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James Maritato

James Maritato (born March 12 1972) better known by the ring names Little Guido Maritato and Nunzio, is an American professional wrestler best known for his work in World Wrestling Entertainment and Extreme Championship Wrestling.

Career

Starting out

While attending Nanuet Senior High School (located in Rockland County, New York), Maritato competed in football (as part of the school's 1989 team that went undefeated, untied, and unscored upon) and wrestling. He was later trained as a professional by Billy Robinson, debuting in the professional ranks in the early 1990s. Maritato then went to Japan to compete in the shoot style UWF International promotion.

Extreme Championship Wrestling

He stayed in UWF until 1995 where he joined Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) under the name Damian Stone. He was later given the gimmick of Little Guido and put in the comedy stable the Full Blooded Italians (F.B.I.), alongside J.T. Smith, Tracy Smothers, and Tommy Rich.

During 1999, he became a "serious wrestler", although still accompanied by "Big" Sal E. Graziano and proclaiming himself to be an F.B.I. member (though only the two of them were left). After his turn he was involved in some intense singles matches until late 2000, when he formed a tag team with Tony Mamaluke. The duo won the ECW Tag Team Championship on August 26 2000 and held them until December when they lost them to Danny Doring and Roadkill. They continued to wrestle together until ECW folded in April 2001.

World Wrestling Entertainment

SmackDown! brand

When ECW closed, Maritato wrestled for several independent promotions, mostly in the New York Tri-State area; he often teamed with former partner Tony Mamaluke. They had a notable run in Ring of Honor before Maritato was signed by World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002.

Maritato was introduced on WWE TV as Nunzio, a possible reference to the mob/bodyguard characters Guido and Nunzio in the MythAdventures series of books by Robert Asprin. As the (kayfabe) heel cousin of Jamie Noble, he attacked then babyface Crash Holly after he defeated Noble in a match on the December 12, 2002 edition of SmackDown!. Nunzio began a feud with Crash after this, defeating him on several occasions before going on to face the likes of Tajiri, Shannon Moore, and Chuck Palumbo.

The team and cousin storyline of Nunzio and Noble soon faded. Nunzio reformed the Full Blooded Italians, this time with Johnny "The Bull" Stamboli and Chuck Palumbo, but the team found little success. After WrestleMania XX, Palumbo was drafted to Raw, and the F.B.I. was reduced to a tag team. After Stamboli was released, Nunzio began competing in the cruiserweight division.

In 2005, Maritato returned to his Little Guido persona for one night; he reunited with the original Full Blooded Italians to take on Super Crazy and Tajiri in a Three-Way Dance at the ECW reunion show One Night Stand.

As Nunzio, he continued to perform on SmackDown! B-show Velocity as both a face and a heel, forming a short-lived tag team with Funaki. On the August 6 (taped on August 2) edition of Velocity, Nunzio won the WWE Cruiserweight Championship by defeating Paul London after a new heel wrestler, Vito made his debut by giving Nunzio a blackjack, which he used to knock London out. Nunzio joined forces with Vito, thus becoming a full time heel.

The pair began feuding with The Mexicools and at No Mercy 2005, Mexicool member Juventud defeated Nunzio with a Juvi Driver to take the Cruiserweight Championship. Nunzio regained the title on November 15 at a house show in Rome, Italy but lost it right back to Juventud on the November 25 SmackDown!

Nunzio and Vito would both briefly make a face turn by briefly engaging in a feud against Gregory Helms. However, Vito and Nunzio would quickly go back to being heels due to Vito's new god father gimmick.

A significant event occurred for Nunzio during a Triple Threat match when The Great Khali interrupted the match and threw him approximately 10 feet to the floor with no extra padding to soften the bump.

In late May 2006, Nunzio's partnership with Vito began to crumble after it was revealed that Vito (kayfabe) enjoyed cross-dressing, which made Nunzio feel betrayed and embarrassed. Nunzio ended his alliance with Vito, and moved to ECW.

ECW brand

In June when the ECW brand was launched, Nunzio left SmackDown! to join other "ECW originals" on ECW, retaking his Little Guido name in the process. The F.B.I. was revived again, this time with Little Guido as a face once again, alongside Tony Mamaluke and Trinity and for a short while, Big Guido. The F.B.I. have been used for tag matches in ECW to either take on debuting tag teams or facing another tag team when a tag match is needed. At December to Dismember, The F.B.I. took on Elijah Burke and Sylvester Terkay in a losing effort. His partner Tony Mamaluke was released on January 18, leaving Guido and Trinity alone to carry on the stable.

After Tony Mamaluke’s release, Little Guido vanished from television (he only appeared once on ECW on Sci Fi with the Little Guido name). After his hiatus, he later returned on the April 17, 2007 episode (in Italy, where he was well received by fans) using his old Nunzio name again but without Trinity, who had been released in June. After losses to the debuting Johnny Nitro and The Miz, Nunzio disappeared from television for a few months. He returned on the September 11 edition of ECW, in a losing effort to Matt Striker. Numnzio was used mainly as a jobber during this period, losing to Tommy Dreamer, Jamie Noble, Kevin Thorn, and Kenny Dykstra.

In 2008, Nunzio returned on January 15, in a losing effort against Shelton Benjamin, and on his next appearance, on April 8, he lost to Elijah Burke. He then engaged in a brief feud with Mark Henry, both came out on the losing end. After nearly 2 years, Nunzio finally won a broadcasted match on May 5, as he was in a handicap match along with the rest of the ECW roster against Triple H and Mr. Kennedy. He gained another win on June 6, on SmackDown, as he teamed with Batista, Funaki and Colin Delaney to defeat La Familia (Edge, Chavo Guerrero, and Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder).

On August 8, 2008, Maritato was released from his WWE contract.

Independents

Nunzio returned to the ring on the weekend of September 19 and September 20, 2008, where he wrestled for the JAPW promotion. He used his real name, James Maritato, on the independent circuit.

In wrestling

  • Finishing and signature moves

*Sicilian Slice (Diving leg drop bulldog)
*Arrivederci (Springboard single arm DDT) – WWE
*Sicilian Drop (Inverted double underhook facebuster)
*Cross armbreaker
*Fujiwara armbar
*Middle-rope front missile dropkick
*Sicilian Crab (Seated elevated over the shoulder single leg Boston crab)

  • Signature taunts

*The fangul
*Points finger at his head, indicating he is smarter than his opponent.

  • Nicknames

*The Sicilian Shooter
*The Extreme Stud
*The Pugnacious Pisant

  • Managers

*Tommy Rich
*Vito
*Trinity

  • Theme Music

*Version of the Beastie Boys song "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn"
*That's Amore by Dean Martin

Championships and accomplishments

  • Chaotic Wrestling

*CW Tag Team Championship (1 time)-with Luis Ortiz

*ECW Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Tony Mamaluke (1), and Tracy Smothers (1)

  • USA Pro Wrestling

*USA Pro United States Championship (1 time)
*USA Pro Tag Team Championship (2 times) -with Rahul Kay (1) and Kid Kruel (1)

*WWE Cruiserweight Championship (2 times)

Outside of wrestling

References

External links

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