Maria Kanellis’ release from World Wrestling Entertainment is being seen as a surprise considering that the fans voted her Diva of the Year in an online poll last December not to mention that she will be appearing as a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, which debuts in two weeks on NBC. She herself has told friends she was blindsided by the release and that she had no reason to believe it was coming.
Her departure was said to be due to management’s negative reaction to an interview she did with The Sun this past January where she said she wasn’t sure how much longer she’d stay with WWE because she had outside interests and would like to start a family at some point.
“I’m starting to do other things and it’s partially because one day I want to be a mom and I want to get married and you can’t really do that when you’re on the road,” Kanellis told The Sun. “So I’ve got to find a job that will allow me to do that.”
When the interview drew a bad reaction, she did a follow-up interview to clarify that it was long way away and that she had no plans on leaving anytime soon. In the day following her release, she did a third interview to say it was not her decision to leave WWE, nor did she ask for a release. However, she did note that “when a bad relationship is over, you move on.” She also said WWE was holding her back from expanding her career. WWE officials were not high on her asking to take deals outside of the company.
One company source said Vince McMahon had been negative on her in meetings in recent few weeks, with one person claiming she came back with an change in attitude after returning from Celebrity Apprentice.
“She always made my honor roll of talent to deal with on the Divas end of the roster. Super easy going and actually played a role well as the bubbly ditz,” said one former WWE writer of Maria. “However, Vince knows all too well about how the ego swells when the performers get some mainstream traction and it never benefits the company.”
Some of the wrestlers have an idea on how she performed on Celebrity Apprentice, with one person close to the matter saying he expects her to come out of the season looking like a star and could not understand why WWE would cut ties with her. Another wrestler said this was likely the situation because WWE figures if you find success outside of wrestling, you’re going to receive outside offers and end up leaving wrestling anyway, noting what happened with Stacy Keibler.
While Maria weighs her future, she will be pursuing a career in music in the meantime as she is expected to release her debut album Seven Sins on Apr. 13 on iTunes.
(sources: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, www.pwtorch.com)