Maria Kanellis On AEW Women Being Influenced By Divas Era, Returning To The Ring

Though she's now one of the most prominent managers in Ring of Honor, shepherding the careers of up-and-comers Griff Garrison and Cole Karter, Maria Kanellis got her start in WWE two decades ago, during a time when the women's division was firmly entrenched in the "Divas" era. For many, that era of women's wrestling has been viewed as a sore spot compared to today, when women are given far more time and opportunity to perform, instead of being presented as "eye candy."


During an appearance for "Monopoly Events," Kanellis touched upon how opportunities and time were lacking for her and other women during the Divas era. However, she noted that her outlook on that time wasn't as negative as it had been, which she attributed to the surprising number of women, including co-workers in AEW, who wound up being inspired by the work she and other Divas-era women did.

"I've had so many women today that are in AEW, that are wrestling in AEW, that are sometimes in black and white on AEW, that are sometimes working in Japan and also in AEW, that are these incredible wrestlers, that have come up and said 'I got into wrestling because of the Divas," Kanellis said. 

"My views have changed over the years. They really have. There was a time where I was like 'Ugh, Divas. I don't like that word, I don't want to be a part of it.' But now, I have this appreciation, because it's almost like looking through the eyes of your children and seeing things for the first time. And saying 'Oh my gosh, I really did influence women back then.'


Kanellis Names Three AEW Stars She Would Consider Wrestling In A One-Off Match

Since joining AEW back in 2022, Kanellis has stuck to managing, and hasn't wrestled a match since she was in WWE in 2019, when her and husband Mike Bennett lost a mixed tag team match to Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins. However, Kanellis revealed she hadn't shut the door regarding one last match when asked about it, and revealed that she had a few choices in mind should she decide to get into an AEW ring.


"It's tough because there's been a few women in AEW that have asked," Kanellis said. "I think Deonna would be a good choice. I think, gosh, Queen Aminata has said 'Come on. We're both mothers. Let's do this.' I think Queen is just such an inspiration, and I think that would be an awesome [match]. Toni [Storm], for sure. There's too many, there's just a lot. And it's tough, because my daughter, she wants to see me wrestle one more time. And so, at some point, maybe I'll do it. But I can't guarantee it'll be good."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Monopoly Events" and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription