Mike Bennett, Maria Kanellis Bennett Discuss Potential Return To ROH; Longtime Promoter/Executive Appears On ROH Podcast; Brody King Stands Alone

By Kevin Eck

I’m sure I speak for a lot of Ring of Honor fans in saying that I would love to see Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis Bennett back in ROH, and it seems the feeling is mutual.

During the Bennetts’ appearance with me on this week’s episode of the “ROHStrong Podcast,” they both spoke fondly of their time in ROH and said they’re intrigued by the possibility of returning.

“I would absolutely love to,” Mike said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. I would love to. I know the roster, I know how good it is. I’ve worked for the company before. … I’m not pretending I’m going one place and this and that. I love Ring of Honor. I would love to end up there.”

Maria added: “I see a tremendous opportunity with Ring of Honor. Not just with the incredibly talented group of individuals that are working there right now, but also in the opportunity to do shows different. Because they haven’t done a show in a very long time I think that there’s an opportunity to be incredibly creative and create something that is different, but still with the great wrestling that the Ring of Honor fans have come to watch and love over the years.”

The Bennetts have a rich history in ROH. In 2011, Mike became the first Top Prospect Tournament winner. He was joined by Maria, his girlfriend at the time, in 2013, and they went on to form The Kingdom with Adam Cole and Matt Hardy. Matt Taven, Mike’s best friend, subsequently joined the group, and Bennett and Taven went on to win the ROH World Tag Team and IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles.

“I spent the last three years as a sports entertainer, and I thought I would like it, but I absolutely hated it,” Mike said. “Now I realize that my love is just being a pro wrestler -- a straight-up professional wrestler. Ring of Honor allowed me to be a professional wrestler. New Japan allowed me to be a professional wrestler. I miss that. I miss that feeling. … That last time I felt it was Ring of Honor or New Japan.”

On the podcast, Mike and Maria also talked in-depth about their WWE run, being released by WWE two months after the birth of their second child, Mike’s recovery from addiction to prescription drugs, and more.

***

ROH Director of Operations Gary Juster was my guest on the upcoming episode of the “ROHStrong Podcast,” which drops Monday, July 27. Juster’s name may not be familiar to many wrestling fans, but he has had a storied career behind the scenes in the business for parts of six decades, and it was fascinating to listen to him talk about his experiences.

Topics Juster discussed on the podcast include: being the promoter for Georgia Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions, AWA, and WCW in a traditional WWF city; the Monday Night Wars; his relationship with legendary figures in the industry such as Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Ole Anderson, Verne Gagne, and others; the key role he played in Sinclair Broadcast Group’s purchase of ROH, and more.

***

Brody King broke his silence this week and made it clear that he is his own man.

“No more taking orders. No more being under the thumb of another. Now is the time to be heard,” King said. “Throughout the course of history, one thing is proven: Change comes from violence. No gods, no masters, no heroes, no villains. Just violence.”

Once ROH resumes running live events, I expect big things from King as a singles competitor. The 6-foot-5, 285-pounder has incredible agility for a man his size, and that agility combined with his brawling skills and intensity makes him a serious threat to everyone on the ROH roster.

***

If you’re looking for a few laughs, check out “Sparring Partners,” a game show that poses the question of how well tag team partners know each other. The show debuted on ROH’s YouTube channel this week.

The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser and Brawler Milonas), Dalton Castle and Joe Hendry, 2 Guys 1 Tag (Silas Young and Josh Woods), and PJ Black and Brian Johnson were the participants. Spoiler alert: It sucks to be Young’s tag partner.

***

ROH World Tag Team Title co-holder Jonathan Gresham will be spotlighted on this weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”

Three of Gresham’s best matches from 2019 will be shown, including his classic encounter against tag-team partner Jay Lethal at the Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view.

Click here to find out when and where “Ring of Honor Wrestling” airs in your area.

***

Delirious was the guest of Future of Honor’s Sledge on the latest episode of “Coffee with Sledge” on Twitch.

Yeah, caffeine is just what Delirious needs.

***

ICYMI: The long-running feud between former best friends Kevin Steen and El Generico was the winner of the Bracket of Honor: Rivalries tournament. Steen-Generico beat the CM Punk-Samoa Joe rivalry in the finals.

Thanks to everyone who voted.

***

Until next time, keep safe and stay #ROHStrong!

Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com.