Maria Kanellis-Bennett is a wife, mom, actress, model, singer, professional wrestler, and professional wrestling manager. She is also the CEO and owner of Women’s Wrestling Army. The first time I saw Maria was in 2004 during the WWE Diva Search. She placed 5th in the contest. Eventually, WWE would hire her as a backstage interviewer. Maria would go on to also be in Ring of Honor, TNA (Impact Wrestling) where she was a former TNA Knockouts Champion. She would also make appearances in NJPW as a manager for her husband Mike and Matt Taven.
Maria would also be instrumental in the Women of Honor Tournament and now she is making waves as the CEO of Women’s Wrestling Army. I got to sit down with Maria and chat about the idea behind Women’s Wrestling Army, her goals for Women’s Wrestling Army, and more.
I asked Maria what was the defining moment in wanting to start Women’s Wrestling Army and here’s what she said:
“Yeah, my partner, Bobby Cruise, we were the head of Ring of Honor wrestling. And that was just last year. And when that came to a close, we were no longer in charge of the Ring of Honor women’s division. We had all these incredible women that we still wanted to work with. We still wanted to be able to see growth and excel in this crazy business. So, Bobby and I started going back and forth on different ideas of how we could do this and Brand Army. They were the ones that came to us first that said that they would give us a platform to put our women’s wrestling show on and then the next one was pro-wrestling TV.
And so we had a couple of different platforms that we could utilize to put our show on. And that was really the catalyst. Willow had asked us to create something. The Hex wanted us to create something and so they definitely put the idea in our minds of this is probably where we should go. But at the end of the day, it was all about being able to create that platform for women.”
I also asked Maria about some goals she has for Women’s Wrestling Army. Here is some of what she had to say.
“Yeah, I have a few. Health insurance. I would like to be able to provide health insurance, even if it’s very basic health insurance. I would like to provide health insurance. The second one is out well, and this one is probably a little bit longer than five years, but we’ll get there. I would really like everybody to make a million dollars a year. That’s what I want. I want everybody’s paycheck to be a million dollars a year. Why? Because they’re worth it. And because everybody should be able to pay for their family, pay for their bills. I just… I believe that wholeheartedly.
You’re going out there, you’re killing yourself. Why not? A lot of you know, actors in Hollywood are on weekly television shows and they’re making a million dollars per season. So you know what, I want to be able to provide that for wrestling to some of the more minor or smaller goals that I think are attainable within the next year or two. I want sponsorships that are beauty sponsorships, clothing, sponsorships, all the things that wrestling hasn’t done in the past. I want to be able to accomplish those things……”
Maria also talks about being a mom among some other important notes that tie into Women’s Wrestling Army. I’m excited about what’s in store for Women’s Wrestling Army and the women who work there.