Wrestling News

Maria Kanellis Says WWE Evolution Was “A PR Stunt”

Maria Kanellis

Former WWE Superstar Maria Kanellis has shared her thoughts on women’s wrestling and divulged which WWE executive once told her a repeat of the all-women’s Evolution event would never happen again.

Kanellis has had two runs with WWE with her second stint in the company coming to an end in April 2020. Kanellis and husband Mike Bennett had been prominently featured on Raw before their release in a storyline revolving around the paternity of the baby Kanellis was pregnant with.

Speaking to the Women’s Wrestling Talk podcast, Kanellis shared her vision of what she wants women’s wrestling to be.

Kanellis explained:

“I want them to have more well-rounded characters, I want to know more than just one thing. I want to know about what your family is like or what motivates you and I don’t want to just see one thing all the time on screen and that’s that. I’m really tough. Like, I want more well-rounded characters. I want there to be some internal conflict sometimes when it comes to all these different storylines that are going on with women’s wrestlers.”

“So I think that’s the step. And of course, there’s also the fact that I think just as much money should be put towards women’s wrestling, marketing, women’s wrestling as men’s wrestling. So if we can think on the business side, let’s put as much money into marketing, women’s wrestling as we do them in.”

Maria Kanellis then discussed the women’s only Evolution event held by WWE in October 2018. Many saw the event as a counter-balance to the upcoming Crown Jewel event held two weeks later in Saudi Arabia. At that time female athletes were not allowed to compete on the Saudi shows.

Kanellis shared her views on the event and says she was told that the event would only be a one-off affair:

“I was told it’s never happening again. That was from Mark Carrano, that it will never happen again. And I mean, now I’m sure because there is such a buzz about it, I’m sure they’re gonna try and find a way of doing it again. But as far as I knew, when I left the company, Evolution was never happening again. And I think the reason why they did it the first time was more of a PR stunt than it was a real action. A real statement about women in wrestling.”

Mark Carrano was the Senior Director of Talent Relations in WWE until he was fired from the company in the aftermath of Mickie James’ revelation that her belongings were returned to her in a trashbag following her release from the company.

Kanellis and Bennett have since returned to Ring Of Honor and they welcomed their second child into the world in February 2020.

Credit: Women’s Wrestling Talk

h/t Wrestling Inc. for the transcription