The pro wrestling world is still buzzing over the return of Jon Moxley and the promo he cut in front of a live crowd in Washington, DC where he talked about his past demons by illustrating them as a ‘black cloud hanging over him.’ Thankfully today, after a stint in rehab in early November, it appears that Moxley is well on his way to dominance now that he is clean and sober.
After watching the Jon Moxley promo I couldn’t help but reflect on another pro wrestling star that also had a stint in rehab; recovered and is now dominating the pro wrestling industry and I am talking about none other than Mike Bennett.
More people spent time writing articles on the speculation of who paid for Bennett’s rehab than Bennett actually rehabbing and recovering. It turned out that ‘The Miracle’ never attended rehab in the first place and recovered on his own thanks in large part to his wife, Maria Kanellis.
On April 15th, 2020, Mike and Maria (Kanellis) Bennett were released from their WWE contracts and have never looked back. The couple then went on to sign with Ring of Honor in November of that year once their non-compete clause ended, reuniting with longtime friend Matt Taven to form The OGK.
When ROH went on a hiatus, releasing practically every talent on the roster, The OGK took their talents to the NWA as well as recently appearing on Impact! Wrestling’s “Hard to Kill” pay per view taking out Rhino and Heath Slater. Bennett and his wife have been very busy after their initial WWE release.
Pro wrestling has been in the spotlight in years’ past for neglecting to take care of their stars and putting them out to fend for themselves after putting their bodies on the line day in and day out, traveling over 200 days out of the year, not sleeping in their own beds. There has been a failed attempt at a union despite broken promises from former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and former 90210 star, turned SAG-AFTRA labor union President, Gabrielle Carteras.
The amount of jobs available for pro wrestlers after their career in the ring has come to an end is far and few between. With WWE being the giant company, their sustainability comes into question. While the WWE can offer a former talent a job after they hang up their boots, the turnover rate makes it impossible to feel any confidence that the industry will return the favor for you and your family once your time is up.
AEW has provided an alternative for talent to either continue wrestling in the ring after WWE sent them packing or outside of the ring offering assistance to the future generation of pro wrestling.
Not many, unfortunately, have been able to recover the way Jon Moxley have or the way Mike Bennett have. What is most impressive about Bennett’s recovery is the fact that there was no promise of companies willing to take a risk on him after his initial WWE release in 2020. Not only did he bounce back physically by being in the best shape of his life, but he is now working for top independent promotions around the country with IMPACT! Wrestling and the National Wrestling Alliance, as well as recently appearing on the first-ever Terminus: “All Roads Lead Here” show defeating fellow IMPACT! Wrestling star and world champion, Moose.
We celebrated Jon Moxley yesterday as his speech made us all feel like we can conquer anything no matter what life throws at us. The promo was live on TBS in front of the entire world to witness and while Mike Bennett didn’t get the opportunity to present the same speech (although, in the not-too-distant future, we may see Bennett appearing on TED Talk conventions in a city near you) we too can celebrate Mike Bennett for not only conquering his addictions but also carving out his own path in an industry that leaves most to fend for themselves.
Today, we celebrate everyone that has battled the dark clouds, beat the s**t out of them, and ultimately ‘drank its blood.’
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