Understanding Mike Bennett’s Decision to Ask for His Release From WWE

When we grow up, we all have dreams of being who we want to be. Growing up, my dreams had took on several forms. At first, I wanted to be a firefighter, then an archaeologist, then a teacher, and then I decided that I wanted to be a writer. As we reach adulthood, very few of us actually reach our goals. We begin to live the lie that our dreams are nothing more than dreams.

As Mickey Goldmill from the Rocky movies so eloquently puts it: we “become civilized!”

Fear kicks into overdrive when people from parents to other people outside our lives tell us that our dreams are ridiculous and to give them up before we suffer. We begin to put our dreams in the backbunner and we become realistic. Getting a “real job” or livng paycheck to paycheck becomes our dream while our creativity suffers for it.

One person who I feel is brave enough to express his angst with that sentiment of security over a dream is a pro-wrestler and WWE Superstar name Mike Bennett, also known as Mike Kanellis.

Today, Bennett did something brave and unprecedented of a WWE Superstar. He announced on social media that he asked for his release from WWE. From what I read from the post, Bennett did not say anything bad about the company. He only expressed frustration with not working “one day a week” which was “not going o cut it” for him. He noted that he only resigned with the WWE  because he though it was “best for my family, and maybe from a finanical standpoint it was.”

The one part of the post that caught me attention was when he mentioned the lack of work affecting his home life and family. Furthermore, he added that after battling drug addiction for four years, he had came to the epiphany that he wanted to work more wrestling matches and travel the world like he did when he was on the independent scene. Another part of the post that really hit me was the mention of wanting to be an example to his daughter of what it is like to earn a living doing what he loves rather than “collecting a pay check.”

What I read from this post is a man who wanted to do nothing more than become a pro-wrestler and entertain crowds.

And Mike Bennett, if you are reading this. I understand where you are coming from.

I too have been in too many situations where I have had to put my dreams on the back bunner due to financial security. Now don’t get me wrong, it is always good to earn gauranteed money but if you are not living your dream and you are working in a job that you don’t like or at the very least doens’t allow you to live your dream, then there’s something wrong. I’m currently in a job that allows me to leave early so that I could work on creative projects like this blog and go to evening writing or comic book events. I am very grateful for that job. However, in my previous job whch was at a civil service organization that must not be named (out of respect), it was the opposite. Like Mike, I was there just earning a paycheck and not happy but unlike Mike, I was not brave enough to get real with myself and tell my supervisor that I want to call it quits. Actually, the civil service job fired me and even though I was upset, deep down, I was free and my creativity was returning slowly but gradually.

Working in a job or place that does not align with your goals or mission can sap your creativity. It can also make you angry to the point where you may need to seek counseling.  I have Asperger’s Syndrome coupled with Anxiety. Every month, I make it an effort to see a counsellor while my family and my co-workers encourage me to embrace my Aspergers everyday. I still deal with some of the struggles but I know with dealing with it and having a great support system, I can learn to cope with it in a healthy way.

However, what is not okay is living paycheck to paycheck to the point where your mental and physical health is at risk. That’s how some otherwise healthy people end up getting cancer or some other sickness. This is because some people live in fear that they would end up in a bad place if they decided to attempt to live their dream. But there are some who look in the mirror and decide to seek help before its too late.

And Mike Bennett is doing a great job dealing with his struggles. As he mentioned in his post, he bravely fought drug addiction for four years and won. He won the battle not only for his wife, Maria Kanellis, his children, and his career, he won for him. This is a man who loves himself. Why else would he bravely ask for his release from one of the biggest wrestling companies in the world? Maybe he feels more comfortable working in the independent scene where he would have more opportunities and respect. If I had a promotion of my own, Bennett would be one of my top guys and his wife would be included.

I enjoyed his character the “Miracle” Mike Bennett in Impact Wrestling. The character was a scoundrel/swindler type with a suave personality that exuded confidence. Not to mention that thee character had the coolest taste in clothing: sneakers, a two-piece suit, with a fedora plus a gorgeous looking red head at his side…captial “A” awesome!  If Mike Bennett could pull it off, why couldn’t I? Maybe a certain girl I have a crush on might take notice…

But in all seriousness, I have a new respect for Mike Bennett for showing me what it is like for a man to love himself. I have been struggling with loving myself all these years until I decided to seek help and follow my goals at the behest of family and co-workers. Mike, if you are reading this, you have a fan and whereever you will go, I will follow your carreer because you have become one of the people to inspire me to love myself more and embrace my Aspergers.

I know wherever it is you go, you will be successful. Whether its here in the US, Europe, Japan, Sibera, Earth-2, the Moon, you’re going to be awesome.

I don’t know about anyone esle but, I can only speak for myself. Mike and Maria Bennett, I am right behind you peeps and I understand your reason to request your release from WWE.

Go on and live your dream and remember…never stop believing and fight and work for a better tomorrow!

Brian from Earth-16

Mike and Maria
Mike Bennet  and his wfe  Maria Kanellis. Credit: WWE

Review: Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia #1 to #3

Written by: Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin

Illustrated by: Dan Schkade

Colored by: Melissa Louise

Inked by: David Hahn

Lettering by: A Larger World Studious

Published by: Starburns Industries Press

By: The Boy Wonder Press

Watcha gonna do when a pro-wrestler from out of this world challenges you to a match for the championship of the universe while he sends a force of other out-of-this-world wrestlers to invade Earth?

