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Mike Kanellis Discusses Requesting His Release From WWE

He appeared on the Smarks & Stripes podcast

In June, Mike Kanellis signed a new multi-year contract with WWE. However, Kanellis was frustrated about being underutilised on TV, and said that it was affecting his home life. He admitted he would often come home "defeated, sad, and angry." As a result of this, the former IWGP Tag Team champion requested his release from the company in October.

As has been common since All Elite Wrestling was founded, WWE refused to accept his request, and he is still employed by the company.

Kanellis recently appeared on the Smarks & Stripes podcast, hosted by Bill Matz and former WWE official Kevin Keenan. During the interview he discussed why he requested his release.

He said: "Since the minute I got to WWE, they treated me great, they treated my wife great, they treated my daughter great. When I came out and said that I had an addiction, there was no negativity from anybody, just constant support. And so for me personally, having been almost two-and-a-half years sober, it got to the point when I started reflecting on my past and what I did and it became very hard for me to almost sit and reflect on the fact that I blew four years of my life doing drugs, and now I felt like my mind was clear, my head is clear, and I just wanted to work. I feel like I could do, and have my best matches right now - and it’s extremely difficult when there’s so many people on the roster. You just don’t get that opportunity, and like I said, everybody wants to come at me negatively and say that I’m mad. I’m not mad at anybody. I’m genuinely not. If WWE called me tomorrow and was like ‘We’re gonna put you on TV’, I’d do it. I’m not mad. I just want to work, and I just want to work a lot. I want to be able to go home and tell my daughter that, ‘Daddy put in the time. Daddy put in the effort.’ It’s incredibly difficult for me to go on social media and preach that you have to work hard, you have to work your ass off, and then not do it myself. I’m a worker. I’ve always been a worker and now I’m kind of at the point where I just want to work and work and work and I’ll go wherever that opportunity exists."

Kanellis also discussed why he believes his request wasn't granted. Using an analogy involving the New England Patriots and New York Jets, he explained WWE aren't going to release someone they think one of their rivals is going to sign.

He explained: "As far as not giving me my release, I think it’s like anywhere — the Patriots aren’t going to trade or release a player that they think that the Jets are going to pick up, and I think we have to think of it like that. It’s not a negative, that’s just how it works. It works in sports, it works in wrestling."

Kanellis hasn't appeared on WWE TV since the September 24th episode of SmackDown - losing to Chad Gable in 19 seconds. Despite this, he has kept himself busy and is currently doing motivational speaking across the United States.

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Cultaholic's resident newshound.