At Money in the Bank this Sunday, Maria Kanellis made her return to the WWE. During her first promo back, she appeared with Mike Bennett, saying that she has found her life partner and speaking about the power of love. So is this one of those relationships that is purely a WWE storyline, like the relationship between Alicia Fox and Noam Dar? Or is it a real relationship that has also been incorporated into a WWE storyline, like the relationship between The Miz and Maryse?
This relationship falls into the latter category, as Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennett are indeed married in real life. The two met years ago at a Northeast Wrestling show, and Bennett said in an interview that they had an instant connection even though they were both in relationships at the time.
“We felt a connection but at the time we were both with other people,” Bennett said. “A few months later when our situations had changed, we started DM’ing each other on Twitter. She was in Philadelphia and asked me to come see her. It took me nine hours to get there because I got caught up in New York traffic. But we hung out and just hit it off.”
Maria Kanellis says that the first time she spoke with her future husband backstage at a wrestling show, she asked him if he worked for Ring of Honor, and he asked her, “Do you want some of this old pizza?” They subsequently went and hung out at TGI Fridays.
“So he was sitting across from me,” Kanellis said. “He gets his appetizer which were cheese sticks—and he is eating them with a fork and knife. I was like, ‘Who eats cheese sticks with a fork and knife?’ And he had no words. He just sat there. No words.”
Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennett were married in 2014. According to Pro Wrestling Insider, the wedding took place in Chicago, Illinois. They were both paired in storylines together at Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. In March 2017, it was announced that both Kanellis and Bennett were leaving TNA. It was subsequently rumored that they might come to the WWE, and this was confirmed on Sunday.
Although Maria Kanellis is back at the WWE after seven years, Mike Bennett is a brand new addition to the company.