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Ninja Balenciaga

Mike Kanellis on His Release, Gimmick & Not Starting in NXT

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On how he and Maria are doing:
“I’m doing good considering the circumstances. Nobody wants to be let go from their job in the middle of a pandemic, but it is what it is and when shit hits the fan you just keep going forward. We two, we’ve got two kids. There is no stop for us now it’s onward and upward.”


On if he saw the releases coming:
“So, I mean in the sense that in my head it was always like if there is going to be releases, it’s probably going to be me and probably going to be my wife, just because my wife has been out on maternity leave and they were doing anything with me. I had already asked for my release in the past, but we did work things out after that. I didn’t want it to happen during a pandemic. I think that’s a hard thing to explain to people, not to go off topic, but there are a lot of people who are like ‘well he did ask his release’, which I did, but my wife never did and I want to get that clear, my wife was happy to stay there. But it’s like, you thinking’s the back of your head, yes I did ask for my release, but no one wants to be released in the middle of a pandemic. You ask for your release when you think you can go and do other things. I asked for my release because I wasn’t working and I wanted to work.”

On how they found out:
“We got a video sent to us from the boss telling us they were going to start laying people off and they would call you if you were one of them. When we got that video I looked at Maria and was like ‘oh yeah, let’s get ready’ Kind of jokingly I was like ‘its us, it’s going to happen’ We both kinda knew it and then an hour later we got a call from Mark Corano who is Head of Talent relations, he was another guy who was super good to me, and I have nothing bad to say. It was one of the things I said to him on the phone, ‘I wish went a little bit different than it did, but I’m not going to yell and scream at you because you guys gave me a fun three years and then they called my wife. They are not going to tell me to tell my wife. Mark has known my wife longer than he has known me. He adores my wife and she adores him. We both kinda knew it was happening but there’s always that small hope in the back of my head where I was like ‘just release one of us. Just hold on to someone else’…I’ve said this in the past I liked working for WWE, I liked the people there, it was my dream, I never wanted to leave. But I had the sense I needed to leave and needed to work and me productive. If you’re not working that means they aren’t using you and that means eventually they are probably going to let you go because you’re just dead weight.”


On if he refused to go to NXT when he first came on board in 2017:
“I didn’t ask to go right to the main roster, that was their call. I negotiated with them at the same time by contract with TNA was coming up. We were going to stay with TNA, they had offered us a good amount of money and we were going to sign a one year contract with TNA. This is was right when Jeff Jarrett was taking over and Anthem had stepped in and we were going to stay with them. I hadn’t really reached out with WWE because of my experiences in the past, I did like a tryout with WWE and they told me no and I was like I don’t think they are going to want me know so I’m going to stick with TNA because there was more I wanted to do in TNA. I had gotten Triple H’s email and I was like I’m going to reach out to them and see if there was any interest and I did and there was. He had William Regal call me and I talked back-and-forth with Regal and they eventually were like there is no spot for you but we want you to come to NXT and go through the ranks that way but the money was less than TNA. As like a businessman I was like I cannot do it. They understood and they were great. William Regal is a great person, I loved talking with him, he was very open and honest with me. He was like let me talk to Triple H and tell them what you said and a couple days later he got back to me and was like ‘we can bring you up to the main roster right away and we can increase your pay’. I was like ‘oh shit of course,, let’s try it’. I was willing to go to NXT, I just couldn’t take less money, it didn’t make sense to me. .. It was never like a demand, I was never like ‘I have to go to the main roster or I’m not doing this’ I would have gone to NXT, it just didn’t make sense to move my entire live to Florida when TNA was just flying me in from Rhode Island. I was proud of that. Even though it didn’t go thew way I would have liked it, no a lot of guys get to do that.”


On his cuck gimmick & having his wife’s surname in WWE:
“I understood it. When we talked about it with the writers I understood the idea of it and I thought it had a lot of good legs had we executed it properly. The problem was, we just debuted and then nothing happened. So, to me, as a lover of professional wrestling and heels getting good heat, when they said ‘we are thinking of you taking your wife’s last name’, I was like ‘oh that’s good heat’ because people will think I’m this big giant whipped whatever and they are going to hate the fact a man took his wife’s last name and they are going to hate that, because for some reason we think that’s the worst thing in this country. To me, I went complete worker and I thought I could get complete heel heat from this. It just didn’t work out that way because we didn’t push the envelope enough with it.”


On if he would have rather been Mike Bennett:
“I build such a name on Mike Bennett, I would probably ask to be Mike Bennett. That’s what I build my reputation on, that was my name. Then yo don’t have that stigma of what the character was supposed to be, and I think that always stuck with me. My whole run at WWE was like this is who you are, you are the husband of Maria Kanellis. I think that was a detriment to me. Especially when she went on maternity leave, then you kind of lose your identity if you are Mike Kanellis and your role is to be the husband of Maria Kanellis. As an individual, I would probably have liked to have been Mike Bennett.”


