Mike Bennett Recalls Maria Kanellis’ Reaction To ROH Hiatus

The OGK, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett, sat down with the ROHStrong Podcast to talk about their reactions to Ring of Honor's upcoming hiatus and the unknown future that follows. Mike Bennett, who returned to Ring of Honor, was asked if he had returned to ROH looking for something to prove. He confirmed that was the case, as well as that being the hardest part of ROH's upcoming changes.

"Oh, absolutely, I still feel that way," Bennett said. "I think this is the hardest part for me, the hardest pill for me to swallow here. And I think that it's one of those things where I feel I was just starting to prove what I'm capable of, what I wanted to do, what I wanted to show people. I feel like it didn't actually start happening until I had my match with Gresh (Jonathan Gresham), and then from there, it felt like me and Taven started cooking on all cylinders. We started having tag matches against Rhett and Tracy, then we had a tag match against Bandido and Rey Horus, then we had a tag match against Flip and PJ (Black), and then we had a tag match against the Briscoes, and then we had the tag match against Dragon Lee and Kenny (King).

"And it was one of those things where after each match, we kept going to the back and going, 'holy crap, we're really cooking right now as a team.' Some of the producers and the booker were coming up to us and going, 'you guys are killing it right now as a team.' I felt like it was one of those moments where I was going, 'okay, we are really starting to prove what we're capable of. I'm starting to prove that me, as a sober wrestler, is 10 times better than a wrestler addicted to drugs.' We were just starting to hit that groove, and like I said before, then the rug was pulled out beneath us. I feel like I was getting there and proving what I wanted to and showing we were the best tag team in the world. But I don't think we quite got there yet. And that's the hardest part of this whole thing for me to deal with."

Mike Bennett is married to Maria Kanellis, who has been in charge of Ring of Honor's revamped women's division since her return to the promotion last year. Mike Bennett was asked how she was dealing with the news of ROH's upcoming changes.

"She's Maria. She handles everything like Maria does," Bennett said. "I won't sugarcoat it, she was devastated. This was her dream job, and she said to me not too long before that phone call where everything was told us, she said to me, 'in my career, this is the happiest that I've ever been.' And I remember thinking that, and I looked at her and I said, 'because it was what you're meant to do.' Maria has done a ton of cool things in her career, but to watch her with those other girls, and to watch everything come together, and to watch her and Bobby Cruise just kind of work together and take something that was pretty much dead in the water, and in a matter of six months make it one of the most talked about things in all of wrestling, it's a testament to her and Bobby Cruise and the girls that she brought in.

"I think the one thing that I find solace in, and I tell her this all the time, is I was like, 'this was just the test run for you. Because what you were able to do with what you were handed, and in the short amount of time you were able to do it, is nothing short of a miracle. It was miraculous. I'm blown away.' And I think the fact that she was able to do it and now build the confidence, and the fact that she's Maria and there's nothing that I would ever put in front of her that I don't think she can accomplish, I truly, and I know this is cliché and I know it's BS and everyone will say it, but I truly believe she's only just scratching the surface of what she's going to do. Yes, she was crushed, she was hurt. But if you know Maria like I know her and Matt knows her, she's just going to use this as something that pisses her off more, and to keep moving forward and to do something else someone tells her she can't do."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit ROHStrong Podcast and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription