It is being reported on PWInsider and in a couple other outlets that WWE star Santino Marella (a/k/a Anthony Carelli) announced his retirement from in-ring competition tonight at a live event in Toronto, Canada.

Marella pointed specifically to neck injuries and issues, citing that he had recently injured his neck a third time, as why he was closing his career in the ring.  He has openly stated that he was considering retirement for some time now.  Marella has opened a professional wrestling and MMA training school based in Toronto.

Marella came to WWE in 2005 through developmental, after spending time working Canadian-based independent promotions and some MMA fighting.  His first exposure to television was in 2007 when Raw was broadcast live in Italy.  He was a "fan" in the audience that came out to challenge and upset the Intercontinental Champion at that time, who was Umaga.

Marella's character began to morph and change going forward, and he quickly became a fan favorite using his comedic gimmick.  He held the US Title and the Tag Team titles as well as the Intercontinental Championship.  While his gimmick never clicked with me personally, Marella became a favorite to the point that he got a huge reaction when he entered the 2011 Royal Rumble, eventually losing to Rumble winner Alberto Del Rio.  He also was very close to winning the 2012 Elimination Chamber bout.

Obviously, more on this story as it develops.  If he is indeed finished in the ring, best wishes to Marella for health and his future plans.