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Michael Bennett (May 16, 1985) is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, performing on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Mike Kanellis. Bennett formerly wrestled for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under the ring name "The Miracle" Mike Bennett, where he became a one time TNA X Division Champion. He has previously wrestled for the Ring of Honor (ROH) promotion, where he is a former ROH World Tag Team Champion and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he is a former IWGP Tag Team Champion, both held with Matt Taven. Bennett and Taven operate a wrestling school in West Warwick, Rhode Island.

Career

Independent Promotions (2002-2017)

Bennett made his professional wrestling debut in 2002. The following year, Bennett made a single appearance for the East Coast Wrestling Association, when he lost to Big Benny. On October 3, 2004, at the New England Wrestling Association's Return to Exile show, Bennett was part of a battle royal in which the final two competitors would face each other for the vacant NEWA Heavyweight Championship. Bennett and Brian Rogers were the final men left, and later that night Bennett defeated Rogers to win the NEWA Heavyweight Championship. Bennett also wrestled for Eastern Pro Wrestling (EPW). On April 27, 2007, Bennett lost to Derek Destiny. On February 29, 2008, Bennett lost to Nick Westgate. The following day, Bennett, who was accompanied by Gia Savitz, defeated Thom Kane. On January 16, 2010, Bennett unsuccessfully challenged Nick Westgate for the EPW Television Championship. On March 5, Bennett won the 'Rhodes Island Rumble' battle royal to become the number one contender to the EPW Heavyweight Championship.

Bennett and Bryce Andrews appeared on the April 9, 2007, episode of WWE Heat, where they faced Cryme Tyme. On October 6, 2009, Bennett wrestled against Kip James at the TNA Impact! tapings.

In a match for the Northeast Wrestling (NEW) promotion in March 2010, Bennett was a participant in a five-way match for the NEW Heavyweight Championship, which was won by Matt Taven. At NEW's Spring Slam show on April 15, 2011, Bennett lost to Matt Hardy. In 2010, Bennett debuted for Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW) by defeating Matt Taven on September 25. Three months later at 2CW's Nightmare Before Christmas show in December, Taven defeated Bennett in a rematch.

On September 14, 2012, Bennett made his debut for the Chikara promotion, when he, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson entered the 2012 King of Trios tournament as Team ROH, defeating the Faces of Pain (The Barbarian, Meng and The Warlord) in their first round match. The following day, Team ROH advanced to the semifinals with a win over The Extreme Trio (Jerry Lynn, Tommy Dreamer and Too Cold Scorpio). Team ROH opened the third and final day of the tournament by defeating the all-female Team Sendai Girls (Dash Chisako, Meiko Satomura and Sendai Sachiko) in the semifinals. In the finals of the tournament, Team ROH was defeated by the Spectral Envoy (Frightmare, Hallowicked and UltraMantis Black), when Bennett submitted to Hallowicked's Chikara Special.

New England Championship Wrestling (2003–2005; 2009–2010)

Bennett debuted for New England Championship Wrestling (NECW) on November 14, 2003, losing to Johnny Idol. The following March, Bennett earned his first win in NECW by defeating Bob Evans. In August 2004, Bennett began feuding with Ru Starr, trading victories with him, until Starr won the rubber match on February 12, 2005. In March, Bennett moved into a feud with Michael Sain, losing to him in two singles match that month, and again in a Stretcher match on April 16. He earned his first victory over Sain in June. He spent the next several months wrestling against competitors including Frankie Arion, Pat Masters, and Fergal Devitt, before taking a four-yeat hiatus from NECW.

He returned at Spring Breakdown on April 18, 2009, teaming with Guy Alexander to defeated TJ Richter and Mr. Munroe. At NECW Tag Team Classic in September, Bennett and Alexander defeated Richter and Munroe in the first round of a tournament, but their match against Scott Osborne and Brandon Locke ended in a double countout, eliminating both teams from the tournament. At the NECW television tapings on January 23, 2010, Bennett defeated David Cash.

Top Rope Promotions (2006–2014)

Bennett debuted for Top Rope Promotions (TRP) on February 17, 2006, where he defeated Stryker. On March 24, Bennett, as part of NRG, defeated Freightrain. The following month Bennett defeated Billy Warhawk. Bennett continued on a winning streak, defeating Joe Chece, Spike Dudley, DC Drake, and on June 23, he competed in the 2006 Kowalski Cup. He defeated Romeo Roselli and Chece en route to the final, where he defeated Slyck Wagner Brown to win the tournament. He suffered his first loss on July 1, when he was defeated by Antonio Thomas, and two weeks later he lost to Roselli. On September 1, Bennett defeated Dudley in a street fight to win the NRG Heavyweight Championship. The following night, he lost to Dudley in a steel cage match, and lost a Loser Leaves Town steel cage match to Dudley on September 29.

