Former WWE star Maria Bennett (Kanellis) spoke about her release from the company on the latest episode of the ROH Strong podcast. Bennett recalls the series of events prior to receiving the call that she was fired, stating that she didn’t expect the last five years of her life to end in such a cold way.
I was on my way back from my two-month appointment with Carver at the doctor when I got the call from Mark Carrano and I was fine on the phone, but at the same time I realized that we were going to be in a world of hurt and they knew that. And it’s just really hard for me to talk about, because that was just such an emotional day of, like, ‘ok, we just had this two-month appointment with Carver and he’s healthy and he’s big for his age.’ But the doctor was really impressed by how strong he was and how advanced he was. But at the same time, I’m receiving a phone call from the company that I had had all these conversations about about my family and I had put this on national television that I was having a child and that I had put on national television that we were having a boy. And I was told over and over again that that storyline was gonna mean something. To be fired in a pandemic was just … it was just sad to me.
From this company that prides itself on being this family-based company, to be fired. I didn’t receive a phone call after I had Carver to ask if I was ok. If the labor went ok. I didn’t receive a phone call seeing how my recovery was going with either of my children. But I received a phone call to be fired in a pandemic. I had given a lot of years to WWE, and a lot of years to wrestling, and that is not how I thought my relationship with WWE was going to end. I didn’t think it was going to end in that very cold way. Especially after the five and half years that I had spent in WWE the first time. Because at that time when I was in WWE, I was on television all the time. I had great storylines with everyone. From Ric Flair to Carlito to Dolph Ziggler to Santino. I had great storylines with everybody. I was on every tour. I went to every country with WWE that they were going to at the time. I had action figures and I was in the video game and all of that stuff … and I was paid 1/4th of what I was this last contract. I was on the road three hundred days a year with WWE for five and a half years, and I was paid 1/4th of what I was paid this last time. And in my mind, I thought it was just a, ‘ya know, back in the day this is how things were and now we’re going to be this family-friendly, WOMEN empowerment company. And that’s not how I felt when I got that phone call. When I got that phone call, I was a number.
Her husband Mike Bennett (Kanellis) later revealed that he knew in his heart he was being let-go as soon as Vince McMahon sent out a message saying that cuts were coming due to COVID-19. You can listen to the full episode here. (H/T and transcribed by Pro Wrestling Sheet)