After spending three disappointing and underwhelming years in WWE, Mike Bennett ? along with his wife Maria Kanellis ? was released as part of the COVID cuts in April. After his non-compete expired, Bennett then made his return to Ring of Honor in November which is where he’s experienced the most success in his pro wrestling career.
With the lack of success, or happiness, during his WWE run, Bennett was asked when the last time he felt happy in wrestling was during an interview on The Walkway To Fight Club podcast.
“Probably in Impact,” said Bennett who worked for Impact in between his first ROH run and his time in WWE. “We did a segment in Impact, it was a wedding segment with Allie, Braxton and Maria. That was probably the last time I actually enjoyed working, believe it or not. That was probably like almost four years ago, where I was genuinely happy enjoying myself. I loved my time over at Impact. So, I had a good time going there.
“But the last three years at WWE, I just wasn’t happy. It’s not a knock on WWE, they have a culture there. That’s how they run their business. Some people work jobs that they hate all the time. And it’s just they come to an agreement that I’m just not happy here and some people are and some people are not. It just happened that this place isn’t for me. I don’t like how it functions. It doesn’t meet my values.”
Apart from being creatively frustrated and not enjoying the work environment, Bennett also struggled personally during his time in WWE and was admitted to alcohol rehab. He was asked if it ever got to the point where he thought about just not showing up to work.
“No, it honestly didn’t. I’m not that type of person. But it was very mind-boggling to me because I was like, ‘I don’t understand you.’ I had been told straight up by people in the office that said Vince just doesn’t see anything in you,” revealed Bennett. “I said, ‘Okay, that’s fine. That’s fair. That’s it his company. But if he doesn’t see anything in me, and he doesn’t think he can make money off of me, then why am I still here? Why not let me go?’ It just never logically made sense to me. If you think someone’s a talent, and you think they’re gonna make you money, and they want to go, you go, ‘I don’t want you going anywhere else, because I don’t want you to make money because I want to make money off you.’
“But Vince, that he straight up told people, he didn’t see anything in me. So, if that’s the case, then what are you keeping me for? Vengeance and or spite? It never logically made sense to me. I had asked for my release a couple times privately and I was told no. The third time I said, ‘I don’t care anymore. I’ll still show up to work but make it abundantly clear I don’t want to be here anymore.’ Because of the power of social media, I’m going to use it and until I made it public on Twitter, they sent me home after that, which is fine. I’d never not show up. I always showed up and did my job.
“Then after sitting at home for like four or five months, then they brought me back down to NXT. I still showed up and did that. At that point, I think I just kind of accepted it. I was like, ‘Alright, if they’re gonna have sour grapes and if it’s just gonna be vengeful and spiteful, I’ll just come and make the most of it for the next five years and, and then we’ll see where it goes from there.’ But in my head, I was never like, ‘I’m not not going to show up’ because my parents didn’t raise me that way. It’s not in my blood. I just couldn’t do that. So, I would always show up. It wasn’t a happy place for me to be.”