wrestling / News

Mike Kanellis on Getting to Skip NXT Being A Badge of Honor, On If He’d Rather Be On RAW or Smackdown

May 22, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis

– Speaking with Jeffrey Harris for the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast, 205 Live star Mike Kanellis spoke about his thoughts on possibly moving to the Raw or Smackdown Live brands in the future. Below are some highlights.

Mike Kanellis on if he’d like to go to Raw or Smackdown at some point: “Yeah, you know, honestly, who wouldn’t? Those are the two top shows. I mean, regardless of what you’re a fan of, you have to be a realist. The two shows are Raw and Smackdown. That’s where the top guys come from. That’s where the WrestleMania main events come from. That’s where the guys who are in the Money in the Bank matches come from, so who wouldn’t want to be on there? I started on Smackdown. I got to skip NXT, which people always ask me, ‘Do I regret that?’ And I don’t because only a handful of us only ever got to do that regardless of whether my WWE start got off the right footing or not. I get to wear that like a badge of honor, but I started on Smackdown. I got drafted or traded or whatever we’re doing now to Raw. I didn’t do much on Raw. Now, I’m on 205. I’d love to prove that I can make it back there. But it’s like, I’m at the point in my career where it feels like I spent almost four years being addicted to drugs and wasted those four years, and now I’m clean and I’m healthy. I say this to my wife all the time, I want to prove that I didn’t screw those four years up and that I want to be considered one of the top wrestlers in the world. And some people might hear that and be like, ‘Oh god. No. Never! That’s awful!’ But honestly, I think I could do it because I had a buddy tell me the other day, which really kind of hit home with me, he’s like, ‘Dude, think about this. You got signed to WWE, and the work they saw was while you were addicted to drugs. Think about what you can do now while you’re not.’ I was like, ‘Wow. That’s really true,’ and it kind of lit a fire under my butt where I want to prove that I can actually be up there with whom everyone considers the best wrestlers in the world.”

Mike Kanellis on if the FOX move for Smackdown makes him want to move there, or does he have a preference for Raw: “You know what? I don’t think I have a preference at all. When I started, I started on Smackdown, so Smackdown’s always had a special place in my heart. But I don’t think I have a preference because every failure on is just a matter of what you make it. Me and Maria talk about — she always says, ‘205 Live is the A-show because she’s on it,’ and that’s the mentality you have to have. Like if you’re on NXT UK, NXT UK is the A-show because you’re on it, or 205 Live, or NXT, or any of those shows is the A-show because you’re on it. That’s the confidence you need to bring. It’s not being cocky. It’s just understanding what you bring to the table and telling everyone, ‘This is what I bring to the table.'”

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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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