Mike Kanellis Reveals Whether He Expected to Be Released From WWE, How He & Maria Reacted


During a recent interview with WrestleTalk, Mike Kanellis commented on his and Maria’s WWE releases, whether he expected to be released, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:

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 s*** 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 things 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 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.”

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