On Wednesday, Mike Kanellis (now Mike Bennett) was unfortunately released by WWE. 48 hours after being let go, we managed to catch up with the former Raw, SmackDown and 205 Live.
During the interview, Mike revealed how he and his wife Maria found out they’d been let go, if he saw the releases coming and if he is angry at the company for letting him go in the middle of a pandemic.
Website editor Louis Dangoor asked Mike about how he and Maria found out they were going to be let go by the company:
“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”
We also asked Mike if he saw the releases coming and if he was angry at being let go considering he asked for his release in 2019:
“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.”
Mike also said that despite asking for his release, he never wanted to leave WWE and did enjoy his three years with the company:
“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.”
Mike also responded by saying the following when asked if he struggled to watch NXT the night he was released, and his answer may surprise you:
“If I had gotten released, let’s say I worked for WWE ten years ago and got released, I think a lot of that stuff like watching the product would have been difficult for me, but it’s not anymore and I don’t know how to explain that. Maybe it’s how I’ve grown as a human and as a performer.”
You can watch the full interview above, or you can check out the key quotes by clicking here.