Despite this, Bennett returned to TRP on January 5, 2007, teaming with Bryce Andrews to defeat 'Chunky But Funky' to win the TRP Tag Team Championship. After losing to The Aldren Brothers in a non-title match in February, Bennett and Andrews won a two out of three falls match to retain the championship on April 6. The following night, they lost to The Heart Throbs (Antonio Thomas and Romeo Roselli) in a non-title match, and at the following show in May, Bennett lost to Roselli in a singles match. On June 9, Bennett and Andrews defeated Kristian Frost and Brutus Beefcake. In July, Bennett aligned himself with Luscious Latasha, with the pair defeating Dudley and Leah Morrison in a mixed tag team match on July 15. In April 2008, Bennett lost to Dudley in a street fight. On May 30, Bennett lost to Andrews in a First Blood match. He continued competing in TRP for the remainder of the year, wrestling against Dudley, Brian Fury, Bushwhacker Luke, and Jason Blade. He formed a semi-regular tag team with Ryan Waters in January 2009, and the pair lost to the reigning TRP Tag Team Championship, The Alden Brothers on January 9.

On March 20, Benentt faced Stevie Richards in a match for the vacant TRP Heavyweight Championship, but was unsuccessful. On April 4, however, Bennett defeated Richards to win the TRP Heavyweight Championship for the first time. He successfully defended the championship against Jimmy Preston on July 12, Isys Ephex on September 18, and Ken Anderson on November 8. On January 1, 2010, Bennett defeated Kenny Dykstra to retain his TRP Heavyweight Championship, and retained it again against Colin Delaney on February 5, and against J. Freddie in a No Disqualification match on February 21. On April 9, at The Anniversary, the TRP Heavyweight Championship was vacated when a match between Bennett and Freddie ended in a no contest. The following month, Freddie defeated Bennett in a Last Man Standing match.

At the 2010 Kowalski Cup Tournament, Bennett defeated TRP Interstate Champion Guy Maestro in a non-title match, provoking a feud between the two. In November, Bennett defeated Maestro in a strap match, with Ox Baker as the guest enforcer. at Spindle City Rumble in December, Bennett defeated Maestro by count-out, and so did not win the championship. On January 1, 2011, Bennett lost to Guy Alexander in a steel cage match for the Interstate Championship. On February 19, Bennett debuted "Brutal" Bob Evans as his manager in TRP, and went on to defeat Frankie Arion.

Ring of Honor (2008, 2010–2015)

Bennett made his Ring of Honor (ROH) debut in 2008. In his first match he lost to Daniel Puder at Proving Ground in Boston, Massachusetts on January 11. His next appearance came three months later at Bedlam In Beantown in March, when he lost to Jason Blade. After attending a tryout camp in March 2010, which he heard about through announcer Kevin Kelly, Bennett appeared at the Ring of Honor Wrestling television tapings in July and August. Bennett signed a one-year contract with ROH in August 2010. In his next appearance he lost to Roderick Strong on September 10, but earned his first ROH victory at Tag Title Classic II on December 17, when he defeated Colt Cabana.

Video packages about Bennett began airing on ROH's television program, Ring of Honor Wrestling in November 2010, promoting his television debut. On the December 6 episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Bennett and his manager "Brutal" Bob Evans appeared in the crowd to watch a match between the ROH World Television Champion Eddie Edwards and Christopher Daniels. Bennett made his in-ring television debut when he defeated Nick Dinsmore on the January 10, 2010, episode. During the February and March episodes of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Bennett took part in the "Top Prospect Tournament". He defeated Adam Cole in the first round, Andy Ridge in the semi-finals, and Kyle O'Reilly in the final. Following each match in the tournament, Bennett was congratulated and given advice by Steve Corino, but Bennett rejected it and mocked Corino, provoking a feud between the two men. At the 9th Anniversary Show pay-per-view, Bennett pinned Corino to win a four-corner survival match, also involving Kyle O'Reilly and Grizzly Redwood. As a result of his victory in the 'Top Prospect Tournament', Bennett earned a match for the ROH World Television Championship against Christopher Daniels at Defy or Deny on March 18. Bennett and Evans had a verbal confrontation with Corino at the start of the show, and Corino prevented Evans from helping Bennett during his ROH World Television Championship match, which Bennett went on to lose. In a singles match between the two at Manhattan Mayhem IV, Bennett defeated Corino and attacked him following the match with the aid of Evans. In a rematch at Revolution: Canada in early May, Bennett once again prevailed due to Evans' help.

