Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennett were released by WWE in April 2020 as part of the COVID-19 budget cuts. Both of them eventually returned to ROH. Maria Kanellis was also grateful to WWE for providing them with an opportunity to work for the company.
While speaking on the Wrassingh Show, Maria Kanellis talked about her final storyline in the company, which centered around her second pregnancy. The storyline ultimately went nowhere as it had no direction.
A popular theory for the storyline is that Vince McMahon made them do it as a way of punishing both Maria and Bennett for the pregnancy. Maria Kanellis noted that she talked to WWE about a second pregnancy during contract negotiations and gave them two options.
The company would turn down both of her options and kept her on a full-time deal, which ultimately made Maria Kanellis feel that she was punished for something that was not her fault.
“There are several falsehoods with that. First and foremost, I didn’t know I was pregnant when I signed with WWE so I couldn’t have told them. When I came out with the fact that I was pregnant on live television, I was probably only about eight and a half to nine weeks pregnant, so like, I did not know when I signed. Also, I had talked to WWE about having another baby because when we were in contract negotiations, I gave them two different options.
I was like ‘okay, you guys can either sign me to like a legacy, paid per appearance deal, which is less money, less appearances and you can just keep me under contract and I will have a baby, and I’ll do less because I was gonna get pregnant. Or you can sign me to the full time deal but I’m planning on having another baby and I’m getting to be almost 40 so it’s going to happen soon.
“They didn’t accept that option. What they decided to do was to bring me in full-time full talent contract and that was their decision, not mine. I gave them the other options, so if it was a way of getting back at me, I’m sorry that talent relations didn’t inform WWE of what our family planning was but at the end of the day, it really is none of their business. If anything, pregnancy is a disability in the United States, it’s considered disability so federally, it should be treated as an injury in an independent contract so that doesn’t matter at the end of the day.
“I didn’t have to tell them what my family planning was, but I did! WWE could’ve chosen to fire me, they could have signed me to a paid per appearance deal, a lesser contract, a producer/writer deal or even working down in NXT, or they could have signed me to a full-time deal. They chose to sign me to a full-time deal. So whether or not the information was relayed from talent relations to Vince McMahon or the management, I don’t know. Maybe it was a punishment but at the same time like that’s not my fault.”
Maria Kanellis is content working in ROH right now but she’ll always be grateful for her time in WWE. However, it is unlikely she’ll return to the company anytime soon.