Former WWE Superstar Mike Bennett recently appeared as a guest on the SiriusXM Radio “Busted Open Radio” program to promote his upcoming NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship bout against Nick Aldis.
The Bennett-Aldis bout for the NWA title will serve as the main event of the debut UWN Primetime Live pay-per-view event that streams live tonight at FITE.tv.
During the discussion, the husband of fellow former WWE Superstar Maria Kanellis spoke about his own tenure in WWE, falling in love with the pro wrestling business outside of WWE while working for promotions such as ROH, NJPW and IMPACT Wrestling and more.
Featured below are some of the highlights of the new Mike “The Prodigy” Bennett interview.
On if he was playing “the nice card” during his WWE tenure: “I love that question because I’m not playing the nice card, because here’s the thing that I learned when I got sober, is you have to hold yourself accountable. One of the big things I started doing is – there’s this mantra that I kind of live by and it’s, ‘It may not be your fault, but it is now your responsibility’… And that’s what helped me with my addiction. But just in general, I showed up at WWE as my dream job. It’s what I always wanted to do, but I showed up not in the best shape. I showed up addicted to drugs. I showed up not ready to go, and so first impressions are a big deal, and if the first impression that Vince [McMahon] or anybody else got there was, ‘Well, he had three months to sit at home before we brought him there, and he’s not in the best shape of his life, and what has he been doing?’ And then, ‘Oh well, we signed this guy who is addicted to drugs. Well, maybe we need to look at our vetting process a little bit better.’ And you add all those things together, and I think there’s a percentage of the failures that fall on me.”
On it being his own responsibility to get ahead in WWE and enjoying the angle with his wife Maria that saw him submitting to her while she threw various verbal jabs at him: “Even if you take it and you say, ‘Maybe it’s not all of me and it’s all on WWE,’ but still. I’m in this position now – but then again, it may not be my fault but it is my responsibility, so that’s how I’m looking at it moving forward. Now, was there bad creative along the way? Of course there was, but I tried to make the most of it. I tried to do the best I could with what I was given. I actually liked the challenge of that crazy RAW angle of submitting to my wife all the time. I was like, ‘Let’s see if we get something out of this because who knows? Maybe this could be the best thing that ever happened to me.’ So, yes, there’s always – and Bubba (Bully Ray) you know this backstage, you have to push for yourself because there’s nobody else that’s going to push for you. If you’re not fighting for yourself, if you’re not going to Vince and telling him time, and time, and time again, ‘This is why I deserve to be the top guy, this is why I deserve to be in the main event,’ you’re just not going to get it. Out of sight, out of mind, and there’s so much talent in that company right now.”
On his brutally honest conversations with Vince McMahon and the talks they would have after he and Maria had their first child: “I had many good conversations with Vince. After we had our first child, I remember going into Vince’s office, and I was like, ‘Look, if this isn’t working out, if I’m not what you thought I was or whatever or you just don’t see anything in me,’ I asked Vince, and I said, ‘Then just let me go for a couple of years and maybe I’ll come back, and we’ll figure this out.’ And he straight up told me, he said, ‘I’ve seen your work. I think you’re good. We just have to find the right story line that fits. We just have to find the right place for you.’ He’s like, ‘I got a million guys right now.’ The one thing I respect about Vince is he was always brutally honest with me. He never sugarcoated anything, which I respected that. I wish other people in that company wouldn’t sugarcoat things for me or just try to do things, but Vince, if I went to him directly, he always straight up told me what was going on. And so, we did have those conversations, and we had many opportunities where me and Maria went in there, we pitched stuff, and Vince always seemed open to it. He always seemed – he was very respectful about everything, and [the ideas] just didn’t materialize and I know how that works. I know I’ll go in there, I’ll tell Vince one thing, he might like it, but Roman [Reigns] goes in there, Seth [Rollins] goes in there, and Bray [Wyatt] goes in there right after me and he probably doesn’t remember it after that, which sucks. It sucks for us smaller guys who are trying to get their names up there, but at the end of the day, it’s just how that company works. I tried, Maria tried, and it didn’t work, so what else are you going to do?”
On getting to WWE being his childhood dream but falling in love with the business while working in promotions such as Ring Of Honor (ROH), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and IMPACT Wrestling: “So, for me, it was always getting to the WWE. That was always the dream, but I kind of looked at it in a different way and it’s – I think getting to WWE was just a way to teach me and to propel me for what I’m about to do now. And I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I, for so long, was like, ‘It’s WWE or bust. Get there because that was your dream.’ When I was 13, I wanted to become a WWE wrestler. That was it, and even through all my journeys, it was, ‘I love doing this, I love doing that, but the goal will always be WWE.’ And then when I got there, it was kind of like, ‘Well, this isn’t what I like about pro wrestling. This isn’t really what I want to do.’ I fell in love with pro wrestling in Ring of Honor, in New Japan, in IMPACT, and doing that stuff. And then when I got into WWE, I didn’t like getting the four-minute matches and the very strict script you’d have to read.”
Check out the complete Mike Bennett interview on the latest episode of Busted Open Radio at Player.fm.
Mike Bennett goes one-on-one against NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis in the main event of the UWN Primetime Live pay-per-view debut show on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. The event will stream live via FITE.tv.
REACTION: UWN PRIMETIME LIVE: ALDIS vs. BENNETT PPV (9/15/2020)
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.@RealMikeBennett hypes @NWA title showdown against @RealNickAldis on debut @unitedwrestling #PrimetimeLive PPV tonight on @FiteTV, his WWE run & “brutally honest” talks w/ Vince McMahon, plus more on @BustedOpenRadio
LINK: https://t.co/zzGrupow3j pic.twitter.com/AaqklDsL78
— Matt Boone (@MattBoone1984) September 15, 2020