Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis-Bennett were guests on the ROHStrong Podcast this week. The couple discussed their recent run in WWE. They were both released in April as part of the cuts stemming from the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Mike and Maria talked about how they were excited about signing with WWE and the opportunity to play a heel couple. Maria claims they were rushed to finalize their paperwork and medicals so that they could quickly be put on TV. However, once all the deal was done, they sat at home.
“We sat at home from March until June.” Maria explained. “We had no contact until June. I already felt like something was fishy because if you were that excited about us ,why didn’t you bring us out at Wrestlemania?”
The couple would go on to debut at the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View in June 2017. Both said the gimmick should have worked due the immense heat Mike would get for taking Maria’s last name and corniness of the act. Bennett says the gimmick was dead though immediately after they debuted.
“We did the debut and regardless of how the crowd reacted, which we got a great reaction when we came out, that was it,” Bennett said. “Vince for whatever reason didn’t see it and had pretty much all but dropped it.”
Mike says the next Smackdown, which would have continued the storyline, they weren’t even on the show.
“We weren’t even on the broadcast,” Bennett recalled. “We were written into the show and then we got cut. At that point me and Maria both went that’s it, we’re done.”
Shortly after their debut Maria got pregnant and took a leave which left Mike with little to do. He says he would continue to pitch ideas and explained he just wanted to work. He said one of his biggest pet peeves with WWE is that no one in the company has the courage to be honest or say things directly to you.
“You’ll hear it through the grapevine,” Bennett explained. “I’ve heard Vince was unimpressed when he saw you, Vince didn’t like how your body looked, I’ve heard the gambit of things. I’ve gone in and talked to Vince, none of these have ever come up in meetings or conversations, so again no one ever says anything to your face, it’s just constantly you hear it.”
Despite their run in WWE not going as planned, Mike and Maria were able to start a family as Maria gave birth to two kids. Also, during the time in the company Mike was able to get sober from a painkiller addiction. He says that his run was a mess but because of that and people he met with similar stories he wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“The three years at WWE career wise was a waste of time and a mess, but what I gained out of it, I would never trade for the world,” Bennett said.
The couples non-compete contracts recently expired, and Mike tweeted out he is now officially available for bookings.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the ROHStrong Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.