wrestling / News

Mike Kanellis Discusses How Triple H Gave Him the Opportunity to Join 205 Live After He ‘Flatlined’

May 19, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Mike Kanellis WWE 205 Live

– Speaking with Jeffrey Harris for the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast, 205 Live star Mike Kanellis spoke about his current feud and No DQ match with Akira Tozawa, his move to the 205 Live roster, and his expectations for today’s Cruiserweight title match between Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari at Money in the Bank.

In the full interview, Kanellis talks about going public with his addiction issues, his Cruiserweight Championship goals, how AEW’s launch is good for business, his preference to moving toward Raw or Smackdown Live, his memories from The Kingdom and more. Below are some highlights.

Kanellis on his feud and No DQ match with Akira Tozawa: “Honestly, I love that. It’s definitely my favorite thing I’ve done so far since I’ve been at WWE — geez — going on two years. We’ve never wrestled each other, believe it or not. Our paths crossed in the independents and probably elsewhere, but we actually never even wrestled each other until the matches we had at WWE. We have really good chemistry. I don’t know what it was. We just played off well with each other, and we were always just constantly on the same page. I don’t know if you can tell, I don’t know how many wrestlers you’ve talked to, but I think they all say the same thing that you get in there with someone, and instantly, you kind of get a feel whether it’s gonna work or not gonna work. With Tozawa, it just works. And this last match, it was kind of my way — I told some of the agents and I told some of the writers, ‘I really want this match. This is a match that I want because I have a lot to prove.’ And so, what I set out to prove, I did, and I was really happy with it, really happy with it actually.”

Mike Kanellis on Triple H getting him to join 205 Live after his early run ‘flatlined’: “It was honestly one of those things where I was doing nothing. Like I debuted at Money in the Bank two years ago, and then, it just — it flatlined. Everything just flatlined. And before we could even go with pitching ideas or anything like that, we found out that Maria [Kanellis] was pregnant. So, she had to come off the road, and a lot of what we got signed on was us as a package deal. And so, everything we could’ve built off of that just kind of stopped. No fault of anyone’s. That’s life. That’s how it works. Then, I started doing the stuff by myself, and nothing was clicking. We just weren’t doing anything. No ideas were being thrown around. And at some point, pitching ideas to writers or trying to talk to Vince [McMahon], and then finally, I had a good conversation with Triple H. And he was like, ‘What would you think about 205?’ Well, his first question was, ‘Can you be 205?’ And I was like ‘Yes,’ because I am actually under 205, believe it or not. And so, he was like, ‘What do you think?’ I was like, ‘Honestly man, whatever, I just want to work. I came here to work, and I just want to work.’ And that’s what I’ve always said since day one. I just want to work. And he’s like, ‘Well, I think you can get a good opportunity. Are you willing to do it?’ I was like, ‘If I can work, I will do whatever you ask of me. I just want to work.’ And so they did.”

Why Mike Kanellis likes being on 205 Live: “And things kind of started off slow for me on 205, but I feel like now it’s starting to pick up, and it’s such a fun brand to be on because we get a lot of leeway. We can have a lot of creative control of what we want. They give us almost 15-20 minutes every match, which you never get on Raw or Smackdown. It’s just a lot of fun if you really just want to wrestle.”

Mike Kanellis on if he still has unfinished business with Tozawa or if he’s aiming for Tony Nese and the title: “I’ll tell ya what. I don’t know if I have unfinished business. I would love to get back in the ring with him again. I would love to go like an hour with Tozawa, just give us the whole time slot on 205. Give us a No DQ, anything, see what we can do. Hell, put us on Money in the Bank. I don’t care. I would love to do that, but as of right now, after two years of being in WWE my goal is a title. So if that means Tony Nese, if that means somewhere else in WWE, I don’t care. I think it’s time. It’s time for a title I think.”

Mike Kanellis on Tony Nese vs. Ariya Daivari at Money in the Bank and if he’ll be watching it closely: “Oh, absolutely. And honestly, I bet it steals the show. That’s what the 205 guys do every time from the time Buddy Murphy was the champ or Cedric [Alexander] — every pay-per-view, everyone’s like, ‘Oh, the 205 match,’ whether it’s pre-show or on the show, it always steal the show. I expect this one to be no different.”

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Introduction (0:00)
On working with Akira Tozawa and their No DQ match (0:57)
On his WWE run stalling and how he ended up getting put on 205 Live (3:34)
On having more creative freedom on 205 Live (5:28)
On if he has Tony Nese and the Cruiserweight Title in his sights (6:30)
Whether he’s hoping to transition back to Raw or Smackdown (7:42)
On going public about his opioid addiction (9:55)
On whether he’d rather be on Raw or Smackdown (15:17)
On rumors that WWE is offering talent big money to keep them away from AEW and how AEW’s launch affects the business (16:25)
On his friendship with Adam Cole and Cole’s recent NXT run (19:50)
On his memories of being part of The Kingdom in ROH (21:27)
On his advice for people dealing with addiction (22:48)
On his hopes for a WWE action figure (25:25)

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