Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis on the possibility of returning to ROH, Mike going public with his addiction battle, why they opted to re-sign with WWE in June 2019

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

ROHStrong Podcast with Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis
Host: Kevin Eck
Interview available at ROHWrestling.com or Libsyn.com

Mike Bennett on why he went public with his addiction to prescription drugs: “I thought it would be another good way to hold myself accountable. If you put it out into public, everybody knows it, and maybe it’s not the best decision, but for me it worked. If you put it out there and someone sees you out in public and you clearly look like you’re f’ed up, they know, ‘Oh, well, this guy’s a liar,” and that’s going to get out there. In today’s day and age it’s going to spread everywhere. … Secondly, I almost felt like I had an obligation as someone who was in somewhat of a spotlight to tell my story. To tell people that we have an opioid crisis in this country and it affects everybody. … Even people who look like their lives are in check, they go through it, too.”

Maria on why she and Mike re-signed with WWE last June: “At that time, we had had a lot of conversations with WWE because we were going back and forth on whether or not we wanted to sign. We were disappointed in what had gone on so far. There were a lot of promises made to us that weren’t being held up. So we didn’t even know if we were going to re-sign. So then we finally did, and the only reason why I did was because I had a conversation with them, and I knew that I wanted to have another child, and I didn’t know how long that was going to take. I wanted WWE to know, ‘Hey, we’re going to try and have another child, and if you want to sign me to a part-time deal or pay-per-appearance, whatever, that’s fine.’ Because I knew that, hopefully, in the future I would be leaving on maternity leave. And WWE came back and they’re like, ‘No, we want to bring you in as a full-time talent again and we understand that you want to have a bigger family and have another child, so we’re totally cool with that.’ So when they came back with it, I was like, ‘All right. Great. We’re golden.'”

Maria on her and Mike getting released by WWE in April: “I was all ready to come back at WrestleMania. I had been getting back in shape [after giving birth to the couple’s son, Carver, in February]. I had already lost 35 pounds. So when they started calling around [to release talent], I thought that they were going to fire Mike because Mike had asked for his release. I didn’t think they were going to fire the both of us. I was on my way back from my two-month appointment with Carver at the doctor when I got the call from [WWE director of talent relations] Mark Carrano. I was fine on the phone, but at the same time I realized that we were going to be in a world of hurt. And they knew that. It’s just really hard for me to talk about because that was just such an emotional day. … To be fired in a pandemic, it was just sad to me. From this company that prides itself on being this family-based company, to be fired. I didn’t receive a phone call after I had Carver to ask if I was OK, if the labor went OK. I didn’t receive a phone call seeing how my recovery was going with either of my children. But I received a phone call to be fired in a pandemic.”

Mike on the possibility of returning to ROH: “I would absolutely love to. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. I would love to. I know the roster, I know how good it is. I’ve worked for the company before. … I’m not pretending I’m going to one place and this and that. I love Ring of Honor. I would love to end up there.”

Other topics discussed on the 97-minute podcast include: the role Maria played in Mike’s recovery from addiction; why their WWE run fell flat; how they met and got together; their time in ROH and forming The Kingdom; Mike contemplating retirement after his WWE release; Maria’s thoughts on Donald Trump from her time on “Celebrity Apprentice”; and more.



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