Maria Kanellis Commens On Being Pregnant While In WWE, Resigning With ROH


ROH star Maria Kanellis-Bennet was interviewed by Wrestling Epicenter where she talked about being pregnant while working in WWE a couple years ago, along with her recent re-signing with Ring of Honor alongside her husband, Mike Bennett.

On re-signing with Ring of Honor: “So, after getting fired last year (from WWE), I was only 2 months postpartum after having my son. With the pandemic and everything, we decided that we were going to take a step back from everything. Mike was going to get back out there and do some things but we really didn’t know what was going to happen with the pandemic so we just took a step back from everything. Then, when the time was right, Ring of Honor brought a fantastic opportunity to me and that was to head up the Women’s Division. At this point of my career, I really want to give back to women’s wrestling and women’s wrestlers. This was just the right opportunity.”

On if she thought she would still be in wrestling when she did WWE’s Diva Search in 2004: “No! At that point, I probably thought I would be an old lady in a wheelchair or something. (laughs) For some reason, when you’re in your 20’s, you think 30 is incredibly old. I thought I would be done by 30… Retired in some mansion in Los Angeles or some crazy dream that I had at 22. I came in thinking, “This is incredible!” And then, it continued being even more incredible!”

On if she knew the history of wrestling when she tried out for the Diva Search: “History to a point. But, I was a fan of everybody! The thing that got me pushed to the next round was calling Jonathan Coachman a “popcorn fart!” (laughs) That was in Chicago. I think there was about 200, maybe 250 girls that were competing to make it to New York. He asked me, “Who is your favorite wrestler?” I said, “The Rock! Jonathan Coachman, you know The Rock. He called you a “popcorn fart” last week!” Instantly, Coachman said, “Go to the next round.” So, yes, I knew everybody at that point. I was definitely a fan girl backstage just in awe of everybody!”

On if she ever regretted her persona being considered “dumb”: “I wonder if they would ask the same question of Lucille Ball? That is the difference between wrestling and everything else. People take it so incredibly literal that you forget that in order to make a character believable, there has to be a reasoning in the mind. You can’t just become a character out of nowhere and not make it ridiculous if you’re not considering what you’re doing. So, Lucille Ball or any of these fantastic comedic actors and actresses. They wouldn’t ask them that question. No, I don’t regret it at all. I got to meet and work and be a fly on the wall of so many incredible storylines by the side of the ring listening to people like Undertaker, Triple H, and Randy Orton calling matches while they’re in the ring. Listening to how DX puts together a promo before we cut it for live television or listening to Ric Flair go through his lines… Edge! I got to work with everybody because of that character and not a lot of people can say that. I was non-threatening. That made all the difference in the world!”

On the Divas deserving more respect than they get: “Yeah! One of the most powerful women to come from wrestling is Maryse. She has her own production company, she has a skin care line, she’s got her own television show. She’s probably one of the most well-known women in any industry! She was a Diva! She came into the Diva Search with all of her knowledge of modeling and media. There isn’t enough cross-over between wrestling and the outside world. She was able to create that with her connections with the outside world, with the beauty world – The modeling world. So, I find it incredibly disrespectful that people don’t give respect to the Divas.”

On if she was shocked at independent wrestling after only experiencing WWE: “(laughs) I was amazed by how the crowd sounded when you went into a crowd that was 1 of 200 people. Because, it felt so intimate and so powerful! I loved the energy of the independents. I felt free, in a lot of ways, to try new things. That was amazing! I actually didn’t sign anywhere for almost 2 years after WWE because I was getting that freedom and I was getting to see if I really wanted to stay in the wrestling business or if I wanted to do something else.”

On how she met Mike Bennett: “We were at a Northeast Wrestling show and I saw this guy eating cold pizza in an Ring of Honor hat. And, i thought to myself, “Well, he’s cute!” And, that was pretty much it. I was dating someone. He was dating someone. We all went out to dinner. He started eating cheese sticks with a knife and fork. (laughs) I thought that was odd so I called him out on it. He was like, “I was trying to be polite!” I said, “That’s weird!” A few months later, he and I both were single. He messaged me on Twitter through Direct Message and soon after, we went on our first date for which he had to drive 9 hours! Ever since then, we have been together. This June, it will be 10 years!”

On the perception that she and Mike were on Team Corgan in the TNA battle: “One of the first people who has contacted me whenever something happens, be it I’m pregnant or Mike and I got released, has been Dixie (Carter). She is a sweetheart. She loves the wrestlers that were in the company. There have been difficulties in business. That was always the struggle. It was always business. I love Dixie the person. I also loved Billy. I loved his creative side. I loved the interactions we had on television. Mike had his match for the NWA Title in UPW… We love them both in different ways! (laughs) I think that is the more honest answer than to say I was on one side or the other. Love Dixie! Love Dixie as a person, loved Billy’s business side. When we left there, it wasn’t because of any of that. It was for more money, which is what I wanted… (laughs) And, it was because it was Mike’s dream. Mike’s dream was to be a WWE superstar!”

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