Speaking with Inside the Ropes’ Liam Alexander-Stewart, Maria Kanellis-Bennett would reveal the moment she knew that her in-ring career was over, naming her final WrestleMania as the day she knew she wanted to take a step away from the ring.
Ahead of Ring of Honor’s Best in the World PPV Event on Sunday, July 11th, Inside the Ropes spoke with ROH Board of Directors member and former WWE Superstar Maria Kanellis-Bennett.
During the interview, Bennett would discuss her decision to transition into a backstage role, the difficulties associated with the switch and what one moment, in particular, led to her realising her in-ring days were over.
Photograph Credit: RING OF HONOR/Mike Adams
Speaking with Liam Alexander-Stewart, the former TNA Knockouts Champion would reveal:
“So I knew I was done wrestling at my last WrestleMania. I knew, I knew. I walked out there and I went, nope, I want to go back. I just knew I wasn’t done with the wrestling industry. I just was done with wrestling. Like, I didn’t want to go out there and put on a match and who knows? Never say never.”
The OVW Graduate would continue on, revealing that she does not want to fall into the classic wrestling trope of retiring saying that she is done and continuing to have several matches post-retirement.
“Like we all as wrestlers are like, that’s the last match that we have 50 more like I’m not going to do that.
What I am going to say is like I don’t feel the same way about it as I used to when I went out there for my last match at WrestleMania literally got out there and looked around and went, Yeah, I just want to get back to my baby girl because my daughter was backstage that just wanted to get back to her. And that’s that’s really how I feel about my wrestling right now, as I just know there’s things bigger than me and my own personal stuff that I want to witness.”
Maria Kanellis-Bennett would continue, stating that her focus and priorities now as part of the wrestling industry are in helping the future grow and revealing that she doesn’t need to duke it out in the ring, because she is fighting change every day behind the scenes in wrestling.
“I want to see women grow. I want to see this industry change. I want more people to have my job as a woman in other companiesmand so that’s what I’m fighting for. I don’t need to go out there and duke it out in the ring because I have many, many fights that I’m doing behind the scenes every day, not within Ring of Honor, but just in the world and getting people to understand and have an appreciation for women’s wrestling.”
Maria’s final in-ring appearance featured on the July 1st 2019 edition of Monday Night RAW, as she teamed with real-life husband Mike Bennett to take on the newly married duo of Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch in mixed tag team action.
Bennett’s final WrestleMania appearance would be as part of the Women’s Battle Royal on the WrestleMania 35 Kickoff show which was ultimately won by multi-time WWE Women’s Champion Carmella with Kanellis eliminated first during the match.
During the same interview, Maria would speak with Inside the Ropes about a range of topics including Lana’s recent comments on the treatment of women’s wrestling in the WWE, who she would have loved to see be a part of Ring of Honor’s women’s championship tournament and why Ring of Honor’s women’s division is the place to be.