Teaming With Vladimir Kozlov (2010–2011)
At WrestleMania XXVI, Santino Marella competed in the 26-man battle royale dark match, won by Yoshi Tatsu. He then tried to form a tag team with Vladimir Kozlov, who repeatedly refused the offer. On the May 31 Raw, Kozlov interfered in Marella's match, helping him win. On the July 19 Raw, they finally teamed to defeat William Regal and Zack Ryder. At Night of Champions 2010, Marella and Kozlov wrestled a Tag Team Turmoil match for the Unified Tag Team Championship, won by Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre.
On the October 11 Raw he defeated Zack Ryder to qualify for Team Raw at Bragging Rights, against Team SmackDown. He was the first of seven Team Raw members eliminated, pinned by Tyler Reks. On the October 25 Raw, after Sheamus had called him an "embarrassment" for being the first man out at Bragging Rights, Marella scored an upset victory over the former two–time WWE Champion. They wrestled twice more, both matches ending with John Morrison saving Santino from Sheamus' post-match assault.
On the November 15 Raw, Marella and Kozlov became number one contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship by defeating The Usos. They unsuccessfully challenged The Nexus (Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater) for the title at Survivor Series. They won the Tag Team Championship in a four-way elimination tag match on the December 6 Raw, beating The Nexus, The Usos and Mark Henry and Yoshi Tatsu, after John Cena distracted Gabriel, allowing Marella to hit his Cobra finisher. After celebrating in the ring, Tamina kissed Santino, starting a relationship between them. She began accompanying Marella to his matches. Marella and Kozlov retained the Tag Team title at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, when Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater were disqualified after interference from Nexus member Michael McGillicutty. The next night on Raw, Marella and Snuka beat Ted DiBiase and Maryse in a mixed-tag match. On January 30, 2011, Santino entered the Royal Rumble at number 37. He was one of the final two wrestlers, before being eliminated by Alberto Del Rio. At Elimination Chamber, Marella and Kozlov lost the Tag Team title to Gabriel and Slater. At Wrestlemania XXVII, Marella teamed with Big Show, Kane, and Kofi Kingston (replacing the injured Kozlov) to defeat The Corre (Slater, Gabriel, Ezekiel Jackson and Wade Barrett) in an eight-man tag match. Marella's relationship with Tamina ended when she was drafted to SmackDown. On August 5, Vladimir Kozlov was released from WWE, ending the team.
Famous quotes containing the word vladimir:
“Just try to prove youre not a camel!”
—Russian saying popular in the Soviet period, trans. by Vladimir Ivanovich Shlyakov (1993)