Mike Bennet and Maria Kanellis-Bennett joined the ROHStrong Podcast this week and spoke about being released in April.
The two had re-signed with the company in June of 2019, reportedly for five years, but were let go due to cost cuts resulting from the Covid-19 Pandemic. Kanellis said that one of the reasons they chose to stay was the company was willing to still sign her on as a full-time talent despite her telling them she was looking to have another child in the future.
"I wanted WWE to know we're going to try and have another child," Kanellis said. "WWE came back and they were like no we want to bring you back as a full-time talent again and we understand that you want to have a bigger family and have another child and we're totally cool with that. When they came back with it, I was like alright, we're golden, we're going to keep building our family and make more money and WWE understands."
Kanellis said she got pregnant sooner than expected and was only at eight weeks when informing the company. The company said it was fine but wanted to explain it on TV. She was nervous about revealing it to the world due to all the complications that can occur early into pregnancy.
Although the release of Mike was not entirely shocking given he had requested his release before, Kanellis clarified she had never asked to be released by the company. She said their son was two months old at the time and she had begun training and preparing to return to the ring which she says could have been in time for Wrestlemania when she got the call.
"When they started calling around, I thought that they were going to fire Mike because Mike had asked for his release." Kanellis recalled. "I didn't think they were going to fire the both of us."
Kanellis continued and says the day was extremely emotional because they both lost their jobs and now had two young kids to worry about.
"To be fired in a pandemic, it was just sad to me," Kanellis explained. "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 to ask if I was okay, if the labor went okay. I didn't receive a phone call to see how my recovery was going with either of my children, but I received a phone call to be fired in a pandemic."
Kanellis said she never thought that her relationship with a company she spent a lot of time with would end in such a cold manner. She said she gave five and a half years to them in her first run with the company and was on the road and on TV almost all the time.
She explained during that stretch she only made a fourth of the money she made during this recent run, despite being sparingly used. Maria continued discussing contracts and said during her first run she made a tenth of what the men made for Wrestlemania and added that Ring of Honor was the first company where she got paid evenly as compared to the men.
"Truth be told Ring of Honor was the first company that paid me equal to a man." Kanellis said. "They paid me the same as my husband and I have always appreciated that."
Kanellis is officially a free agent now after her 90-day non-compete with WWE expired last week.