Since departing WWE early last year, former Divas Champion Maria Kanellis has made waves in the pro wrestling industry by joining Ring of Honor’s Board of Directors. While she has an executive role, Maria emphasized she’s just as much of a fan of the ROH product as anyone else.
Speaking with Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman on the Wrestling Inc. Daily, Maria mentioned she’s a big supporter of a popular ROH star.
“Danhausen is my favorite wrestler,” Maria said. “Since I’ve returned to Ring of Honor from WWE, he has been my favorite wrestler. I find his whole schtick amazing. To see that he was now tweeted by The Rock, it’s amazing. It’s hilarious. I follow everything this guy does because he’s my favorite, so then seeing The Rock tweet him today I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is hilarious.'”
Maria was apart of a mass exodus of WWE talent last year due to COVID-19 budget cuts. Exactly one year later, WWE made a number of releases, including notable names from the women’s division. While Maria does have some pull over at Ring of Honor, she is skeptical about the timing of when their 90-day non-compete clauses will expire.
“The women’s division in Ring of Honor has already seen some of these people,” Maria said. “Mickie was essential to the beginning of the women’s division in Ring of Honor. So yes, we would love that. Is timing going to work out? I’m not so sure. As much as I would love to when we’re going to shoot the tournament to be outside the 90 days, there’s also the fact that production is when production is. There’s no getting around that. People know when it’s going to be. We schedule everything. You have to make sure that your cameramen, your lighting, your crew, everybody is set for those days.
“Chelsea I worked with in Impact. Mickie I worked with in WWE. The IIconics I never got to work with, but they are iconic women and they are sweethearts. I talked with them the day they were released and they were in good spirits. I would love to have them all, but I don’t know if the timing’s going to work out.”
Before April’s WWE releases, former NXT Champion Andrade infamously requested his release, was denied, then granted it ahead of WrestleMania 37. Considering his friendship with current ROH Champion RUSH, many have speculated that El Idolo could find himself inside a Ring of Honor squared circle soon.
Maria confirmed there’s interest in Andrade, and likened fans’ desire to see him involved in specific storylines to the buzz she and husband Mike Bennett saw post-release.
“Of course there is, and there’s always those opportunities that will come up,” Maria said. “Especially when there is a match or there is a relationship that people want to see. As soon as Mike and I were released, it was Kingdom, Kingdom, Kingdom. That’s what everybody wanted to see. That’s happening with Andrade as well. He’s an incredible wrestler. Again, another person I don’t understand how he didn’t get more opportunity because he is so good. I hope wherever he goes that he gets an opportunity to show what he can really do.”
While a number of people in the industry were taken aback by the releases, shocked at the wasted potential, Maria made clear that it’s no longer surprising to her.
“It happens over and over again,” Maria said.
You can follow Maria on Twitter @MariaLKanellis. Maria’s full interview with The Wrestling Inc. Daily can be found below: