As previously mentioned, WWE Superstar Mike Kanellis was recently a guest on the Smarks & Stripes podcast. Kanellis, who requested his release from WWE in October 2019, shared his thoughts on the uber talented ROH roster of which he was a part, his ROH departure, his stint with Impact Wrestling, and what he makes of Impact's new direction under Don Callis.
According to Kanellis, his mind is blown whenever he thinks about the ultra talented ROH roster he was a part during his days with The Kingdom.
"Yeah, it's crazy to think and I was just thinking about this too, that that roster at one point was on Ring Of Honor, it blows my mind. It was me, and [Matt] Taven, and [Adam] Cole, and Bobby Fish, and Kyle O'Reilly, The Young Bucks, and AJ Styles, Roderick Strong, Jay Lethal, like my mind keeps going, Tommaso Ciampa, El Generico." Kanellis continued, "I'm like, these guys were all in one company. It's wild, dude! That era of Ring Of Honor is the [pro] wrestling industry now. It changed the wrestling industry and it was so cool to be a part of that."
With respect to Kanellis's ROH departure, the former ROH World Tag Team Champion stated that the company viewed him differently than he saw himself and Impact offered him a main event opportunity.
"It was honestly just kind of contract negotiations. Impact was offering us a little bit more money than Ring Of Honor. It was no hard feelings. Again, I wanted to stay at Ring Of Honor, but I viewed myself a certain way. They viewed me another way and I was perfectly cool with that. We were like, 'okay.' And we went to Lagana, Dave Lagana, was writing over there, and he was a big fan of me and Maria [Kanellis], and he wanted to bring us over. And plus, they were offering me the opportunity to have this singles run. And they were like, 'we really want you to be a top player at [Impact] and at the time, I didn't think that is how Ring Of Honor viewed me. And I know somewhere someone's going to twist this, but it's not a negative. That's not a bad thing. A company views you one way at that time. That's fine. It's up to you to say, 'I'm going to prove you wrong.' And if you prove them wrong, and then you go back, and you say, 'see?' And they say, 'hey, we want to bring you back' or 'cool.' Like, I don't understand. We constantly say, 'well, screw Ring Of Honor for holding this guy back!' No, it's just business. That's how you do business. And so, I had the opportunity to go be a main event player over at Impact, so I took it and I loved it!" Kanellis added, "it was just a better opportunity at that time."
In regards to Kanellis's Impact run, he claimed to enjoyed his time with the company from a creative standpoint, but getting paid was a hassle.
"From a performer [standpoint], it was a very enjoyable experience. As a businessman trying to make money, it was a headache. And I think everyone knows all the stories and they are all true." Kanellis explained, "as far as the talent went, and as far as David Lagana writing the stories, and John Gaburick, and Billy Corgan, I love all those guys. They gave me great stories. They gave me a great storyline with EC3. We never touched before, but we kind of had this chemistry that I wish we could continue to this day, but it's just I honestly, I loved it. But yes, from a business standpoint, it was a headache, but from a performer's standpoint, I think it's one of the best things that could have happened for my career."
Kanellis said he is happy that Impact is being run better now and went on to say that it is smart to promise young up-and-coming talents a platform rather than money.
"I'm so glad that they are doing better now and they are being run better." Kanellis shared, "what they're doing now, I think is a great framework. They're bringing in all these young, hungry indie guys. They're saying, 'we can only pay you this [small] amount of money, but what we'll give you is a platform.' And I wish that was around when I was younger."
Please credit Ring Of Honor Wrestling for the video above. Check out the podcast here or via the embedded player below. If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit Smarks & Stripes with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.