe would never be the same. And like Opera, where twists and turns happen constantly, by recreating themselves as Italians, by tickling the popular imagery with Italian stereotypes, these fabulous wrestlers changed the way wrestling matches were perceived by the public, by the media and by the advertisers.
Be sassy. Connect with your inner Italian.
Furthermore, if you are of Italian descent, let us help you to make this connection by finding out if you are eligible to claim your Italian citizenship.