Mike Kanellis was released from WWE on April 15th along with his wife Maria Kanellis. A lot of other on-screen talent and other WWE workers lost their jobs as well. Mike Kanellis spent time working with each brand in WWE except NXT UK. When he breaks down the backstage dynamics, the difference seems to revolve around who is running each brand.
While speaking to Fightful, Kanellis stated that Vince McMahon runs the show on RAW and SmackDown. He is the be all end all of every decision on television. He didn’t have a ton of positive things to say about that either. The fact is you either learn to accept it, or you leave.
“RAW and SmackDown is Vince [McMahon]. That’s all Vince. Even with Paul [Heyman] and Bruce [Prichard], everything goes through Vince. That’s just how it’s always been. That’s just the way that the company runs. You can either like it or you can hate it, but at the end of the day you accept it. It’s his company.”
NXT is a totally different story. Kanellis said NXT house shows are like the indies in a good way. He loved the atmosphere and leadership in the black and gold brand.
The same is true for 205 Live as those brands are under Triple H’s watch. Kanellis loved the freedom on 205 Live and spoke highly about working with Adam Pearce who treats 205 Live as “his baby.” The only issue is that sometimes Vince McMahon will pop his head in on the show so they can’t get too wild. They are still permitted to have much longer matches and creative freedom.
“NXT is all Triple H. Triple H runs everything. I didn’t get on NXT TV, so I don’t really know how NXT TV worked. The house shows for NXT were a blast. Usually Steve Corino was running it or Norman Smiley and they had so much trust in me and Tony that were just like, “Just go do whatever you guys want and have fun.” It was like being on the indies again, and I loved it.”
“I loved being on 205. Triple H ran 205, but it was really Adam Pearce—that was his baby. He had so much pride. He was so great to us. But, the one thing I loved about 205 is we were always given time to have our matches. Like, 15 / 20 minute matches and they didn’t pick it apart as much as they do on RAW and SmackDown. They give you leeway to do whatever you want. There might be a few things we run by Adam and he’d be like, “You know, if the boss is watching that—” ‘cause sometimes he’ll poke his head in, he’d be like, “—that’s probably not a good idea.” He was really good about doing that.”
Mike Kanellis is now free to make his own schedule and really get out there again. He will have to wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to pass, but everyone is in that boat. Kanellis might not have received the greatest push in WWE, but he certainly seemed to get the full tour.
Will Mike Kanellis have a new life to his career on the indies? Sound off in the comments below.