Mike Kanellis Requests WWE Release Just Months After Signing New Multi-Year Deal

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Mike Kanellis
Credit: WWE

Earlier today, 34-year-old Mike Kanellis aka Mike Bennett completely scrubbed his Twitter feed leaving only one tweet, the one in which he revealed he had asked WWE for his release.

Citing an unhappiness with how he wasn’t being used much and how he didn’t want to just collect a paycheck he felt he didn’t earn, Mike Kanellis opened up about how the last several months have been difficult on him and unfair to his wife, Maria Kanellis and their baby daughter. You can read his entire statement below:

It’s hard to believe that Mike Kanellis has been with WWE for parts of three years, having debuted with the company at the 2017 Money in the Bank PPV. Kanellis somewhat inexplicably joined AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson as the only guys who didn’t go through NXT prior to a main roster debut, and was seemingly at a disadvantage as a result. While the crowd cheered for Maria in her WWE return, Mike lacked that same return recognition and without time in NXT, lacked a name among the WWE fanbase. Not to mention he was saddled with a tough gimmick to pull off, as he was Maria’s dutiful husband down to taking her last name.

The power of love, while it came with a great theme song, never quite got over the way WWE would have hoped. Mike Kanellis won his debut match against Sami Zayn but then in a PPV rematch, lost to him. Overall, Kanellis wrestled just a handful of televised matches that year, at least in part because he entered rehab for his addiction issues, shortly after his WWE debut.

Used mainly on the live event circuit after his return, Mike Kanellis didn’t make his next PPV appearance until he took part in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 34, some nine months after his Battleground match against Zayn. In between there, Kanellis had a short feud with Bobby Roode which ended in Roode winning two matches in just over five minutes total.

After WrestleMania, Mike Kanellis started to receive work on WWE Main Event, where he was often on the losing end of his matches. In October 2018, he was moved to 205 Live where he won his debut against Lince Dorado. But after that, it was back to the loss column. Kanellis found fleeting success as a cruiserweight but at least he was involved in a storyline during his time on the brand. That storyline continued in July of 2019 where during a mixed tag match with Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch over who was the real power couple in WWE, Maria begged off an attack from Lynch announcing her second pregnancy.

On 205 Live, the Kanellis couple had been struggling as signs of cracks in the marriage were showing. Of course, it was all kayfabe as Maria turned on her husband in a cuckolding angle, which has focused on which man is the father of her son as she revealed it was not Mike. This led Mike Kanellis to two quick matches (and losses) against Rusev and Ricochet, who were both alleged as being the father to Maria’s unborn child. To further the angle, Mike Kanellis was victorious in capturing the 24/7 Championship at Raw 25, only for Maria to demand he lay down for her so she could become the first-ever pregnant champ in WWE history. Kanellis did manage to get the title back however briefly, before dropping it to R-Truth.

Mike Kanellis’ last match, televised or otherwise, came on September 24th in a 19 second losing effort to Chad Gable.

 

What’s interesting about this whole situation is that just four months ago, both Mike and Maria Kanellis signed brand new multi-year deals with WWE. This coming after there had been speculation that the couple had asked for their releases back in January.

Mike Kanellis, in addition to requesting his release on Twitter, made some other changes to his social profile. He completed erased his timeline and changed his nickname to Miracle, which IMPACT fans will remember was the gimmick he used when he was with the promotion from 2016-17. Kanellis is a one-time X-Division Champion with IMPACT, though he is most known for his time in Ring of Honor, where alongside Kingdom running mate, Matt Taven, Kanellis is both a former IWGP and ROH tag team champion.

It remains to be seen if WWE will grant Kanellis’ request. It would seem unlikely given the company’s current position on wanting to stop wrestlers from leaving, specifically for All Elite Wrestling. It’s likely Kanellis wouldn’t land there, though he could return to IMPACT or ROH, with a possibility of the newly revamped NWA or Major League Wrestling also intriguing propositions.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

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