Well, one out-of-his-luck pro-wrestler from our planet that Earth is going to have to answer that question.

And that pro-wrestler is name Rock n’ Roll Rory Landell, the protagonist and reluctant hero of Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia which was written by writing tag team of Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin. The series is also created by an artistic stable which include illustrator Dan Schkade, inker David Hahn, and colorist Marissa Louise. So far, there have been three issues of the comic series: A Date with Destiny, Two Worlds Enter, One Leaves, and Teo Peas in a Pot.

Wrestletopia begins with a scene somewhere in space in the year 1999 where a Wrestlopian, an out-of-this-world pro-wrestler receives a transmission from 15-years ago. The transmission shows Rory declaring himself a champion of the universe.

And that is when the story begins. Rory Landell is a pro-wrestler in the fictional AWF (American Wrestling Federation) and is booked to win the company’s world heavyweight championship. It is here that Rory is on top of the world: he’s a rising star, has a girlfriend name Spanish Rose, and he’s about to become champion. That is until the boss, Dick Drassin decides to make a last-minute change by having Landell’s opponent, Bob Schultz keep the title for that night’s event. Landell is not too happy about this and after a conversation with his manager and friend, Don, he decides that the AWF Championship is meaningless and creates his own championship from a pizza box and belt: the Galactic Championship of the Universe.

It is here that while his announcement is being taped, Wrestletopia picks up the transmission of this bold declaration. And it is here when the antagonist and the actual champion of the universe, Manifest Destiny decides to challenge. Landell for the title. Little does Destiny know that Landell is not quite the same man he was. Fifteen years later, the wrestler is no longer with the AWF and is fighting in bingo halls. Rory is a shell of his former charismatic self. His manager Don Fong Wong is the only person keeping him together. However, it is not until the Wrestletopians invade Earth and make a deal with Landell’s former boss, Drassin, when the wrestler is going to have to make a choice: either accept Manifest Destiny’s challenge or continue down the path he has been going since leaving the AWF.

I enjoyed this comic series since it paid an homage to the pro-wrestlers of the past and present.

For instance, Rory Landel could be seen as a Ric Flair archetype with a narrative arc similar to Mickey Rourke’s character in the move The Wreslter. Like the Flair, Landell is a charismatic smack talker and a rising heel (or villain) in the AWF who gets denied his championship opportunity. But like Rourke’s character in the Wrestler, Landell tries to relive his glory days working in the independents while his life spirals out of control. Rory could be seen drinking and eat off people’s food as he heads to the ring much to Don’s dismay.

Don Fong Wong is most likely a parody of Mr. Fuji. Harry Fujiwara who was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and portrayed a Japanese heel manager. Don Fong Wong was also born in Hawaii while portraying a Chinese heel manager. Both use dirty tactics or tricks to help the wrestlers they manage claim victory over their opponents. Don Fong Wong would have to be a favorite character of mine due to him being a comic relief while also being a voice of wisdom to the reckless Landell.

Dick Drasslin is an obvious parody of Vince McMahon, the owner and chairman of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Boy Scout Bob Schultz is a John Cena and Hulk Hogan archetype. And Manifest Destiny seems to be an Ultimate Warrior General Zod character. And Mini Macho (another favorite character of mine) reminds me of Rey Mysterio due to their resolve to stand up to bigger wrestlers despite their smaller statures.

Another thing I like about the comic is that it also utilizes science fiction elements. The scene where the Wrestletopians invade Earth reminds me of the scene in Superman II where General Zod, Ursa, and Non terrorize the Earth and its leaders to root out Superman. Manifest Destiny making a deal with Drassin to find Rory also reminds me of Zod and Lex Luthor joining forces.

The art done by Schkade, Hahn, and Louise in this comic was also what told the story. The artist must either been wrestling fans or researched the moves by watching several wrestling shows. The reason I write this is because the sequential art the artists used was almost like watching WWE Thursday Night Smackdown from a different lens but with the same feel. Arsenio Hall once said that pro-wrestling is a mirror to the real world and this comic’s story and art are a reminder of that.

I’m hoping that more issues from this series come out. I want to see what Rory’s finishing maneuver is. I also want to see what happened to Spanish Rose after Landell walked away from her and the AWF. And what about Boy Scout Bob Schultz? Would he answer the challenge Manifest Destiny not only offered to Landell but to the wrestlers of Earth? And more importantly, will Landell get out of his funk and regain his smile (ala Shawn Michaels) and take on Destiny and win the Galactic Champion of the Universe?

If you enjoy pro-wrestling and, or, a science fiction fan, this book will have you glued to the story like the millions and millions of us fans who were glued to our TV sets watching the Monday Night Wars.

Invasion From the Planet Wrestletopia was published by Starburns Industries Press, the company behind Rick and Morty, HBO’s Animals, and HarmonQuest. You can follow Starburns Industries on Twitter @StarburnsInd. You can also follow team of Keuhnel and Entin, Suspcious Behavior Productions @SBP_Comics.

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