The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) and Maria Kanellis all left IMPACT Wrestling on October 8th when their contracts expired. In a recent interview, Kanellis revealed that she was on a per-appearance contract with the company until that time and that she’s had talks with both WWE and AEW as well as IMPACT in regards to her professional wrestling future.
On the October 14th episode of AEW Rampage, the trio provided clarity on their immediate future when they made a surprise debut. Following the main event that saw FTR and Shawn Spears defeat The Embassy, Maria Kanellis and The Kingdom appeared on the ramp to challenge FTR. The heels attacked the ROH Tag Team Champions, but Wardlow and Samoa Joe came out to make the save and send the newly-debuted stars back up the ramp.
The Kingdom’s debut didn’t sit well with IMPACT referee Brian Hebner
Because IMPACT Wrestling is taped well in advance, fans haven’t seen the final appearances of Maria Kanellis and The Kingdom despite them already having started new business in AEW. Speaking on the latest episode of his Refin’ It Up podcast, IMPACT official Brian Hebner said that while he’s pleased for the trio, he wishes AEW had the courtesy to wait for the debut until their storyline had played out on IMPACT television.
“I am so very happy for them. I really am. I became very close in the short time that I was able to work with Maria and Mike, and they are just wonderful people. I love them and I think they’re the sweetest people in the world. They have beautiful kids. They’re just wonderful people. I’m not as close with Taven, but boy, we became really good friends too in a short period of time. What a great dude he is and I’m just so happy for them.
“Now the only thing that pisses me off, and it’s not about them, it’s about how it always just seems that Impact bends over backwards and does every fu**ing thing they can with AEW to do the forbidden door gimmick or whatever the fu*k it is now, and then they had the audacity to put them on their TV show before it’s even on Impact’s that they’re not there anymore. You can’t just wait or talk about it? You have to introduce them before the storyline comes out on Impact? It’s all about them all the time and it just kind of sucks.
“If I was Scott D’Amore, which I’m not, thank God, because I couldn’t be as patient and as gentle and nice as Scott, I would just be pissed. It just infuriates me because I just know when I was there, we did things for them as much as we could and did it right, and it just seemed like they just wanted to turn around and do what they wanted to do, how they wanted to do it, and they didn’t give a sh*t. It is what it is.
“They think they’re the bigger company, which I guess they are, but that doesn’t mean that you just can do whatever fu*k you want, but I guess they can.”