Current WWE Superstar Mike Kanellis hit the headlines recently when he requested his release from WWE publicly on social media in October. During an appearance on Swings & Mrs, Kanellis addressed his release request as well as speaking openly about what led up to it.
Kanellis was asked if his most recent stint on WWE RAW, where he was put in an angle where his character was emasculated by wife Maria, was a problem for him and whether that led to his request for release. Kanellis stated that the storyline had no bearing whatsoever on his decision.
"The angle itself didn't bother me," Kanellis said. "Because I tell people this and it makes people yell at me, but it's a fake television show. It's not real. My name isn't really Mike Kanellis and yes, I really am married to Maria Kanellis, but at the end of the day I am playing a role on a TV show. It's the same thing as if Mike Bennett played serial killer number one on Law & Order. It doesn't reflect who I am as a person so I don't mind trying something different or thinking outside the box. My only issue was it didn't go anywhere.
"If I'm going to do a storyline like that, I want it to go somewhere, I think the fans would like that too. There should be a payoff. Because there wasn't a payoff, it's like what was the point? I don't mind thinking outside the box. I don't mind embarrassing myself, I mean, I wrestle in underwear for a living. I really don't care. If they say I have to be emasculated by my wife, I'm like fine, I don't care. I get offended when it doesn't go anywhere."
Kanellis signed a five-year extension with WWE this past June, however, he requested his release from four months later on October 14th. The former Mike Bennett indicated that it was more of a personal challenge for himself rather than displeasure with the company.
"I felt stuck," Bennett admitted. "I felt stuck in the sense that Im at a point now where I feel clear headed and clear minded and this has to do with being two and a half years sober. I don't want to live with regret and I don't want to be that person who spent four or five years of my life addicted to drugs when I could have going out and having killer matches.
"My work did suffer. I want to know what I can do now that I'm not beholding to the prescription drugs, I want to see what clean headed Mike Bennett can do with 100% focus. I've never thought that people consider me one of the best wrestlers in the world I want to give an attempt to prove top them that I can be that wrestler. I'm not mad at WWE, they've treated me wonderfully and still do, through addiction, Maria's pregnancy, they've taken care of us. I have nothing but love for that company. It's just personal, I just want to go and wrestle."
Since re-signing with WWE, All Elite Wrestling has made huge strides on Wednesday night on TNT, as well as NXT being moved to USA Network directly opposing it. When asked about the current state of the wrestling business, Kanellis is happy to see so many more places where talent can go to make money and addressed a talent which he believes his current company could use more wisely.
"At Impact one of my favorite people to work with was EC3" Kanellis said. "He's awesome. He's top five on the microphone and he's phenomenal. He hasn't been given an opportunity and it's this problem that there's just so much talent in WWE. That's why I'm glad they've made NXT this third brand, so hopefully some of the guys who aren't getting opportunities can get it there.
"But I've watched some of the shows and I'm thinking, 'yeah I wanna be on there,' or 'yeah I want EC3 to take that spot', but then you have to take someone away, and when that happens people will be mad that they're not getting an opportunity.
"So I'm glad there's more places to work for everybody. Wrestling is hot right now, it's booming. Guys who aren't being used can see lots of indies, other major companies to work and social media and just think they can make something of themselves how they want to and we can see what they'll have."
Finally, Kanellis, who is still under contract with WWE, was asked about his future and whether he will step foot again in a WWE ring. Kanellis was optimistic about the chances of this taking place.
"If I was a betting man, which I'm not, I would say there's probably a chance that you'll see Mike Kanellis again," Kanellis explained. "I'm big into personal accountability now I signed the contract, I did what I did, I did what I said, so whatever happens now I am going to live with it.
"If WWE calls me tomorrow and wants to put me on the show, I'll do it. If they call me and say 'see ya later', that's cool. I'm perfectly at peace with whatever I have to do. I signed the contract, then I went to twitter and said what I said, so whatever happens from here, I'll take responsibility."
If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Swings & Mrs with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.