Bennett received another shot at the ROH World Television Championship on October 1, but the title match with Jay Lethal ended in a fifteen-minute time limit draw. Shortly after this, he began an angle where he proclaimed that he had already won the match and proclaimed himself to be the true champion. Bennett challenged for the World Television Championship again at Final Battle 2011 in a three-way elimination match against Lethal and El Generico. Bennett was accompanied by his real-life girlfriend Maria Kanellis for the match, in which he was the final man eliminated, allowing Lethal to retain the championship. At the January 7, 2012, tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Bennett unsuccessfully challenged Lethal for the World Television Championship in a No Time Limit match. Bennett then started feuding with Lance Storm, with Bennett winning their initial singles match at Showdown in the Sun, and Storm winning the rematch at Border Wars. At the June 29 tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Bennett defeated Storm in the final match of their trilogy.

At the June 21 tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Bennett teamed up with Brutal Bob in a tag team match, where they were defeated by Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards. Afterwards Bennett, Bob, and Kanellis attacked Cole and Edwards, before being chased away by the returning Sara Del Rey. At the following internet pay-per-view, Boiling Point on August 11, Bennett and Kanellis were defeated in an intergender tag team match by Edwards and Del Rey, when Bennett submitted to Edwards. On December 16 at Final Battle 2012: Doomsday, Bennett defeated Jerry Lynn in his final ROH match before retirement.

At the June 23, 2013, tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Bennett teased leaving ROH, before turning on Evans and announcing that "The Prodigy is dead". On July 11, Bennett, now working as "Michael Bennett", was announced as a participant in the upcoming RoH World Championship tournament. On August 3, it was reported that Bennett that re-signed a long-term deal with ROH, after failing to come to terms with WWE. That same night, Bennett's first round ROH World Championship tournament match ended without a winner, when his opponent B.J. Whitmer was legitimately injured after a piledriver on the ring apron. ROH later awarded the win to Bennett, giving him a spot in the quarterfinals of the tournament. On August 17, Bennett was eliminated from the tournament by Tommaso Ciampa. The following month, Bennett started a feud with Kevin Steen over who had the more dangerous piledriver. The two faced off on October 26 at Glory By Honor XII, where Bennett was victorious, following a distraction from Kanellis. On December 14 at Final Battle 2013, Bennett was defeated by Steen in a Stretcher match and, as a result, could no longer use the piledriver in ROH.

Bennett and Maria aligned themselves with the ROH World Champion Adam Cole, and Matt Hardy, as The Kingdom. Throughout the summer, Maria and Bennett would get involved in Matt Hardy's feud with The Briscoes (Mark and Jay, the former ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe, who was stripped from the title and used a custom belt as the Real World Championship), which would result a tag team match at the Best in the World pay-per-view on June 22, which Hardy and Bennett would lose despite Maria's interference. On September 18, 2015, at All Star Extravaganza VII, Bennett and Taven won the RoH World Tag Team Championship by defeating The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) in a three-way match. They lost the title to War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe) on December 18 at Final Battle. Bennett and Kanellis left ROH after the following day's Ring of Honor Wrestling taping, after failing to come to terms on a new contract with the promotion.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2015–2017)

On December 29, 2015, it was announced that Bennett and his real life wife Maria Kanellis signed with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. On January 5, 2016 on TNA's debut on Pop, Bennett made his TNA debut under the ring name "The Miracle" Mike Bennett.

WWE

SmackDown (2017–present)

On June 18, 2017, Bennett made his WWE debut alongside his wife in her return at Money in the Bank, Mike emerged through the crowd during the men's Money in the Bank match.

Personal life

Bennett has an older brother. He graduated from Carver High School in 2003. Bennett is friends with Kevin Kelly, and regards Kelly as a mentor within the professional wrestling business. In an interview in December 2011, Maria Kanellis confirmed she was dating Bennett. On October 10, 2014, Bennett and Kanellis got married.

He was listed as one of the top 75 wrestling bodies in the world by Muscle Men in 2010.

In wrestling

  • ​Nicknames
    • "Epic"
    • "The Miracle"
    • "The Prodigy"
  • Entrance themes
    • "Poem" by Taproot (ROH; January 11, 2008 – August 23, 2010; used while accompanying Michael Bennett)
    • "S.U.M." by Avenue F (ROH; August 30, 2010 – June 22, 2014; used while accompanying Michael Bennett)
    • "Something for You/Suffer Unto Me" by David Rolfe and Avenue F (ROH; 2014 – 2016; used as a member of The Kingdom)
    • "Fire Guitar" by Fabio Codega (NJPW; April 5, 2015 – December 9, 2015; used as a member of The Kingdom)
    • "The Miracle" by Dale Oliver (TNA; January 5, 2016 – March 17, 2017)
    • "True Love" by CFO$ feat. KIT (WWE; June 18, 2017 – present; used while accompanying Mike Kanellis)

Championships and accomplishments

External links

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