ROH star Mike Bennett was on a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Bennett joined ROH after he was cut by WWE in March 2020, and Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked Bennett how the last eight months with ROH have affected him mentally.
“I know this is gonna sound cliché and sound completely ridiculous, but I’m genuinely having the time of my life in wrestling right now and not just at Ring of Honor,” Bennett noted. “The indies have completely changed my perspective on wrestling too. I’ve been able to go out there, and again, just like the Pure Title, where I kind of talked about it and manifested it, I’ve been doing that with different opponents on the indies where I’m just like, you know what, I’ve been doing this for 20 years.
“I don’t care what people think of me. I’m just gonna put out there who I want to wrestle. What do I have to lose at this point? I mean, 20 years and you just kind of want to challenge yourself. You want to try new things, and so I’ve had the ability to wrestle guys like Cole Radrick, and Bryan Keith, and Mysterious Q and KC Navarro. These guys that have just, I don’t want to say motivated me, but they lit this fire under my ass where I’m like, wow, there’s a lot of these up and coming guys who I want to wrestle, but I got to step my game up too.
“And in the process, I’ve just been having so much fun. I wrestled Bryan Keith in the middle of nowhere Texas in front of about 100 fans in a bar in 95 degree heat, and we just beat the ever-loving piss out of each other. And it was the most fun. I just called my wife after, and I was like, ‘I think I just had one of my most favorite matches of all time.’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, you said that last week when you wrestled Cole Radrick, and then you said that the week before when you wrestled so and so.’ I’m having so much fun. I’m enjoying the freedom, and it’s like re-falling in love with pro wrestling again.”
Bennett has reconnected with his old Kingdom stablemate Matt Taven from his initial run in ROH. However, Bennett has taken on many of ROH’s current and new stars, and he discussed if the parameters of the pandemic helped him get used to the new ROH roster.
“I’ve kind of just taken it for what it is,” Bennett expressed. “When you get fired in the middle of a pandemic, the first thing that clicks in your head, as a dad, is, I gotta provide. That’s instantly the first thing that went through my head, and I know I asked for my release, but when you ask for your release when you can wrestle, and then when you ask when you get fired when you can’t, it’s an entirely different dynamic. So when you get fired, and not only I get fired, but my wife gets fired, your instant thought is provide. What am I going to do? How am I going to feed these two kids that are looking at me like, hey dad, we don’t really care about wrestling.
“We just want to eat, and so I’ve just been blessed and genuinely happy that I’ve been able to work during this pandemic when so many people I know have not been able to. But to focus more on the question, I actually think it’s been nice because you know how it is in wrestling where crowds can hijack a show or crowds can kind of dictate which way they want to take someone, and it’s kind of been nice where the booking of Ring of Honor has been able to just dictate who’s going to be the stars, who’s going to be over.
“Genuinely, I don’t think the Pure division would have been able to get off the ground had it not been for the pandemic because it’s a completely different style. Thank God Jonathan Gresham was the Pure Champ to do it because he’s kind of given these fans a new way to look at wrestling, kind of like, okay, this is the way these matches go. We can accept them. So now when fans start coming in, they’re gonna be like, okay, we know what to expect in a Pure Rules match, whereas if you just throw it in front of 1000 fans watching, they’re gonna be like, ‘what the hell am I watching?’ Because they haven’t seen it in 10 or 15 years.
“So I think it’s been good for Ring of Honor. I actually think Ring of Honor, out of all the companies, the pandemic actually helped them. And I’m curious to see how the crowds react going forward. Ring of Honor fans are always crazy. So I think they’ll take well to it, but I’m genuinely excited to see how they’re gonna handle these Pure Rules matches because it’s been a minute since there’s been a Pure Rules match in front of a crowd.”
You can follow Mike on Twitter @RealMikeBennett. Mike will challenge Jonathan Gresham for the ROH Pure Championship this Sunday at Best In The World. It will stream live on ROH Club and FITE.
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