Former NXT wrestlers Tino Sabbatelli and Dorian Mak have confirmed they are no longer with WWE, and both say they feel like they weren’t given an opportunity to succeed.
Mak – real name Dan Matha – put out the first episode of his new podcast this week called “The Drop” in which he says he asked for his release and it was granted. The first guest on his show was Sabbatelli – real name Tino Piscitelli – who confirms he was released last month as part of the company layoffs.
Matha made his NXT debut in 2016, while Sabbatelli made his first NXT appearance in 2015.
Despite their long tenures, neither guy was ever able to manage a sustained push. It’s a fact that doesn’t sit well with Piscitelli. “I am not going to sit here and dedicate myself for five years to NXT … and walk away without getting a legit opportunity,” he said.
Piscitelli, a former star NFL safety, calls himself “one of the greatest athletes to ever step foot” in the company. He also theorizes his persona would have been better suited for one of the main roster brands. “A lot of people told me, once Vince [McMahon] sees you in that spotlight, he can see the it factor quick,” Tino explained. “I think a lot of people told me, personally, they felt my character was better suited for a Raw or SmackDown.”
Matha, a former professional football player himself, doesn’t think he was given a fair shake either.
“Our situations are similar, in the regards that we weren’t given the opportunities,” he said. The two contend that well-built, naturally-athletic guys like themselves are being disregarded, but argue that a diverse roster is necessary for success. “When you have all those different flavors, you come up with a tasty ass recipe,” Matha noted.
While Piscitelli acknowledges the current COVID-19 pandemic played a role in his release, he still disagrees with the decision. “I understand this is situational … but I don’t think you let a guy like Tino go,” he stated.
Matha has indicated he hopes to continue his career elsewhere. Piscitelli, who has been out of action with a torn pectoral muscle since April 2018, shows no signs of giving up on professional wrestling either, saying “this is not going to be the end all be all, by any means.”
Watch the interview below.