Did you hear that? That was the sound of millions of hearts being broken when Maria Kanellis announced to the world that she was now engaged to ROH star Mike Bennett. This reporter tried to talk Maria out of it during her appearance last month at the Canadian ToyCon, but to no avail. But she was more than happy to sit down with SLAM! Wrestling to talk about it.
“I’m so happy,” she gushed, “We’ve picked the date, picked the dress, and picked the venue, so (the planning) is going very well. It’s very exciting.”
While she wasn’t surprised by the proposal — “We knew from the beginning,” she said — she was still thrilled when Bennett proposed.
“He was planning on doing it at Best in the World. Maybe not at the show, but in New York where we were for the show. But we were walking around the city of Chicago, and we were talking about where we would want to live eventually. And he said, ‘I don’t really care where we live, as long as it’s with you.’ I told him that I felt the same way. He’s like, ‘Promise?’, I’m like ‘Yeah.’ He’s like, ‘Promise, promise?’, and I say, ‘Yeah, promise, promise.’ And he gets down on one knee to ask me. But I didn’t even let him finish. He got to ‘Will you’ and I said ‘Yes.’ I was — am! — so happy.”
She’s also happy that the two continue to enjoy tremendous success in Ring of Honor. Bennett has been a standout star in the promotion, and his star continues to rise. As his fiancée, Kanellis is glad to see him shine, but also admits that she is hopeful that he will one day get a shot on a larger stage.
“We love working for Ring of Honor, we really do. They welcomed us with open arms, and they really let us play, let us do what we wanted. And that’s amazing, we love working together. But I think that both of us, we’d like to be able to be on a bigger stage, we’d like to expand our horizons a bit. I do think that he’s going to make it to the big stage, that he’s going to make it to WrestleMania.”
As for Maria, she plans on being there with him if and when that happens. While she’s walked through a lot of open doors in the past three years, she’s found that the one leading to the ring is her favourite one.
“I’m thankful for the fun that I’ve had, I’m thankful for the last three years. I tried music, I tried acting, I’ve tried this, I’ve tried that. But of all of them, I love wrestling the most. And it took me going away to realize that. To realize that (wrestling) wasn’t just one more thing … it was everything.”
But that doesn’t mean she’s entirely going to stop pursuing other interests entirely. In fact, she revealed that she has a number of projects in the works, though she was not necessarily allowed to share the details.
“I’m working on writing a few things right now, but I’m sorry I can’t tell you anything (specific). It’s Hollywood, and in Hollywood you can’t necessarily say anything unless it’s final.”
One thing that has been discussed is a potential reality show about her and Bennett’s life. It would be an interesting concept, to see the life of a couple that works together, travels together, and lives together both inside and outside the ring.”
“It’s been looked into,” she confirmed. “But there are a million reality shows out there, and you don’t know what may or may not get picked up.”
If that kind of show were to come to pass, it would not be Maria’s first appearance on a Hollywood reality show — she was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice in 2010, just before the end of her WWE run.
Maria considered that experience to be one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding ones of her life. And she also shut down the theory that some critics have — that the show is in fact scripted and the celebrity contestants are simply following a script.
“Not at all,” she flatly stated. “It was all real — though at times, you wanted it to not be so real. I was waking up at four o’clock in the morning and I wasn’t getting to bed until about midnight. I was exhausted. I was definitely in awe of everyone around me and the fact that they were making so much money for their charities. But you are super, super tired.”
More tired than being on the road with WWE?
“It’s a different kind of tired. In wrestling, your body’s sore. With that, you were just exhausted, and you were tired mentally. You were always around people — with wrestling, if you want to be alone, you can just go over to the other side of the building.”
But that’s not so say that she didn’t find the experience completely rewarding.
“I’m very thankful about that experience,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of really good friends. I didn’t know it but (fellow contestant) Bret Michaels is a huge Ring of Honor fan. I wouldn’t have had that relationship if it wasn’t for The Apprentice. Plus, I learned so much. I take everything as a learning experience. Being next to Sharon Osbourne and watching her talk business or talk with her family. Or listening to Donald Trump and how he goes about business. These are all very important lessons that you would learn, and I got to learn them when I was there.”
Lessons, she said, that she will try to put to use in all her future ventures, personally, and professionally.
“Right now, we’re continuing to do what we love in Ring of Honor. I know that Mike will continue to grow and succeed. And hopefully I continue to grow and succeed along with him.”