On ideas he pitched to WWE:
“We had actually pitched ideas and had this vision of what we could have made the Mike and Maria dynamic. I actually thought it would be this cool idea, which we pitched numerous times, where I’d be Maria’s husbands, that’s who I am, backstage, that’s who I am, but the reason why I’m okay with that, is because Maria triggers something in me when I get in the ring that helps me win all the time. She brings out this evil sadistic side of me then I can go and go in the ring. We pitched it like maybe I’m in the ring and the guy is beating me up and beating me up and I roll to to the floor and Maria slaps me and I just get in there and absolutely lose my shit on this guy and turn into this fucking crazy person. That was always the idea, and I thought we could actually do it, with backstage vignettes and we’re walking to the ring and someone is standing there and they look at Maria the wrong way and she whispers something to me and then I just destroy the person…. She does something to me that makes me snap and I thought that would be such a cool way to be like we can show I can go in the ring.’”

https://wrestletalk.com/features/full-wrestletalk-exclusive-interview-former-wwe-star-mike-kanellis-bennett/

 

When he & Maria started to flop on the main roster, there was a lot of talk from fans that they should have started in NXT. Now we know why they didn't.

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Some people might think they're useless, but their run in TNA says otherwise. And being let go, during a pandemic, with WWE knowing they have children...

tumblr_pmkyrwZDDN1uvyu9yo4_500.gif

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20 minutes ago, LIVin the Riott said:

Some people might think they're useless, but their run in TNA says otherwise. And being let go, during a pandemic, with WWE knowing they have children...

tumblr_pmkyrwZDDN1uvyu9yo4_500.gif

He wanted to be released and he got it. 
 

tenor.gif?itemid=15384907

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4 minutes ago, Black Canary said:

He wanted to be released and he got it. 
 

tenor.gif?itemid=15384907

I'm aware of it, but it's still a low blow by WWE

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Letting them both go is kinda shitty as Maria made it clear she wanted to stay when Mike wanted to leave.

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They’re both kind of hard to like and sympathize with. I think Maria truly believes she has a lot more star power than she does (especially based on her social media, tbh) and he seems a little overconfident in his clout based on this interview. I guess he made the best of his situation with how serious he thought him taking her last name was when it was clearly just because he has no name recognition to casual fans and she does. Should have taken the TNA contract and maybe gotten really big there so they wouldn’t have come to WWE dead-on-arrival, but oh well! They finally got what they’ve been asking for.

:trickie:

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3 minutes ago, Ninja Balenciaga said:

Letting them both go is kinda shitty as Maria made it clear she wanted to stay when Mike wanted to leave.

another annoying thing too tbh, did she really think she was shaking the table with her unremarkable 24/7 title win and whatever she did on 205 Live? I understand believing in yourself and wanting more than you’re getting, but she’s not an active or sought after competitor and she doesn’t bring anything that can’t be gotten from any other generic heel manager. Unfortunate that they’re out of jobs right now, but they’ll be better off when they can go back to independent promotions

:trickie: 

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The only issue I don't understand is if he declined to go to NXT for less than what he was making at TNA then why would they give him the option to jump to the main roster right away? I definitely think they probably thought they were bigger than what they were and if WWE didn't feel the same way then they should have just left him alone.

However, I'm sure they made the best out of the situation and I wish them both the best. NXT is a hit or miss anyway like 15% (idk)of those mid-card stars actually make it on the main roster. You either make it or you don't and even if he did go and get called up he probably would have been the same way anyway guess he will never know

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What Maria, and probably Mike too, fails to understand is that she is a big name in the indies or Impact Wrestling, but not in WWE. Of course everyone knows who she is because she has been around for many years, but that's it. If what they want is to be the big stars they think they are, and not the money (even though I am sure they can earn more than enough to sustain their family when the indies start working again), there's better opportunities out there. And yeah, it's horrible to lose your job, especially right now and I am not saying they deserve this, but I can't see Mike with the same eyes as Curt Hawkins who didn't want to leave and whose wife left her job a few weeks ago and wasn't ready to a situation like this.

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Karma is a real thing. I feel bad, though. I don’t think anyone deserves to go through this.

 

 

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I love them both and I understand where they’re coming from. Everyone at some point gets the thought to leave when they’re not getting the chance to do what they love, it’s normal. If he said they worked it out, then I trust that they probably promised him something they didn’t deliver on, surprise surprise. Whether they “think they’re big” or not, he seemed humble, he just wasn’t desperate or an idiot to take less pay than he did. He was presenter with a “win win” and anyone would’ve said yes. They were getting solid reactions when they debuted, and even later on. They did the best with what they were given. But debuting then bring swiped from TV takes away all the momentum they had and it was stupid. 
 

Even in regular jobs, advice I’m always given is get your foot in the door and go from there. I don’t know if and what was stopping him from pulling a Cameron once he got on the MR. 

Both Maria and himself have been through a lot together and it sucks, but I definitely wish them the best and at the back of my head I wish they could come back and get the true push they deserve. The way I know Zack Ryder will.

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TNA pays more than NXT??

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17 hours ago, LIVin the Riott said:

I'm aware of it, but it's still a low blow by WWE

Not really. He’s the one with a family and publicly said he wanted a release and would work for free. WWE gave it to him.


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He's better off somewhere else at this point. I think Maria could do well at WWE or elsewhere, as we have seen in the past. I am most surprised that Impact actually pays some decent coin apparently.

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They were entertaining so AEW sign them! Make mixed tag matches a huge thing plz! I’ve always intergender tag titles! 

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