– Mike Kanellis appeared on the Smarks and Stripes podcast and discussed his request for a WWE release and more. Kanellis asked for his release in October, saying that he came to WWE to work, and that opportunity does not exist right now. The release has not yet been granted.
Highlights from the discussion, and the full podcast, are below:
On why he asked for his release: “Yeah, and me and you have talked about this on a personal level and we’ve been friends for a long time. But for me, it was all personal. It had nothing to do with the company. Since the minute I got to WWE, they treated me great. They’ve treated my wife great, they’ve treated my daughter great, they’ve treated me great. You know, when I came out and said I had an addiction, there was no negativity from anybody, just constant support. And so, or me personally, having been almost two and a half years sober, it got to the point where I started reflecting on my past and what I did. And it became very hard for me to almost sit and reflect on the fact that I blew four years of my life doing drugs. And now, I felt like my mind was clear, my head was clear, and I just wanted to work. I just want to wrestle, I just want to work. Like, I feel like I could do and have my best matches right now. And it’s extremely difficult when there are so many people on the roster, and you just don’t get that opportunity. And like I said, everybody wants to come at me negatively and say I’m mad; I’m not mad at anybody. Like, I’m genuinely not. And if WWE called me tomorrow and was like, ‘We’re going to put you on TV,’ I’d do it. I’m not mad. I just want to work, and I just want to work a lot. I want to be able to go home and tell my daughter that, you know, Daddy put in the time, Daddy put in the effort. It’s incredibly difficult for me to go on social media and preach, ‘You have to work hard, you have to work your ass off,’ and then not do it myself. And so, I’m a worker, I’ve always been a worker. And now I’m at the point where I just want to work and work and work. And I’ll go wherever that opportunity exists.”
On why he hasn’t received the opportunity: “Well I think honestly — again, I just go back to it. There are so many talented guys on the roster right now. So I mean, and I’m not saying I’m not, and I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be a good fit. What I’m saying is, if those guys are getting the opportunity and doing their job and they’re successful at it, then they’re won’t going to necessarily look for ‘next man up.’ There’s no need. You hope it’s next man up when — you know, you don’t hope that someone goes down, but you hope that you’re ready if someone goes down. But I just — wrestling right now is loaded with talent. I keep hearing people talk about it. It’s the best I’ve ever seen in any company, on independents, on any national company, it’s just loaded. Everyone’s just really friggin’ good right now. And I just think my opportunity hasn’t existed. And you know, I’m 34; I have 10 or 12 years left in me. So I don’t want to waste them.”
On why WWE hasn’t granted the release: “As far as not giving me my release, I think it’s like anywhere. Like, the Patriots aren’t going to trade or release a player that they think the Jets are going to pick up. And I think we have to think of it like that. It’s not a negative, it’s just how it works. It works in sports, it works in wrestling.”
On Triple H saying on the NXT media call that talent publicly asking for releases should be “professionals”: “You know, honestly [I don’t think about it] a whole lot. Because I get it. You know, I have a brand. He has a brand. Again, I have no negativity or animosity. And that’s kind of where my life has pushed me, I get it. And I also think we live in a different time. I think we live in a social media time that we all have to adapt to, that wasn’t necessarily there in the past. And I think companies in general, and CEOs and anyone are learning that there is a power in social media that wasn’t there before. And so, I get it. I’m not mad. I have a great relationship with Triple H. I talk to him. I’ve brought up my issues. I get it. So I understand why people might be upset, but me personally, I got too much going on. It doesn’t bother me.”
On what his plan is from here: “So people keep asking me this, and I get it. But personally, again, I go back to personal accountability. If WWE were to call me tomorrow and say, ‘We’re gonna put you on TV and we want to work you,’ great. I’ll show up and I’ll do my job. If they say, ‘Nope, you signed five years, you’re going to sit at home.’ Okay, cool. I own that, and then I’ll figure out something else to do with my life. I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘Oh well, just do this and do that.’ It doesn’t do me any good. And that’s why I’ve started doing like motivational speaking, and going to indy shows and talking to the guys in the locker room. Because if I’m not going to do anything, I’m going to give back. I’m gonna do whatever I can to help younger guys out, because I can worry all day, I can sit on my couch. Or I can just go and be active. So again, it just comes down to accountability.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Smarks & Stripes with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.