Former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis was the guest on a recent episode of the In The Room podcast. Maria discussed a number of topics, including her current work in Ring of Honor and her time in WWE. Kanellis was released from WWE in 2010, which caught many fans off guard due to her popularity and high-profile angles, including an award for Diva of the Year and a photo shoot for Playboy.
“I was caught off guard,” Maria told In the Room host Brady Hicks. “I know what was going on behind the scenes, and that I was trying to accomplish other things. I think that WWE looked at it like I wasn’t as interested in wrestling because I wanted to do more. I think that they got the wrong impression of what I was trying to do, as well as I got the wrong impression of what they were trying to do. Looking back on it, now five years removed, I would have done things differently. I would have stayed the course. I would have shed a light on women’s wrestling back then, if I would have had the time. And that was being on a mainstream television show [Celebrity Apprentice] and also being in WWE. I think that we were just going in two completely different directions, and it takes time and maturity to be able to see those types of things, and now being removed from them, I definitely would have done things differently. But, at the same time, I’m very thankful that they did release me.”
Maria eventually landed a new wrestling gig with Ring of Honor, where she has become immensely popular with fans. As previously reported by Inquisitr, Ring of Honor recently inked a television deal with Destination America. Now a mainstay with the company, Maria works alongside her husband, Michael Bennett, whom she married in 2014.
The one-time Diva previously spoke with WrestlingINC, indicating that she had been looking at returning to WWE at one point. She alleged that the deal eventually fell through due to some backstage intrigue on the part of the Bella Twins.
“[F]rom what I am told it was both of them saying that I was bad for business, that I wasn’t wanted there,” Kannellis said of the Bellas back in 2013. “But the funny part about it is that I have a lot of friends still in that company and that’s how I know what I know happened.”
Kanellis also suggested that her issues with the Bellas started over some jealousy on Nikki’s part over Maria’s friendship with Dolph Ziggler.
Lingering heat with former colleagues notwithstanding, Maria Kannellis is now extremely comfortable with her career path. While she’s never held a major wrestling title, Kannellis says there are more important to consider in the broad scheme of things.
“I think that right now, with going to New Japan and being the first female to wrestle against another female in New Japan, we’re breaking down boundaries,” Maria said on In the Room. “If somebody wants to give me a title for that, then that’s great. But at the same time, I don’t need that to define my career. Would it be cool to go back to WWE and win a title at some point? Yeah, sure. But at the same time, if I can accomplish more in Ring of Honor with Destination America, if I can accomplish more in New Japan, then it’s not high on my list.”
Indeed, with a solid fan base, the support of a growing wrestling promotion, and the romantic perspective of a love-struck newlywed, it seems that Maria Kannellis has found solace and success beyond her stint in WWE.
[Photo by Mike Coppola / Getty Images]